Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Division of the Waters (part 1)

Tuesday, according to the Chestertonian formula proposed in The Man Who Was Thursday, is dedicated to the "division of the waters" and such awkward things as the "firmament" - which I once struggled over, until one day I was lokoing at the sky and wondered about that big blue bowl hanging over my head. Then I realized it is just a obvious as the sun RISING and SETTING - it looks as if that bright blaze is HANGING from a big blue bowl... at night it is a big black bowl, set with lots of tiny gemstones, turning, slowly turning, always turning... That's what it looks like, anyway.

And then, as time went on, we found out the paradox. The smallest thing visible to us - those pinprick-size gems of the starry night - were actually the LARGEST things visible to us... and when we see that dim glow labelled M33 [Correction: should be "M31". Thanks, Joe!] - also known as the Andromeda Galaxy - we are seeing a vast array of trillions of stars some 2 million light years away - possibly the single biggest thing we can see at one time.

The paradox of division - of unity and separation - of big and small... We shall proceed to explore this by a somewhat more terrestrial pathway: the pathway of water.

So everyone go get a glass, drink it and be thankful, and be here next week for more. Note: for this particular assignment, the usual Chestertonian beverages are not permitted. He himself expressed it thusly:


"Feast on wine or fast on water,
And your honour shall stand sure;
God Almighty's son and daughter,
He the valiant, she the pure.
If an angel out of heaven
Brings you other things to drink,
Thank him for his kind intentions,
Go and pour them down the sink.
[GKC, The Flying Inn]

6 Comments:

At 07 June, 2005 13:43, Blogger Marc the polar bear said...

Vidi aquam.......

Ok, I am curious how you will explore the unity and seperation as it pertains to water, in all its symbolic glory.

 
At 07 June, 2005 14:30, Blogger Joe said...

Belloc says that he "will not be plagued to look up technicalities." Chesterton, too, wrote this way.

Andromeda Galaxy is M31. M33, the Pinwheel Galaxy, is a hop away near the Triangulum. Some people, those blessed with very good eyesight, can see it unaided as well.

 
At 07 June, 2005 15:32, Blogger Dr. Thursday said...

Ooops. Yes, that is true.

I wrote, as GKC did, from memory.

 
At 07 June, 2005 17:33, Blogger Marc the polar bear said...

Do you not find it striking, that we see things not as they are, but as they were? Even if it is just the fraction of a smigdeon of time? The light from the sun is already eight minutes old by the time it hits us. Then we start speaking of MILLIONS of LIGHT YEARS. Then (the big THEN) ponder that God and the angels grasp everything at once, in toto, as they are not bound necessarily to time and space but transcend it. Whoa Nellie!

And yet Christ who is closer to us than we to ourselves, shines with a radiance unequaled in the universe, and yet so many people cannot perceive THAT radiance. Paradoxical n'est pas?

Now I have to say something about water. :-) Hmm....aha! An "angelic" aqueous connection.....

In Tolkien's "The Silmarillion", it is written that the angelic beings (Ainur or is the Maiar) preferred the sea to all other places, since it most reminded them of the singing into being of the World.

 
At 07 June, 2005 19:05, Blogger Dr. Thursday said...

Yes, and there is a very good reason why there is that watery connection, as you shall see. Oy. You are pushing me into getting further on this now, and I thought it would not be until later...

Now that I am home where my books are, I found that I COULD recall that Andromeda is M31. So I looked up M33 in Burnham. Yes, about 2.4 million light years away, and thus in the Local Group. OK, a weekend trip, then - I wonder how their beer is...

"Local" - is that funny or what? And they laughed when GKC called the universe "cosy"...

But yes, as Marc points out, the angels perceive all this in detail, and yet are still astounded when we receive Holy Communion.

 
At 07 June, 2005 21:59, Blogger Marc the polar bear said...

I will stop with the pushing. :-)
I am very intrigued by your approach to the division of the waters, from the mathematical/comp sci point of view (starting point.)

I will make one teeny point, which may or may not anticipate your further thoughts on division and water. Rather it is an anticipatory look at the true giver of living water, Christ, to which thou hast spoken of initially. (We will leave multiplication and snakes out of this for now because I just know o good Doctor, that you will come up to this at some point in your future ruminations!)

Paradox:division and unity

God separated the waters from the firmanent. We have a division between heaven and earth, physically, but spiritually there is still union. The sin of Adam creates that rift. Dust he started from, and dust he will return, thus a division from the water part of the human from the rest of the chemical components, which would not have been the case if sin had not entered.
When the rebellious angels fell, there was division in heaven. Well ok first the division then the fall. A hot hell precludes water, and thus sustinence and life. A cold frozen hell a la Dante also will rule out life, because I speculate it will be pretty darn close to absolute zero, metaphorically speaking. Water cannot give life at those temperatures. Water is thus divided from its life giving properties.

Moses at the Red Sea

Moses is a precursor to Christ, who is the ultimate good. Now Moses first divides the waters of the Red Sea (good for the Hebrews as they can skeedaddle across to the other side) and then unites the two halves again when they have crossed (good for Hebrews, bad for Egyptians.) Thus the double positive, (doubleplusgood) but you have to have both the division and the union, or else it wont work, and Edgar G. Robinson cant do his "is this the end of Dathan?" bit at the end of the movie. :-)

Ok, now I am thirsty. :@)

 

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