Where is the centre of the universe?

This is a post from the Stoic mailing list at Yahoo Groups. It touches on a central tenet of Stoicism.

Jan wrote:

It’s certainly traditional Stoic doctrine that somehow connected with the all-pervading Logos (=Zeus=Nature=Providence=designing fire) is the obligatory law of nature, aka jus nature; the mind of the (human) sage is, according to classical Stoicism, aligned with this law of nature. That’s a bit too mystical for me (although it was convenient enough for the ancient Stoics.)

Jan, I don’t think that this alignment needs to be mystical. Please bear with me if I play with a quite interesting and proven fact of physics. First, assume that Zeus (or the Brahman if you are Hindu) is situated at the centre of the universe. Wouldn’t it be nice if you too could put yourself at the centre of the universe and so literally align yourself with nature? The reality that you don’t have to try – you already are at the centre. Scientists have shown that the residual background radiation from the big bang is distributed 360 degrees all around us. Look out in any direction and you can see thirteen and a half billion light years back to the very beginning of the universe. You are literally at the centre of the universe. This is a property of space and a direct result of the Special Theory of relativity. I discuss this in my book that has just come out. No matter where you are in the universe, you will be at the centre.

Basically, there are two centres, the individual and the cosmic. They are different but indistinguishable. The relativistic nature of space makes them “non-dual”. This is the principle of non-duality, a principle of Advaita Vedanta philosophy but also an implicit Stoic tenet.

Thus, the problem is not to try and align yourself with nature – you are already there. The problem comes from the futility of trying to do otherwise.

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