Saturday, November 21, 2009

Living Magically, The Science Of Everyday Matters

ה' בכסלו תש"ע
Shamash 6

In follow-up to all of today's entries (Chomah, A Vision of The Temple in the Night, Working Magic and Communion), and in contemplation of the importance of blogging - about dreams and other everyday matters - I observe that Carl Sagan speaks to us about the science of living magically through an observation on the life of Eratosthenes:

One day while reading a papyrus book in the library, he came upon a curious account. Far to the south, he read, at the frontier outpost of Syene, something notable could be seen on the longest day of the year.

On June twenty-first, the shadows of a temple column or a vertical stick would grow shorter as noon approached. And, as the hours crept towards midday, the sun's rays would slither down the sides of a deep well which on other days would remain in shadow. And then, precisely at noon, columns [and sticks] would cast no shadows and the sun would shine directly down into the water of the well. At that moment, the sun was exactly overhead.

It was an observation that someone else might easily have ignored - on sticks, shadows, reflections in wells, the position of the sun - simple everyday matters - of what possible importance might they be? But Eratosthenes was a scientist, and his contemplation of these homely matters changed the world - in a way, made the world - because Eratosthenes had the presence of mind to experiment, to ask whether, back here near Alexandria, a stick cast a shadow near noon on June the twenty-first. And it turns out, sticks do.

Simple everyday matters - a scientist has the presence of mind to ask, "of what possible importance might they be?"

Live magically, and ask with the wonder of a scientist, of what possible importance might the everyday observations of your life be.

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