Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The curious noun πλανη (plane) signifies a wandering or a distracting (i.e. a throwing off track), but comes with quite a footnote. Scholars lament that it's unclear where this noun came from, but it's generally (albeit somewhat grudgingly) admitted that it probably relates to the huge and ancient Proto-Indo-European root "pele- II", meaning to spread and thus to be flat (hence English words like plain and plane, explain, field, floor, plaster, and of course planet). There is also a PIE root "pele- 1", which has to do with to fill, and thus to be abundant (hence words like complete, accomplish, plebian, plenty, and the many poly- compounds). Here at Abarim Publications we privately suspect that these two identical roots are actually the same one, or at least were one to the ancient users of the language we now call PIE, particularly also since these ancient speakers were pastorals, whose animals wandered, spread, became abundant and filled the plains.
Significant to understanding our noun πλανη (plane), the herds of the ancient herdsmen didn't just aimlessly drift about (like the proverbial wanderer Cain in the land of Nod) but traveled according to periodic cycles, along predictable ranges and in predictable seasons. In his Histories, the 5th century BCE Greek historian Herodotus placed our noun in the mouth of king Croesus of Lydia when he told the visiting Athenian statesman Solon: "We have heard a lot about you because of your wisdom and of your wanderings, how as one who loves learning you have traveled much of the world for the sake of seeing it" (30.2). And that makes Solon's wandering like the wandering of Abraham, who didn't simply drift from a lack of grounding, but first deliberately rejected the ways of Babylon and then traveled by every known center of wisdom in the ancient world, from Haran to Shechem, to Moreh, Bethel and Ai, down to the Pharaoh in Egypt before going back north to Canaan, where he joined with the schools of Mamre and Melchizedek (Genesis 12-14).
Our noun πλανη (plane) is traditionally translated with "error" but that's not correct. The word "error" technically describes an instant rather than the continued and prolonged act of erring, and has in English become synonymous with a single and sudden mistake, which is not what our noun πλανη (plane) conveys. A more precise Greek word for "error" is αμαρτια (hamartia), and the crucial difference between the two is that the latter describes somehow missing a specified mark that we deliberately aimed for, whereas the former describes a deviation from a vaguely defined trajectory either toward a theorized objective or upon a circuit that serves it.
To summarize our much lengthier meditation below, our noun πλανη (plane) describes the movement of an entity (such as a planet or asteroid) that travels relative to a central governing entity (the sun), in either a cyclic and periodic path around the central mass (as a planet would do), or eccentrically by showing up out of nowhere, disturbing the gravitational peace and zipping off again into nowhere (as an asteroid might do). When our playing field is human society rather than space, our noun describes the doings of an entity that exists independently from the governing central mass (which is either the national government or some intellectual consensus or received wisdom) but derives its behavior from it, either in perpetual service of the stability of its realm (as would, for instance, the army, and the academic and artistic guilds), or in a burst of unforeseen activity that's bent on disturbing the realm (as would an insurrectionist or a purveyor of new and game-changing ideas).
When the Pharisees asked Pilate to have Jesus' tomb sealed lest the disciples would steal the body and claim his resurrection (Matthew 27:64), they didn't do so to avoid an "error" but rather to prevent that the story would propagate through society and whip up a contrary social movement that was even more unstoppable than the one around Jesus when he was alive. When a massive comet sweeps through the inner solar system, its actual presence may be brief but even if it doesn't actually impact, it may cause tidal frictions within the planets that in turn may set off earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that have lasting effects. Our word does not speak of mere deceptions, but rather of sectarian movements that sweep through society like comets and often die out quickly but not after having caused considerable and much longer lasting upheaval (Ephesians 4:14, 2 Peter 2:18, Jude 1:11).
Our noun is used 10 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- The verb πλαναω (planao), meaning to wander, cause to wander, lead astray or distract from an intended or expected trajectory. Like the parent noun, our verb does not merely speak of making or verbalizing a single error, but rather to instigate a movement that deviates from the current social norm or challenges the incumbent government. It's the verb that describes how a single sheep leaves the larger herd (and the shepherd) and goes off on his own (Matthew 18:12). It's also the verb that describes the entire intellectual position plus the subsequent walk of life of the Sadducees (Matthew 22:29), which was not centered on God and thus destined to disintegrate (which indeed eventually happened as the Sadducees are no longer with us). People whose walk and talk is not centered on God (of which there are many) inevitably come in conflict with those who are, and deem them the deviants (John 7:12). This verb is used 40 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn come:
- Together with the preposition απο (apo), meaning from or out of: the verb αποπλαναω (apoplanao), meaning to lead astray from (Mark 13:22 and 1 Timothy 6:10 only).
- The noun πλανητης (planetes), from which comes our word "planet": one who wanders or distracts. This word appears in Jude 1:13 only, and Jude not merely speaks of someone who himself quietly drifts off into oblivion but rather someone who traverses the solar system of society, and disturbs it before going off into nowhere.
