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Reply To: The Hour Yields, with Mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.

Richard Sumpter

    Dr. Gardner says:  “ In The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, Joseph Campbell reminds us that the notion of a “still point” doesn’t exist in the physical universe (3). In the field of time and space, there is no cessation of energy, nor any literal, irreducible point. And yet, the cosmos has contrived to create creatures who experience stillness and pointness. The still point is a subjective event, not an objective reality.”

    I think the creatures she refers to as being created by the cosmos may have found it necessary to create stillness as an antidote to movement.  The earth rotates on its axis at 1000 mph; and it is simultaneously revolving around the sun at 107 km/hour.  Our whole solar system, our sun with the whirling earth in tow, is orbiting the center of the Milky Way travelling at 240 km/sec.  The galaxy is about 100 light years across and we make it around once every 230 million years.  We’re now at a position in the galaxy called the Age of Aquarius.  There are over 200 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy and it is just one of over 100 billion galaxies. The Milky Way and about 1500 other galaxies are part of what is known as “the local group.”  And the entire galaxy is currently moving, riding on space as space itself expands outward at 590 km/sec – and it is accelerating.

    But where is this motion going?  Does it have a telos?  The myths are constructed around a moving out and a return that gives purpose and accomplishment.  But our cosmic motion does not seem to have a “come back to,” so our subjective stillness may be an effort to stop this rapid rush to who knows where.  Since time is defined as “the measure of matter in motion” we may in fact be trying by imagining stillness to make time stand still – which is one way of describing eternity: a dimension outside of time.  Our subjective stillness is a way to experience eternity.

    Richard Sumpter