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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Rock of Our Sun

posted by on June 20 at 12:58 PM

What philosophy has in common with the pharaoh Akhenaten is Atenism—both worship the sun. One philosophical text: “[O]ne morning with the rosy dawn, [the philosopher] went before the sun, and spake thus unto it: Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest!” Another text: “Spirit often seems to have forgotten and lost itself, but inwardly opposed to itself, it is inwardly working ever forward, until grown strong in itself it bursts asunder the crust of earth which divided it from the sun, its concept…” In the Republic, the sun is nothing less than the truth. Even today, Badiou talks about the truth (scientific innovation, a work of genius, a moment in love) as a “return” from the sun.

But the sun in philosophy is not as great as the sun in reality. Our star is not destined for greatness. In the deepest future, it will begin to grow smaller and smaller. Its death will be a rock the size of our planet. A hard and compressed rock drifting through the stupidity of space. As our deaths reveal the corspes that are buried in our living bodies, the death of the sun will reveal the rock that’s buried in its brightness.

Imagine how wonderful it would be if the sun was destined to explode like the great stars do. Explode into the brilliance of billions of stars. Explode positive stuff into the depths of negative space. Stuff that would eventually cool into new stars and systems of planets. If this were our sun’s end, it would truly deserve all of our philosophy and praises.

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That's a pretty picture.

Posted by Jerod | June 20, 2008 1:03 PM

It is a pretty painting. Charles, on the other hand, is apparently drunk again.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | June 20, 2008 1:10 PM

Ah, the light touch of masturbatory sophistry is *perfect* for a Friday lunchtime Slog post. Thanks, Charles!

Posted by also | June 20, 2008 1:12 PM

Before it turns all dark and cold, it will expand into a Red Giant, which will boil off the oceans and scorch the earth, possibly swallowing the planet, and will remain so for millions of years, before shedding out its outer layers as a nebula. That's pretty badass.

Posted by rb | June 20, 2008 1:15 PM

This reminds me of Princess of the Sun, a great film about one of the daughters of Nefertiti and Aknahten, and a great French kids flick with lots of Sun scenes.

Even if it isn't Poupre Soleil.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 20, 2008 1:23 PM

@4 still relatively pedestrian in astronomical terms.

Posted by vooodooo84 | June 20, 2008 1:28 PM

happy solstice to you, too, chas.

Posted by max solomon | June 20, 2008 1:30 PM

wait, so you disapprove the sun now? come on dude...also the sun is expected to expand to proportions several times larger than it currently is, potentially to the point where it obliterates the earth and the other inner planets before it vents its outer layers into space, feeding the cosmos with expended material, then gradually shrinking back to a brown dwarf. that will all come after a 10 billion year or so run of total awesomeness. so, the sun is pretty deserving of our respect.
lastly, i think using the sun as a symbol or object of reflection as philosophy has done is different than actually worshipping it.

Posted by douglas | June 20, 2008 1:31 PM

The sun is greater than you or I, for the sun can exist without us, but the other way around, ah, it all disappears. And, oh yes, I almost forgot....

Maybe when it turns brown, a white dwarf will come into our universe and run it over. And no, I don't feel like letting it go.

Posted by Charles_Mudede_Is_A_Latent_Racist | June 20, 2008 1:41 PM

I hear there will be a Solstice parade tomorrow at noon in Fremont.

Some kind of pro-cycling rally.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 20, 2008 1:44 PM

@10 where did you hear that? insider stuff?

Posted by cochise. | June 20, 2008 2:03 PM

Yeah, @11, it's so secret it's not even on SLOG, not even the music stages ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 20, 2008 2:18 PM

If space is "stupid" Chaz, it's still a hell of a lot smarter then you.

When you've been around for 15 Billion years, get back to me on that one, 'kay?

Posted by COMTE | June 20, 2008 2:27 PM

Ah, Charles. Our little sun has something that no other sun in the universe can boast - you!

Posted by umvue | June 20, 2008 2:35 PM

I once heard a scientist call our sun "an average star". That seems like a contradiction. Did you know the sun has weather? Or that the sun's spots are caused by it's magnetic field? How about there are a hundred billion stars in the Milky Way alone. Breath taking.

Posted by Vince | June 20, 2008 3:48 PM

I hear the sun suffers from solar warming ... maybe it should get something to help with the sun spots?

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 20, 2008 3:58 PM


You forgot to mention the Sun Goddess.

Posted by Jeff Stevens | June 20, 2008 5:40 PM

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