The Shore Moves Away from the Boat
"The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour."
"Telluris ingens Conditor terram dedisti immobilem," creation's mighty maker bade the earth stand firm, wrote Gregory the Great (540-604).(1) Another innocent Latin saying for the ages
and, how true, as Dr. Johnson said, that "every thing intended to be universal and permanent should be inscribed in Latin."
is indeed a glorious thing"(2), they say -- and if not as much as innocence, in the universe, if not once or twice, the third time is a charm. And again and again, all navigation is based on a fixed-Earth assumption.
Columbus, Cousin, Cabot, de Gama, Magellan and all the others followed charts derived from Ptolemy not Copernicus, as they sailed around the world. After all, everyone knows that
as landfall fades away into the distance, and sight of shore runs out, it is the boat that is moving away from land's end, not the beach or the harbor moving away from the boat. In terms of physics,
that is what the medieval Carthusian motto "stat crux dum volvitur orbis" means: the cross as much as the earth stands firm, while the spheres of the heavens revolve around it.
"Money cannot buy poverty", because it is the spirit that counts, and an immature and false argument wags still indoctrinated in heliocentrism sometimes
make against geocentrism is that if someone denies that the earth orbits the sun, then he must believe also that it is flat. However, if geocentrism is poor, it is not for vision; and it does not
teach that the Sun, the Moon, or the Earth is flat, or incomplete, or that space is two-dimensional, and neither did the Carthusians or the Church. Saying that the sun orbits the Earth does not mean that "the Moon is painted in the sky". Would the Earth be
at the center of the ecliptic and of the cosmos, and also be flat, with the Moon painted in the sky, going by in picture frames?
That could not at all be, and since poverty is the discoverer of all the arts, even the homeless can tell that space is always full and roundabout in 3-D.
"Paupertas omnium artium repertrix", and the Earth’s true horizon has a constant 360 degree view, all around in complete circles, wherever anyone goes. Then overall it must be a three dimensional sphere. That
is the only way that it would be natural and continuous in space; and the things that make sense also must make sense, as much as for time as for space.
The early medieval Anglo-Saxon monk Venerable Bede (672-735) wrote in "The Reckoning of Time", that "the earth is not
merely circular like a shield or spread out like a wheel, but resembles more a ball, being equally round in all."(3) The classic yet totally medieval concept presented the Earth as the sphere within the center of the universe --- "orbis in medio totius
mundi positus". And Bede added that it should be considered perfect and simple, in terms of a sphere, "because even the highest mountains produce no more than an imperceptible ripple on a globe of such great diameter."(4)
Science can see the horizons circular and continuous in all directions, all formed in beautiful 360" tableau, from
point to point; and since space is carried out in 3-D, one could have guessed from Thema Mundi, and the first footprints of Adam, that the Earth is a sphere of vanishing flatness. After all, a circle that is complete in three dimensions becomes
only another sphere.
"You can observe a lot just by watching, yet if you do not know
where you are going, you might wind up some place else".
Imagine, therefore, being transported to a
lonely and forgotten place, with unbroken desert vistas, under a cloudless abandoned sky: near the deepest silence, a desert scene of desolate stillness, with only some yucca trees and cactus in the distance, yet with the least hidden touch of the sublime,
even if in a low degree. By contemplating a mere immensity in space and time, over quiet solitudes, at least a vague impression may filter into the mind of what the sublime could be like. An "immeasurable greatness dwindles the individual to nothing".(5)
As when we "meditate on the thousands of years that are past or to come, we feel ourselves pass away and vanish into nothing like drops in the ocean".(6)
The four corners of the oceans and the earth are the four corners of a circle. The Book of Isaiah says,
"it is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are as grasshoppers".(7) At first it may not seem clear whether the passage refers to the Earth as a sphere, or whether it describes a flat circular form, but some things do not need to be said outright. When it already is
plain that space is all 3-D, anywhere you go, and any circle in 3-D becomes a sphere, it does not take so many words to be understood ... etc.
