Home > Interview with Bill Lauritzen in the Argonaut
with Bill Lauritzen in the Argonaut
by Bill Lauritzen
winter solstice events educate, entertain, mystify
solstice is coming up on Sunday, December 22nd, and one local psychologist wants
to explain why he thinks most people who plan to watch the solstice sunset are
plans to discuss the solstice in terms of both astronomy and psychology, his two
strongest disciplines, he says.
no confusion that solstices occur twice in the year, marking the beginning of
winter and the beginning of summer. The confusion is in how people perceive
sunrises and sunsets, says Lauritzen.
been scientific knowledge since at least the 17th century and the time of
Galileo that the earth rotates around the sun, but here in the 21st century,
people still perceive the sun as something that rises and sets or moves across
the earth's sky, explains Lauritzen.
see the ‘sunset'. You see the ‘sunrise'. However, as a psychologist, it is
my duty to tell you that you are delusional," says Lauritzen. "The sun
does not move. We live in a heliocentric, not a geocentric system. Hence, if you
see it move, if you see it rise or set or even travel across the sky, you are
seeing something that is not possible."
the concept of the solstice is based on the sun's position on the celestial
sphere. The celestial sphere is an imaginary sphere of infinite radius in which
the earth is considered the center rather than the sun. The sphere is used in
astronomy to describe a solar entity's position or distance in relation to the
earth. During the solstices, the sun appears to reach its highest point above or
below the equator.
the sun doesn't "reach" anything, reminds Lauritzen. Rather, it is the
earth that is in motion. Lauritzen says that the solstice is best conceptualized
in its "modern, correct way" rather than from the ancient angle.
the solstices and equinoxes actually symbolize, he says, is the four most
significant orbital points in the earth's yearly rotation around the sun.
both equinoxes, night and day are of equal length, and they mark the beginning
of the spring and autumn seasons. The two yearly solstices mark the beginning of
summer and winter.
it's common knowledge that the earth revolves around the sun, why do people
still speak and conceptualize in terms of the sun rising and setting? Ancient
delusions die hard, he supposes.
brain has a model of how we interpret sensations," says Lauritzen.
"The model currently imbedded in our brains' is based on the earth as the
center of the solar system."
Lauritzen accuses the public of perpetuating "mass delusion," his
diagnosis is not terminal. A purely semantic cure exists, he says. He'd like
people to use the terms "spin-in" and "spin-out," describing
the earth's movements in relation to the sun, rather than sunrise and sunset.
also plans to hold a meditation exercise at the event. He'll begin speaking at
3:48 p.m. and continue for about an hour as the sun "sets."
Beach was chosen because it is a prime location to watch the sun
"spin-out" over the ocean as opposed to other nearby beaches in
Malibu, where the sun typically sets over the mountains, he says.
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