The Sun never sets

Really. Then why do we call the beautiful daily events 'sunrise' and 'sunset'?


It's astounding that we still use language based on an idea that has known to be wrong since 900BC. The Vedic Sanskrit text Aitareya Brahmana states: "The Sun never sets nor rises, that's right. When people think the sun is setting, it is not so; they are mistaken."

A thousand years later, Vishnu Purana, stated even more clearly, "The sun is stationed for all time, in the middle of the day. [...] Of the sun, which is always in one and the same place, there is neither setting nor rising."

The Greeks were on to the idea too. In 300 BC astronomer and mathematician Aristarchus of Samos proposed the sun was the center of our solar system, and the stars were far away.

Unfortunately, the idea that the Earth rotates and circles the Sun was opposed until Copernicus (1473-1543) and Galileo (1564-1642) revived and defended the idea only to have it repressed by the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, astronomer Italian philosopher, priest, astronomer/astrologer Giordanno Bruno (1548-1600) was burned at the stake as a heretic for his belief in Copernicanism.

Ignoring scientific reality, it seems, is not just a characteristic of today's government.

But individually we're guilty too when we perpetuate ignorance in our language and thoughtlessly ignore the reality that these often spectacular displays are not because the sun sets or rises but because the earth rotates on its axis.

Buckminster Fuller had the right idea, I think, when he coined the words 'sunsight' and 'sunclipse' to identify the phenomena. Try them yourself, they do make reality clearer and the events even more beautiful.

TH

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