In the Book of Job, lectio divorum,
"He has described a circle upon the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness".(8)
"Under the whole Heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth".(9)
In Proverbs, the voice of the ages says, "When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep ... when he established the fountains of the
deep ... when he marked out the foundations of the earth."(10)
The simple Biblical view is that within the will of the Almighty, the Supreme Being, the Good Lord, "all things are established", and there is none that can resist his will. For he has "made all things, the heaven and the earth, and all
that is held within the circle of heaven."(11) Besides the coil of mortal life and the essentially circular nature of being, ens
inquantum ens, the sky above the earth is in circles, and with clouds and stars would represent heaven.
Isaiah 11:12, Ezekiel 7:2, Revelation 7:1
and 20:8, all refer to the four corners of the earth, which are the four corners of a circle. Whichever distant co-equals that they are, out of the very many places of perspective possible from around
the earth, they are also four corners of a sphere: and a repetition of the four corners of a cross in a circle in three dimensions.
From many centuries ago the ancient Greek philosophers already knew the Earth was round, even in
the generations before Aristotle. In Phaedo, Socrates declares as much, as if it already should be a well known fact. He says, "my conviction is that the earth is a round body in the midst of the heavens, and therefore has no need of air or any similar
force to be a support, but is kept there and hindered from falling or inclining any way by the equability of the surrounding heaven and by her own equipoise. For that which, being in equipoise, is in the center of that which is equably diffused
will not incline any way in any degree, but will always remain in the same state and not deviate."
He adds later, "the earth, when looked at from above, is like one of those balls which have leather coverings in twelve pieces, and is of divers colors, of which the colors which
painters use on earth are only a sample."(12) Socrates also thought that the sun was called helios, ήλιος, by the Greeks "because he is always rolling in his course (aei eilein ion) about the earth".(13)
Rolling in a course, there is no way to quantify the infinite except by the sense of quality of endlessness;
and between the infinite and the finite, there is not a difference in separation that can be quantified either. Numbers do not help, even for aeons and aeons, but a sense of the difference in proportion may.
Therefore, the best way is to go for ultimate simplicity
in this regard, and perhaps the greatest simplicity of a sign, for the infinite and the ineffable, is through the uniform curve of a circle. To
represent the sense of proportion in the infinite itself, and the difference between the infinite and the finite, the circle also should be complete. If the circle is not complete, neither is the
sphere, and lack of completion is a sign of imperfection.
Although the natural
sphere of creation is not infinite, it is perfect enough for any circle, and one sign of that is the perfect sphericity of space, in 3-D, in bubbles after bubbles, from microcosm to macrocosm, and so the Earth. The infinite has its own perfect symmetry, and
represents a perfect balance of forces acting upon creation; and as much as quantity is an indifference, and as much as something cannot move away from itself, neither can the middle move away from the center.
Hippolytus wrote, "the Earth is aloft, not dominated by anything, remaining in place with similar distance
from all points."(14) And it is not flat or an oblate spheroid either, for the indifference of the middle, but complete and perfectly spherical. Balanced in the means of the extremes of the cosmos, which overall is spherical in shape also, it is
not moving and not orbiting the Sun, but poised and balanced between all the signs of the ecliptic all the time. One could compare it to hypostasis, through symmetry of elemental forces, and say "electro-magnetic hypostasis",
if that helps to describe the equilibrium.
The Legend of Er from before Plato and the
Dream of Scipio described the Earth as a globe transfixed at the center of the cosmos. Many early medieval manuscripts, drawing on earlier sources, include maps of the Earth as a sphere, labeled as globus terrae, located at the center of the hierarchically
ordered planetary spheres.
