April 17, 2012
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Cosmos doesn’t really mean what you think it means. Or, put differently, its true meaning is hidden beneath the surface, like an iceberg, with only its outward product or result being apparent.
This is because the current understanding of the word cosmos is akin to ‘universe’ or, better yet, ‘the totality of all things in the universe’. While this interpretation is not wrong as far as it goes, it refers only to the outward manifestation of ‘the totality of all things in the universe’, i.e., the simple fact of their existence, and not the fundamental characteristic originally denoted by the word, which is, from the Greek, ‘order’.
Originally, the cosmos was not seen simply as a collection of things in space, but an ordered collection of things that had a fundamental logic and a dependable set of operations underpinning its arrangement. Through this view of the word one can get a glimpse of the ancient belief in a harmonious, mechanical universe in which everything that exists moves together, in an intricate and continuous dance, like a piece of music or a finely made clock.
It is not necessary, if one is averse to such notions, to subscribe to the entirety of the ancient world’s mystical beliefs surrounding the stars and planets in order to appreciate a word and a worldview which not only takes into account, but could even be said to celebrate the profound and intricate dance performed all around us by vast, distant and incomprehesible bodies of which, even today, we know almost nothing.