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Even the human physical body itself was desacralized, objectified, and placed alongside the other objects of the Earth to be dominated, manipulated, and controlled through skillful and clever means. In general, the scientific-industrial cosmology has as a major component a splitting of the inner, subjective, and spiritual, from the outer, objective, and material. This division, begun in the West in large part as a conscious program through which the new fields of science could extricate themselves from the religiosity and subjectivity of the inherited traditions of the past, has allowed for the flowering of scientific knowledge and its accompanying technologies.
We understand more about the outer world than ever before. Its story — that the world exists as an object to be manipulated for the betterment of Man — is dying a slow, hard death, having gone so far as to objectify the source of its very The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga 4 meaning: Man himself. Having become more and more alienated from its own roots, the cosmological story is less and less capable of sustaining itself.
As Thomas Berry states, A radical reassessment of the human situation is needed, especially concerning those basic values that give to life some satisfactory meaning. We need something that will supply in our times what was supplied formerly by our traditional religious story. If we are to achieve this purpose, we must begin where everything begins in human affairs — with the basic story, our narrative of how things came to be, how they came to be as they are, and how the future can be given some satisfying direction.
We need a story that will educate us, a story that will heal, guide, and discipline us. Berry, If, as Berry would have us believe, the dominant scientific-industrial cosmology is the old story which is in need of replacement or at least repair, what might a new, more appropriate story look like, and what might its effects be?
Berry, along with his colleague Brian Swimme, propose versions of this new story.
His work endeavors to communicate much of what the various modern scientific disciplines have discovered about the way the universe has evolved from its primordial beginnings to a primarily lay audience.
His goal encompasses a recontextualization, reformulation, and re-enlivenment of the scientific-industrial cosmology into a story that does not fall prey to its old pitfalls, but attempts to give meaning back to the human situation — this time in concert with the outer world.
As a result, the cosmological picture presented by Swimme seems to have more or less inherited the scientific assumptions about the nature of the universe, specifically in terms of its materialist basis. At present, many scientists both implicitly and explicitly make the assumption that consciousness is a secondary or even entirely epiphenomenal part of the universe that is to be treated as a late outgrowth of particular material configurations such as brains.
There can be a lack of understanding of qualitative levels of consciousness, as if consciousness were an almost singular phenomenon that can be either on or off. In other words, the laws of the universe allow for the increasingly complex The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga 6 organization of matter into forms of primitive life, which evolve over eons through adaptation and natural selection.
Ultimately, these laws allow for more and more complicated brains to exist, which then give rise to deepening levels of consciousness until finally something like self- consciousness arises in the human species.
To be sure, Berry and Swimme do make an important contribution by pointing out that in addition to the Second Law of Thermodynamics a. This principle actually has two major components which are not initially well-separated by Berry and Swimme. The second aspect is the assumption that these form-producing dynamics are the same everywhere in the universe, and arise whenever the conditions permit to produce more complicated structures such as galaxies, stars, planets, life, and ultimately consciousness.
It is interesting to note that Swimme, who is a mathematical cosmologist, not only finds it necessary to formulate the cosmogenetic principle, but also begins to shift his language to include phraseology most scientists would find anathematic. This language is not accidental or sloppy, but in a certain way betrays the difficulty that scientists run into when attempting to move beyond pure materialism and into a world with some kind of intrinsic The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga 7 meaning.
Yet at the same time the fact that precisely this type of language creeps back into the discourse underscores the directionality of the shift that is needed to heal the long-time effects of the excessive de-subjectivization of the world around us.
Another major assumption seems to be that inasmuch as evolution occurs, it is causally dependent upon matter. Matter is understood as primary, and even if its interrelations give rise to complex evolving systems with emergent properties, these emergent properties are causally dependent upon the fundamental rules of the material substrate of the universe, i. Another way of stating this assumption is that the predominant materialism still present in much of modern science does not recognize the existence of any coherent non- material entities, i.
It may be, of course, that such assumptions ultimately provide the best explanation for the vast span of human experience, but they should at least be recognized as assumptions and not be taken dogmatically. It is not satisfying to equate the highly differentiated forms of consciousness with a numerically calculated energy value, as if consciousness simply were energy.
This approach is another form of reductionism and yields little of value.
The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga 8 Even if specific areas of science chaos theory, quantum physics, M-theory, etc. Is it possible to have a cosmology that does not subscribe to these assumptions but also does not place itself at odds with the well-understood details of the evolutionary picture of the material universe as understood by science?
In other words, what might a cosmology look like that found room for spirit, for consciousness in all its varieties, levels and potentials, as well as for the latest scientific understanding of the behavior of the material universe from its beginning to the present and off into the future? Although Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry have identified the need for such a new cosmology, their approach still holds over many central presuppositions of the old cosmology — assumptions which may not be required, even if we are to keep the benefits and knowledge of science as an integral part of the new cosmology.