Since they recognized like Euclid that space is 3-D, as
much as round, it was always fair to assume that the Earth must be spherical; otherwise, contra naturam, it would not be complete, and if it were not complete that would not be natural. As much as common sense, knowledge of the natural roundness
and sphericity of the Earth has been more or less in existence perhaps since as far back as Thales, in the 8th century BC.
"There never was a period of flat earth darkness among scholars (regardless of how many uneducated people may have conceptualized our planet both then and now). Ancient Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and
all major medieval scholars accepted the earth’s roundness as an established fact of cosmology."(15) And by examination and close comparison of the apparent angle of elevation of the sun from two different latitudes in Egypt, Eratosthenes, from the 4th
century BC, was able to calculate and record its overall size with amazing accuracy.
He recorded two simultaneous observations, one from Alexandria to the north, and another near Syene, 5,000 stadia south, when the Sun
was directly overhead on the day of the summer solstice. The Sun's rays appeared to beam straight down to the bottom of a deep well in Syene, as close to directly from above as they could tell; and in Alexandria to the north at the same time they shone at about a 7.2" angle from the
zenith, when measured there by the shadow cast by a long pole.
7.2" is 1/50th of a 360" circle, and Eratoshtenes reasoned correctly that if the earth were a complete sphere, the noonday sun could
not appear in the exact same angled position in the sky, as seen by two observers of widely separated latitudes. Also, because the Sun is so far away, it could be assumed that the sun's rays at the two distant latitudes were running parallel, and that the
angular difference in the sun's rays between Syene and Alexandria, therefore, were due to the spherical curvature of the earth.
So by comparing the angular displacement of the sun with the distance between the two towns, he could make an educated guess at the actual size of the earth, and came very close. Ancients like these then were not
so dumb. Men not far removed from the gods, "viri a diis recentes", even without TV and smart phones.
"Orbe terrarum", the orb of lands, is an old Latin expression for the Earth; and any orb also is within the curved plane of a
sphere, for sure. In the prayers of the ancient Catholic mass, the words "in toto orbe terrarum" refer to the Earth as the world. These words have been there for almost two millenia, declaring the knowledge that the Earth is a sphere, from the ancient days
of its creation, not that it is flat. The "Te Deum" from the 4th century says as well, "Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia", you the Holy Church praises from around the world, etc.
By logical intuition or common sense, any reasonable man who wandered across the face of the earth, from Thema Mundi to the modern era, from Adam to Enoch
to Noah, could have figured out that that the Earth is a sphere, and that as well it is not moving, and that the Sun and the Moon and the other planets and stars, obviously, are all revolving around it.
If some people imagined that the earth could be flat, it is because they recognized at least that it is not moving, that it is still; and in the subconscious
mind they associated its profound stillness with the flat surface of calm water. Laying down flat on the ground at night and looking up at the stars, the sky also can look flat, from an angle of perspective. Another sphere of vanishing flatness in the heavens,
and cirrus clouds and the earth can look flat as the sky; yet the sky is not flat but domed all around from above, and the earth is a sphere, of course.
"None of the great eighteenth-century anti-clerical rationalists --- not Condillac, Condorcet, Diderot, Gibbon, Hume, or Benjamin Franklin,
for example --- accused the scholastics of believing in a flat Earth, though these men were all unsparing in their contempt for medieval Christianity". (16) The myth of the flat Earth falsely associated with geocentrism has been a devious hoax that started in the 19th century United States and
France, where Washington Irving, Andrew Dickson White, Robert Ingersoll, and Antoine-Jean Letronne were four of the key authors who helped develop this false impression
of history, that has been made so common among modern school kids.
Ingersoll even went so far as to put false words in Magellan's mouth in his ridiculous essay "Individuality",
where he wrote: "I believe it was Magellan who said, 'The church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than in the church.' On the prow of his ship were disobedience, defiance, scorn, and
however, was a pious Catholic throughout his life. He even prayed the rosary, practiced the sacraments, did not eat meat on Fridays, especially during Lent, and was a generous donor to the Church; and he never wrote any complaints against the Church for teaching
the "flat Earth". The Church Magisterium never taught a flat Earth either, but what it taught instead was the ultimate order of creation, and that the Earth was immovably transfixed at the center of the cosmos.
