March 16, 2018

A view from the sun: #6 Shadow times


Viewed from Earth, in the night sky, the movements of planets and spacecraft can be seen against the familiar constellations, among myriad stars. In the daytime the Sun washes the stars from sight, and hides its path across the now invisible sky map. Its path can only be inferred, not seen. There is a special time though, when the Sun’s position in its travels can be seen directly against the background map of stars, planets and celestial bodies — that is, when it is viewed from within moon shadow, during a total solar eclipse.


“If you want to understand the invisible, look carefully at the visible” -The Talmud, via Willi Apel in the Harvard Dictionary of Music

In unfolding human events also, there are times when what can usually only be inferred, can be seen. During shadow times, emanations of meaning and power are made visible, as if they are the Sun’s corona peering from behind the moon’s dark disk, and their current relationship to the background is then revealed. This fleeting view of societal dynamics in context amounts to a snapshot in evolutionary time.


“The object of perception is immanently tied to its background — to the nexus of meaningful relations among objects within the world”  -Wikipedia, per Maurice Merleau-Ponty in Phenomenology of Perception

In times of societal eclipse, as events begin to move into shadow, there is first a tingle of electricity in the air, then a gathering frisson, a thrill of excitement in the brainstem, in the heart, and then as the culmination of darkness nears, whoops of surprise and recognition, then — the light is quenched, the land is dark, stillness descends, the night sky reveals what was hidden.

For moments, in silence, meanings are clear. The celestial players take their places in the firmament. As they love they gravitate. Then, in the pattern of their movements in constellations of meaning and power, signifying the revealed state of their dynamic network of relationships, including with the now hidden sun, immanent reality is manifest.

Moments pass. Light comes rushing across the land. The totality of eclipse has ended.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Intrinsic reality manifests in the pattern of movements of agents in constellations of meaning and power 

As they love they gravitate

In silence meanings become clear

The night sky reveals what was hidden

Thrill of excitement


Background map

A special time

Moon’s shadow

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Because we are in the world, we are condemned to meaning…”

-Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Phenomenology of Perception”


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