- The adjective πλανος (planos), meaning distractive, or when used substantially, distractor: someone who leads astray. This word is applied in ignorance to Jesus (Matthew 27:63) and to the servants of God (2 Corinthians 6:8), and most insightfully to the Antichrist (2 John 1:7). It occurs 5 times in 4 verses; see full concordance.
As above, so below
The Greeks called the five visible planets in the night sky αστηρ πλανητης (aster planetes) or "wandering stars", and while some may object that planets aren't stars, others may note that the relationship of the ancients with the sky was completely different than that of us moderns. This is predominantly so because we moderns tend to describe things according to autonomous qualities and absolute definitions, whereas the ancients defined a thing according to its role in the grander scheme of things, and particularly to this grander scheme as perceived by terrestrial humanity. The ancients couldn't care less about any independent and thus wholly irrelevant qualities.
We moderns imagine that space is this unexplored alien expanse that exists wholly separate from humanity, but the ancients figured that humanity had formed within the expanse, like an egg within a hen, and was deeply connected to all its aspects and destined to be similar in all its ways (Exodus 25:40, Matthew 6:10).
Said slightly different: if the dust of the earth is formed from the interplay of natural forces, and our brains are made from the dust of the earth, why would our minds not be like the universe and our thoughts like the laws of nature? (Genesis 13:16, 22:17). In the universe certain patterns are manifested as natural processes and objects, whereas in the mind these same patterns are manifested as thoughts and knowledge. We should expect introspection to see the same as extrospection, and although we should not search for a paint-by-number correlation, we should surely be able to recognize each in the other. After all, the Creator has expressed himself in parables since the beginning of the world (Psalm 78:2, Matthew 13:34-35).
The ancients recognized various degrees of relative movement of celestial bodies, with the stars the most stable, the sun slightly less so, the planets even less and the moon least. That means that the stars maintained their relative position to each other, whereas the moon went all over the place as the most dynamic light in the night sky. The ancients' further insight was that human society is organized like the cosmos — the familiar Greek word κοσμος (kosmos) actually primarily describes the human world-order rather than space — with the sun representing the law and ruling authority upon which mankind's society was formally centered (hence history's many sun-kings and names like Samson and Heliopolis), the stars as society's network of wise and stable grownups (hence queen Esther), and the moon as society's ungovernable, rebellious, artistic and criminal element (hence the significance of names like Jericho, Laban and Herod, and the moon as ubiquitous symbol of the wild and discordant).
Stars (and mind our preceding paragraph) were created to be signs (Genesis 1:14) and to govern the night (1:18). Abraham's offspring would be as numerous and widely dispersed as stars (Genesis 15:5, see Galatians 3:7), and the insightful and those who would guide the masses to righteousness would shine like the stars forever (Daniel 12:3). Both the Greek verb for to rise (ανατελλω, anatello), and the Hebrew word for east (קדם, qedem), also mean "past", which means that star-struck "Great Ones" from "the East" who came to visit the newborn Christ (Matthew 2:1) may very well have arrived at Jerusalem from "the Past".
Also note that the words star and stellar, apostle and epistle all come from the Greek verb στελλω (stello), to set or appoint. The Greek word that's commonly translated as "disciple" is μαθητης (mathetes), from which we get our word "mathematics". This noun stems from the verb μανθανω (manthano), meaning to learn, which in turn relates to English words like mentor, mind, meditate and medicine.
Prehistoric civilizations were naturally centered upon the personal authority of the biggest bully, but that began to change when Hammurabi introduced the radical concept of national law, which allowed him to rule over people that were not within his shouting range. Initially, the law would emanate from the king, the "father" of the law, who thus stood above the law, but the detrimental consequences of shoe-horning a vibrant society into a static legal mold became meditated in stories such as that of king Midas, whose touch changed even food into eternal gold, and Icarus of Crete, who used his synthetic (i.e. technological) wings to fly straight into the sun, and plummeted back to earth because of that.
The sun and stars
As kings of old realized with understandable dismay, the sun is not fixed against the backdrop of the stars but moves around relative to it (as seen from earth). This is why we have years and seasons and precession and the so-called Great Year of 25,772 solar years. And it's also why sustainable societies sport wild debates between their kings (their legal constitutions) and queens (who in literature tend to represent senates or circles of elders; hence also the epithet Queen of Heaven) and continuously update the law to match the needs of the people.
This means that nobody, not even the king, is above the law (Deuteronomy 17:18-20), and that any national law will have to be altered and amended until it is stable enough to contain all change. And that means that human society has always naturally sought to settle into prefect obedience to the same natural law that governs the eternally dynamic heavens, whose most fundamental principle is freedom (Galatians 5:1).
