Total Eclipse, Not Just Part (two)

What is it about eclipses? I’ve written about the time I saw one but didn’t really have time to discuss what’s so interesting about the experience (besides the crowd reaction).

A total eclipse taps into something very primal and at the same time very modern. It reminds people that they’re not living just on the earth but in a much larger system that works on its own and is quite indifferent to humanity. Much more than the daily sun cyle or even the passing of the seasons, a total eclipse is a momentary glimpse into cosmic cycles that neither shape human life (the way the rising and setting sun and changing of seasons do) nor depend upon it. That momentary blocking out of the sun is a glimpse into the eternal, vast and indifferent. It should be terrifying.

But at the same time, it’s a stark reminded of just how much humans have accomplished. Animals, with rudimentary consciousness simply accept the sudden coming night and the rapid arrival of the next day. Early humans, and non-technological peoples, can still be set into frenzied panic by the interruption of their daily schedules by the large cosmic timetable and the sudden devouring of the sun by darkness. Yet hundreds (or thousands) of years ago some people managed to understandd the timetable of the cosmos well enough to predict eclipses. Not only that, but humans have learned to exert an influence on eclipses. This has no effect on their timetable of course, but on how the eclipse is greeted. Modern humanity has not only learned to not fear the eclipse but to embrace it and travel huge distances to experience it’s momentary existence.

If the black sun surrounded by the corona is an opportunity to see, if but for a moment, past our planet into infinity then modern reactions are a collective expression of human consciousness looking straight into the eternal and saying: “We see you, universe, and we’re not afraid of you. We want to get to know you better.”

The total phase of an eclipse is a pinhole through which human consciousness shines into the dark vastness of the cosmos. It’s not just a thing getting in front of another thing. It’s a signpost on the roadmap to the stars.

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1 Response to Total Eclipse, Not Just Part (two)

  1. Pingback: Total Eclipse, Not Just Part (one) | The Worked Shoot

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