Gods and humans contemplate each other:

Mercury's solar transit is a message of hope and humor

vol. 1 issue 40

Greetings,

That’s not a zipper across the sun, but a time-elapsed photo of Mercury’s last transit across the sun, visible from Earth back in 2016.

For about another hour (it’s noon here in Washington, DC), Mercury will be visible on NASA’s Mercury Cam. Here’s a great video of the celestial event back in 2016, replete with the music of heroes. I can’t get enough of seeing how much the sun’s red heat looks like a brain on fire, sizzling with intelligence, and there’s little Mercury zooming across the sun’s face like an amusing thought, passing through the solar flares licking the space around them, like flames of laughter.

It inspired in me the notion that the sun has a mind of its own, and as the center of our universe, is in fact the seat of our intelligence. A sun god, indeed.

The image further reminded me of an article I read from publisher Aeon awhile ago about Einstein and his willingness to consider that there was an intelligence operating within the heavens, and how that pitted him against Niels Bohr, the father of quantum physics as they sought to determine the nature of reality.

From the article:

Einstein said, ‘I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.’

Baruch Spinoza, a contemporary of Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, had conceived of God as identical with nature. 

Which brings me to the second diversion for your breakfast, lunch, or tea time: another piece from Aeon, this one a short (6 minutes) video pastiche of NASA scientists considering just how far science can go to understanding everything.

It’s fun to see scientists let their guard down. Unguarded scientists are the best kind of scientists because they retain that fearless, childlike wonder resounding in the question “WHY?”

Speaking of which, Why do I think pointing out the transit of Mercury across the sun is appropriate for the docu-mental audience? Because looking at that video of the sun, I felt an ineffable something that I can only begin to describe as hope. And life without hope is life without a future, which is bleak.

But life with hope, something to connect to, something to ponder that isn’t of the worrisome kind, is a way to create a immunity to anxiety and depression, which is what I want to do.

Happy munching.

Whitney

(Photo courtesy of NASA)