Poem of the atoms

12 Jun, 2019 at 18:29 | Posted in Varia | 4 Comments


O day, arise! The atoms are dancing.
Thanks to Him the universe is dancing.
The souls are dancing, overcome with ecstasy.
I’ll whisper in your ear where their dance is taking them.
All the atoms in the air and in the desert know well, they seem insane.
Every single atom, happy or miserable,
Becomes enamoured of the sun, of which nothing can be said.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (1207-1273)


  1. The lyrics remind me of a great bit in Aldo Leopold’s classic “A Sand County Almanac” (In some ways the first Ethics of environmentalism, & partly spawned the Green movement, and just a great, cozy read) on “atom x” – which follows the voyage of a single atom in a vast prairie ecosystem.
    Also reminds me of a passage from Roy Bhaskar that is in some ways foundational to his views (“critical realism”); later Nancy Cartwright used a very similar passage from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (personally I think Cartwright comes overly close to mimicking Bhaskar, without attribution, and by cleverly using a third party work (Hopkins) in this part of her writing disguises this; I think Bhaskar and Cartwright are, in the end, wrong, but Bhaskar came by it honestly, whereas Cartwright is arguing whatever gained her reads, in my opinion).

    My discussion of this starts on p. 13 here https://www.academia.edu/450986/Initial_Conditions_as_ExogenousFactors_in_Spatial_Explanation

    The lovely Bhaskar passage is: [Bhaskar sees…]
    “A world of winds and seas, in which ink bottles get knocked over and doors
    pushed open, in which dogs bark and children play; a criss-cross world of
    zebras and zebra-crossings, cricket matches and games of chess, meteorites and
    logic classes, assembly lines and deep sea turtles, soil erosion and river banks
    bursting. Now none of this is described by any laws of nature. More shockingly
    perhaps none of it seems even governed by them.(Bhaskar 1975, 105)

    As I write “Cartwright also rejects the possibility of subsuming the complex world under one
    theoretical structure of universal laws, and chooses a poem strikingly similar to the
    passage from Bhaskar to express her view of the world (Gerard Manley Hopkins in
    Cartwright 1999, 19):

    Glorybe to God for dappled things—
    For skies of couple-colour as a brindled cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
    Landscape plotted and pieced –fold, fallow, and plough;
    And all trades, their gear and tackle trim.
    All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow, sweet, sour, adazzle, dim;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
    Praise him.

  2. Interesting. Thanks 🙂

    • Jo Lars,en stor poet Rumi.Fick ögonen på honom via lärdomsbjässen Carl-Göran Ekerwald och hans “Vreden och begäret – introduktion till Rumi”.Men tydligen så var det den geniale Eric Hermelin som översatte honom först har jag förstått.Men så väl Gunnar Ekelöf, Willy Kyrklund, Hjalmar Gullberg mfl.var ju inspirerade av honom.Riktiga bjässar alla av dom.Var finns sådana i dag Lars?Ja uppenbarligen inte i Svenska Akademin åtminstone.

  3. Thanks Lars for a beautify video and poem! You are a romantic and mystic-at-large in heart no doubt 😉 Love Rumi; have read him since I was a teenager, raised my two daughters on Sufi wisdom stories, oldest daughter was married by the Sufi Imam Jamal Rahman, one of the Three Amigos. We used to attend a 100 year old interfaith church in Seattle where the Three Amigos would reveal the seekers in stories.
    Thanks for the link Clint; didn’t expect a book so it may be a while before I read, but it does look interesting. I will check out the Abstract/Conclusion section first and then follow-up later with a full read.

    Partial reason gives reason a bad name
    Base desire holds us back from our desires (M5:463)
    You may be the most learned of the age;
    And when the age, the world, come to an end? (M1:2845)
    ~ Lewis, Franklin D.. Rumi – Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalâl al-Din Rumi. Oneworld Publications. Kindle Edition.

    The above makes me think of Greenspan’s admission post GFC 😉
    Rumi’s poetry and writings (especially in Franklin’s translation) have much to say on the theory and philosophy of knowledge and knowing and the philosophy of being. I won’t quote it extensively, but it is very relevant it seems to the two poems above. Of course Rumi’s poetry and writings are embedded within the Islamic context and times in which he lived, his unique “mosaic of the ages” so-to-speak, when science and philosophy and religion (by which I do not mean institutional religion, but the contemplative, meditative, mystical-experiential traditions) were not so walled off from each other as they are today. Rumi being a Sufi was a akin to what within the Christian tradition would be called a “contemplative mystic.” While his context was different (Islamic jurisprudence vs. experiential insight) his insights remain profound today for those who can transpose them into our modern context.
    The “possibility of subsuming the complex world under one theoretical structure of universal laws (Gerard Manley Hopkins in Cartwright 1999, 19)” seems to be the perennial dream of those who ascribe to philosophical reductionism opposed to methodological reductionism. Some who ascribe to this form of philosophical reductionism express open disdain and contempt for philosophy (and usually religion too) and remind me of the fools frequently targeted by Rumi and other Sufi writers in their many stories.
    One of the themes I have seen repeatedly emerging from my studies in the history of the earth sciences, evolutionary biology, and now economics, is the problem of extrapolation across boundaries (Steel 2008). How is someone to see the problem if they don’t even acknowledge there are boundaries to be crossed?

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