Download Masks of the Universe: Changing Ideas on the Nature of the by Edward Harrison PDF

By Edward Harrison

In mask of the Universe, Edward Harrison brings jointly primary clinical, philosophical and spiritual concerns in cosmology and increases proposal scary questions. Philosophical concerns ruled cosmology within the historical global. Theological matters ranked most advantageous within the center a long time; astronomy and the actual sciences have taken over in additional fresh instances. but each try and clutch the genuine nature of the universe creates a brand new "mask," humans have continuously pitied the universes in their ancestors, believing that their iteration has finally found the "real" universe. can we now stand on the threshold of understanding every thing, or have we created another "mask," doomed to vanish like these previous ours? Edward Harrison is Adjunct Professor of Astronomy, Steward Observatory, college of Arizona, and Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy, collage of Massachusetts, Amherst. He labored as a scientist for the Atomic power examine institution and the Rutherford excessive power Laboratory in England until eventually 1966 whilst he turned a 5 collage professor on the college of Massachusetts and taught at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith university. he's the writer of various books, together with Cosmology: the technological know-how of the Universe (Cambridge, 2001)

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Extra info for Masks of the Universe: Changing Ideas on the Nature of the Cosmos, 2nd Edition

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Nowhere in the anthropological field can primitive animism be found. In fact, animism fails to explain the sophisticated beliefsystems of recent and present-day “primitive” societies. The word primitive, denoting what is earliest or among the first, confers a deceptive aura of simplicity. Call a thing primitive and the battle of explaining it is half won. Often we label out-of-the-way people primitive when their lifestyles and belief-systems are other than our own. The word is a misnomer that leads us much astray.

But he receives no consolation, and learns there is no escape from death. The Epic of Gilgamesh exemplifies in a legendary figure the tragedy of death. The epic is as poignant today as it was five thousand years ago. ∗ ∗ ∗ Endemic warfare came with the mythic universe. ” When in ancient times a monarch went to war, Butterfield writes, . . he would feel he was commissioned by the gods to undertake the enterprise. By appeal to the oracle or by various kinds of divinations, he would seek to know the will of the gods, taking action only at their command or when he was sure that he had their favour.

Invocations and sacrifices sustained the rhythm of the seasons and guaranteed maintenance of food supplies. To hunt and kill required permission not from the animal itself, as in earlier ages, but from the spirit of its species, obtained through the medium of the totemic shaman. This kind of magicomythic universe, controlled by superhuman beings and nature spirits, is what we find in the anthropological accounts of “primitive” societies. The timid spirits of the magic universe had never shown much interest in distant places.

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