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{Universe as a cluster of clusters}

 

Let us now, expanding our conceptions, look upon each of these systems as in itself an atom; which in fact it is, when we consider it as but one of the countless myriads of systems which constitute the Universe. Regarding all, then, as but colossal atoms, each with the same ineradicable tendency to Unity which characterizes the actual atoms of which it consists – we enter at once upon a new order of aggregations. The smaller systems, in the vicinity of a larger one, would, inevitably, be drawn into still closer vicinity. A thousand would assemble here; a million there – perhaps here, again, even a billion – leaving, thus, immeasurable vacancies in space. And if, now, it be demanded why, in the case of these systems – of these merely Titanic atoms – I speak, simply, of an ›assemblage,‹ and not, as in the case of the actual atoms, of a more or less consolidated agglomeration: – if it be asked, for instance, why I do not carry what I suggest to its legitimate conclusion, and describe, at once, these assemblages of systematoms as rushing to consolidation in spheres – as each becoming condensed into one magnificent sun – my reply is that µ.....ta ta.~ ta – I am but pausing, for a moment, on the awful threshold of the Future. For the present, calling these assemblages ›clusters,‹ we see them in the incipient stages of their consolidation. Their absolute consolidation is to come.

We have now reached a point from which we behold the Universe as a spherical space, interspersed, unequably, with clusters. It will be noticed that I here prefer the adverb ›unequably‹ to the phrase ›with a merely general equability,‹ employed before. It is evident, in fact, that the equability of distribution will diminish in the ratio of the agglomerative processes – that is to say, as the things distributed diminish in number. Thus the increase of inequability – an increase which must continue until, sooner or later, an epoch will arrive at which the largest agglomeration will absorb all the others – should be viewed as, simply, a corroborative indication of the tendency to One.

And here, at length, it seems proper to inquire whether the ascertained facts of Astronomy confirm the general arrangement which I have thus, deductively, assigned to the Heavens. Thoroughly, they do. Telescopic observation, guided by the laws of perspective, enables us to understand that the perceptible Universe exists as a cluster of clusters, irregularly disposed.

The ›clusters‹ of which this Universal ›cluster of clusters‹ consists, are merely what we have been in the practice of designating ›nebulæ‹ – and, of these ›nebulæ,‹ one is of paramount interest to mankind. I allude to the Galaxy, or Milky Way. This interests us, first and most obviously, on account of its great superiority in apparent size, not only to any one other cluster in the firmament, but to all the other clusters taken together. The largest of these latter occupies a mere point, comparatively, and is distinctly seen only with the aid of a telescope. The Galaxy sweeps throughout the Heaven and is brilliantly visible to the naked eye. But it interests man chiefly, although less immediately, on account of its being his home; the home of the Earth on which he exists; the home of the Sun about which this Earth revolves; the home of that ›system‹ of orbs of which the Sun is the centre and primary – the Earth one of sixteen secondaries, or planets – the Moon one of seventeen tertiaries, or satellites. The Galaxy, let me repeat, is but one of the clusters which I have been describing – but one of the mis-called ›nebulæ‹ revealed to us – by the telescope alone, sometimes – as faint hazy spots in various quarters of the sky. We have no reason to suppose the Milky Way really more extensive than the least of these ›nebulæ.‹ Its vast superiority in size is but an apparent superiority arising from our position in regard to it – that is to say, from our position in its midst. However strange the assertion may at first appear to those unversed in Astronomy, still the astronomer himself has no hesitation in asserting that we are in the midst of that inconceivable host of stars – of suns – of systems – which constitute the Galaxy. Moreover, not only have we – not only has our Sun a right to claim the Galaxy as its own especial cluster, but, with slight reservation, it may be said that all the distinctly visible stars of the firmament – all the stars visible to the naked eye – have equally a right to claim it as their own.

 


 &c; textlog.de 2004 • 11.12.2017 16:15:24 •
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