The Secret of the Universe


SPIN, I spin, around, around,
  And close my eyes,
  And let the bile arise
From the sacred region of the soul’s Profound;
Then gaze upon the world; how strange! how new!         
  The earth and heaven are one,
  The horizon-line is gone,
The sky how green! the land how fair and blue!
Perplexing items fade from my large view,
And thought which vexed me with its false and true        
Is swallowed up in Intuition; this,
  This is the sole true mode
  Of reaching God,
And gaining the universal synthesis
Which makes All—One; while fools with peering eyes        
Dissect, divide, and vainly analyse.
So round, and round, and round again!
How the whole globe swells within my brain,
The stars inside my lids appear,
The murmur of the spheres I hear        
Throbbing and beating in each ear;
Right in my navel I can feel
The centre of the world’s great wheel.
Ah peace divine, bliss dear and deep,
  No stay, no stop,        
  Like any top
Whirling with swiftest speed, I sleep.
O ye devout ones round me coming,
Listen! I think that I am humming;
  No utterance of the servile mind        
With poor chop-logic rules agreeing
  Here shall ye find,
But inarticulate burr of man’s unsundered being.
Ah, could we but devise some plan,
Some patent jack by which a man        
Might hold himself ever in harmony
With the great whole, and spin perpetually,
  As all things spin
  Without, within,
As Time spins off into Eternity,        
And Space into the inane Immensity,
And the Finite into God’s Infinity,
  Spin, spin, spin, spin.

by Edward Dowden (1843-1913)

P.S. There are strict observational limits on the rotation of the Universe; see, e.g., here.

3 Responses to “The Secret of the Universe”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Clearly an anticipation of ‘spin foam’ as a speculative theory of spacetime!

  2. I’m surprised you don’t have a pingback to an older post on a similar topic.

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