When the modern mind attempts to grapple with animistic concepts like “the sun is alive,” the first impulse is to dismiss them as a superstitious fancy. Thankfully, many of us recognize the culturally imperialistic tone of that dismissal. We may also be in touch with our own fundamental indigenous knowledge, however deeply buried it may be under layers of scientific education, that the sun is indeed alive. We want somehow to accept that without denying what science has taught us: that the sun is a burning ball of gas, a nuclear furnace, and couldn’t possibly be alive.
This is what I know: if I stand in the sun's light, and greet it like it is a great master, not with words, but by shining back at it with wonder and gratitude, everything in my experience changes. I feel awe and connection and support. I am lit. This is the world I wish to inhabit, whether or not the mainstream science reflects it in my lifetime: the sun is a being of energy and consciousness, interacting with me, a being of energy and consciousness.
C.S. lewis has interesting strands of animism scattered in his writings. In one of the Narnia books, the children characters discover they are talking to a retired star, Ramandu. One child says, “In our world, a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.” Ramandu replies, “Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.”
While the gravity-only (lambda-CDM) cosmogonic model seems to get a lot right it consistently fails to predict new observations, as is evident in the number of headlines about galaxies or stars being ‘too old’, ‘too hot’, ‘too large’ or ‘too energetic’, for example. Of course, things are as they are and the insistence that they exceed some requirement is really an admission that our theories are at least partly wrong.
This is no more evident than in the James Webb Space Telescope finding of galaxies being formed ‘too early’ in the young universe. The initial reaction to these findings was to question the data but now that these have withstood scrutiny it’s time for theorists to go back to the drawing board. Like the solar system in particular, the visible universe as a whole could have reached its current state far more quickly than gravity-driven models suggests.
I’m one of those people who has been waiting for decades to see the cosmological paradigm overturned and I’m not expecting anything major this side of Christmas but I do at least hope to see some significant change in my lifetime.
I tell the sun that I love it directly to it and I feel the love returned to me ten fold. It is most definitely alive.
My elders would laugh themselves silly that 'science' is now discovering that the sun is 'alive'. Life is always heading towards death and death is always headed back towards life. This is the natural cycle of existence. It isn't an either/or contradictory sort of thing. It is the miraculously complex and energetic dance of Spirit and matter; informing and responding; each to the other. Older cultures did not separate Spirit and matter and so did in fact literally see everything as alive within the larger cycles of life and death. For instance if my ancestors killed a deer, they made offerings and apologies to the spirit of that deer. This was a natural 'electromagnetic' loop if you will. A continual mobius strip of understanding our place within and relationship to, the cosmos. Science tries to pretend we can somehow be objective and detached observers of reality. This is just not possible, because we are part and parcel of that very reality. I do not see how we can NOT anthropomorphize without losing our essential humanity, empathy and feelings of deep connection with all that is. The sun, like everything around us, has a consciousness that we can connect directly with and thus have direct influence upon. Many traditions have taught this. It is both sad and hilarious when science re-invents the wheel to great fanfare and acclaim!
Hehehe, that's amazing... I was just having a conversation of gratitude and wonder for the pumpkin Sun helped me grow and put into a delicious pie I was eating. The moment of connection was palpable and joyous, if only so momentary.
Then I came to read your article, Charles.
Thanks for YOUR volition to express your truths and findings!
I'm looking forward to reading this more carefully. In the meantime, I just wanted to tell you that a concept with a life of its own was birthed in your comment thread on I Like to Fight. In a comment that you and 105 others liked, I wrote "I love this. I think that's what we need, a world that places children at the center, surrounded by women, surrounded by men. Tonic masculinity." Jay Rollins wrote, "Stealing that," to which I said, "please!" Six weeks later he wrote, "Me and the boys ran with it!" And did they ever. At this point there's one article I wrote (unknowingly) simultaneously with seven magnificent male writers. I'll be adding my perspective to their work soon. As I wrote to them, in an odd little flip, I had the momentary pleasure of conception while they did the long, hard labor of birthing the concept and nurturing it into maturity.