Society is never perfectly aligned with its governing code. This is fortunate, because it demonstrates that we're alive. A society that follows its constitution perfectly is a machine, and machines ultimately malfunction and disintegrate and become piles of dust. Living societies, on the other hand, are able to grow and even produce societal offspring (hence the familiar term "son of man") and ultimately embrace the Creator.
The Hebrews argued that the highest law was natural law (Psalm 19:1, Matthew 24:35, Romans 1:20) and that the highest priestly virtue was the pursuit of information technology (Exodus 19:6, Isaiah 61:6). Hence they developed the alphabet (and thus the Jews together with the Phoenicians built the temple of YHWH), cranked up the global paper trade (βιβλος, biblos), and invented the postal service and academic correspondence in support of their network of synagogues in Persia (hence the easterly μαγοι, magoi, who identified the earthly Christ by "following" a heavenly star).
The government shall be upon his shoulders
The ancients further figured that the only righteous human government was a government that entirely embodied natural law (Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 22:28), and whose governing acts were wholly invested in the effort to have society too embody natural law, so that society and its government seamlessly and dynamically blended together (1 Corinthians 15:24, Revelation 21:22).
The dynamic play between the solar center and the stellar network was recognized and fostered as an essential element of natural law. In human terms that means that the highest authority is not any central point of solar governance but rather the unified network of stellar perspectives, to which the solar center continuously adapts. Said otherwise: the highest law that governs the land is itself subject to continuous review and alteration according to the character and identity of its unanimous people, who in turn are tuned into natural law, like a global broad-array antenna that's tuned into the song of the universe.
Here at Abarim Publications we suspect that the story of Abishag the Shunammite may have something to do with the controlled "wandering" of the solar center relative to the stellar network. After all, it was king David who had cheered that because of the invention of script, the great human library plus the dialogue that had been refining it for countless millennia could be transferred from the feeble medium of human memory to preservable paper: hence God's Holy One (that is the "Word of God" in "human flesh", or in modern terms: natural law comprehended by human society) would not see decay (Psalm 16:10, Acts 13:35). But even though this Word itself was eternal and unchanging, its conception by humanity was "like silver refined in the furnace of the earth seven times" (Psalm 12:6, see Psalm 66:10), or in the words of Luke: "And the child [that's the Word] continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." (2:40), and "Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (2:52).
The ancients understood that the heavens and the mind of man are not merely somewhat alike but are self-similar; they are identical structures on different levels of complexity. That means that by simply observing life on earth, they understood the universe, and by observing the heavens they understood the human mind, both collectively and individually. Their story of the two tablets, of which one pertained to the Father, and the other to the maternal people, which was kept in a box, in the central tent from which the people were governed, is obviously self-similar to DNA in a eukaryotic nucleus. And it predicts that global humanity has started to self-organize around a two-fold codex that contains one whole description of humanity and one whole description of everything else. What this two-fold codex might be all about is not clear, but it appears to be hinted at in Revelation 11:3-12.
To boldly go
Humanity started out as terracentric as any animal but when the heliocentric and stellar destiny of man was conceived of (famously by the Egyptians first), the terrestrial origin of the lunar element could be fathomed, and even the periodical order of its seemingly chaotic behavior. Light (intelligence & data) is always solar, even when it's reflected off the moon and the planets, but gravity (emotions & feelings) responds to the lunisolar center of gravity, which combines the attractions of the sun and the moon and planets. The lunar gravitational pull is actually quite a bit stronger that the solar one, which explains why feelings so often dominate reason, and why people so often can't resist doing things that go against their better judgment (Romans 7:15).
Much of the planetary heat — and the word חם (ham), heat, describes both physical and mental agitation — generated in the solar system does not come from the sun but from friction from tidal forces within the planets. That means that the core-felt heat that gives a planet its life (literally, in the case of earth) comes not from sunlight but from the joint gravitational churning of the sun and moon. Without eyes, and without a means to unravel the combined gravitational pull of the sun, moon and the many planets, the sun is literally impossible to localize. That means that feelings, though wonderful, rarely point to home, or even in the same direction.
The story of the solar system is the story of humanity's rise from the animal-earth where it emerged. As many a bard has proclaimed, man's journey is fraught with peril, also because it's not at all clear where we are supposed to end up. As told, heading straight into solar legalism will certainly melt our wings and cause our reversion back to earth, and so it's prudent to carefully scout out the playing field prior to lift off. Fortunately, the ancients helpfully named the first five planets and identified them with society's most dominant undercurrents. To understand our metaphor, imagine the unified global mind of humanity as a cloud that emerges from the earth and spreads radially out from the earth, engulfing the planets as it expands both toward and away from the sun.
What on earth is God?
