It’s fascinating to note how our contemporary grasp of the environment has diverged by discipline. Hard science continues to clarify the physical world, as social science works equally to obscure man’s behaviors within it. It is as though we are engineered to relentlessly seek a clinical comprehension of everything, except ourselves. Perhaps it is instead an implicit hope that technology (or religion) can blur what our eyes clearly perceive. Whatever the inspiration, I am expecting a future of increasingly impressive platforms from which to hear decreasingly honest discussions.
That probably doesn’t sound like a segue to sixteenth century astronomy, but frankly few things would.
At any rate, it was during this period that Nicolaus Copernicus published his work on the heliocentric astronomical model. This being a framework that was completely disruptive to the dominant geocentric narrative, which had placed the Earth at the center of the universe. The insight was considered revolutionary at the time, and thus why five centuries later the name Copernicus remains as well known in Mexican-American households as the 24th digit of pi.
Though Copernicus represents more than just a giant hauling human knowledge up the hill. His story is as much admirable folly as brilliant insight. And it speaks to the fact that even the most perceptive observers only see around a corner rather than all the way into the room. Because even though he grasped the contours of our solar system, its periphery completely eluded him. Consider his sketch of the universe below.
Well, we’ve got all six planets with the sun in the middle. That looks accurate so far, but note that first outer orbit. It says Stellarum Fixarum sphaera immobilis, or the unmoved sphere of fixed stars. Copernicus believed that the solar system was encased by a rotating shell of stars fixed in space: the Stellarum Fixarum. In this model, the sun was the center of our solar system–as well as the universe as a whole. And every star within existed on a flat spherical plane just outside the orbit of Saturn. Thus the universe was perceived to possess no depth. A man only had to know what was in this shell to know all that was. It’s funny how attractive this model remains to men even today.
But before discussing that, it’s worth mentioning a name even less well-known among the immigrant community: Thomas Digges. Digges, an English astronomer born three years after Copernicus’ expiration, expanded on his predecessor’s work in one particularly important respect. He discarded the Stellarum Fixarum model in favor of a universe of infinite depth. Thus knowing only the answer to what’s figuratively in front of your face was not necessarily knowing the answer at all. In many ways this makes Digges one of history’s most unsung shitlords. Notice how his diagram differs from Copernicus.
Stars are now aligned with depth. His is a world in three dimensions. In thinking about Copernicus and Digges–as frankly I am infrequently disposed to do–it occurs to me what a rigid, two dimensional Stellarum Fixarum our society has constructed as a social model. Every question exists in a rotating flat plane. The depth of consequence and secondary effects are simply the purview of heretics and hardly science at all–at least in its Copernican format.
Consider the brightest stars within our own Stellarum Fixarum: Anti-racism, out-group altruism and reproductive subsidization, feminism, open borders, foreign intervention, African uplift, and refugee rescue. All of these are viewed exclusively by their perceived flat-plane virtue, and never a millimeter beyond. They simply rotate above us as obligations in the heavens.
As Copernicus might summarize: Don’t consider race (except to malign whites), don’t consider sex, don’t consider reproductive incentives, do slay dragons, and do feed Africans.
Any of these can be plausibly accepted as strictly two-dimensional moral propositions. But what are the results of these positions beyond their outer orbit? Well that’s more a question for Mr. Malthus. But in composite they produce something far less felicitous than their smiling facades would imply.
Specifically, the program results in a heavily incentivized global dysgenics program exacerbated by feminism’s inhibiting effect on Western fertility and the mobility inducements of perpetual war and migrant accommodation. None of which may be mitigated by the instinctual but prohibited desire of a people to have a home for themselves. In other words, what lies beyond society’s virtuous shell is a cosmos of conflict, migration tsunamis, equalizing living standards, and walls around homes rather than countries.
All of which makes me realize Thomas Digges was speaking about much more than mere astronomy. For if our posterity are ever to feel their faces warmed by the light of this sun or any other, their most important act will be in piercing liberalism’s Stellarum Fixarum. And those are stars that can be reached without ever leaving the ground.