Space: the distribution of matter

Gaia's_Milky_Way

Gaia’s Milky Way

Black_opal

Black opal

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Time: matter in motion

Hourglass

NGC6302_ButterflyNebula_NASA1024

NGC 6302: The Butterfly Nebula

EtaCarinae_HubbleSchmidt_960

Doomed Star Eta Carinae

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As nature, so knowledge

LLPeg_HubblePestana_960

The Extraordinary Spiral in LL Pegasi

‘Human knowledge is not (or does not follow) a straight line, but a curve, which endlessly approximates a series of circles, a spiral. Any fragment, segment, section of this curve can be transformed (transformed one-sidedly) into an independent, complete, straight line, which then (if one does not see the wood for the trees) leads into the quagmire, into clerical obscurantism (where it is anchored by the class interests of the ruling classes).’ 

Lenin, ‘On the Question of Dialectics’, 1915, Collected Works, Vol., 38 (Philosophical Notebooks), Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972, 355-363, 363

‘Spiral in Development: a figurative description of the process of development employed by Engels and Lenin in elucidating the law of the negation of the negation. Development produces in phenomena an apparent return to the old in the course of change: some features of a lower level are repeated at a higher level. This may be depicted graphically as a spiral in which each new coil repeats the preceding one, but at a higher level. Development in a spiral forms a contrast to the typically metaphysical idea of development as being motion along a closed circle without any new elements.’

Dictionary of Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1984, 398-99

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The Orion Nebula

The Orion Trapezium

The Orion Nebula Trapezium

In_the_Valley_of_Orion

In the Valley of Orion Nebula visualisation

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Images: 1st/2nd

I know which gaze I think more beautiful

NGC1512inner_Hubble_5413

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512: The Inner Ring

Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched

Leonardo da Vinci, ‘Mona Lisa’, oil on poplar panel, c. 1503-06, Musée de Louvre

‘Let art be content with its lofty, splendid mission of being a substitute for reality in case of its absence, and of being a textbook of life for man. Reality stands higher than dreams, and essential purpose stands higher than fantastic claims.’

N.G. Chernyshevsky, ‘The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality’, MA thesis, 1855, in Selected Philosophical Essays, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1953, 379

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All things come to pass through conflict

The_Sparring_Antennae_Galaxies

The Sparring Antennae Galaxies

‘The counter-thrust brings together, and from tones at variance comes perfect attunement, and all things come to pass through conflict.’

Heraclitus

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‘The aesthetic relation of art to reality’

Celestial Fireworks: Into Star Cluster Westerlund 2

‘As the illustrative animation begins, the greater Gum 29 nebula fills the screen, with the young cluster of bright stars visible in the centre. Stars zip past you as you approach the cluster. Soon your imaginary ship pivots and you pass over light-year long pillars of interstellar gas and dust. Strong winds and radiation from massive young stars destroy all but the densest nearby dust clumps, leaving these pillars in their shadows – many pointing back toward the cluster centre. Last, you pass into the top of the star cluster and survey hundreds of the most massive stars known.’

Source

‘Defence of reality as against fantasy, the endeavour to prove that works of art cannot possibly stand comparison with living reality – such is the essence of this essay. But does not what the author says degrade art? Yes, if showing that art stands lower than real life in the artistic perfection of its works means degrading art. But protesting against panegyrics does not mean disparagement. Science does not claim to stand higher than reality, but it has nothing to be ashamed of in that. Art, too, must not claim to stand higher than reality; that would not be degrading for it. Science is not ashamed to say that its aim is to understand and explain reality and then to use its explanation for the benefit of man. Let not art be ashamed to admit that its aim is to compensate man in case of absence of opportunity to enjoy the full aesthetic pleasure afforded by reality by, as far as possible, reproducing this precious reality, and by explaining it for the benefit of man.’

N.G. Chernyshevsky, ‘The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality’, MA thesis, 1855, in Selected Philosophical Essays, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1953, 379

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Approaching the Bubble Nebula

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Pick a galaxy, any galaxy

STSCI-HST-abell370_1797x2000

Galaxy Cluster Abell 370 and Beyond

cl0024dark_hst_big

Dark Matter Ring Modelled around Galaxy Cluster CL0024+17

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The greatest activity in the greatest stillness

In the Centre of Spiral Galaxy NGC 5033

In the Centre of Spiral Galaxy NGC 5033

BERNARD: It is evident to me that from the aforesaid [teachings I] can, all my life long, draw food for thought and can discourse at length [about them] and can continually make progress [with respect to understanding them]. Nevertheless, we desire to be led by a sensible image—especially [regarding the questions] how Eternal [Being] is all things at once and how the whole of eternity is within the present moment—so that when we leap forth, having left this image behind, we may be elevated above all sensible things.

CARDINAL: I shall try [to show you such an image]. I will take [the example] of boys [playing with] a top—a game known to us all, even in practical terms. A boy pitches out a top; and as he does so, he pulls it back with the string which is wound around it. The greater the strength of his arm, the faster the top is made to rotate—until it seems (while it is moving at the faster speed) to be motionless and at rest. Indeed, boys speak of it as then at rest.

Nicholas of Cusa, De possest (‘On Actualised-Possibility’), 1460, in A Concise Introduction to the Philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa, Trans., Jasper Hopkins, The Arthur J. Banning Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1986, 914-954, 18

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