Printed on my shirt: “THE UNCREATED ETERNITY / THE UNFATHOMABLE PRIMUM MOBILE.” ‘Tis a symbol utilized by Rosicrucians: an elaborate diagram, rendered partly inscrutable through wear and the passage of time. From what I can gather, though, the diagram establishes a network of correspondences, the cosmos mapped onto a stack of circles with wings. Much of it is beyond my understanding, though I’m reminded of the Sefirot from Kabbalah: the 10 attributes or “emanations” through which the Ein Sof, “The Infinite,” the unknowable divine essence, is thought to reveal itself. Studying the centermost circle in the diagram, I discover an inscription: “Let everything grow / and bring forth seed.”
Time to delve into Cosmos as a first-time viewer, even if the series is some sort of anamnesis, some remembering of the one by the one. Who is this charioteer who captains our journey? We are all space brothers and sisters, soulful star people cruising around in outer space — can you get with that? The voice of Reason beams via television satellite into the Library of Alexandria, and just like that, we begin to communicate across time, in many languages, awakening into freedom. From Alexandria, the General Intellect pulses consciousness out into space. Time to do something, we say to ourselves, with our knowledge of the cosmos. As Sagan’s series shifts into a second episode on evolution of life through natural selection, however, it begins to sound grossly eugenicist. I hear June Tyson singing in reply, “It’s after the end of the world. / Don’t you know that yet?” I keep wondering to myself, “Where is phenomenological reality? When and where is consciousness? Who is the ‘you’ hailed by Sagan’s speech?” By the show’s astrology-debunking third episode, I’m nodding off, in search of better dreams. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in Sagan’s philosophy.