The solar core of the whole of human contemplation is the understanding that all is one (Deuteronomy 6:4), and although that simple statement may somewhat underwhelm, it's really fantastically complicated. The "oneness of all things" extends to all living things and all mental things, and explains why God is spirit (John 4:24), why God is love (1 John 4:7-12), why God makes "all things" work together (Romans 8:28), and why the Word of God comes before all things and holds all things together (Colossians 1:16-17). Grand unification, as physicists call it, also comes with some very serious mathematics that we haven't even fully figured out yet, which in turn means that the oneness of all things has not been scientifically proven and can only be believed, or expected or hoped for, which is why it's both known as the God-hypothesis and the hypothesis of the Theory Of Everything, a.k.a. the Grand Unified Theory (2 Peter 1:19).
We moderns are deceptively comfortable with our formidable body of scientific knowledge, and often forget that our ancestors had no such luxury and lived in a world governed by feelings, and where reason, logic and the scientific method were not commonly held in high regard. We moderns are also great at forgetting that science is not the pursuit of truth but the pursuit of falsehood, since an experiment can only prove a hypothesis either false (when the experiment clearly fails) or potentially true and thus potentially false (when our present experiment doesn't fail but a next, more precise one might). As the old dictum tells: technicians try to succeed but scientists try to fail.
When falsehood has been identified, scientists cut its disproven hypothesis from the main inquiry, which then contracts like a lens that focusses. All science does is trim the edges of the hole through which we peek on our search for the Unified Theory of Everything, from which all other theory will flow; the Meaning that gives meaning to everything else. A scientist is someone who patrols the ragged periphery of darkness, and makes the darkness smaller by identifying darkness as darkness (Genesis 3:24).
Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord
The three great as-of-yet not-unified realms of reality are: gravity, quantum mechanics and life. And although most scientists believe that these three came out of one singularity (meaning that the laws of physics that govern our spacious reality of today also allow such an extreme compression without being broken or violated), it's not yet known how that might work. But up until that tricky trident in the road toward the Grand Unified Theory, the oneness of all things has been formally proven.
Apart from the occasional Buddhist and of course the Hebrews, very few humans up to the modern age would have guessed that all is one, let alone how that might work (and how it does not work). But in modern times humanity has generally come to accept that unification is not only possible, it's highly desired. Also largely due to the Internet, people's realm of social consciousness has risen from the local to the global. Unifying trends in national politics result in increasingly large pacts and agreements. The long polarized tribes of scientists are now actively seeking consilience, and are frequently able to apply patterns and theories from one branch of science (like thermodynamics) to completely unrelated ones (like information theory), which are hence understood to be not unrelated at all.
In physics, all natural forces apart from gravity are understood to be mere aspects of the one and only strong-electroweak force. Oneness is the basis of the many preservation laws (preservation of energy, momentum, baryon number, and so on), but it's also the psychological basis of love (= the desire to unify), language (= a tool to unify) and beauty (= the attractiveness of that what's been unified). And if that's too flaky: Oneness sits at the heart of all systems of formal logic, including modern, non-speculative philosophy and mathematics. It's the basis of all fairness and thus all justice and thus all complex economy and thus, wait for it, diversity (both biologically and mentally). And it's the basis of all harmony and composition, and thus all art and music.
The reason why animals don't have any of these things is that animals relate their self-awareness specifically to their kin, and regard unrelated beings consistently as others. That means they have no sense of oneness. Lifting off from the animal-earth is always done with intelligence. But a heading toward the sun uses intelligence to achieve unification, whereas a heading away from the sun uses intelligence to achieve division. A rotating accretion disk without a central mass heavy enough to keep the whole thing together will lose consistency and spin into oblivion, which means that, despite modern myth, salvation is always a collective thing, whereas only damnation is a personal thing.
The Social Psychology of Planets
Earth is the third rock from the sun, and in our story of the mind of man and his flight into space, it serves as the world of animals from which humanity, or rather the world of the human mind, arose (Psalm 73:22, Ecclesiastes 3:18, 2 Peter 2:12, Jude 1:10). The word "arose" is deceptive here since man's collective mind was never disconnected from the larger animal mind and is rather like the blossoms of the tree that is the whole of life on earth. Since we learned that all is one, we also learned that all the garbage we dump anywhere on earth will surely find its way back to our dinner plates. And likewise, all the suffering we cause to animals will surely find its way back into our minds. All is one.
The Greek word for earth is γη (ge), hence the English "geo-", which looks like it has to do with γυνη (gune), woman or wife, hence the English "gyne-", which resonates with the idea of Mother Earth or Gaia (indeed from γη, ge). In Hebrew we have the noun אדמה (adamah) for field, Adam for human individual and Eve for human society. The Hebrew word for son is בן (ben), whereas the verb בנה (bana) means to build, בת (bat) means daughter and בית (bayit) means house or temple.
Noun אבן ('eben) means stone, and the living temple into which we are being built (1 Peter 2:5) is the intellectual mind of man who has come to understand his Creator and whose society operates only on the Creator's law.
