Behind the Cosmic Curtain: On Stanislaw Lem's 'The New Cosmogony,' with Meredith Michael

Episode 119 · March 30th, 2022 · 1 hr 7 mins

About this Episode

Over the last several centuries, there has been one thing on which science and religion have generally agreed, and that is the fixity of the laws under which the universe came to be. At the moment of the Big Bang or the dawn of the First Day, the underlying principles that govern reality were already set, and they have never changed. But what if the laws of nature were not as chiseled in stone as Western intellectuals on both sides of the magisterial divide have assumed them to be? What if creation was an ongoing process, such that our universe in its beginning might have behaved very differently from how it does at present? This is the central conceit of Stanislaw Lem's story "The New Cosmogony," the capstone of his metafictional collection A Perfect Vacuum, originally published in 1971. In this episode, Meredith Michael joins JF and Phil to discuss the metaphysical implications of the idea that nature is an eternal work-in-progress.

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For more information JF's new course, Groundwork for a Philosophy of Magic, visit Nura Learning.

Stanislaw Lem, “A New Cosmogony” in A Perfect Vacuum
Weird Studies, Episode 118 The Unseen and Unnamed
Ramsey Dukes, SSOTBME
Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude
M. John Harrison, The Course of the Heart
Michael Harner, The Way of the Shaman
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Stanislaw Lem, Solaris
Stanislaw Lem, His Master’s Voice
David Pruett, Reason and Wonder
Andrei Tarkovsky (dir.), Solaris
Philip K. Dick, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”
Andrew W.K., “No One to Know”