Contrary to the myth of the flat earth, "it was conventional wisdom among both early and late medieval thinkers that the world was
round."(18) Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote in the Summa Theologica that "sciences are differentiated according to the various means through which knowledge is obtained. For the astronomer and the physicist both may prove the same conclusion: that the earth,
for instance, is round."(19) In the Divine Comedy, written two centuries before Columbus, Dante describes an obviously spherical earth at rest at the center of the spheres of the cosmos.
Roger Bacon(1220-1292), Jean Buriden (1301-1358), and Nicholas Oresme(1320-1382) all affirmed the roundness and sphericity of the Earth. Christopher Columbus did not prove to the Western World that the Earth was round by sailing to America. In the universities and monasteries across Europe it was already recognized
that the Earth was round. Even from the earliest medieval period, to show the power and sovereignty of the cross over creation, Catholic art commonly depicted the orb of the earth as a sphere with a cross set on top.
Between Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, Ptolemy, and Venerable Bede, Thomas Aquinas, Tycho Brahe, Giovanni
Riccioli, Dante, Prince Henry the Navigator, and others, there is a clear record of scientific knowledge of the sphericity of the Earth. In 1492 they only did not know so well that America would be there, although there were rumors about it, from Iceland
of Greenland and land to the west, and the Caribbean islands were a discovery when Columbus sailed West.
Posidonius, a geographer and astronomer from the 2nd century BC, estimated
that by sailing westward from Cadiz, India could be reached after 70,000 stades, and this remark was the ultimate foundation of Columbu's confidence.(20) There is an account also that Jean Cousin, a French navigator from Dieppe, discovered Brazil in 1488,
and that one of the captains from his voyage, Alonzo Pinzón, whp later left for Spain after they had returned to France, advised Columbus on his westward sail.
and Isabella referred Columbus’s proposal to a royal commission headed by Hernando de Talavera, Archbishop of Granada. This commission, composed of both clerical and lay advisers, met at Salamanca, among other places, and posed some objections to Columbus,
but all assumed the earth’s roundness. As a critical advisory, they argued that Columbus would not reach the east Indies in his own allotted time, because the earth’s circumference was too great, and China and India were too far away,
with too much ocean to cross, not that he would sail off the edge, and they were correct. Therefore, the Columbus idea did not seem worthwhile to some, since nobody in his right mind wants to die at sea going the wrong way. Yet Ferdinad and Isabella decided
it was worth a try, and he discovered America instead by coincidence.
On the door of Plato's Academy the admonition was engraved, "No one ignorant of geography may enter here",
and it always has been obvious for starters that the full limit of skyline everywhere is one complete circle around. The land and sea are everywhere in circles.
Complete from point to point, the visible and true horizon all go around in circles and circles. If the bar of the horizon seems straight for a time, it is because
one is looking at only a lined section of it. The line of section in the far away distance may seem straight, because of the miles involved, but in totality the Earth's horizon shows the aspect of a curved round edge. As the flatness disappears in the distant tableau, the 360 degree perspective of Earth and sky continues, and there is no debate that if someone sees the entire horizon at once, he sees a circle
Any straight line has 180 degrees on one side, and 180 degrees on the other; and any of two semi-circles always add up to 360 degrees, for one side and the other. There are two ways in each side of the line and its
curve. So, clearly then, the horizon of the Earth is a complete circle, with duality in space, and the circle is the symbol of perfection in creation, and should be complete.
The average bulb of human perspective from earth is like a helmet visor or quarter section of an orange. There is the level semi-circle in the distant skyline, and then the semi-circle that angles up 90" from there.
