n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Because the real planet Earth is revolving around its north-south polar axis, so, too, is mini-Earth. They are both thus revolving without effecting any change of the observed position of Polaris—the North Star—in respect to mini-Earth's north pole. Therefore, the observer at the center of the Geoscope feels spontaneously the celestial fixity not only of Polaris but also of all the other stars as seen outwardly through the Geoscope's triangular windows. Because outwardly of Geoscope's equator what we can see of the ;tarry scene is changing most rapidly and ever less rapidly until, looking out along the polar axis, we observe no change, we get the same feeling as we do looking out the window of a railway car, automobile, or airplane. We see and feel the scene changing as a consequence of our vehicle's motion and not of the scenery's motion. For the first time in human experience Geoscope's mini-Earth spherical structure is clearly seen and felt to be revolving within the theater of Universe, and those holding steady their bodies, heads and their eyes and standing at the Geoscope's center, feel-see their Earth revolving within the vast theater of the starry sky.
With Geoscopes locally available around the world, all children experiencing its true celestial-event orientations will feel themselves being rotated round from west to east by the Earth to be shaded from the Sun's light by the rolling-around Earth's western horizon.. . which deep shadowing they will call night.
They will feel their western horizon to be rotating around with them and to be obscuring (or eclipsing) the Sun. They will spontaneously say "Sunclipse" instead of "Sunset." In the same way they will say spontaneously "Sunsight" in the morning as the Earth revolves the Sun into seeability, thus spontaneously acquiring two poetical, two-syllable, truly meaningful words to replace the two-syllable, misinformative, but poetical words of their ancestry—"Sunset" and "Sunrise."
Nobody is bom a specialist. Every child is born with comprehensive interests, asking the most comprehensively logical and relevant questions. Pointing to the logs burning in the fireplace, one child asked me, "What is fire?" I answered, "Fire is the Sun unwinding from the tree's log. The Earth revolves and the trees revolve as the radiation from the Sun's flame reaches the revolving planet Earth. By photosynthesis the green buds and leaves of the tree convert that Sun radiation into hydrocarbon molecules, which form into the bio-cells of the green, outer, cambium layer of the tree. The tree is a tetrahedron that makes a cone as it revolves. The tree's three tetrahedral roots spread out into the ground to anchor the tree and get water. Each year the new, outer-layer, green-tree cone revolves'ses'tums! and every year'the tree grows its new tender-green, bio-cell cone layer just under the bark and over the accumulating cones of previous years. Each ring of the many rings of the saw-cut log is one year's Sun-energy impoundment. So the fire is the many-years-of-Sun-flame-winding now unwinding from the tree. When the log fire pop-sparks, it is letting go a very sunny day long ago, and doing so in a hurry." Conventionally educated grown-ups rarely know how to answer such questions. They're all too specialized.
This flat conceptioning is manifest right up to the present in such every¬ day expressions as "the wide, wide world" and "the four comers of the Earth." As mentioned before, "up" and "down" are the parallel perpendicu¬ lars impinging upon this flat-out world. Only a flat-out world could have a Heaven to which to ascend and a Hell into which to descend. Both Christ and Mohammed, their followers said, ascended into Heaven from Jerusalem.
Scientifically speaking (which is truthfully speaking), there are no direc¬ tions of "up" or "down" in Universe—there are only the angularly specifi¬ able directions "in," "out," and "around." Out from Earth and into the Moon—or into Mars. IN is always a specific direction—IN is point-to-able. OUT is any direction.
Don't let these facts of comprehensive, human misorientation give you a personal inferiority complex. My own direct questioning of many large sci¬ entific audiences proves that all scientists as yet realistically "see" the Sun going "down" in the evening—though science has known for 500 years that this is untrue. Around the world nothing has ever been formally instituted in our educational systems to gear the human senses into spontaneous ac¬ cord with our scientific knowledge. In fact, much has been done^and mudi has been left undone by powerful world institutions that prevents such re¬ onentation of our misconditioned reflexes. Our own misconditioned reflexes are powerful deterrents to our successful self-reorientation of our apprehending facukies to accord with the emerging truths. Though I have been trying for fifty-three years to rid myself of the words up and down, I find them popping out in my speech.
