The school Cosmology is divided in two ways; the physical and the mythological.
Physical Cosmology is all the sciency stuff. It focuses on the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe. It is the scientific study of the universe’s beginning, its large-scale structures and dynamics, and its ultimate future, as well as the scientific laws that govern these areas. It is a logical analysis based on the observation and measurement of an objective, tangible reality. Physical cosmology is the study and reverence of facts.
Mythological Cosmology is much more fun.
It is the philosophy of the universe; it is the attempt to put a framework around the cosmos. It explores the reasons for the universe’s existence, why and how it will end, and the purpose of those who occupy it. Though its name is relatively new, its essence is ancient. It has existed for as long as humankind has attempted to explain the reason for their existence. From primal man’s stories of the nature gods to Zoroaster to Zeus to Yahweh, mythological cosmology is a body of beliefs based on faith, religion, spirituality, and traditions of creation myths and eschatology–which is the philosophy of humanity’s destiny. Mythological cosmology entails one’s belief of the afterlife, souls, their gods, and all the rest of their spirituality (or lack thereof).
While Physical Cosmology is based on facts, Mythological Cosmology is based on stories.
The interesting thing about the two schools of Cosmology is that, more often than not, they are inseparably connected. Typically, one’s personal mythological cosmology will greatly affect how they perceive physical cosmology. The acceptance of the theory of evolution is typically dictated by one’s religiosity. In the same vein, the finite or infinite nature of the universe, the reason for its existence, how and why it will end, and the purpose of humanity are all explained through one’s mythological cosmology. It doesn’t matter if one is religious or not; we all have a mythology we subscribe to. Even the lack of faith is technically a faith because it is a faith in nothing.
Humanity using physical cosmology to enforce their mythological cosmology is exemplified in the following:
Do you Believe that God spoke the universe into existence, willing its forms and functions into reality through an almighty, incomprehensible power with a voice that can command the terrestrial and celestial alike? Or did the universe explode into existence in a marvellous moment of infinite mass colliding against itself, hurling young particles and energized quarks through an empty cosmos, to inhabit and congregate together over millions upon millions of years, creating nebulae, supermassive stars and all the rest of the universe’s inhabitants? Whichever theory you subscribe to, it is more likely that you have been influenced by a story; some tale of wonder which convinced you to believe in one theory over the other.
Why is this?
Well, it’s quite simple. Stories are more impactful than facts.
And why is that?
I’m glad you asked.
Stories resonate much more with people than facts. We are moved by the emotionality of an event, rather than the event itself. Our connection to an event is exponentially increased if we knew someone who was involved in it. It’s unquestionable that an earthquake destroying the lives of thousands of people is tragic, but it becomes immensely more tragic when a friend of ours died in it.
The event stops being news and becomes personal. It ties itself to our soul.
We are drawn to the person as much as their platform; in any presidential campaign, the candidate is selling themselves as much as (or more than) they are selling their policies.
We are, as much as we try to reject it, subjective beings.
So, then, as we try to comprehend the universe and our inevitable demise, we can see the same patterns reoccur in how we measure everything…
As much as we believe we are guided by reason, emotion typically grips the wheel of our consciousness. What are we to do with this information? how do we begin to control our own emotions? How could we affect the emotions of others?
We would do well to introspect deeply to reach a better understanding of our self, and to refelct outwardly as well, to better understand how other people work, and what impacts them. To understand someone isn’t to understand what they are saying, but why they are saying it.
“I… a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.”
– Richard Feynman
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