Behind and to the opposite side is the same mathematical distribution, and science knows that two quartered sections of an orange make a complete half. This half is the half from where one sees day and night passing in their balanced measures through the seasons
and the years. The semi-circle loop of the ecliptic, where the sun and moon and the planets pass overhead is only 180" for a view, so there must be another half of earth and sky, and another 180" of the ecliptic, around the other side.
Half a dome is a quarter section of a sphere, and anybody who has a quarter section of an orange should
know that he has only one of four parts. With two quarter sections, there is half, and with two more, there is the whole. There is not any quarter section of any cantaloupe or orange without there having been another three equal parts, and it is the same way with the Earth. If the hand of heaven, or the hand of time, is in oranges and cantaloupes, or spheres, then it must be in the world and the cosmos as well, and the Earth is clearly then one complete sphere.
As much as there is one side of the line and the other, there are two planes, and wherever the four corners of the world go, the semi-circular patterns always come back around in a sphere, continuously around all points on Earth. Wherever
someone may be, the 180 degrees of a straight line is in the middle, with east on one side and west on the other. Looking to the east, everybody knows there is another 180 degrees behind them in the west as well. Even as a scientist would spin around, and
around, dizzying himself with relativity, the balanced perspectives in the skyline never stop.
the stars and planets of the ecliptic pass beneath the earth at the end of the day, out beyond the horizon, then there must be an equal sky that is "beneath the earth", on the other side as well, around the corner of the west --- and circling back to the east,
from where they rise again in the morning. The geometry of space is already full, without anything being set in motion, and the best balance is always reflected in measures of equal parts. If there is any peace in geometry by proportion, it is in the properties
of wholeness. So it is natural to know that the 180 degrees on the other side of the line to the west, running from north to south, just beyond view of eyesight at sunset, is also the 180 degrees of another great semi-circle, not only the 180 degrees of a
straight line from nowhere. In whatever direction, east or west, north or south, the parallel lines in the distance are the curves of semi-circles coming back around to the ends continuously.
It only makes sense: and "the Earth is the very quintessence of the human condition"(21). Between solstices, equinoxes, and tropics, the passing of the sun, the moon, and the planets always works
out overall in a balance of motions reflecting equal parts.
From before Themistocles
and going back to Noah, ancient mariners could tell the Earth was round as a sphere, since the true horizon at sea is a uniform curve of 360 degrees, that descends equally at all the distant corners of the Earth. On open water, a ship is sailing on the swell,
as though elevated on a little central hill, gradually higher above the horizons. To see from there is from a slight spherical elevation, and it is the reason why objects in the offing appear marginally from the top down.
What is beyond the offing -- "where the sea and sky are welded together without a joint" -- is hidden by the curved surface of the Earth, and things come into view gradually from top to bottom. When a ship's mast
first appears at the bar of the horizon, the lower part and the deck are invisible due to the curvature of the sea. Only the top of the mast appears first, and then gradually the rest, from top to bottom. Elevated towers and higher city lights and higher
bluffs of shoreline in the distance are visible first, when coming in sight of land's end -- and, like the masts of ships, coastal mountains appear to rise out of the sea from the top down, rather than the bottom up.
Because the Earth is a sphere, and space is consistent in three dimensions, the procession of Earth and sky, including rainbows and
the ecliptic, can only confirm that space and the world are spherical in form. It is simple enough to see that the sky overhead looks spherical like a dome, and a dome is half a sphere, of course. So for the better balance and better reflection of
parts, that compose the whole, there must be an equal half, another similar dome of sky, around the other side of the earth, that is there, although one cannot see it because no one is that tall. One would have to be a fantastic antediluvian giant or god to
see the other side. If one were as tall as Saturn or Jupiter, or as far away for eyes, then one could see around the sides better, and at least half of the sphere of the earth at a time.
