Before I start talking about the Moon I’d like to state a few thoughts about Thinking. Thinking does not come entirely naturally to guinea pigs, often because we lack the stimulus of Observation, which is essential to any Natural Philosopher. There are Philosophers who Think thoughts that are purely about Ideas, and this may be something that pigs in Hutches and in The Wild do during long winter nights when it is all dark and quiet (well I assume it is). This is also how the tradition of Storytelling came about. Those of us in Cages generally get to see more of the natural world at all hours of the day and night and therefore have greater opportunity for Observation.
Of course another issue is the degree to which you have your slave properly trained. If you have to forage for your own food you are obviously going to have less time and inclination for sitting and Thinking. Foraging takes both time and effort, which detracts from the energy left for Thinking. So I realise that I am in a privileged position, and so are other Philosophers and aspiring Philosophers.
And so to the Moon.
There are two important observations about the Moon.
- It is not always round
- It does not follow the same path through the sky from day to day, and it doesn’t even shift the same way through the seasons
I did hear someone firmly assert that the Moon was eaten over the course of a month by the Great Guinea Pig in the Sky, who regurgitated because it was made of cheese which as anyone knows is not a foodstuff for piggies. Well, I Thought about this and discounted it for a number of reasons.
- I have not found any credible evidence for a Great Guinea Pig in the Sky
- Any all-knowing guinea pig (which a GP in the Sky would be if it existed) would know that cheese is bad for piggies and therefore wouldn’t eat it in the first place
- Guinea pigs don’t have stomachs that can regurgitate things so cheese would just make it ill
- Why does the Moon come back in a thin slice if it has been regurgitated?
Two points must be made about the process of Thinking here: Thinking always leads to more questions, and you must have the discipline to think of one question at a time, following up all the subsequent questions when you have gone as far as you can with the first one. Secondly, you need to follow up ideas other persons have had and ensure you understand their reasons for their conclusions before you adopt them yourself.
My observations of the Moon suggest that it cycles through approximately 4 times seven days before it gets back to the same state each time. But it also cycles through the stage of the night when it appears through our window, so that when it is very thin with the left side showing, it appears very early, sometimes even when the sun is still out (actually we only see this if we are out in the garden at sunset). When it is fully round it is high in the sky and shines directly down through our windows. Now if the Moon was spherical and half of it was white and shiny and half was black as night and it was turning, this would account for the changes. But it wouldn’t account for its path through the sky, and the fact that it sometimes takes a high route through the sky and sometimes a low one. I can tell this because sometimes it shines through our skylight and sometimes through our door-windows and sometimes through both at once.
Now the next step in my thinking was inspired by George, as he said to me once “You know the Earth we live on is like a big ball, don’t you?” And I was surprised by this but he gave me some good ideas of why he thought this and I must admit it solved a lots of puzzles if it was the case. He even demonstrated his engineering model of an earth and a moon using some of the toys we used to have. So I decided that, without any evidence to the contrary, the earth we live on is a huge ball and the Moon is also a ball, with one shiny white half and one matt black half, and when it goes round us it turns slightly and wobbles so sometimes the path is higher and sometimes it is lower, but it regularly turns so that as the weeks go by it turns its white face away from us and then turns it back again.
And then I thought: why is the dividing line between the white half and the black half so straight (which you can see when it is a half-circle) and why is it always upright when it is highest in the sky?
I’ll leave you to think about that and tell me what you Think.