cosmic philosophy

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?
—  Richard Dawkins, ‘Unweaving the Rainbow’
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Mr. Mxyzptlk:  The big problem with being immortal is filling your time.  For example, I spent the first two thousand years of my existence doing absolutely nothing.  I didn’t move…I didn’t breath.  Eventually, simple inertia became tiresome, so I spent the next two thousand years being saintly and benign, doing only good deeds.  When that novelty began to fade, I decided to try being mischievous.  Now, two thousand years later, I’m bored again.  I need a change.  Starting with your death, I shall spend the next two millennia being evil!  After that, who knows?  Perhaps I’ll try being guilty for a while.  

Louis Lane: Superman…H-He’s changing!

Mxyzptlk: Did you honestly believe a fifth-dimensional sorcerer would resemble a funny little man in a derby hate?  Would you like to see how I really look?”

-Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow: Part 2 by Alan Moore

It wrinkles my brain to think about how lucky we are to be alive. By some estimates, the odds of any one of us being exactly who we are today are 1 in 10^2,685,000—a number not only larger than all the particles in the universe, but larger than all the particles in the universe if each particle were itself a universe. Holy shit, we’re so lucky!!! *buys Powerball ticket and loses* Goddammit, I’m the unluckiest person in the world.

What do I really want? He thinks. This is, of course, an extremely good question. It was just such a pity that, life being as it tended to be, it so rarely came as part of a matched pair, with an extremely good answer.
—  Iain M. Banks

Claude Francois Menestrier - Phantom Suns, “La Philosophie des Images”, 1682.

Mock Suns or Phantom Suns (meteorological name Parhelia), are an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either horizontal side on the Sun, often co-occurring with a luminous ring known as a 22° halo. Phantom Suns are a member of a large family of halos, created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. Phantom Auns typically appear as two subtly colored patches of light to the left and right of the Sun, approximately 22° distant and at the same elevation above the horizon as the Sun. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Phantom Suns are best seen and are most conspicuous when the Sun is close to the horizon.

Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light. Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky. Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity.
—  Seneca

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa - The Cosmic Tree of Universal Matter with Seven Branches and Opposing Triangles, “De Occulta Philosophia”, 1533.

The symbol of the cosmic tree in both its upright and inverted forms is clearly found in the Rg Veda. Both forms of the cosmic tree are used as the basic formulation of the cosmogony and cosmology of the soma sacrifice. 

In Rg Vedic cosmology, the unmanifest realm above is represented by an upright tree. The manifest world below is represented by an inverted tree. These can be graphically depicted as two triangles pointing in opposite directions and mirroring each other. This is the probable origin of the graphic representation of two triangles opposed to each other found in European alchemical and magical traditions. The soma priest used fire along the cosmic pillar/tree to invert it, making it an upward‑pointing triangle. This initiated a reunification of the manifest and unmanifest worlds. The fire (Agni) is said in the Rg Veda to be born directly from the entheogenic lotus (puskara) that induces the inner fire in the heart.

When the two triangles representing the manifest and the unmanifest worlds merge in the heart as explained in the Rg Vedic soma ceremony, the formation of the six‑pointed star body of light results. Fire reverses the inverted tree of manifestation by uniting the manifest with the unmanifest, forming a union of opposites. At this stage celestial soma merges with terrestrial Agni and lights up the solar heart. The six-pointed star body is really a seven‑pointed star body. Along the trunk there are three sets of pairs of limbs, which equal six points. The central pillar is itself the seventh point of the seven‑pointed star body. The luminous solar body of light emerges from the primal waters of creation in the heart‑ocean. This inner star body formed by the union of opposites is found at the basis of many Western mystical traditions including magic, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, alchemy, Hermetic traditions, and the works of Jacob Boehme, Robert Fludd, and John Dee.