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introducing plasma mythology

Our objective is to study historical information regarding the structure, workings and origins of nature, with special emphasis on transient events. As scientists now recognise plasma as the dominant state of matter in the universe, the subject is conveniently referred to as plasma mythology. This eye-catching term serves to distinguish the present approach from more traditional schools of ‘nature mythology’, that did not acknowledge the significant role of transient events in human traditions.

The plasma universe

Space is not a vacuum punctuated by isolated bodies on perpetually stable courses, as defined by the law of gravity. Since the beginning of the Space Age, it has gradually been discovered that space consists for 99.99% of plasma and is threaded with electric filaments and magnetic fields spanning over many orders of magnitude. This new paradigm is known as plasma cosmology and was pioneered by the Swedish scientist, Hannes Alfvén (1908-1995). Plasma is a partially ionised gas regarded as the ‘fourth state of matter’, that responds with great sensitivity to changes in its magnetic fields and becomes visible to the human eye when it is pervaded by a sufficiently strong electrical current.

The solid rock, the oceans and the lower regions of the earth’s atmosphere belong to the minute segment of the cosmos that is not in the plasma state. Yet the earth itself is bathed in an electromagnetic environment. This consists of the magnetic shell that shields the planet from the enveloping solar wind and other external features impinging on it, such as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and, far less frequently, cometary intruders into the inner solar system. In addition, plasma penetrates and controls a range of terrestrial phenomena, such as the aurorae, lightning, fire, tornadoes and lava flows.

Historical sources

The term ‘historical information’ is a broad denominator including a great diversity of materials. ‘Traditional information‘ refers to any ideas or practices that were passed on collectively within one or more societies, often imbued with a sense of sacrality and veridicality. Myths and legends, rituals, religious and metaphysical notions, artefacts and iconography (such as petroglyphs, geoglyphs, designs on pottery and religious statuary), costume, architecture, ranging from stone circles and pyramids to stūpas and cathedrals, and ‘proto-scientific’ cosmologies and histories are replete with references to the natural world and its past. A second repository of data consists of historical records concerning observations of the sky, the atmosphere or the landscape, or historical events.

As far as the celestial aspect of nature is concerned, such historical sources have been the subject of disciplines variously labelled archaeoastronomy, cultural astronomy, the history of astronomy and the history of ideas or of religion, depending on geographical and chronological scope.

The study of historical information about the natural world is useful in a variety of ways. It is of interest in its own right, facilitating our understanding of past cultures and their outlook on the world. This is especially felt in cases where recent discoveries concerning the plasma universe shed fresh light on historical data that had previously been inscrutable. On a deeper level, a study of historical information about the natural world also helps to clarify the nature and origin of religion as a whole. Conversely, historical sources have much to contribute to modern science, as they can complement the scientific reconstruction of the past, specifically the recent history of planet Earth.