Black holes and Mystery


M-87 Jet

The photo of a black hole 50 million light-years away, located at the center of the M87 galaxy, has been released to great media fanfare, justifiably so. However the photo is blurry and unassuming. But the most disappointing thing is the absolute emptiness of the journalistic comments accompanying the publication: not a shadow of an evocation of possible philosophical opening, not the slightest beginning of a broader reflection, for example on the possible cosmological links between black holes and the nature of the universe, on the question of the mystery of its origin or its metaphysical « end », which is even more opaque.

It is true that metaphysical questions are nowadays past fashionable occupations, and even highly suspect in the eyes of the scientists and materialists who abound around the world.

The dominant ideology ‘dominates’, and the ‘world civilization’ has clearly lost interest in the Mystery.

The ‘world civilization’ no longer has the desire to contemplate what is entirely beyond her views, and makes her infinitely smaller, deep down.

She prefers to focus on (material) images and (positivist) ideas.

The trend is not new. It has been described many times since the 19th century.

Oswald Spengler, for example, at the beginning of the last century, in the midst of industrial and technical expansion, wrote these critical lines:

« One thing is to know that there are mysteries, that the world is nothing but a unique and impenetrable mystery. An era that loses this faith no longer has a soul. Then begin the arrogant questions, based on the belief that the mystery is nothing more than a temporary unknown, that the spirit of interrogation can decipher. » i

Spengler, it will be said, is now only a sulphurous, discredited author. To quote him is undoubtedly tantamount to taking some risks.

But in his own way, Spengler testifies to a vanished universe and a vision of the world that is not very « modern », where heroes and saints were still venerated (horresco referens):

« The hero despises death, and the saint despises life. » ii

Oswald Spengler, and it was undoubtedly there, among other things, a fatal error, especially committed the indelicacy of pointing out with sharpness the « decline » of the West, while giving the impression of regretting this programmed shipwreck.

Rather than attacking the West alone, it would probably have been better to condemn the decline of the « humankind », and to castigate the progressive decline of humanity as a whole.

That would have been politically more correct, but the proponents of progressivism would have been more enraged than ever with him.

From a strictly philosophical point of view, it is probable that Spengler would in fact have been unable to give flesh and substance to the concept of « humanity » and to expressions such as « the human » or « man per se » – all formulations whose relevance he denied, and whose origin he attributed to the « chatter of philosophers »:

« There is no such thing as « man per se », as the gossip of the philosophers claims, but only men of a certain time, in a certain place, of a certain race, endowed with a personal nature that imposes itself or succumbs in its struggle against a given world, while the universe, in its divine carelessness, remains immutable around it. This struggle is life. » iii

In this « struggle for life », then, does the « man per se » still have a future?

Or is the future only reserved for men of a certain place, a certain race, a certain religion, for fighters imposing themselves on the world?

The question is worth restating in the form of an alternative:

On the one hand, the World Civil War, – men becoming wolves to other men, tribes seeking to ruthlessly impose themselves on other tribes.

On the other side, World Civil Peace, and all men united in the search for mystery.

I opt for future, universal peace, trusting in the words of Joel:

« I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your elders will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on slaves, men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit.»iv

But what relationship, one will ask, between the decline of the West, black holes and the outpouring of the Spirit?

The West is declining because it has admittedly made itself incapable of getting a feel for the presence of the Mystery as such, — the Mystery that is incarnated in many ways, such as black holes or any outpouring of Spirit.

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iOswald Spengler. Historical and philosophical writings. § 43 Ed. Copernicus. Paris. 1979. p.128

iiOswald Spengler. Historical and philosophical writings. § 61 Copernicus Ed. Paris. 1979. p.132

iiiOswald Spengler. Historical and philosophical writings. § 68 Ed. Copernicus. Paris. 1979. p.135

ivJl 3, 1-2