We now know that we do not live on a flat-slab Earth. We do live on board an 8000-mile-in-diameter spherical spaceship speeding around the Sun at 60,000 miles per hour, spinning axially as it orbits. None of the per¬ pendiculars to a sphere are parallel to one another. The first aviators flying completely around the Earth within its atmospheric mantle and gravitationally cohered to the planet, having completed half their circuit, did not feel "up-side-down." They had to employ other words to correctly explain their experiences. So, aviators evolved the terms "coming-/«" for a landing and "going-ot/r," not "down" and "up." Those are the scientifically accreditable words—in and out. We can go only in, out, and around.
The rub, of course, is that everybody else thinks that science should provide the answers. Remember the Concorde? Back in the early 1970s, Congress was debating supersonic transport, trying to decide whether such aircraft would represent a danger when flown over the United States. Would their big engines flying high in the sky cut a hole in the ozone and let in solar radiation? Would the plane make sonic booms as it flew over people’s neighborhoods? And so on.
Senator Edmund Muskie (D-ME) was the chairman of the committee assigned to find the answers to these questions. He, in turn, appointed an august committee from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study the issue. Six months later they were to report to the congressional committee. All the newspapers were there and the cameras were rolling.
The committee’s chief scientist said, “Senator, we’re ready to testify,” and Muskie responded, “Okay, tell me what the answer is. Is this going to be a danger?” The scientist then slapped down his giant sheet of papers on the desk and said, “I’ve got these papers here that definitely tell us this is going to be a danger.” Muskie was ready to conclude right there, but then the NAS scientist interjected, “On the other hand, I have another set of papers over here that says these papers aren’t good enough to know the answer.” In exhaustion, the senator looked up and yelled, “Will somebody find me a one-handed scientist?!”
Everybody wants the one-handed scientist, right? But that’s not how science works, and that’s not always how we gain knowledge.
Why are atoms so small? ... Many examples have been devised to bring this fact home to an audience, none of them more impressive than the one used by Lord Kelvin: Suppose that you could mark the molecules in a glass of water, then pour the contents of the glass into the ocean and stir the latter thoroughly so as to distribute the marked molecules uniformly throughout the seven seas; if you then took a glass of water anywhere out of the ocean, you would find in it about a hundred of your marked molecules.
An egg is a chemical process, but it is not a mere chemical process. It is one that is going places—even when, in our world of chance and contingency, it ends up in an omelet and not in a chicken. Though it surely be a chemical process, we cannot understand it adequately without knowing the kind of chicken it has the power to become.
The assumptions of population thinking are diametrically opposed to those of the typologist. The populationist stresses the uniqueness of everything in the organic world. What is true for the human species,–that no two individuals are alike, is equally true for all other species of animals and plants ... All organisms and organic phenomena are composed of unique features and can be described collectively only in statistical terms. Individuals, or any kind of organic entities, form populations of which we can determine the arithmetic mean and the statistics of variation. Averages are merely statistical abstractions, only the individuals of which the populations are composed have reality. The ultimate conclusions of the population thinker and of the typologist are precisely the opposite. For the typologist, the type (eidos) is real and the variation. an illusion, while for the populationist the type (average) is an abstraction and only the variation is real. No two ways of looking at nature could be more different.
It is not therefore the business of philosophy, in our present situation in the universe, to attempt to take in at once, in one view, the whole scheme of nature; but to extend, with great care and circumspection, our knowledge, by just steps, from sensible things, as far as our observations or reasonings from them will carry us, in our enquiries concerning either the greater motions and operations of nature, or her more subtile and hidden works. In this way Sir Isaac Newton proceeded in his discoveries.
But many of our imaginations and investigations of nature are futile, especially when we see little living animals and see their legs and must judge the same to be ten thousand times thinner than a hair of my beard, and when I see animals living that are more than a hundred times smaller and am unable to observe any legs at all, I still conclude from their structure and the movements of their bodies that they do have legs... and therefore legs in proportion to their bodies, just as is the case with the larger animals upon which I can see legs... Taking this number to be about a hundred times smaller, we therefore find a million legs, all these together being as thick as a hair from my beard, and these legs, besides having the instruments for movement, must be provided with vessels to carry food.