Book Review:

And, what is death? Is it the absence of a beating heart or the incapacity to see what is before the face? It is clear that the builders of the great monuments of the world do not have beating hearts except that they passed theirs on with the seeds of life in their children. Yet, what they saw while they had a beating heart within their own bodies is still written upon the cosmic wall. Their dreams still live. And as long as a man has a dream, the man lives. This is the ancient flight of sentiment on which the widow mother found her lost husband and though he was dead, through the powers of her own sentiment, she brought forth a new born consciousness. This is the true legacy of the ages. Not only do we have access to life in the flesh, but we have access to the eternal spirit of life, for as it is above, so it is below. Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word of God written upon the cosmic wall. To be alive in this universe, a man must be born of water and of fire, with emotion and inspiration. A man must come to life in the flesh and in the spirit. That is the essence of the story written along the road of the merchant's wife. It is destiny's door knocking upon the inquisitive mind of one who holds the vision of science and the vision of truth as the same primitive perspective.

For more than 500 years the Greeks worked to convert the Eyes of the Gods into a celestial playground. These sons of Zeus will never be forgotten, though they have gone on to Olympus and the Elysian Fields. On the vernal equinox of 48 BC a memorial was dedicated to the King of the Wandering Ones. On that day Judgment came to Hellenistic Age as the dream of Hellenism found a more precise way to measure the Journey of the Stars, and the theatrics of Greece gave way to the soldiers of Rome and the carnage in the Coliseum as a New World Order comprehended the day when the Lion would lay with the Lamb, as the Eagle and the Bull came into balance.

At the sacred temple to Hathor in Denderah all the memories of the dreams of the Hellenes were encoded into a Persian-Hebrew-Egyptian monument to Mother Earth and all the companions of her psycho-spiritual domain who were the ancient Shemsu Hor, the Israelites, and the constellations of the Greeks. The archetypes of human consciousness are still with us because the authors of the archetypes knew how to affect reincarnation.

Now contrast the celestial wisdom of the ancients with the pale science of the modern seekers of wisdom and truth.


This plaque represents the anthropic principle as understood by modern science. It is clear as a bell if you are an astronomer of the scientific fiction caliber of a Carl Sagan and can compare the spatial relationships of quasars to the limbs of anthropoids.  Carl Sagan did not accept the anthropic principle beyond the fantasy of myth. Some space traveler was intended to intercept this message and from it figure out that the relationships of the visible quasars would give the dimensions of the local universe and direct the travelers to the Third Rock from the Sun, from whence the spacecraft can be seen in its departure. But, this plaque was not designed to communicate with intelligence. It was designed to declare, "We are intelligent." The plaque is an arrogant expression of modern sensibilities as perceived in the spiritless scientific mind; a mind with no anthropic principle interests, whatsoever. The fate of such arrogant science is demonstrated in the story of the Silent(ly) Runny article from the July 2003 issue of Sky and Telescope.

Jay White ponders the lonely isolation of a spacecraft bound for the stars.

It's been more than 30 years since that night when the lights in the theater came up and tears filled my eyes. The film Silent Running, just ended, should have affected me because it showed Earth’s last forests thrust into the dark oblivion of space. But I was only 10 years old, and the real source of my de­spair was a robot named Dewey. Short and stubby and built like a tool box with thick, chicken legs, Dewey was left alone in a domed space vessel filled with trees, streams, and small varmints ‑ the legacy of an Earth overrun by concrete and pollution.

As a child I thought mostly of Dewey all alone out there, waddling among the plants with a battered watering can. Three decades later, as an adult, I am thinking of a real care­taker of a human legacy: a collection of metal and silicon named Pioneer 10. Launched in 1972, about the same time as Hollywood Dewey, this robotic explorer rushes deeper into outer space every moment, carrying a greeting from humans and charged with an electronic imperative to explore.

Pioneer 10 has no plants to tend; its job was to inspect grand Jupiter at close range. As it approached that mighty world of ochres and umbers and its persistent Red Spot in De­cember 1973, we collectively gasped at the crude but colorful views of fluid, swirling mists and a seemingly bottomless at­mosphere ‑ a place nothing like our own of rock, seas, and puny vapors. And this durable emissary from Earth just kept on going, surpassing Pluto's distance from the Sun in 1983. By then 11 years into its flight, the swift‑moving craft had depart­ed the solar system's family of planets. "Ladies and gentlemen, Pioneer 10 has left the building."

In March 2002 NASA scientists sent a message to their far ­flung probe, trying to reach out and touch it even as momen­tum was carrying it in the general direction of Taurus. Pioneer replied 22 hours later, not because it needed time to consider a response but because that's how long light takes to make the round trip over a distance of 11.9 billion kilometers. Being only I I light‑hours away after a speedy voyage of 30 years gives one an appreciation for the true extent of a light‑year, which in the cosmic scheme is itself quite tiny.