The uniform arc of a rainbow is another sign that the earth is in bands within a sphere. The curve of a rainbow that partially encircles the earth along its plane is created by the interactive space of sunlight and the earth's atmopshere that are continuous in 3-D. And the four corners of the earth, anywhere in all the repetitions, are always smooth and continuous wherever anyone roams.
And the earth never spins away from underneath or across a rainbow either, but the sun does keep moving across the sky, day by day.
The Earth, in fact, is not an oblate spheroid, as heliocentrism would pretend; and it does not have an equatorial bulge, and is not squeezed-in at the polar caps. Since there is a balanced perspective of longitude and latitude, of day and night and seasons, from the planets and stars moving along the ecliptic and the horizon, and the 180 degrees of the ecliptic in the sky overhead curve roundly in an arc, like a semi-circle, it must be that the Earth and the cosmos are spheres, since the best balance and best reflection are in equal parts.
Satellite photography shows the Earth and its atmosphere
are spherical, with a uniform curvature overall. Even with variations in terrain, the true horizon is everywhere uniform, whether seen from the surface or high altitude in space --- as it should be for a sphere. The horizon is not subtended in a
funny or disproportionate way anywhere along the equator or towards the polars caps, as if it were an oblate spheroid.
For example, heliocentric astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote: "It is well known that as a consequence of its rotation the equatorial diameter of the Earth exceeds the polar diameter by about 27 miles --- the earth is slightly squashed
at its poles in other words."(22)
It would be the figure of an error for abstraction rather
than reality: and heliocentrism has the shape of the Earth wrong not geocentrism. Geocentrism says the Earth is a simple sphere, perfect as much as not moving, and heliocentrism argues, without any evidence, that it is an oblate spheroid with an equatorial
bulge and squeezed-in polar caps.
No one can notice any of the gigantic motions and stresses
that would create the supposed equatorial bulge and squeezed-in polars caps in the first place, and no one and no satellite photography can notice any evidence of the equatorial bulge or squeezed-in polar caps themselves, either. Rather the horizons are always
uniform as it could be only in a true sphere, not in an oblate spheroid.
If the diameter
of the earth along the equatorial axis were 27 miles greater than along the polar axis, that is a substantial amount, a difference equivalent to 2.4545 bekadeks or 142,560 feet. The very highest mountains in the world are around five times less
than that, yet quite noticeable for the seasons and easy visible verification, while the equatorial bulge and squeezed-in polar caps, and the tremendous forces of spinning rotation that supposedly create them in the first place, remain utterly hidden.
Twenty-one years before Copernicus published "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestibus", the
sailors of the Magellan-Elcano voyage completed the first recorded circumnavigation of the globe; and none of them ever reported seeing any signs of a so-called "equatorial bulge" or "squeezed-in polar caps". Then as much as now, the horizons all the way around
never gave evidence of any odd oblate distension, as Newton would describe it one hundred and sixty-five years later, without leaving Cambridge for the equator or the poles.
Magellan, Elcano, or any of the crew thought the Earth was flat, or that it was moving to orbit the Sun; yet a somewhat legendary sophism was started that they had lost a day from sailing west around the world. They had sailed over many thousands of leagues
for three years, and when surviving Captain and crew arrived at the Cape Verde Islands, they put a boat ashore for provisions and supposedly discovered to their astonishment that they had lost a whole day from the journey.
The story goes that the crew thought it was Wednesday but the islanders said no, that it was Thursday.
But the history books say the
arrival in Santiago was on July 9, 1522, which was a Wednesday, not Thursday, July 10, of the Julian calendar. Somehow events became confused with time, so the idea spread that mysteriously they had lost a day from wandering west, where the sun sets around
The fable embellished the circumnavigator's paradox, an old paradox from the Middle Ages, that said one would lose a day by going West around the world, and gain a day
by going East. So the story spread that Magellan's voyage had proved it. Yet for whatever it is that people enjoy of paradox and sophisms, the Magellan-Elcano voyage did not really lose 24 hours or a day from going west and around the world.
