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The galaxies form an immense cosmic river, to the delight of Heraclitus

A recent announcement (April 24, 2023) by NASA indicates that the James Webb Space Telescope revealed that galaxies form an immense river of cosmic proportions, a finding that would have delighted the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who 2,500 years ago expressed a similar concept.

More precisely, as explained by Benedetta Vulcani, from the National Institute of Astrophysics in Italy, the new images from the space telescope allow " distant galaxies like small drops of water in different rivers", adding that "eventually (those drops) will all become part of one big, mighty river”.

To claim that a Greek thinker who lived two and a half millennia ago in some way anticipated a 21st century scientific discovery seems, without a doubt, an unreasonable claim. But is not.

It should be remembered that a century ago Werner Heisenberg, a German theoretical physicist and one of the main pioneers of the theory of quantum mechanics, emphasized in one of his books that " modern physics is extremely near to the doctrine of Heraclitus."

In fact, Heisenberg said, “If we replace ‘fire’ by the word ‘energy’ we can almost repeat his statements word for word from our modern point of view.”

For this reason, respectfully expanding the thought of the renowned German physicist, we can say that, in some way, Heraclitus anticipated those "galactic rivers" when he spoke of reality itself as a constantly flowing and changing river ("You cannot step into the same river twice.") and the interconnection between all the elements of reality (logos).

The new discoveries reveal that galactic rivers represent "the greatest concentration of mass in the known universe" and that this mass "distorts the very fabric of spacetime." In other words, the galactic rivers are constantly flowing (Heraclitus' panta rei) and, therefore, the same river cannot be studied twice, because it has already changed.

How important is it to us what Heraclitus said 2,500 years ago? From a certain perspective, in this time of deep superficiality guided by ephemeral "influencers", none.

But from another point of view, the fact that someone, using only his mind, has anticipated modern discoveries indicates that we, if we think, could do the same. But we don't.

Heraclitus is one of those thinkers whom we have not yet been able to overcome, not because he has to be overcome, but because we continue to think as he thought, but only up to a certain point, because if we really thought as he thought, then today we would be anticipating discoveries that will only be achieved around the year 4500 (although knowledge no longer grows sequentially, but exponentially.)

But Heraclitus paid a high price for the audacity of his thought: it was not understood and, worse still, it was misunderstood for millennia. For this reason, his wisdom, although frequently repeated, went unnoticed and was "recovered" as such only in our time.

I wonder who (if they exist) the greats of our age are. those who will be celebrated and remembered for their wisdom 2,500 years from now.



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