Our ancestors understood the universe much better than us. They simply saw it more. Modern technology has completely whited out the night sky. Satellites and background interference are making observatories on Earth useless. We might have the exact gas composition of the universe written down somewhere, but we can’t see shit. And we think ourselves masters of the universe. We have the power of gods, and the understanding of muttals. Muttal refers to muttai, or egg. Which also refers to zero.
Humanity, in its scientific insanity, has closed its eyes to infinity. The infinity that is plainly written across the skies, if you don’t blast lights everywhere and blind yourself. And so we are, literally, flying blind. Flying around a sun, relying just on our instruments. It’s crazy. A few hundred years of science are what has caused climate collapse, along with the ‘enlightened’* destruction of much older, much wiser philosophical systems. This is the hubris that I often talk about, and there’s no greater sign of it that going out at night and looking up.
What the fuck have we done? The gods have obviously abandoned us. They’re fucking gone.
As much as we have written down, measured, and invented based on knowledge of the universe, look how much we have lost. Abul Hasan Ibn Ishaq could point a telescope at the sky in the 800s and see something. Today, my kids can’t see shit, except the moon. We have space telescopes which enable us to see further than ever before, but only space scientists have access to them. And they’re mostly depressed post-docs. Science has monopolized the night sky, monopolized the idea of the night sky, and the common people are left staring up at smog. Thus we have more knowledge than ever before, and even less wisdom. We have numbers spinning on a hard disk somewhere that describe the universe in great precision, but on a personal level we have closed our eyes, and our hearts. This is of course disastrous to the planet. We’re literally flying blind, navigating purely on instruments.
Today we laugh at astrology, but its heart is in the right place. Astrology is about an intimate connection between you and the universe. Is it true? I don’t know, is the number 7 true? It’s all just symbols. What matters is what you do with this information, how it changes you, and feeling a connection the stars is a good thing. A true thing. This is the proper orientation of the human heart. You can get it from astronomy or astrology. For almost all of human history they have been the same thing.
My Achchi in the village used to subscribe to astrological magazines and do her own charts. She was intimately familiar with the universe, though her dates were a bit off. The charts we follow in the South still follow the Babylonian system, and the Earth has wobbled significantly since then. So her star charts didn’t match the actual stars, they were a few millennia off. That to me was the most beautiful. That we were remember the night sky from 3,000 years ago, in the hearts and minds of achchis in every village. What a beautiful thing. What wisdom, what respectfulness. What understanding, in symbols that science brushes off and calls ignorant. But my Achchi didn’t blot out the night sky. That’s on ‘progress’, not the past.
Religion, superstition, ritual, sacrifice—these are all ancient ways of connecting with the universe. Worshiping the sun is in no way ignorant. The sun is awesome. Imagining that you’re connected to all the planets and space dust and explosions in the universe is not foolish. It’s true. Most of the old old religions were nature religions destroyed by the gods whom science (the worship of man) is trying to destroy now. But the old gods were the true gods. The gods of fire, the gods of trees, the gods of the planets.
The stories of the constellations—from the African plains to the Indus Valley to the Middle Kingdom—were an amazing experience of the night sky, and a much better blockbuster than Avengers. The stories mothers have told their children about the moon, the amount of lovers that have sung to the thing, these ‘made-up’ stories are cultural wisdom. They have a truth greater than their component parts. Above all, they convey the drama in the universe, which is great fun for young and old.
These are the old stories. This is the old wisdom. This is the old symbol manipulation which certainly didn’t split the atom, but was that a good thing? Every modern religious leader—the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad—was tempted with great, godlike power. What made them sages was that they didn’t take it. They knew the right path was the hard path, and they took it. This is wisdom, and worth worshiping.
The modern god of self and science, however, takes the easiest path, every time. And it has led us here, with next-day shipping and next-decade destruction. The ‘enlightenment’ of the suddhas is much less effective than the true enlightenment of the Buddha when it comes to understanding your place in the world. Science and its handmaiden technology obviously have no sense of this, which is why the older climate gods are slapping us down.
We have lost sight of who and where we are, and so we crash land this planet, flying blind through the night sky. We have completely whited-out our vision. We barely see planets, let alone stars. Only on rare occasions do we ever glimpse the Milky Way. With this lack of context, no wonder we can’t respect and care for our Earth. We no longer respect or revere our ancestors. That’s what the living earth is—the animals, the plants, the living soil, the air we breathe—these are our cousins and ancestors. We stopped believing in them, in our connection to them, and soon enough they cease to exist. The price of hubris is not just the trouble you get into, it’s the truth and wisdom you leave behind. As we have done, in the last few centuries of progress/colonialism (same thing).
Science may give us knowledge about the gas composition of the universe, but it doesn’t give the feeling of humility and respect of astrology. And so we pump relentless greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, with no respect or thought for what’s above us. Science may give us the electric light, but it blots out the Milky Way, and all its stories and direct observations. And so we have evermore knowledge in hard disks and ever less in soft hearts. And so the artificial world we make is hard, greedy, and dark.
To understand the deep philosophical problem of the day, 99.9% of us can just step outside at night and open our eyes. We used to be so visibly connected to the universe, and now it’s gone dark. We’re flying blind through the universe and, in addition to this being disastrous for public policy, it’s a tragedy for the human eye, the human mind, and the human heart.