The planet closest to the sun is Mercury. It was named after Hermes and Mercury, the messenger deities of the Greeks and Romans. Most Greeks and Romans believed in pantheons rather than the singular Law of Nature, which to the Hebrews was issued from YHWH and was proclaimed by the Word. That means that the Biblical parallel of the Greco-Roman god Mercury is the entity known as αγγελος (aggelos), a messenger-creature of unclear pedigree but very much alike a human being in that it is not divine but operates according to the divine oneness of everything. That all seems to indicate that the societal equivalent of Mercury is mankind's pursuit of information technology: any kind of symbolic representation from the first emblems scratched on rock, and the first common words that crystalized out of the clouds of verbal utterance, to the modern Wikipedia and the codes that govern the Internet.
Only when humanity's mind arrived on Mercury our celebrated human consciousness could be born.
In the 20th century scientists took a long look at the patterns of thought of adults who, for whatever reason, hadn't learned to speak as children. And they compared the patterns of thought between literate and illiterate communities. What they found was that conscious thought the way we know it requires a level of detail that only words can provide. And the categorical and abstract nature of logic thought that is so second nature to us moderns, is literally not possible without the written word (see our article on the noun ονομα, onoma, meaning name or noun). Language not merely changes our minds, but forms it, and script not merely makes us better informed, it changes the very fabric of our thoughts and literally opens up the world in which we live today (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, 2 Timothy 1:7).
Words aren't decreed by central authorities but emerge naturally like droplets that condense from steam, when social entropy drops below the threshold. The deliberate pursuit of verbal precision could not arise until the awareness of the possibility of language had emerged within man, which required the same kind of extraordinary prophetic reach as the foresight that a universal law might bring about an unprecedented global peace, and thus a level of economic complexity that would be impossible without law, and thus prosperity and so every kind of existential and intellectual (and spiritual) sophistication.
In Hebrew, the word for "word" is the same as for "commandment" (in Hebrew we speak of the Ten Words rather than the Ten Commandments), namely דבר (dabar), which explains how the Creator is made known through his Word (Hebrews 1:3), and how his Word is his Law (Matthew 5:17-19). The Greek word for law, namely νομος (nomos), likewise relates to the word for word, namely ονομα (onoma).
The planet Venus is second closest to the sun, and the brightest of the smaller lights (other than the moon) in the night sky. It was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, which seems to indicate that humanity's first step away from the animal-earth was ornamentation, and that ornamentation serves as a stepping stone toward Mercurial symbolism and hence information technology. It also explains why so many people confuse truth with beauty, and that people tend to prefer to believe things that are pleasing and reject things that are not, or are more swayed by the pleasing taste of a hotdog that the science that shows that processed meat is violently carcinogenic. One of the many functions of the story of the crucifixion of Christ is to illustrate the difficulty of learning to prefer Mercurial science over Venusian beauty (Isaiah 53:3).
There is of course nothing wrong with one's pursuit of beauty (Philippians 4:8), since beauty leads to language and the formation of a sense of beauty follows the same principles as the formation of language (as both are based on consensus, averages, harmonies and recognition). In fact, from an earthly perspective, Venus stays closest to the sun, which means that Venus is not only the brightest "star" in the night sky, it's also the one who heralds the morning, as its rise often just precedes the rise of the sun. For this reason, Venus was known across the ancient world as the light-bringer: φωσφορος (phosphorus), from φως (phos), light, and φερω (phero), to bring or carry. This name was translated into Latin by using lux for light and fero for to bring or carry, which resulted in the name Lucifer and further served to demonstrate that medieval Christianity was still wholly polytheistic and ultimately pagan (to be wholly clear: despite popular myth, Lucifer is not the name of the devil, and the devil is not the "god" of evil; see Isaiah 45:7).
Venus marks the level of mental sophistication just prior to the formation of language and law, but beyond the natural or animalistic sense of tribal bonds and familiarity. At the time it would have seemed as unnatural as plastic robots seem to us today, but long before people had words, they embarked on their "nightflight to Venus" by beginning to be kind to strangers (Exodus 12:49, Isaiah 28:11, Matthew 25:35, Hebrews 13:2).
It's a curious fallacy to confuse kindness with weakness, because kindness to strangers is the greatest form of bravery there is, especially in a time when a stranger is automatically a threat. The word kindness literally means "to act as if the other guy is family" and would be a disastrous thing to undertake if not supported by a synthetic and intellectual comprehension of human nature. Successful kindness additionally requires a mastery of one's own gestures, facial expressions and vocal intonations (since at this point there are no words yet) and finding a way to align these willful presentations with the natural expectations of the person addressed, so that this person, who has never experienced kindness, may understand what's going on and fight her own urge to attack or run off screaming.
