What's up everyone. We are doing a contest with T.I. and we are giving away $1200 a day for the next 10 days. Just wanted to give you all a heads up.
Dark Darker Darkest-how Dark is Space?
There are two main kinds of darkness: the sub-darkness and the super-darkness, between which lies, as it were, an octave of light. But the nether-darkness and the Divine Darkness are not the same darkness, for the former is absence of light, while the latter is excess of light. The one symbolizes mere ignorance, and the other a transcendent unknowing — a super-knowledge not obtained by means of the discursive reason.
'Of the First Principle,' says Damascius, 'the ancient Egyptians said nothing, but celebrated Him as a Darkness beyond all intellectual or spiritual perception — a Thrice-unknown Darkness.' This is for ever about the Pavilions of that great Light Unapproachable. It is caused by the superabundance of Light and not by the absence of lumination: it is 'a deep but dazzling Darkness' (Henry Vaughan). 'The light shineth in the darkness' (St. John, I, 5). 'In Thy light we shall see light' (Psalm 36, 9).
As another post mentions, a good rule of thumb might be taking night-time with no light pollution, during a new moon. (I would add no planets here as well.) I poked around for some numbers... (Here: http://www.ee.ryerson.ca/~phiscock/astronomy/light-pollution/photometry.pdf)
What we're looking for is illuminance, which is how much incident light hits a surface for human perception (you mentioned wanting to see your hand). The figure it gives here is 2x10-4 lux, which is on the border of perceptibility (you could probably make out objects, but not read.)
You can definitely see the stars themselves (this is determined by luminence). Scotopic vision (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotopic_vision) can detect things down to maybe 3x10-6 cd/m2 (threshold of vision), vs. "night sky" at 10-4 cd/m2 on the chart.
Okay, but you mentioned "deep" space, and we are still talking about being inside a galaxy. Most of the universe isn't galaxies, but empty space. So let's imagine that we were far away from the Milky Way. At this point, you can give up any hope of seeing your hand. But what other galaxies could we see? What other galaxies are visible from Earth, ignoring the Milky Way and its satellites? Turns out only a handful can be seen. (See "naked-eye galaxies" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_galaxies)
But the universe is far far more cruel than this: at the largest scale, the universe is actually organized mostly into immense voids, and almost all of the galaxies are clustered together (into clusters, filaments and walls) sit between the voids somewhat like a foam. If by "deep space" you mean that you find yourself in one of these voids (and if you picked a random spot in the universe to be in, you'll probably end up here), I doubt you would see anything at all with the naked eye.
4. The mystics speak of other kinds of darkness; for example, the darkness of the night of purgation, and the dark night of the soul, but the Divine Darkness is in a different category from these. It was not without reason that the blessed Moses was commanded first to undergo purification himself and then to separate himself from those who had not undergone it; and after the entire purification heard many-voiced trumpets and saw many lights streaming forth with pure and manifold rays; and that he was thereafter separated from the multitude, with the elect priests, and pressed forward to the summit of the divine ascent.5 Nevertheless, he did not attain to the Presence of 🤬 Himself; he saw not Him (for He cannot be looked upon) but the Place where He dwells. And this I take to signify that the divinest and highest things seen by the eyes or contemplated by the mind are but the symbolical expressions of those that are immediately beneath Him who is above all. Through these, His incomprehensible Presence is manifested upon those heights of His Holy Places; that then It breaks forth, even from that which is seen and that which sees, and plunges the mystic into the Darkness of Unknowing, whence all perfection of understanding is excluded, and he is enwrapped in that which is altogether intangible and noumenal, being wholly absorbed in Him who is beyond all, and in none else (whether himself or another); and through the inactivity of all his reasoning powers is united by his highest faculty to Him who is wholly unknowable; thus by knowing nothing he knows That which is beyond his knowledge.6 5. The Triple Mystic Path is outlined here: - the Purgative, the Illuminative and the Unitive, which have a parallel in the Karma Marga, Jnana Marga, and Bhakti Marga of oriental mysticism.
6. Since it is absolutely impossible for the finite reason to receive a pure knowledge of 🤬 save through processes which divide and limit His Infinite Nature, the mystic at last with absolute faith must plunge into the Darkness of Unknowing, which he can only do when he has reached the loftiest point to which the highest human faculty will raise him.
The ascending stages of degrees of prayer and contemplation delineated by the mystics constitute a ladder by which the aspiring soul mounts from finitude into infinitude. Thus: -
The Prayer of Simplicity (vocal).
The Prayer of the Mind (voiceless).
The Prayer of Recollection (the Perfume or Answer of Prayer).
The Prayer of Quiet (beyond thoughts).
The Prayer of Union; of various degrees of Rapture, Ecstasy and 'Glorious Nothingness.
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