Anaximander’s Legacy


It all started twenty-six centuries ago, on the coast of what is now Turkey. Every civilization in the world had an image of the world like that in Fig. 1: Up there is the sky, down there is the Earth. Below the Earth, to prevent it from falling, there is more Earth. Or else a turtle standing upon an elephant, as in some Asian myths; or maybe gigantic columns, like those mentioned in the Bible. This was the picture of the world common to the civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, India, China, Africa; as well as to the Jews of the Old Testament, the natives of Australia and North America, the Mayans, the Incas, and every other ancient culture of which we have a trace…