1.1.1. Ancestors of our Modern Cosmological Model
Over the last few thousand years, cosmological models have migrated from the realm of the imagination towards the realm of certainty. Along the way, model making has been plagued by mistakes in reasoning and erroneous observations. Historical memory of cosmological model making and the methodology involved are important, as there are lessons to be learned. For instance, just as we now view the ancient notion of an earth-centered Universe as absurd, we should be reminded that this model arose from a combination of observation and ignorance. That same state exists today, specifically in the area of dark matter which is now invoked in a plethora of cosmological contexts even though we have very little clue as to its real nature and only partial clues as to its very existence. Perhaps in another millennium or two, physicists will have discovered the existence of another long range attractive force in the Universe, thus moving our modern cosmological model, with its various dark matter dominated Universes, into the same realm as the absurd earth-centered Universe.
Our probing of the nature of the Universe is guided by observations and the kinds of questions that we pose. Lingering ambiguity is often the main result of this process but such is to be expected. Our inquiries about the cosmos are naturally primitive and naive. We peer through large pieces of polished glass at dim sources in the night trying to discern the grand architecture of the Universe. It is a noble endeavor and, when combined with generational patience, will lead to understanding. Indeed this process has been underway for sometime now.
We begin 100,000 years ago when interaction with the environment was largely sensory and survival was the key. This was a world awaiting discovery, but for now, it was a world to be divided into animate and inanimate objects. As the millenia passed, human culture took root and began to flourish. With a growing awareness of self and a need to feel connected to the cosmos, humanity projected its personality onto the celestial canopy. Certain patterns of stars were endowed with human or animal characteristics. Mythologies were created to explain the origin and workings of the natural and perhaps supernatural universes. Observations (against some very dark skies) of the cycles of sunrise and sunset, lunar phases, and seasonal motions of the stars, became ingrained in the cosmological models created by various cultures. It is interesting to note that, despite variations in the details of individual cultural mythic cosmologies, most of them share the common concept of the Cosmic Womb. The primal female gives birth to the Universe and there is no distinction between organic and in-organic objects as all are made in Her Womb. The Cosmic Womb represents an original and profound idea in cosmological model making because it embodies the concept that the entire universe was created in a single event.