We moderns are intimately familiar with the benefits of shared manners, so being kind to strangers doesn't seem like a big deal to us (to be more precise: we rarely encounter true strangers). But imagine a dialogue between Neil deGrasse Tyson and flat-earther Mark Sargent that's not based on the mutually held conviction that the other guy must be wrestled into submission, but rather on a genuine interest in the other's needs and concerns. Mark, namely, isn't talking about cosmology, of which he knows little, but about dogmatism by a priestly elite, and his attempts to ignite a Reformation would go away if Neil would stop playing the infallible pope of pop physics.
Neil, you see, isn't as modern as he hopes to be perceived. As the mere latest keeper of a deeply ancient tradition, Neil has wealth and prestige and promises the same to all those who abide by his Method, while this Method itself proclaims that this can never be. Neil is undoubtedly smarter than all of us and broadly supported, but ultimately a false prophet whose way is to perdition.
An unfortunate and often exploited shadow side of the oneness of all things is that spontaneously emerging accumulations (whether of matter, knowledge, money or biomatter) can only exist by virtue of large swaths of destitution. This means that by sheer will to live, the fortunate will employ their fortunes to keep the destitute poor, and promises of better worlds are mere tools to their enslavement (in the words of Tacitus). In empire after empire, the Neils of the world fail to understand why the Marks of the world keep rising up against an obviously superior model, only to perpetually learn that superiority is a perishable commodity, whereas the Marks will always inherit the earth.
In the past, the incumbent elite erected cathedrals as monuments to nobody's glory but their own, while their congregations lived in squalor. Today, our Mars rovers and hadron colliders have precisely identical practical utility, while meeting the truest needs of mankind remains appallingly underfunded. That will only change when every valley is exalted and every mountain made low, when mankind's union is always deemed more important than the striving for some fleeting ideal, and the care for the weak the sole concern of the strong. And that all starts with its very first step, namely kindness to strangers.
Take the number pi, for instance. It's undeniably 3.14159 (a touch over it, actually) but only on a flat Euclidian geometry. On a spherical geometry it's smaller. And on a hyperbolic geometry it isn't even a constant. Likewise, Neil's celebrated heliocentric and spherical earth model works wonderfully on a purely mathematical stage, which, as we have known since Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem, is doomed to remain full of holes. Or said otherwise: without mathematical rigor, our human world would have never lifted off from the earth, but on our trip to the sun, the last word won't be mathematical or even logical; it will be emotional. Kindness to strangers, like Theory of Mind itself, starts with the intimate understanding of our own incompleteness and our essential need for others (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8).
In the Venusian colony that thus emerged, mankind began to be truly separate from the animal-earth. The pursuit of pre-word convention probably resulted in choral singing (without lyrics, just harmonic vocalizations), eventually carried by flutes and percussion and probably group dances that allowed strangers to easily pitch in and show their willingness to also exercise kindness. A next step would probably have included the exchange of gifts, and particularly gifts of pretty things that had no practical function otherwise (like leis, jewelry or little figurines). From there emerged social etiquette that aimed to prevent disturbance, like not being loud or offensive in any way.
Choral singing may actually not have originated on Venus but on Mars, not as a means to invite strangers to pitch in but rather to demonstrate to outsiders the size and unity of the insiders. Mars is the fourth planet out and the first one in the direction opposite the sun. Should animal-man want to grow toward the sun — i.e. should the society of animal-man collectively seek to evolve into a society centered upon a sustainable common law that does not change but does allow for flexible application — then animal-man will first seek to satisfy his desire for beautiful things and then evolve into language, writing and coding. Should the society of animal-man collectively seek the darkness, he will want to direct his attentions to Mars, away from consciousness and into the subconscious.
A move away from Earth and toward Mars results in what may be called intelligent bestiality or super-animalism: an intelligent social expression that is neither centri- or uniphilic (solar) nor animal (terrestrial) but more animal than animal. Mars is of course the Roman god of war, who personifies organized combat, and is particularly venerated by people who don't comprehend that war ruins everything including armies and war itself.
War is not sustainable because its only two outcomes are wholesale destruction or Venusian peace. This was discovered when the Greek war god, namely Ares, the swaggering but widely disrespected causer of quick and burly battles, grew into the much more mature Roman Mars, who personified a vast and unstoppable death machine that very few took much pride in (until, perhaps, Augustus). And so the poets ascribed Mars a love affair with Venus, was tied to the month of March to govern the start of the agricultural cycle, and became the armed guardian of peace rather than the instigator of conflict. This Roman veneration of Mars is still the reason why our world is riddled with military types rather than with teachers and artists.
The planet Jupiter is the first of the gas giants. It's the brightest nocturnal luminant after Venus, and has been recognized since deep antiquity. The name Jupiter comes from the familiar word πατηρ (pater), meaning father (probably prefixed with a trace of the name Zeus; meaning that Jupiter means Father Zeus). In English, the word "father" primarily describes one's male biological parent and any secondary use of it is metaphorical. In ancient languages the opposite is true and the word for father (in Hebrew: אב, 'ab) primarily describes a society's binding code (and thus one's king or boss) and only secondarily one's own biological parent.
