"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

"It is clear that the minds are the most important part of the universe, and that everything was established for their sake; that is, in choosing the order of things, the greatest account was taken of them; all things being arranged in such a way that they appear the more beautiful the more they are understood."

G. W. Leibniz

Today's Elites

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zeta Oph and Seeking Out Hidden Truths

Each morning for quite some time now I go to the often quite spectacular APOD website. Today's entry on Zeta Oph (below) struck me and provoked the following train of thought.

As the astronomer states: "Zeta Oph is 65,000 times more luminous than the Sun and would be one of the brighter stars in the sky if it weren't surrounded by obscuring dust....Its strong stellar wind precedes it, compressing and heating the dusty interstellar material and shaping the curved shock front."

A number of ideas immediately leapt to mind. They were, not necessarily in this precise order, Riemann's seminal paper on the propagation of shockwaves and my extrapolation of its principle as a driver of human history; a passage from Augustine's City of God on why the truths in Christianity must be searched for; and the "Olber's paradox" (which it turns out was actually formulated first by Johannes Kepler and that Poe in his Eureka also grappled with as well.)

Augustine was, of course, combating a form of mystery religion called Manichaenism, akin to today's followers of the statistical mathematics chaos theory known as "quants" on Wall Street. First, it must be said that the fallacious supposition of the soi disant Neo-Platonists that Socrates or Plato had some sort of secret divinations revealed only to inner elites is pure garbage. Much like the principle of the purloined letter, what is truly "hidden" from the overwhelming bulk of humanity is solely due to their terrified reluctance (and in many cases downright greed) to admit to themselves the otherwise plain truth that they are deluded by a superstitious "faith" in the inviolability of the "powers that be." This is the reason that the Republic's timeless metaphor of the cave will endure "for ever and anon."

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