Friday 20th March 2015
God there’s nothing like a solar eclipse like the one ( partial about 88% ) we’ve just had here in the UK to remind you with a jolt just how bloody vulnerable we are here on planet earth. To remind you that we’re all just stood on a giant lump of rock and whatever else floating about in space and actually it’s not that big compared with what’s out there. In fact it’s bloody tiny !
Hundreds of years ago most people didn’t understand what an eclipse was. Those that thought that the sun went round the earth which was flat and Jerusalem was the centre of the world and a God created everything, they were the supposed intelligentsia, held the power over those who couldn’t read and write and who didn’t have the time to think about such things because they were far too busy just trying to live. That clever bloke Galileo he had to crawl on his hands and knees to Rome to retract his astronomical theories in front of the Pope because otherwise he’d have been whipped and tortured as a heretic before being barbecued on an open fire in front of the populace to remind them just who was in charge around here. The Pope you see was appointed directly by God ( just like Henry the Eighth and he was a fruitcake) and what the Pope said was therefore God’s word and anyone who disputed what the Pope said by association disputed what God said and therefore was a heretic. It was an easy mistake to make especially when the Pope could change his mind at any moment and might have been a bit power crazy as well as being a bit bonkers. The English Kings and Queens they drank in the same pub as well because they too were appointed directly by God. Fortunately we’ve moved on since the Renaissance………….. or have we ?
I’ve seen three eclipses now in my lifetime, one total and two partial. The last two moved me almost to tears, thankfully.