Jupiter is the largest planet of our solar system but made from lighter materials than the four so-called terrestrial planets (hence the name gas-giant). Since our solar system probably formed out of a rotating disk of stellar dust, the lightest material was squeezed to the center of the disk and became our sun. When the sun ignited, all remaining lighter elements were blown outward and began to form the gas giants, while in between the four terrestrial planets formed. Whatever specifically happened isn't wholly clear but somehow, and probably at the cost of one or more primordial super-planets close to the sun, the gas giants were slung much further into the outer darkness, while the rocky four moved inward to their current positions. All this happened long before there was life on earth but these events nevertheless found a way into mankind's collective mind and from there into his stories (Revelation 12:7).
If the formation of mankind's collective mind indeed followed the same kind of sequence as the solar system did, then long before mankind had begun to speak or even to develop aesthetic norms, there was some kind of governing code that all people operated by. Pre-speech humans were doubtlessly master-trackers, who were able to read and interpret the plains in all its complex details. They intimately knew the ways of all the other animals, and by recognizing and reading the many traces and tracks all animals leave, they knew where most of them were too. They probably read the skies with a similar mastery, and were intimately familiar with both the weather and the movement of celestial bodies. But they also observed themselves and hence knew humanity to stunning depths. This means that they were able to blindly trust that their fellows knew and understood the world around them as well as they did. Perhaps large groups of them even created structures, in a same organic and natural way in which large groups of ants and bees come to construct their vast cities.
A dog from, say, New Zealand, is immediately able to engage in play with a dog from, say, Scotland, due to some innate and shared dog-law from which universal dog-signs derive. In the same way, humans from anywhere in the world would have been able to engage in complex interactions with humans from anywhere else through a kind of syntax that's uniquely human and doubtlessly vastly more complex than canine syntax.
Linguists have long known that all human languages in the world are deeply similar and operate by means of some shared, underlying syntax (and is a so-called emergent property). Before man had words he sang melodies, spontaneous but repeated melodies like whale songs that others could pick up on and join. Traveling groups that approached large settlements could even have provided counter-vocals, with which to show intentions. It's not unthinkable that the harmonious world of pre-speech man carried patterns as diverse as the weather in the atmosphere and that discrete information was able to travel vast distances within the harmonies, like the talking drums of Africa would much later.
It's that innate desire to harmonize that still governs much of human activities today. It's ultimately why we converse, but it's also why we dance the night away, living our life and staying young on the floor (as the lady said). But as we invented speech, our collective attention shifted into our verbal consciousness and away from the subconsciousness in which lived our desire to synchronize and harmonize. We literally lost control over our minds, and succumbed to nationalism, and nationalism resulted in wars. Since reaching a rending nadir in national socialism, the powers that be understand man better than he does himself, and while most of us dance the night away, others feed energy in certain places and remove it from others, to regulate the weather of mankind's mind and to prevent the storms we call world wars.
Jupiter appears to signify some sort of global subconscious culture, that has always supported significant technological sophistication, and which was once propagated by anatomically modern human beings who grunted, growled and harmonized in a super-animal way, but who had no words or art and thus no consciousness the way know it (Genesis 11:1).
Saturn and beyond
Saturn is the sixth and final planet to be named in antiquity, and was named after the Roman deity of wealth and again agriculture. That suggests that mankind's first dabbling with globalism reached all the way to the agricultural revolution, which was followed by the accumulation of reserves and thus wealth, and thus by societal stratification and semi-formal governments. And all this long before man began to actively hone nouns and verbs in order to carefully articulate his perspectives. The great intellectual revolution that firmly set humanity apart from the animals appears to have followed a retracement away from a kind of pre-speech civilization that had been evolving into a dead end and ultimately hit a developmental wall. Whether humanity actually abandoned agriculture and retreated into the caves isn't clear (or relevant) but his attentions certainly shifted to the cultivation of pretty things first and language later.
Planets farther out than Saturn (namely Uranus, Neptune and the various dwarfs Pluto, Eris, plus all their moons and all the objects in the Kuiper and asteroid belts) weren't recognized by the ancients and by the time they were named, humanity had lost the intuitive brilliance of the ancients. Man had also managed to forget that all things are one and the universe a vast fractal, in which every event is one of a string of self-similar events that happen all the time on every level of complexity in vast patterns that continue from the depths of the heavens into the soul of the earth and from the mind of man into the mind of God.
While pursuing technology that would make his life easier, man has lost the key to all knowledge (Isaiah 22:22, Revelation 3:7, Colossians 2:3), which is rather clumsy and inconvenient but at least he found himself something to do (Genesis 11:4).
