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<eyebeam><blast> Astronomical hindsight

I found much food for thinking in Martin Jay's "Astronomical Hinsight"
(where was it or is going to be published?), especially in its first,
historical part.  Blumenberg's quotation on astronomical photography's
creating "simultaneity of the nonsimultaneous", and therefore condensing
all pasts into our present, is most insightful.  However, I find the
implication that starlight shows us "celestial bodies that have long
since vanished" somewhat misleading or limited:  nobody knows if those
stars and galaxies have vanished.  They most likely have evolved into
some other form of existance.  The universe is not full of dead cinders
-- it constantly changes, and new stars and galaxies are born from the
dust of old ones and the shock waves of supernovas.  Therefore looking
into the entire past of the universe through the limit of light's speed
is highly exciting, I find, not saddening.  Also, astronomical
photography is now but one (the oldest) method of visualizing and
recording the universe's past .  Radio astronomy, x-ray astronomy,
gama-ray astronomy, etc. use computer renderings to make visible the
structures of the universe.  Besides, there is nothing sacred or stable
about our sense of vision (it uses a tiny section of the electromagnetic
spectrum and lots of illusions, including turning all images upside
Baudrillard not only has his facts wrong about light (which NEVER slows
down  -- it goes always at its same speed), but also his metaphors
mixed! (p. 8 of the paper).  Professor Jay corrects the misconception in
a very clear paragraph right after, yet he still finds validity in
Baudrillard's mixed metaphors.  I must admit I did not quite follow the
subsequent argument on virtual reality (sounds to me too romantic or at
least subjective), but I do like Professor Jay's ending sentence.
Athena Tacha

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