Cosmos (also Kosmos) is a term generally referring to an orderly or harmonious system, often used as a synonym for the physical Universe, especially when emphasizing that it consists of patterns of relationships between discernible forces, energies and matter, and can be said to be governed by an orderly system of laws. It is also used as a synonym for pantheistic, panentheistic and Hermetic notions of the All, or God.
- It was Pythagoras who first called heaven kosmos, because it is perfect, and "adorned" with infinite beauty and living beings.
- Anonymous ancient author of The Life of Pythagoras, as quoted in The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library : An Anthology of Ancient Writings which Relate to Pythagoras and Pythagorean Philosophy (1919); also quoted in The Golden Chain : An Anthology of Pythagorean and Platonic Philosophy (2004) by Algis Uzdavinys, p. 4
- Man's relations to man do not captivate my fancy. It is man's relation to the cosmos — to the unknown — which alone arouses in me the spark of creative imagination. The humanocentric pose is impossible to me, for I cannot acquire the primitive myopia which magnifies the earth and ignores the background.
- H. P. Lovecraft, in "The Defence Remains Open!" (April 1921), published in Collected Essays, Volume 5: Philosophy edited by S. T. Joshi, p. 53
- We can allow satellites, planets, suns, the Universe, nay whole systems of Universes to be governed by laws; but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.
- The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin (1859)
- It is because the cosmos is meaningless that we must secure our individual illusions of values, direction, and interest by upholding the artificial streams which give us such worlds of salutary illusion. That is — since nothing means anything in itself, we must preserve the proximate and arbitrary background which makes things around us seem as if they did mean something.
- H. P. Lovecraft, in a letter to James F. Morton (6 November 1930), in Selected Letters III, 1929-1931 edited by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, p. 208
- The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.
- Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.
- Whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.
- The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
- Of the cosmic Gods some make the world be, others animate it, others harmonize it, consisting as it does of different elements; the fourth class keep it when harmonized.
- Sallustius, in On the Gods and the Cosmos (c. 360), VI. On Gods Cosmic and Hypercosmic.
- The cosmos itself must of necessity be indestructible and uncreated. Indestructible because, suppose it destroyed: the only possibility is to make one better than this or worse or the same or a chaos. If worse, the power which out of the better makes the worse must be bad. If better, the maker who did not make the better at first must be imperfect in power. If the same, there will be no use in making it; if a chaos... it is impious even to hear such a thing suggested. These reasons would suffice to show that the world is also uncreated: for if not destroyed, neither is it created. Everything that is created is subject to destruction.
- Sallustius, in On the Gods and the Cosmos (c. 360), VII. On the Nature of the World and its Eternity.
- Longer than memory we have known that each animal has its power and place, each a skill, virtue, wisdom, innocence — a special access to the structure and flow of the world. Each surpasses ourselves in some way. Together, sacred, they help hold the cosmos together, making it a joy and beauty to behold, but above all a challenge to understand as story, drama, and sacred play.
- This is the goal of all living, that the cosmos may be known, and admired, and that it may be crowned with further beauties. Nowhere and at no time, so far as we can tell, at least within our own galaxy, has the adventure reached further than in ourselves. And in us, what has been achieved is but a minute beginning. But it is a real beginning.
- Olaf Stapledon, in Last and First Men (1930), XV. The Last Men
- There is no God-Creator, but there is the Cosmos, which creates suns, planets and living beings. There is no omnipotent God, but there is the Universe, which governs the fates of all celestial bodies and their inhabitants. There are no sons of God, but there are mature and thus rational and perfect sons of the Cosmos. There are no personal gods, but there are elected leaders of planets, solar systems, stellar groups, milky ways, islands of ether and the whole Cosmos. There is no Christ, but there is a brilliant man and a greater teacher of mankind.
- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, from Нет ничего (Мысли безбожника) [There is nothing (Atheist's thoughts)], quoted in Л.В. Шапошникова, Вестники космической эволюции.
- This mysterious something has been called God, the Absolute, Nature, Substance, Energy, Space, Ether, Mind, Being, the Void, the Infinite — names and ideas which shift in popularity and respectability with the winds of intellectual fashion, of considering the universe intelligent or stupid, superhuman or subhuman, specific or vague. All of them might be dismissed as nonsense-noises if the notion of an underlying Ground of Being were no more than a product of intellectual speculation. But these names are often used to designate the content of a vivid and almost sensorily concrete experience — the "unitive" experience of the mystic, which, with secondary variations, is found in almost all cultures at all times. This experience is the transformed sense of self which I was discussing in the previous chapter, though in "naturalistic" terms, purified of all hocus-pocus about mind, soul, spirit, and other intellectually gaseous words.
- Alan Watts, in The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966)