The existence of the image, not its actual existence if it makes sense to speak of the existence of a black hole, proves the point: We extract a narrative structure out of our own being, our physicality, our mortality and it’s given a name: Is.
For mortals this is has a narrative structure: We have a beginning, a middle, an end. We are born, we live, we die. There’s nothing ultimately true about that, other than our being mortal, but not really mortal. We are more like Jesus. Death has no dominion, except over that particular manifestation of our is-ness at the moment of death. I don’t want to diminish that sense of dead is-ness. I’ve been there, touched enough dying and dead people to know that it’s profound. It’s just that it is a profound moment in a much larger story, some of which will be told at a subsequent funeral perhaps, or an expression of that chiseled onto a gravestone. Still, life goes on.
Rocks might not have a narrative structure. A black hole is all about not having a narrative structure. And by perceiving it now as a photograph we confound our own nature and somehow that confirms everything. Well, not really.
Back to the image. It only comes into being because people in several different places put their data together and there you have it.
Click here: First black hole image: How to watch …
The supermassive black hole (big even by black-hole standards).
It was there all along, but we didn’t know about it. Then we knew about it. Now we ‘see’ it. Well, not really.
(Is it hubris to say ‘we’ here, claiming some identity with the geniuses that figured out how to make this image, this proof of Einstein’s theories and of Steven Hawking’s theories, all that math – to the extent that I’m making some personal claim here to their knowledge I’m sorry? I can barely tally up the bills to keep my bank account intact, to keep my checks from bouncing; I make no claims, just a kind of noticing.)
The image is not of one’s seeing. No one person ‘saw’ the black hold and took a picture of it. Rather, its a collaborative exercise of many people necessarily at some distance from each other, collective and accumulating the data that created one image of something very far away, that in itself is just the outer ring of its own timelessness.
What am I getting at? That this is not a thing at all, this black hole or even the image of a black hole. It is a sum of its many equations and projections that coalesce that we can knowledge, or knowing, or “This is it!”
Except, perhaps, stillness. Unmediated. Stillness.