Skip to main content

Vår geosentriske vrangforestilling om middelaldermennesket

Kommentar

Takk for mange nyttige opplysninger og tanker! Jeg skrev ut artikkelen og leste den under lunsjen i går.

Jeg ser det allikevel nødvendig å korrigere en myte, en av mange myter vi “moderne” mennesker har om folk i tidligere tider, nemlig ideèn at man i middelalderen oppfattet jorda som sentrum av universet. C.S. Lewis har avkledd denne myten i boka “The Discarded Image”. Faktum er at middelaldermennesket så på vår kummerlige tilværelse her på jorda som siste avsats før Helvete. Bloggeren John Michael Greer skriver om dette i sitt essay “On the Far Side of Progress”:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.no/2013/07/on-far-side-of-progress.html
Another example? Consider the claim, endlessly regurgitated in textbooks and popular literature about the history of astronomy, that the geocentric theory—the medieval view of things that put the Earth at the center of the solar system—assigned humanity a privileged place in the cosmos. I don’t think I’ve ever read a popular work on the subject that didn’t include that factoid. It seems plausible enough, too, unless you happen to know the first thing about medieval cosmological thought.

The book to read here is The Discarded Image by C.S. Lewis—yes, that C.S. Lewis; the author of the Narnia books was also one of the most brilliant medievalists of his day, and the author of magisterial books on medieval and Renaissance thought. What Lewis shows, with a wealth of examples from the relevant literature, is that nobody in the Middle Ages thought of the Earth’s position as any mark of privilege, or for that matter as centrally placed in the universe. To the medieval mind, the Earth was one notch above the rock bottom of the cosmos, a kind of grubby suburban slum built on the refuse dump outside the walls of the City of Heaven. Everything that mattered went on above the sphere of the Moon; everything that really mattered went on out beyond the sphere of the fixed stars, where God and the angels dwelt.

The one scrap of pride left to fallen humanity was that, even though it was left to grub for a living on the dungheap of the cosmos, it hadn’t quite dropped all the way to the very bottom. The very bottom was Hell, with Satan trapped at its very center; the Earth was a shell of solid matter that surrounded Hell, the same way that the sphere of the Moon surrounded that of Earth, the sphere of Mercury that of the Moon, and so on outwards to Heaven. Physically speaking, in other words, the medieval cosmos was diabolocentric, not geocentric—again, the Earth was merely one of the nested spheres between the center and the circumference of the cosmos—and the physical cosmos itself was simply an inverted reflection of the spiritual cosmos, which had God at the center, Satan pinned immovably against the outermost walls of being, and the Earth not quite as far as you could get from Heaven.

Thus the Copernican revolution didn’t deprive anybody of a sense of humanity’s special place in the cosmos; quite the contrary, eminent thinkers at the time wondered if it wasn’t arrogant to suggest that humanity might be privileged enough to dwell in what, in the language of the older cosmology, was the fourth sphere up from the bottom! It takes only a little leafing through medieval writings to learn that, but the fiction that the medieval cosmos assigned humanity a special place until Copernicus cast him out of it remains glued in place in the conventional wisdom of our time. When the facts don’t correspond to the mythology of progress, in other words, too bad for the facts. - John Michael Greer 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sommerhilsen fra Terje Bongard

Noen tanker:

Nesten halvparten under 30 år kommer ikke til å stemme i høst. Individet i storsamfunnet er fremmedgjort: Følelsen av å ha innflytelse er liten, avstanden opp kjennes utenfor følelsesregisteret. Avisene i dag fokuserer på at om man ikke stemmer, så har man ingen innflytelse. Spørsmålet er bare om forskjellen ville bli så stor om vi smurte 50 % mer stemmer ut over dagens partilandskap. Blir framtiden mer bærekraftig av det? Blir følelsen av innflytelse større?


Det påligger folk med kunnskaper et svært ansvar nå. Framtidas livsnødvendigheter, omsetningen i de store systemene som gjenskaper og omsetter luft, vann, jord, klima og næring, selve livsveven er i ferd med å knekkes. Ikke bare mat og klær, også helse og livskvalitet, trygghet, konflikter mellom individer, regioner og land ligger i potten. Biomangfold er en sikkerhet vi trenger for å holde sykdommer i sjakk, matproduksjon oppe og livskvalitet levende. Du ser tegna rundt deg hele tiden. Det er en håndfull arter som …

Naturmaterialen åldras på ett sätt så att de får en ny och kanske till och med ökad skönhet

Syntetiska material kan till exempel omedelbart verka snygga och praktiska. Teflon, goretex och de många nya nanoimpregneringsämnena är kända för deras otroliga förmåga att avvisa vatten, fett och smuts, men den avvisande kvaliteten verkar också gälla mer generellt för de syntetiska materialens estetiska verkan. Det finns ofta en endimensionalitet i materialen, som gör dem starkt monotona i större mängder. Syntetiska material åldras dessutom i allmänhet med mycket lite behag. Från det ögonblick de börjar mista sin industriella glans kommer de snabbt att likna avfall. Detta är helt motsatt hos naturmaterialen som ofta åldras på ett sätt så att de får en ny och kanske till och med ökad skönhet. Det är som om de rymmer en stor mängd upplagrad erfarenhet, som om detaljrikedomen först på allvar avslöjas i förfallsprocessen. Skönhetens Befrielse av Morten Skriver, s. 166

Village Towns

Vandana Shiva from Sustainable Cities™ on Vimeo.

Vandana Shiva, an internationally recognized Indian activist and philosopher, explains that planning for the human being rather than the automobile can liberate space and create community within a city. In her opinion, a sustainable city should operate as a self-reliant and self-sufficient cluster of villages.