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Cosmos: Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe
Alexander von Humboldt
Limited preview - 2010
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Page 110 - It has been shown in the first part of this paper, that the inhabitants of other planets must comprehend the laws of motion in every essential point as we do ; among other things, as has been already pointed out in the figure of the moon's orbit, which was predetermined by the truths of mathematics ; they must also recognize in the circle, the ellipse, the parabola, &c., * Published in German.
Page 129 - ... or, on others again, be formed of much denser matter. The rational creatures on some of the planets may be capable of receiving far quicker, more acute, and more distinct impressions than on the earth, and on others it may be quite the contrary. If we now turn to the mental forces and mental development we cannot acknowledge less variety ; we may imagine that there are reasonable beings with weaker faculties than...
Page 129 - But what are these dissimilarities of condition when compared to those which exist in all the planets ! amidst those innumerable worlds there is every possible dissimilarity with regard to age, light, radiation, &c. Our tolerably exact knowledge of the dissimilarity of these conditions is limited to an inexpressibly small part of the whole ; its application, therefore, to the results of those intellectual forms of existence which are determined, must be still more limited. The variety in the nature...
Page xvii - He had at this meeting developed to them some of those recondite and remarkable powers which he had been himself the first to discover, and which went almost to the extent of obliging them to alter their views on the most ordinary laws of force and of motion. He elaborated his ideas with slowness and certainty, bringing them forward only after a long lapse of time. How often did he (Sir John Herschel) wish to heaven that he could trample down, and strike for ever to the earth, the hasty...
Page 109 - Nature, although they are only brought into consciousness by natural phenomena ; while surrounding nature, without human aid, must operate in accordance with man's faculty of understanding, although this understanding faculty may, in general, only after several thousand years, attain an insight into the pervading harmony of existence. It is easy to perceive that the grounds which lead us to this conviction are also everywhere valid. Throughout the universe there are beings endowed with the faculty...
Page 452 - ... which must, therefore, be superior to it. If science, therefore, is only to be pursued on account of its utility, there must be something more worth the attention of a rational being than the use of Reason, or something in man which is superior to his mind ; but since this is impossible, science is good both in and for itself, and it requires no extraneous inducement to strive after it for its own sake. It should be pursued on its own account, both as an expression of our inward life, and as...
Page 188 - THE WORLD IN ITS NATURE PERFECT. The world is in its nature perfect; as a divine work it must be so; but since man, in consequence of his limited powers, easily adopts a mistaken view of the world around him, and so much the more the less he strives after the divine light, the world appears to him as something separate and apart from God. Thus the world appears through the guilt of man; but it is not corrupted and destroyed in consequence of its own nature. Neither Christ nor any of the biblical...
Page xviii - The electric telegraph, and other wonders of modern science, were but mere effervescences from the surface of this deep, recondite discovery which Oersted had liberated, and which was yet to burst with all its mighty force upon the world. If we were to characterize by any figure the advantage of Oersted to science, we would regard him as a fertilizing shower descending from heaven, which brought forth a new crop, delightful to the eye, and pleasing to the heart.
Page 108 - This development began with the lower forms, and advanced by gradual steps to higher, till at length in the most recent periods a creature was produced, in which self-conscious knowledge was revealed. We must therefore allow a similar mode of development in the other planets. There may be many which have not yet attained such a degree of development as our globe, or again other far higher beings may have been created...
Page 55 - In the remote distances between the planets, there is no inactive void. "The space," says Oersted, "is filled by ether and penetrated by the attractive forces by which the whole universe is held together. The ether itself is an ocean, whose waves form light, that great connecting link which conveys messages from globe to globe and from system to system. The wonders unravelled by science prove that we are not isolated beings, but that we are related to the whole universe.