Ancient People Seek Law in Natural Phenomenon
Ancient People Seek Law in Natural Phenomenon
  • 조송현 조송현
  • 승인 2021.02.13 15:16
  • 업데이트 2021.02.13 15:26
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The re-reading of the 'The Universe-View Odyssey' in English (2)
Zeus Head Statue. Vatican Fio-Clementino Museum of Art. [Source: Wikipedia]
Zeus Head Statue. Vatican Fio-Clementino Museum of Art. [Source: Wikipedia]

Imagine a primitive man. They may have noticed that the sun and the moon rise and fall, and that the day dawns and darkens again during their hunting lives. He would have had to go hunting in the morning and return to a cave or hut when the sun set. Then you would have learned that the length of the day changed little by little and the seasons changed.

Ancient people who started farming must have paid more attention to natural phenomena than primitive people. This is because farming is much more affected by weather and seasonal changes than hunting and gathering. Experience has taught you that sowing and harvesting have a certain period of time. Furthermore, it is clear that it is easily recognized that it is closely related to the operation of the sun or the moon.

Human beings did not hesitate to move far in search of a good place to live. Sometimes he would have had to continue his journey at night. The stars in the sky must have been perfect as milestones. From some point on, they may have learned that some stars are moving and some are stand still.

In this process, ancient people discover very important facts. In other words, there is a certain regularity in the movement of the sun and moon and stars in the sky, and in the change of the earth. Then they must have thought about the law of change and what might be the power (cause) that causes this law of change.

Primitive humans would have thought that whoever was in charge of nature had similar intentions to themselves. In other words, he believed that the transcendent beings(gods) that govern human destiny govern the world based on human-like values. That's why I thought God has human characteristics such as love, jealousy, and vengeance. Natural phenomena such as storms, floods, and droughts were also understood to be caused by God's 'human impulse.'

Achilles (left) and Ias, who participated in the Trojan War, play chess. It is a painting on a pot of water produced between 540 and 530 BC.Achilles (left) and Ias, who participated in the Trojan War, play chess. It is a painting on a pot of water produced between 540 and 530 BC. Source: Troy (Rubybox)
Achilles (left) and Ias, who participated in the Trojan War, play chess. It is a painting on a pot of water produced between 540 and 530 BC. [Source : Troy (Rubybox)]

It is a myth that made these thoughts into a story. It was the ancient Greeks who showed outstanding talent in this field. Homerus of Ionia, Greece, in the 8th century B.C. is a representative figure. The lives of the gods he painted were no different from humans on earth. Especially the gods are never righteous or moral.

The ancient Greeks believed their myths to be true. Because gods dominate the power of nature, they thought it was wiser than anything else to serve them while acting carefully. The Greek word aitia, meaning cause, originally means sin. It can be assumed that the cause of natural change was understood as God's retaliation or punishment for sin.

But as time went by and experience accumulated, people would have come to think that the order of nature was not determined by a capricious god. Looking at it, the movement of the sun was closely related to the change of day and night, and there were clear rules on the way the sun crossed the sky.

You may have also realized that the seasons have changed depending on the relative position of the sun and the celestial sphere, and that the changes in the seasons determine the lives of plants and animals. We also learned that the moon changes its shape regularly according to its geometric position to the sun, and that the tide of the sea changes regularly depending on the moon's position and status.

Not only that, but it also leads to discovering that complexly moving planets are eventually operating according to clear rules. It would have been hard to believe that this phenomenon was created by the mythical capricious god. He must have thought that this world must be driven by rules. Human beings attempt to give systematic explanations based on such regularity. Finally, mankind has created the natural science of studying the universal laws of natural phenomena.

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