5: Astronomy and Cosmology
The observable part of the universe is a small part of its total calculated mass. Cold, dark, and silent, the hidden matter orbits stars, or itself, or nothing— unidentifiable pinpricks, elements of chaos in the distant invisible pantomime like electrons dancing between nuclei in the heart or brain of the observer. Carbon and oxygen from exploded stars support life on earth, where we try to deny our insignificance and exaggerate our differences from the animate and inanimate worlds around us. No one can know the untranslatable, animal senses— the bat that sees clearly with its ears, the moth that smells without a nose— the motivation of the animal, its unfamiliar loves and desires, or how they persist when nothing may lie at the center of these strange attractors.