- 11. It (the Web) expands when the breath of fire (the Father) is upon it ; it contracts when the breath of the mother (the root of Matter) touches it. Then the sons (the Elements with their respective Powers, or Intelligences) dissociate and scatter, to return into their mother’s bosom at the end of the “ great day ” and rebecome one with her (a). When it (the Web) is cooling, it becomes radiant, its sons expand and contract through their own selves and hearts ; they embrace infinitude. (b)
The expanding of the Universe under the breath of Fire is very suggestive in the light of the “ Fire mist ” period of which modern science speaks so much, and knows in reality so little.
Great heat breaks up the compound elements and resolves the
heavenly bodies into their primeval one element, explains the commentary. “ Once disintegrated into its primal constituent by getting within the attraction and reach of a focus, or centre of heat (energy), of which many are carried about to and fro in space, a body, whether alive or dead, will be vapourised and held in “ the bosom of the Mother ” until Fohat, gathering a few of the clusters of Cosmic matter (nebulæ) will, by giving it an impulse, set it in motion anew, develop the required heat, and then leave it to follow its own new growth.
The expanding and contracting of the Web — i.e., the world stuff or atoms — expresses here the pulsatory movement ; for it is the regular contraction and expansion of the infinite and shoreless Ocean of that which we may call the noumenon of matter emanated by Swâbhâvat, which causes the universal vibration of atoms. But it is also suggestive of something else. It shows that the ancients were acquainted with that which is now the puzzle of many scientists and especially of astronomers : the cause of the first ignition of matter or the world-stuff, the paradox of the heat produced by the refrigerative contraction and other such Cosmic riddles. For it points unmistakeably to a knowledge by the ancients of such phenomena. “ There is heat internal and heat external in every atom,” say the manuscript Commentaries, to which the writer has had access ; “ the breath of the Father (or Spirit) and the breath (or heat) of the Mother (matter) ;” and they give explanations which show that the modern theory of the extinction of the solar fires by loss of heat through radiation, is erroneous. The assumption is false even on the Scientists’ own admission. For as Professor Newcomb points out (Popular Astronomy, pp. 506-508), “ by losing heat, a gaseous body contracts, and the heat generated by the contraction exceeds that which it had to lose in order to produce the contraction.” This paradox, that a body gets hotter as the shrinking produced by its getting colder is greater, led to long disputes. The surplus of heat, it was argued, was lost by radiation, and to assume that the temperature is not lowered pari passu with a decrease of volume under a constant pressure, is to set at nought the law of Charles (Nebular Theory, Winchell). Contraction develops heat, it is true ; but contraction (from cooling) is incapable of developing the whole amount of heat at any time existing in the mass, or even of maintaining a body at a constant temperature, etc. Professor Winchell tries to reconcile the paradox — only a seeming one in fact, as
Homer Lanes proved, — by suggesting “ something besides heat.” “ May it not be,” he asks, “ simply a repulsion among the molecules, which varies according to some law of the distance ? ” But even this will be found irreconcileable, unless this “ something besides heat ” is ticketed “ Causeless Heat,” the “ Breath of Fire,” the all-creative Force plus absolute intelligence, which physical science is not likely to accept.
However it may be, the reading of this Stanza shows it, notwithstanding its archaic phraseology, to be more scientific than even modern science.