Where no one - on their individual own - has gone before
Mind is a curious substance. It is similar to electricity in that it is innate to matter, but differs in that it seeks to decrease entropy, and contracts into oneness rather than expands as the universe does. Our moderns minds, with its reality based on abstraction and logic thought, is not an individual thing but a collective thing, and neither a sense of beauty nor language would ever have arisen in the mind of a single man. It appears that the ancients believed that the physical solar system is a recording device, and that life on earth is the recording, and that the recorded message will grow until it has become larger than the device that recorded it. Likewise, the human body is a recording device and the many recordings combined to make up a universe of their own. Or in modern terms: every individual human mind is self-similar to the unified global human mind, and the distribution of attention and self-identification of each is self-similar to the distribution of mass in the solar system. Now that there are billions of humans (instead of the millions in antiquity) whose digital environment allows them to very easily find likeminded peoples and self-organize into recognizable social structures, it's not too difficult to map them.
Most of us are intuitively drawn to unification, because unification, just like the sun, powers everything. But we're also fascinated with any kind of symbolic representation that is not one itself, but informative of it (Mercury). And we love all things pretty (Venus). Our minds are intimately defined by animal pursuits like eating, having sex, nepotism, and squabbling over supremacy (Earth). We veer away from reason even beyond the natural wisdom of animals and allow our first flickers of social consciousness to form super-animalistic institutions like the military (Mars), nation states (Jupiter), nationalism, otherization and mockery of outliers (the many Jovian moons), and all forms of organized greed (Saturn plus moons). Following a simple Google analysis of global internet traffic, the outer planets probably account for the various entertainment industries (which today are joyless cash-grabs rather than the teachers of beauty they once were).
Our solar system consists of separate bodies, but we know this because we can see them (and talk about them). Living things are able to absorb light and convert it into chemical or cognitive compounds, whereas non-living things, including non-living societies, can't see and only feel the resultant of all gravitational fields. In our solar system that resultant field is a highly dynamic fingerprint of harmonics, and although no single living organism is sensitive enough to feel all the different gravitational shifts, a highly complex dynamic system such as the ocean or the biosphere at large, is.
Likewise, both our individual mind and our collective society are highly dynamic maelstroms of currents, movements and goings on, and because it's virtually impossible to the average participant to recognize the underlying and relatively simple machinery, it's virtually impossible to regulate the whole thing and keep it stable and pleasant. But someone with eyes in their head and a brain that works, will be able to recognize the main components of the solar system, and understand the dynamics of both society and her own mind as clearly as she would a bicycle or an old-school standing clock.
The anatomy of Mind
The mental planets described above are all stable, predicable and very familiar to all humans, and despite our best wishes we can't simply abandon any of them without disturbing the balance of the whole solar system. We can only abandon certain regions by slowly teaching the whole of mankind to migrate inward, toward the solar center and leave the outer darkness behind. That's why we teach people how to read and how to appreciate beauty, and why they should study war no more (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3).
However, the asteroid belt (between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter), and the Kuyper belt (just outside the orbit of Neptune) are basically vacuum-cleaner bags where much of the loose chunks of the solar system are safely stored, and they also help to shield the inner solar system from invaders from outer space. Rather frequently, collisions within these belts send some of the chunks flying, and they will assume a path that's not necessarily heliocentric, which means that they become indistinguishable from an utterly alien rock that came flying in from outer space. Often these rocks will tear through the solar system, where they briefly disturb the gravitational peace but then fly off into space. But on occasion they reach earth or another planet, where they either burn in the atmosphere or reach the surface and cause upheaval.
|Sun||Mercury||Venus||Earth||Mars||Asteroid belt||Jupiter||Saturn||Kuyper belt|
|Conscious understanding that All is One, why that is, and what that effects (namely all things and all possible interactions of all things).||Verbal oneness with others: quest for abstraction and logic.||Wordless oneness with others: quest for beauty and kindness.||Complete understanding of self: I am One. Only here identity is as complete as a single seed and thus viable.||Incomplete understanding of self: my tribe is one and my tribal brethren complete me.||Reservoirs of intuition triggers.||Preference for and selection of specific data.||Greed for data; evolution of sensory organs.||Electrochemical interactions of organic molecules.|
|Universal unity||Interstellar reason||Interstellar exchange||Globally unified economy.||Competing companies.||Trade triggers.||Accumulation of wealth.||Material greed.||Natural exchange of resources.|
The key to understanding any of this is understanding the unifying solar center. This model only works when any of its components are reviewed relative to both the solar center and their own opposite on the other side of the sun. Or as Jesus said: "Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).
Perhaps this model is itself an errant asteroid, which at first sight seemed legit but was on its way out as soon as it entered our field of vision. But perhaps it's part of the orange glow of the horizon (Joel 2:28, Matthew 16:2). It's up to psychologists to test it, and if it works, to formalize it. If that is at all possible, perhaps then we will indeed be able to calculate what stuff our dreams are made of (Genesis 13:16).