My cousin is a math genius (like, fo rilz) who's getting his PhD in, yes, math right now, and he started a very fun blog all about math. As someone who always liked both math and my cousin, I didn't have a hard time being convinced to read it, but I promise it's a fun read even if you've never been a math person. His blog explains how math is a philosophy, not a set of rules for numbers, that influences the way we think and make decisions every day. Every post gives me something to think about in a way I'd not thought before.
I bring this up because one of his very first posts is my favorite. He talks about parsimony--the tendency we have as humans, when presented with multiple scenarios that are equal to one another in explanatory power, to choose the simplest option. Go read it!_ One of the examples he uses is the model of the solar system, comparing the geocentric (everything goes around the Earth) and heliocentric (everything goes around the sun) models. He demonstrates that, technically, both models are actually correct. We just like to use the heliocentric model because it's enormously more simple to demonstrate and explain.
Having grown up like most people, being taught in school to mock the idiocy of the geocentric ideas of our forefathers, this idea stuck with me. Eventually, I YouTubed a bunch of simulations of individual planets "circling the Earth" over several thousand years just to see what this geocentric model looked like, taking one piece at a time because the entire solar system gyrating around overwhelmed me a little, making it hard to put together. These individual simulations were surprisingly beautiful to me, because each planet followed a very similar pattern, looping around and around in mini curly-queues and making a giant circle around the Earth as the years ticked by, eventually overlapping so many times that its path became a thick band of light.
Then I got to Venus. Venus was the only planet that didn't stray far from its original path around the Earth, and its path is so so beautiful! It makes an embellished star shape, over and over, around our little planet, weaving us together with the sun. I love it.
As I was watching these videos, I realized how fitting these symbols were. Our heliocentric model that we have defined for ourselves based on thousands of hours of evidence-gathering is beautiful. Its straightforward presentation of truths is clean and powerful for teaching. The geocentric model is beautiful in a different way, in a way that highlights the complexity and intertwining nature of our relationship to the solar system. Both are true. At first glance, that seems impossible, because they're presenting opposing information. People can argue that one is more true or more useful, and whether or not that is true, one truth remains, regardless: rejecting either model leaves you without the unique perspective it offers. Accepting both is not about performing mental gymnastics to explain away defects so much as it's about learning to change your perspective.
Studying the geocentric model left me with a new sense of wonder that I'd lost somewhat over the many years of watching all the planets march in their concentric ellipses around the sun. Even though that's amazing, it had grown stale in my mind without me realizing it. Flipping my perspective around helped me regain a proper sense of awe.
If we want to make this spiritual (wealwaysmakeitspirichal), it's super easy. In fact, I'm not even going to bother going over it--it's done! But I do want to talk a little about Venus before finishing up. Venus is referred to as the Morning Star, just like Jesus (Revelation 22:16_, to name one of many). That's one reason why the five-pointed star is a symbol of the Savior. I was pondering these things a little over a month ago, and during that week, every time I finished my morning meditations and opened my eyes, Venus would be perfectly positioned directly in front of me in this little gap in the trees across the street, winking brightly at me in the darkness. It was an excellent reminder that all things testify of Christ, whether it be the stately order of planets revolving around the Sun as the center of all things, or whether it be Venus going back and forth from the life-giving Sun to Earth, illustrating the condescension of Christ and mediating role he plays as it draws its beautiful five-pointed star in the cosmos.
My point here is simple. Look for God in all things, and God will be found. Don't reject something just because it's unfamiliar or initially uncomfortable. Glean all the learning you can from the vast library of resources this life offers, "for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have" (2 Nephi 28:30).
Sat nam ; )
Exploring the spiritual side of things. Brevity is not my forte.