Imagine yourself Pioneer 10, immersed in the unpunctuated dark, cold emptiness that is interstellar space ~ no planets to approach, no stars swishing by, and only the occasional atom or dust grain to encounter as you glide silently along. All you've got to look forward to is a distant encounter with the great star Aldebaran, marking one of the eyes of the bull Tau­rus, in 2 million years.

Attached to the side of Pioneer 10 is a plaque, designed by astronomers Frank Drake and Carl Sagan, that depicts a man and woman posed in greeting and "landmarks" of our inter­stellar neighborhood. As children we cast into seas bottles filled with scribbled messages; Pioneer 10 is an interstellar bot­tle that now carries the message of our adolescent species ‑ a plaque announcing through the light‑years and the ages, "We're here. Where are you?"

Before it left the planetary realm, Pioneer was pitted and popped by interplanetary debris. Interstellar space, however, is believed to be much emptier, so the spacecraft has already suf­fered the most severe pelting it will likely encounter. This has interesting implications for our mechanical ambassador's mes­sage. It is possible that the kindly image of man and woman zipping right now through the darkness will appear much the same for hundreds of millions of years, their two‑dimensional outlines conveying a howdy to anyone who sees them. indeed, long after humans stop remembering that they built a space­craft named Pioneer 10, it will still be carrying an image of us as we now are. There is even the possibility that the craft will bear silent witness to the giant evolution and ultimate demise of the parent star of its home world.

Last January 23rd NASA scientists received the final, feeble message from Pioneer 10. With too little electrical power left to raise its radio voice beyond a whisper and respond to our queries, the spacecraft hurtles outward, never more to speak with us. Cinematic Dewey was left alone to tend to its plants and carry memories of its human creators into the great un­known. Similarly, Pioneer 10 bears our legacy to the stars. It will take a great while to reach them, but this little spaceship now has nothing but time and a mission to continue ‑ out there, silently running forever.

JAMES C. WHITE 11, formerly executive director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, is the Lester Crain Professor of Physics and chair of the department of physics at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.                                                   

 July 2003 I Sky& Telescope

The anthropic principle is that cosmology must explain our own existence to us, nor shout with adolescent bravado about our great intelligence. The anthropic principle is a humbling statement. It says, "We need to learn by reading the stars." It echoes the pyramid texts which say, "The king must return to the imperishable stars." In marking the vernal equinox of 48 BC, the ancients provided us with a reminder that time waits for no man, not even Zeus could stop the journey of the Signs of the Times. Yet, he was one king that did return to the stars with the help of adolescent scientists who had no idea that Zeus was headed to the Eye of the Bull, as the First Father of the pioneering Greeks.

Vernal equinox at the death and reincarnation of Zeus-Jupiter, as seen at the temple's door.

Judgment Hall of the Queen of Sheba with Zeus-Jupiter aligned with the axis of Olympus at the Virgin's hand.

How ironic, that over two thousand years have gone by, and the memory of the death of Zeus and the reincarnation of the ruler of the solar system as Jupiter is still with us as the 1st of Aries continues to mark the vernal equinox as memorialized in 48 BC when the Pashal Moon of Osiris stood with Saturn at the cusp of Libra where the Great Red Dragon's claws were circumcised to make room for a Man-child with an Iron Hand, as Jupiter stood upon the hand of the Virgin. Judgment Day came to the lands of Zeus on that fateful day, and though Aries is long gone, the scriptures still echo his eternal return to the Elysian Fields of Osiris and the Olympus of his own kin. The ancients saw fit to set Saturn aside toward the Virgin's Womb and Jupiter was given the Summer Solstice between Cancer and Gemini so that Osiris and Ra could preside at the Hall where Zeus was just an adolescent lad of Judgment, and the Fathers of Heaven Above, Sebek and Khephera, honored the return of the Virgin's favorite Son. Mars was at the Queen of the South on the Judgment Day of Zeus, and Mercury stood before the Water Carrier. With the Tabernacle of the Sun marked for the End Times of the King of the Jews, Venus stood at the Pleiades ready to bring water from the well of the Hyades.

So, on every spring morning when the Pashal Moon is full, look towards Libra in the west and realize that the Great God of Zeus has passed away, but the Great Man he left behind has set a plaque to journey beyond the place of the Wandering Ones. Imagine yourself Pioneer 10, immersed in the unpunctuated dark, cold emptiness that is interstellar space ~ no planets to approach, no stars swishing by, and only the occasional atom or dust grain to encounter as you glide silently along. All you've got to look forward to is a distant encounter with the great star Aldebaran, marking one of the eyes of the bull Taurus at the Well of the Hyades, in 2 million years. Attached to your side is a plaque, that depicts a man and woman posed in greeting on some unknown horizon with "landmarks" of the inter­stellar neighborhood. The plaque says, "As children we were cast into seas as bottles filled with scribbled messages saying, 'Where we are now, you will be soon. Remember us, and we will leave the light on for you.'"



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First Posting: June 3, 2003
Last Update: June 8, 2003