There's too much (and still growing) to put in links here, but do a Substack search and see what Jay and I co-parented. I think this makes you a concept grandpa, Charles ;-)
You are a spectacular science mortality explorer.'
At the age of 94, I too am seeking universal information about lifes' splendor magnificence
and incomprehensibility. Thank you so much for being a member of the seeking population
still here and breathing! much love D,
Excellent post.Thanks. I wrote a little bit about this. It fascinates me that we are electromagnetic living beings in an electromagnetic universe. The sun is very active of late.
Many years ago, I came across the ideas of the electric universe, and while I think they sometimes throw the baby out with the bathwater, the biological analogies intrinsic in the model advanced by Arp, Alfven, Peratt, et al. were immediately apparent to me, and threw the cosmos and our place within it into an entirely new light. Precisely as you say, if we see the cosmos as fundamentally alive, it follows that the Earth is too. As are all the things on it. We can furthermore dispense with such dull questions as 'are animals conscious?' (of course they are) or 'where is the dividing line between conscious and unconscious?' (there isn't one). There are ethical implications that emerge directly from this.
Once, late at night over drinks at a conference, a senior colleague asked me whether I thought there was life out there - a common question in our field. I told him of course, because everything we see out there is alive. He had no idea how to respond to that ... it was a perspective so wholly foreign to his mechanical conception of reality that it just threw him for a loop.
Given the astronomical subject matter of this essay, I hope you'll forgive me for linking an astronomically-themed piece I wrote recently:
The argument is somewhat orthogonal to the one presented here, nevertheless I think that you might enjoy it, and perhaps the readers of this blog might as well.
So much to ponder here. Thank you. And there is much more than physics as to why Francis called them "Brother Sun" and "Sister Moon."
I used to be a pure materialist, but I'm coming around to this idea.
OMG, this was very exciting for me to read Charles. I wrote something about this awhile back but you've taken it like a hundred steps further. We chose the same video too! I've got some authors to look up and read now from your post. I see so clearly now how a gravity model is a dualistic underlying narrative (only pulls inward, so only has one-sided influence), while an electromagnet model has the built in polarity that one also finds, for example, in Projective Geometry. Yes, the Sun is alive, we are INSIDE of the Sun and Earth is one of the Sun's most vital organs!! Here's my old post: https://open.substack.com/pub/briang/p/sun-atmosphere-and-breathing?utm_source=direct&r=kpu97&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
Yes YES Yes, thank you for sharing this incredible perspective, and for always inviting us to see beyond the shallow wells of reality that we have been sold.
A few here may interested in knowing that Alice Bailey wrote the following in 1925, about the sun. Her words indicate that the Sun is the "God" of this solar system. Presently many believe this is true and that before too much longer, it seems this will be very common knowledge world wide.
"(1) Agni, the Lord of Fire, rules over all the fire elementals and devas on the three planes of human evolution, the physical, the astral, and the mental, and rules over them not only on this planet, called the Earth, but on the three planes in all parts of the system. p65
(2) Agni, the sum-total of the Gods. He is Vishnu and the Sun in His glory; He is the fire of matter and the fire of mind blended and fused; He is the intelligence which throbs in every atom; He is the Mind that actuates the system; He is the fire of substance and the substance of fire; He is the Flame and that which the Flame destroys. p602
(3) All potentiality lies in the vitalising, energising power of Agni, and in His ability to stimulate. He is life itself, and the driving force of evolution, of psychic development and of consciousness. p606."
Alice Bailey, Treatise on Cosmic Fire, (1925) https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Alice_Bailey
I'm going thru the audiobook, Braiding Sweetgrass and currently on the chapter about leaning grammer from her indigenous language were everything is a verb (living) versus a noun (thing).
She gives an example of a single apple is like a living being in that language.
Do you feel an apple and/or the Sun is a living being? Our language may be preventing us from thinking this way.