The days after all are simple one by one from the continuous projection of the Sun around the Earth, not by motions
of things across the surface of the Earth, nor by any motion of the Earth itself. The supposed confusion of days that could result from ships going so far east or west, or with such great speed, is another false dilemma, a fool's paradox, to imagine that one
would lose a day by going west around the world, and rather gain a day by going east.
sort of arbitrary medieval joke, like trial by clutter, if not combat or drowning. In other words, there is no natural diminution or extension of time because of the Earth, and no
dilation because of relativity, or because of motions of clocks and things across its surface; and all the days are in stereo, simple within a plenum, and all resolved as one, one by little one.
No matter how many angels can dance on a thimble or beading needle, there is only one center to any circle. Nothing represents the smallest needle point or the smallest remnant of a bead possible better than a circle, or the circle within
it; and there is only one center to any day, and all the minutes and hours, and astral mysteries and aspects of mysteries that go with it, and that is the Earth.
Where one day ends and another begins, and the point of the circle where the snake swallows his tail, going round and round, the new day consumes yesterday. Where it burns out and runs out
of extent, tomorrow consumes today, when it passes away. Yet it is arbitrary to say the point of completion and the beginning are different in a perfect circle. If there are many similar circles same as the first, it is the same question again, sicut pons
asinorum de integro, like Euclid's bridge of asses. The one is the same as the other, duo duo, for the sameness all around.
It was an arbitrary decision that the Great Meridian corresponds to Greenwhich, England, and a matter of custom to say whether the old day ends at sunset, or at midnight, or even at dawn. But wherever the old day ends, the new day
would begin, and everywhere is one day at a time.
Stereoscopically, from the big picture in full 3-D, the actual dimensions of the Earth are such that 15" of the ecliptic
equal one hour of any day: and along the Equator that corresponds to about 1,037 and a half miles. As many different days as there are, they are all resolved as one, one by single one, in circular patterns per diem; and if any old boat did sail off the edge
of the world, it would be a wreck of one specific day's sailing not two.
Even Superman cannot reverse
time, even if he could change the weather. He cannot reverse the past by flying backwards into the west, as fast as he can, as many times as he can; and he cannot skip time and fast forward
into the future by flying into the east, as fast as he can, as many times as he can. Neither way west or east recovers old losses and shipwrecks, or changes reality good or bad, as though they had not been, or prevents a future poorly foreseen. In fact, the accomplishment and order of the days is such a sublime achievement that it cannot be explained by random theories or the Big Bang.
Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) had another sophism about the confusion of space and time, and imagined that there was a strip of land circling the Earth in which everyone
speaks English. He embarks on a journey due west from London, Tuesday at 9 am, and speeds quickly enough along his way to keep the Sun in the same position in the sky. As he travels along, he checks the time by asking the locals, "what time is it?" They always
answer "9 am". Indeed, everything goes so smoothly that that is the answer when, 24 hours later, he returns to London. "But the Londoners also report the day as Wednesday rather than Tuesday. So where did Wednesday begin"?(23)
Since the cosmos is spherical in shape, like unending enumerations of Pi, time and space may become something transcendental at times, baffling, and, therefore, represent something more mysterious than mundane in simple calendars and sandglasses.
For instance, it is less possible to lose time by going west around the world, or gain time into the future by going east, than it is to square the
circle. And comparatives among things that are impossible do not really make that much sense anyway, because what is impossible is simply not possible, and does not bear much comparison with other things that are also impossible. And it is impossible to square
the circle, as much as it is to lose a day by going west or east really fast, or by keeping up with 9 am around the world.
Mortal tabulations and calendars of time are not so transcendental
as the abstract thing in question itself, that keeps going in circles like a ghost in the ephemerides, and on up to Heaven. Every day is as simple as 24 rows in a column, and every week 24 rows in seven coulmns, with a column for each planet: and 168 hourglasses
make a week.
