by Conscious Reminder
Aether is associated with the property of quintessence which is the purest form of matter. According to ancient philosophy, aether or ether as it is now known as is the highest element, elevated above the other 4 (Fire, Water, Air and Earth).
It is said to permeate all nature and is the very substance which is the building block of all the cosmos and the celestial bodies. Aether is also referred to as the purest form of air. Ancient Greeks believed that the Gods themselves breathe aether, whereas us mortals sustained ourselves on air. Aether is the substance that fills up the universe.
How Mythology Explains Aether
As you might have already guessed, aether plays a very important role in mythology, especially the creation myth. According to that myth, the universe hatched from a cosmic egg. This particular explanation of the existence of the world as we know it is shared across many cultures and civilizations in the world. It usually plays out in one of the following two ways; either the egg hatches and divides into heaven and earth or a God is born out of it, who then creates the world.
For instance, in Hindu Mythology there is a detailed description of the Brahmanda in the Vedas. Brahma stands for cosmos and anda for egg. As per the Vedas, the egg floated in the limitless void and then hatched into Heaven (or Dyaus) and Earth (or Prithvi).
Further in Taoist mythology, the Cosmic egg hatched and Pangu came forth. This God’s upper body formed the heavens and the lower body formed the earth. As he grew taller and wider, the skies were raised higher and the earth became so full. When he died, Mother Nature was born from his body.
Similarly, in Greek mythology, the cosmic egg brought forth Phanes who was the primeval deity. Other Gods followed suit after him and thus created Earth.
How Cosmology Explains Aether
In modern cosmology, the cosmic egg theory still finds place. We just refer to it as the Big Bang now. Before the big bang, the entire universe was clustered tightly together which later burst forth and started expanding.
Aether helps understand the skies or the space as we like to call it now. We all know that there is an immense vacuum in Space, and 68% of that consists of Dark energy. This is what is causing the universe to expand even today.
Dark matter, which is considered the answer to the mysterious gravitational pull that holds the galaxies and planets as tight knit clusters is also widespread making 27% of the matter. Aether, as explained by Aristotle, moved in circular motion and had the power to hold even celestial bodies. Circular motion is similar to the elliptical orbits of almost all planets and galaxies.
In 14th century, this 5th element or Quintessence as it was called was the topic of intensive research by alchemists. Later in 18th century, aether theories were used by scientists to explain the electromagnetic force. Newton, Einstein and many scientists have all used as well as refuted the existence of this element in their works.
Whether you believe in this 5th element or not, it cannot be argued it has played an important role in our understanding of the universe.
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