Mathematics and Poetry, All the Way Down

I lifted this from carnaval.com :

"The earth's axis wobble that causes the precession of the equinoxes is given as 25,920 years. Divided by the ancient number called "soss," 60, which was used in calculations, results in 432. This number according to Joseph Campbell is a mythical archetype capable of appearing in anyone's dreams.

A well-conditioned human has a heart which beats once per second, 60/minute, 3600 beats per hour and 86,400 beats per day. The diameter of the sun is 864,000 miles (2 x 432). The diameter of the moon is 2160 miles (432 / 2).

Since the rate of the precession could be approximated at fifty seconds of arc per year, to precess a full minute of arc takes slightly more than a year; and to precess one full degree of sixty minutes takes seventy-two years. A full cycle of 360 degrees thus requires 360 X 72, or 25,920 years. But the natural revolution of the Earth around both the sun and its own axis describes a complex pattern of perturbations. It has long been known that one of the periods of oscillation is approximately every 432 days, while another--related to variations in atmospheric pressure--lasts about a year. Yet, only recently atmospheric scientists determined that the great cycles also manifest as harmonic oscillations at higher frequencies, with fluctuations from several months to a cycle of only two weeks.

The earliest widely acknowledged appearance of the number referencing the precession of the equinoxes is by  Bel-usur aka, Berosus, Berossus, Berossos, Berossos, the much quoted Assyrian priest of Bel in Babylon from 3rd century BC. In his second book, a Greek a synopsis of Babylonian myth and history, he describes a period of 432,000 years history, up to the Flood. The ancient Sumerians also had a festival calendar which was reckoned by five-day periods or weeks. There are 72 such periods in 360 days. The extra five days in a year were considered special, not part of the regular 72-week cycle. In 72 years, the length of time for the earth to precess one degree, occur 72 X 360 = 25,920 festival weeks, the same as the number of years in the precession of the equinoxes. Also interesting, are the "lost" days. Five each for 72 years is the magic number of 360, and another full festival year. Both the Egyptians and the Mayans had yearly calendars of 360 days with 5 festival days which can reasonalbly be considered the first Carnavals

Mythologist Joseph Campbell noted that the current estimate of 4.5 billion terrestrial years (TY) for the lifetime of the Earth is very close to the pure unit 4320 found in Hindu mythology and other cosmological systems. 4320 occurs in several variations. By one reckoning, 4,320,000 years is one "Day of Brahma," that is, one vast cosmic cycle. Ancient calculations extrapolate 4320 into tens and hundreds of billions of years. 4320 is also the breakdown of the four Yugas or cosmic ages in sacred Hindu (Brahmanical) chronology."
Mathematics provides us with the number 432 and its derivatives which form the foundation of the universe as we know it, and are one pole of the grounding dichotomy of existence--the duality/contradiction at the heart of life and experience--of Yin and Yang.

The opposite pole is poetry. Art. Creativity. Imagination. The awareness of the "rightness of beauty and being."

Between the poles of mathematics and poetry (Etc.) life is lived, consciously and unconsciously--another polarity within the polarity of the cosmos (And there be many).

It is the place/work of poetry/art/etc. to harmonize, to balance, Yin and Yang, the polarities of existence.

It is the place/work of consciousness to make conscious the unconscious by exploring consciously the realm of mathematics and poetry (etc.).

The work of the early (Classical) Taoists in recognizing the Tao as the source of the source, and Yin/Yang as the polarity grounding the Cosmos, and human beings as the means of bringing harmony and balance to the whole is brought forth in the Tao te Ching (AKA "The Lao Tzu")in this way:

The Tao gives birth to the One,
the One gives birth to the Two,
the Two gives birth to the Three,
the Three gives birth to every living thing.
All things are held in yin and carry yang,
and they are held together in the Ch'i
of teeming energy. (Chapter 42)

The Tao begets the One, the origin,
the Origin produces the two, yin and yang,
yin and yang bring forth the Three,
heaven, earth and human beings,
which create all things.

Human beings carry the responsibility of living in accord with the Tao, which can be understood as "the right way to do things," in doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time. When we live like this, we are aligned with the right order of things, and all is well, with balance and harmony resounding throughout the universe, in the service of the true good of all things.

When we fail to live aligned with the right order of things, we wander, looking for the point, for the purpose, for the way in the wasteland of lost causes and forgotten dreams. And Joseph Campbell reminds us, "That which you seek lies far back in the darkest corner of the cave  you most do not want to enter."

All it takes is growing up against our will (Which is the only way to grow up), and doing what we don't want to do in the service of what we all are seeking.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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