Embracing the void
 The ancients had gods and pyramids to tame the sky's mystery. We have Star 
Axis, a masterpiece forty years in the making
 By Ross Andersen
 

 Another terrific essay from Aeon magazine, about "a massive work of land art, 
a naked-eye observatory called Star Axis....a ‘perceptual instrument’...meant 
to offer an ‘intimate experience’ of how ‘the Earth’s environment extends into 
the space of the stars’."
 

 The descriptions of the author's visit to the site are wonderful, but he also 
takes some absorbing excursions into the history of astronomy and the 
psychology of our fascination with the night sky. For example:
 

 "‘One may try to look at the sky,’ the scholar of ancient philosophy Thomas 
McEvilley once wrote, ‘but in fact one looks through it ... for no matter how 
deeply one sees into the sky, there is always an infinite depth remaining.’ 
When we peer into the sky’s abyssal recesses, its blank blues and deep starlit 
voids, we catch a glimpse of infinity, and, as McEvilley says, ‘the finite mind 
has difficulty processing infinity.’ The psychology of this phenomenon was 
described best by Pascal, the 17th-century mathematician who said the starry 
sky made him think of time’s crushing enormity. It made him see that human life 
is a microsecond, beset by two eternities, past and future. ‘The eternal 
silence of these infinite spaces frightens me,’ he said. And who can blame him? 
To look at the sky is to be reminded that oceans of space and time lie beyond 
the reach of our minds. Who can help but feel small under it? By showing us the 
true scope of the unknown, the sky forces us to confront the mysterious nature 
of human experience. It puts us face to face with the most basic of truths — 
that we are all, in some sense, existentially adrift."
 

 Read more:
 

 
http://www.aeonmagazine.com/nature-and-cosmos/star-axis-is-a-profound-meditation-on-the-sky
 
http://www.aeonmagazine.com/nature-and-cosmos/star-axis-is-a-profound-meditation-on-the-sky

 

 The site on Google Maps:
 

 http://goo.gl/maps/NYCBQ http://goo.gl/maps/NYCBQ

 

 

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