I propose, however, that the cosmology developed primarily by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, called the Integral Yoga, provides significant elements to the new story which can educate, heal, and guide us, while at the same time enjoying significant compatibility with the useful empirical elements of the old cosmology which should be carried forward.
Yet these two approaches, although seemingly on opposite sides, are not incompatible or mutually exclusive. The Cosmic Span: Involution and Evolution The primary beginning point of the cosmology of the integral yoga, which also stands as its ending point and ultimate consummation, is the Divine, the Absolute. Science must necessarily concern itself with the manifest world — its particulars, but the Divine is beyond all particularity and imagination, unmanifest, the source of all.
In this sense, then, the Absolute itself is beyond any possible science, which relies upon the ability to distinguish one thing from another. Thus, for Aurobindo, the Absolute is the only possible beginning. Yet how can The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga 10 something ineffable, timeless, spaceless, and formless give rise to the effable universe of manifest time, space, and form? Aurobindo identifies a somewhat complicated series of related movements of the Absolute, which can be understood as the process of divine involution, a necessary complement to the process of evolution.
As Aurobindo states: The word evolution carries with it in its intrinsic sense, in the idea at its root the necessity of a previous involution.
We must, if a hidden spiritual being is the secret of all the action of Nature, give its full power to that latent value of the idea. We are bound then to suppose that all that evolves already existed involved, passive or otherwise active, but in either case concealed from us in the shell of material Nature. Ghose, b, p. Additionally present in this passage is the subtle hint of a hierarchical structure in which matter forms the basis for the evolutionary process.
In other words, the Absolute has concealed itself in material Nature in order to evolve through it. Thus matter itself is like a shell, an outer, sensible covering within which the Divine itself is active, but in a hidden, esoteric way.
The cosmic involutory span between the unmanifest, singular Absolute to the manifest, plural material world of the universe is not taken in a single step, but has proceeded through a series of stages, by which successively involved layers of the Divine are prepared for future activity.
These are planes of being, of existence, of consciousness. They are qualitatively nearer or farther from the Divine, which is another way of saying that they are 2 It should be noted that this particular area of Aurobindo's cosmology is perhaps the most difficult to understand, both for its technicality and its subtlety of origin, and it will be necessary to simplify for the purposes of this paper.
The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga 11 stages through which the Divine forgets itself through a process of self-absorption. Yet these planes are established first as potentialities and contain no actual substance, no explicit form, acting instead as the creation of the various realms through which separated parts of the Divine will later evolve — for example in the form of humanity.
The involution begins with Being-Consciousness-Bliss Sat-Chit-Ananda , which then establishes itself as the plane of Supermind, which then becomes the successively involved planes of Mind, Life, and Matter. In order for the discovery to be complete, the Divine had to make a complete self-forgetting possible. The establishment of the various planes of potential existence leads the Divine away from itself, until finally it forgets itself so completely that it no longer even recognizes that anything is lost — its descent into inconscience is complete.
It is at this moment that the involution ends; the Divine cannot objectify itself from itself any further.
This marks the transition from the involutory movement to that of evolution. Now it is possible to speak of the Divine working through actual manifestation — i. The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga 12 inconscient matter itself. In matter, the one unitive Divine has lost itself in a world populated entirely by mutually separating objects. This is as divisive as the Divine can become, where every bit of matter is necessarily separate from every other, alone. At this point of supreme self-involvement, evolution begins, proceeding now in the only possible direction open to it: back towards the Divine.
Thus Matter evolves into Life, which evolves into Mind.
Ultimately, Mind must evolve beyond itself into the Supermind, Ghose, , pp. What is important to consider is that this view provides an entirely different context for the principle of evolution than is normally the case in scientific circles, where evolution is generally understood as a solely material process. Ghose, , p. Matter, then, is not by itself either entirely responsible for, or even capable of, evolving into Life.
Life can only arise out of Matter because the possibility of Life was established through the creation, via involution, of the unmanifest plane of Life. But the plane of life required the higher plane of Mind, which is preceded by higher planes, and so forth to the Divine itself, which is responsible for the whole thing in the first place.
Matter then, although inconscient, dead, and by itself inert, owes its The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga 13 existence to higher planes of potentiality which are literally involved within Matter itself. All the higher planes are thus present as potentials within Matter, all the way to the Divine itself. This, in a fundamental sense, is what makes evolution possible, and is a key tenet of the Integral Yoga.
It also provides a cosmological foundation within which the evolving human being can find itself as an integral component. As each plane of existence becomes filled with actual evolving forms, complexity, diversity, and consciousness increase.
The progress of evolution is one that takes the completely self-involved separateness of the material world upward through higher and higher forms of consciousness. This is the vertical scale of evolution. Articles before An interpretation of cosmological model with variable light velocity. Modern Physics Letters A, Vol. Cosmological model with variable light velocity: Gauge cosmological model with variable light velocity. Comparizon with QSO observational data.
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