The 24 hours are like the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha to omega, arranged around the Earth in a neat circle, since Thema Mundi and the quintessence mistified;
and when the rows in a column have all been filled, the day moves forward to the next column. After a day, the Sun even changes an average .9863 degrees, or about one for the eclitpic. Simple enough, but still it seems that some mystery about time and space
does escape the minds of mortals; and it may be hidden somewhere in the transcendental nature of Pi, perhaps, that days and time could possibly get lost.
"Un grand peut-etre", ens inquantum ens, the world of being could still be simple as circles, and apples and oranges, and whether one is or is not in a certain place on a certain day does not have
to be too complicated. If an old medieval caravel did sail too far for business, and fall off the edge of the world, it would at least have been an accident that occurred at once, as a single mistake during one day of the week. The same vessel could not fall
off the edge of the world twice, at the same time and place, not even for quantum mechanics.
instance, if Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the globe did not go as well as Magellan's, and the ship and crew fell off the face of the high seas one day, over an apocalyptic waterfall by some odd chance, they could not fall off twice. To fall the
first time in such a way, on such a scale, would be enough, and final proof: and then where in the world would they and the Golden Hind go except down, in the direction that is perpendicular to still water?
If by the size of it, a boat sailed too far to the edge, and fell straight off the face of the Earth, it would be a mysterious disaster indeed, per
misadventure, yet not one that could go on without end. It may seem unclear where it would go, and how long it would fall before it hit rock bottom, but free-fall in a straight line cannot continue forever.
Since the Earth is not flat, the direction called "down", that is perpendicular to the surface of still water, is distributed around the Earth gradually within a great circle. If the Earth were flat, the lateral terminus
of departure between the parallel that is high and the one that is low, collected at the end point of the edge, for a drop into the abyss, would be beyond relief of earthly terrain. It would lead to some other place: parts far away and unknown.
Yet the world holds together in the round, perfect as a sphere, and all the waterfalls and boats that would go over the edge can only fall down according to the range of vertical descent,
that goes further and further down and to the center. There must be some center, as much as the in-between, and they would even collect where they land, in some strange place, if more than one went off the edge, down and to the center far below --- not only
in abstract obscurity, but as they would if the space of the Earth were absolutely flat in overall extension.
Falling is falling, and boats and watefalls that go preciptously off
the edge of things and exit the surrounding terrain collect and land as coordinated to a center. They go deeper down into the sphere of what, how, who, and when, and where and which one.
the face of the Earth is curved as the surface of a sphere, to fall off any elevation is to fall off the edge, since every point on the surface of a sphere is also an edge. Yet "some edges are higher than others, and it is a poor hypothesis that will not explain
more facts than it is designed to meet". When some people imagined that the Earth was flat, because it looks flat in so many acres, they imagined that it was that way because otherwise people and animals on the other side would fall off. However, as Ptolemy
and others noticed, there is not a normal sense of up or down in regards to a sphere. In pure terms, the "up" or "down" is assigned by an appropriate label, and in all places the "up" or the "down" is motion away from or to the center.
As all that and the consentium gentium may be, this way or that, the simple memory of the best place, and best way to live under the circle of stars, appears at times to have been lost. With
heliocentrism, the notion of an original garden paradise is gone. "Was there a garden or was the garden a dream? Amid the fleeting light, already it's imprecise in my memory, the clear Paradise, but I know it exists in flower and profusion".(24)
With deep thoughts, "to dwell is to garden", thought Heidegger,
and going deeper down into the sphere of the Earth is going deeper down into the sphere of the cosmos and of space itself. It is the most reasonable and scientific conclusion, since the direction called "down", that is perpendicular to the surface of still
water, is only one of the six cosmic directions that assimilate with a center, and way of return, which happens to be the Earth, resting in grand hypostatic suspension, at the center of the six, and of the cosmos.