Experience the numinous total solar eclipse

Veritasium experiences the Great American Eclipse of 21Aug2017

The Sun is 400 times the size of the Moon.

It is also 400 times farther away — so both Sun and Moon appear to be the same size.

It hasn’t always been this way; the Moon is moving away from the Earth.

About as fast as your fingernails grow.

When the Moon eclipsed the Sun aeons ago it did so with far less spectacle.

We happen to exist at just the right time to experience these numinous events.

Coincidence? I think: maybe not.

I wonder whether total solar eclipses may have been the sparks that ignited thought.

The flashes that inspired intelligence. That gave rise to us.

I’m no astrophysicist. I’ve reached out to some — to resounding silence.

I guess they probably think I’m nuts (understandably; there are a lot of nuts around).

I did get encouragement from Dr David Brin, who offered me some links.

Those led me to the Rare Earth hypothesis.

My own hypothesis goes beyond, suggesting that intelligent life is very rare.

And therefore all the more precious.

What do you think?

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Core thought, Phlyarology, Science and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Experience the numinous total solar eclipse

  1. Tom says:

    I’m surprised the Moon isn’t millions of miles away now, Pendantry, the rate my fingernails grow! 🤣 But then, it is a tad larger, I suppose!
    I think all life is intelligent, although not all is intelligent to realise the significance of an eclipse… although that said, they may interpret it differently…

    Liked by 2 people

    • pendantry says:

      I recall being berated by a schoolteacher, many years ago, when I made the comment in an essay that ‘there are many levels of intelligence’. My intent was to make the same point as you; that is to say, that non-human beings have smarts, too; my teacher thought I was referring to my classmates, being elitist.

      I believe that creatures such as elephants, whales and dolphins, especially, are far more clever than many give them credit for. But I wonder whether a total solar eclipse stirs the same sense of wonder in them as it does in us. And you don’t see them working together, over generations, to figure out in advance when future ones will occur….


  2. Intelligence? What’s that?


  3. leavergirl says:

    Don’t forget the raccoons. They learned to bang my screen door for food in two nights. And rats have food tasters… like medieval noblemen worried about being poisoned.

    All that propaganda about planets just like Earth being a dime a dozen. Bah. And intelligent life? Chances even smaller than that. I am with you, Wibbler.


    • pendantry says:

      I wouldn’t label information about exoplanet discoveries ‘propaganda’, myself. The word suggests an attempt to shift mindsets. What ulterior motive could there possibly be in this case?

      I’m glad you’re ‘with me’, naturally, but I wonder in what way? Are you saying that you subscribe to my (what some probably label ‘lunatic’) notion that the coincidence of the eclipse sparked off our smarts?


      • leavergirl says:

        Actually, I thought you were promoting the Rare Earth hypothesis, which makes sense to me and always had. No, you are right, info about exoplanets are not propaganda. I meant all the breathless reporting and sci-fi lit skewed in the direction of “hey, Earth-like planets are all over the place, no matter we destroy this one, we’ll just move!” :-)

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry says:

          I see your point; I’ve no doubt there are those who don’t have a clue how immensely far away these other planets are. It would be nice to visit them, if we could. But, of course, currently, we can’t (as I’m sure you know). And it’s highly unlikely we’ll be able to anytime soon.

          Which is probably just as well, as we’d just trash them as we are doing this one. I’d prefer that we grow up and learn how to look after our own home before being let loose on even the local neighbourhood.

          Liked by 1 person

      • leavergirl says:

        Forgot to mention your “lunatic” hypothesis. I lean in the direction of drugs, but your hypothesis is good too, in my way of reckoning. It probably was a number of things nudging us thataway, including the amazing skies and their “antics.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. revruss1220 says:

    Hmmm. The definition of the “rare earth hypothesis” certainly makes one think, doesn’t it? “According to the hypothesis, complex extraterrestrial life is an improbable phenomenon and likely to be rare throughout the universe as a whole.” If you’re not careful, you might just wander into the realm of Intelligent Design. Can’t have that, can we?

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      Hi, Rev! :) Rest assured, there’s no possibility of me straying into the ‘realm of Intelligent Design’ — other than in terms of a science fiction story I was working on some years ago (that I’ve long since given up on, as I found it too much like hard work) which posited the idea that our planet had been designed (by a superior intelligent alien race) as a seed for creatures such as us.

      In short: I do not believe that our existence here is proof of a deity; but I do believe that it’s entirely possible that we are, as Carl Sagan once said, “a way for the Cosmos to know itself”.


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