THEOSOPHY, Vol. 38, No. 5, March, 1950
(Pages 225-227; Size: 9K)
(Number 3 of an 11-part series)
EXTENSIONS OF EVIDENCE
TRANS-SOLAR SPACE AND NEBULAE
NEARLY a hundred years ago, the great German scientist, Alexander von Humboldt, suggested that trans-solar space did not show any phenomenon analogous to our solar system. He is quoted as writing in the Revue Germanique of December 31, 1860: "It is a peculiarity of our System, that matter should have condensed within it in nebulous rings, the nuclei of which condense into earths and moons. I say again, heretofore nothing of the kind has ever been observed beyond our planetary system" (S.D. I, 497 fn.). Nonetheless, and notwithstanding H. P. Blavatsky's affirmation of the view that "no earths or moons can be found except in appearance --beyond, or of the same order of matter as found in our system," astronomers infer from the observed concentration in the Milky Way, that here on earth we are situate inside a great disk-shaped system of stars, and controversy has raged for many years about the nature of certain types of nebulae. Mr. Fred Hoyle tells us in The Listener (London, April 7, 1949) that as against the theory that these nebulae were small patches of gas within our own galaxy, American astronomers have found that they are independent stellar systems having dimensions comparable with those of the Milky Way itself.
It is said that the number of independent galaxies within the range of present observation is about 100,000,000 and that light takes about one thousand million years to come from the most distant galaxies visible in the larger telescopes. Mr. Hoyle goes on to say:Where have these galaxies come from? It now seems fairly certain that they have condensed out of a uniform background of diffuse gaseous material. Is this background exhausted? Or can new galaxies still condense out of it? I think there is little doubt that the background is very far from being exhausted. On a fair estimate only about one part in a thousand has been used up to form the galaxies. It is therefore to be expected that new condensations are continually being formed out of it.This background material is thought of as being distributed throughout the whole of space, and observation shows that the galaxies themselves are moving away from each other at enormous speed, "which for the most distant galaxies becomes comparable with the speed of light itself." This expanding universe is determined in much the same manner as a whistle from an approaching train is noticed to possess a higher pitch, and from a disappearing train a lower pitch, than a similar whistle from a stationary train:Light emitted by a moving object has the same property. In particular the pitch of the light is lowered, or as we say reddened, if the object is receding from us. Now we observe that light from the galaxies is reddened, and the degree of reddening increases proportionately with the distance of a galaxy. The natural explanation of this is that the galaxies are rushing away from each other at enormous speeds....How does the discovery that the space in which galaxies are confined expands into time affect theories about the "creation" of matter in the universe? Earlier hypotheses assumed that this matter was created at a particular time in the remote past. Mr. Hoyle suggests that all such theories conflict with the new observational requirements, and that we are now faced with the conception of matter being created continuously. It was supposed that there was a decrease of background density as we went forward into the future, and an increase as we go back into the past. It is not the case, however, that galaxies formed in the remote past have average densities greater than the density of the existing background; all the galaxies are observed to have mean densities not greatly in excess of the present background. On this basis, continuous creation "takes place in such a way that the background density remains constant with time." The groundwork of this theory (Mr. Hoyle says) was prepared by H. Weyl, a German mathematician now living in the United States.
Mr. Hoyle states that the results of a good deal of mathematical work would appear to show that both the age of the universe and the volume of space are infinite:Both Eddington and Jeans were concerned with model universes of finite age and volume, and containing a fixed amount of matter. This led Jeans, on the basis of a thermodynamic argument, to proclaim that the ultimate fate of the universe was a featureless heat death. Every physical process was supposed to hasten this end. But the type of argument used by Jeans becomes invalid when applied to a universe with continuous creation of matter. The creation of new material prevents thermodynamic degeneration, and there is no running down at all. In other words the universe remains permanently wound up. Eddington, on the other hand, was much impressed by a certain coincidence between a number that arose out of his theory of the expanding universe and a number obtained from atomic physics. One of the reasons why I am favourably disposed towards the creation theory is that this coincidence now appears as a relation between the rate of creation of matter and a number derived from atomic theory.We doubt if wisdom will arise from the welter of theories until science turns its attention to the despised esotericism of the ancients. There is no guarantee that future observations or deductions will not upset the latest theories of continuous creation. "To become complete and comprehensible," wrote H. P. Blavatsky, "a cosmogonical theory has to start with a primordial Substance diffused throughout boundless Space, of an intellectual and divine nature" (S.D. I, 594). Further, the occult teaching says:Nothing is created, but is only transformed. Nothing can manifest itself in this universe -- from a globe down to a vague, rapid thought -- that was not in the universe already; everything on the subjective plane is an eternal is; as everything on the objective plane is an ever becoming -- because transitory.Even the usual nebular hypothesis was anticipated by Anaximenes, the Greek rhetorician of the 6th century B.C., who taught "that the sidereal bodies were formed through the progressive condensation of a primordial pregenetic matter, which had almost a negative weight, and was spread out through Space in an extremely sublimated condition" (S.D. I, 590). Add to these thoughts a fundamental law in Occultism, "that there is no rest or cessation of motion in Nature," and the incessant theories and speculations of today will be seen to differ greatly even from the incomplete but faithful systems of Kant and Laplace, themselves "a short chapter out of the large volume of universal esoteric cosmogony" (S.D. I, 597).
EXTENSIONS OF EVIDENCE
NATURE AND EXPERIENCE
(Part 4 of an 11-part series)
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