Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.

32. Of the Celestial Parts of this World; and whether they be alterable?

IT may be questioned, Whether the celestial parts of the world never alter or change by their corporeal figurative motions, but remain constantly the same without any change or alteration? I answer: Con∣cerning the general and particular kinds or sorts of Crea∣tures of this world, humane sense and reason doth ob∣serve, that they do not change, but are continued by a perpetual supply and succession of Particulars without any general alteration or dissolution; but as for the sin∣gulars or particulars of those kinds and sorts of Crea∣tures, it is most certain, that they are subject to per∣petual alterations, generations and dissolutions; for ex∣ample, Page  147 humane sense and reason perceives, that the Parts of the Earth do undergo continual alterations; some do change into Minerals, some into Vegetables, some into Animals, &c. and these change again into several other figures, and also some into Earth again, and the Elements are changed one into another; when as yet the Globe of the Earth it self remains the same without any general alteration or dissolution; neither is there any want or decay of general kinds of Creatures, but onely a change of their particulars; And though our perception is but finite, and must contain it self within its own compass or bounds, so that it cannot judg of all particulars that are in Nature: Never∣theless, I see no reason, why the Celestial parts of the World should not be subject to alteration, as well as those of the Terrestrial Globe; for if Nature be full of self-motion, no particular can be at rest, or without action; but the chief actions of Nature are Composi∣tion and Division, and changes of Parts: Wherefore, although to our humane perception, the Stars and Pla∣nets do not change from their general nature, as from being such or such composed figures, but appear the same to us, without any general or remarkable change of their exterior figures; yet we cannot certainly affirm, that the parts thereof be either moveless or unalterable, they being too remote from our perception, to discern all their particular motions: For put the case, the Moon, or any other of the Planets, were inhabited Page  148 by animal Creatures, which could see as much of this terrestrial Globe, as we see of the Moon, although they would perceive perhaps the progressive motion of the whole figure of this terrestrial Globe, in the same manner as we do perceive the motion of the Moon, yet they would never be able to discern the particular parts thereof, viz. Trees, Animals, Stones, Water, Earth, &c. much less their particular changes and alterations, ge∣nerations and dissolutions. In the like manner do the Celestial Orbs appear to us; for none that inhabit this Globe will ever be able to discern the particular parts of which the Globe of the Moon consists, much less their changes and motions. Indeed, it is with the Celestial Orbs, as it is with other composed parts or figures of Nature, which have their interior, as well as exterior; general, as well as particular motions; for it is impossible, that Nature, consisting of infinite dif∣ferent parts, should have but one kind of motion; and therefore as a Man, or any other animal, has first his exterior motions or actions, which belong to his whole composed figure, next his Internal figurative motions by which he grows, decays, and dissolves, &c. Thirdly, As every several part and particle of his body has its interior and exterior actions; so it may be said of the Stars and Planets, which are no more then other parts of Nature, as being composed of the same Matter which all the rest consists of, and partaking of the same self-motion; for although our fight cannot Page  149 discern more then their progressive, and shining or twinkling motion; nevertheless, they being parts of Na∣ture, must of necessity have their interior and exterior, particular and general motions; so that the parts of their bodies may change as much as the parts of this Globe, the figure of the whole remaining still the same; for as I said before, they being too far from our perception, their particular motions cannot be observed; nay, were we able to perceive the exterior actions of their parts, yet their interior motions are no ways perceptible by humane sight; we may observe the effects of some in∣terior motions of natural Creatures; for example, of Man, how he changes from infancy to youth, from youth to old age, &c. but how these actions are per∣formed inwardly, no Microscope is able to give us a true information thereof. Nevertheless, Mankind is as lasting, as the Sun, Moon and Stars; nay, not onely Mankind, but also several other kinds and spe∣cies of Creatures, as Minerals, Vegetables, Elements, and the like; for though particulars change, yet the species do not; neither can the species be impaired by the changes of their particulars; for example, the Sea is no less salt, for all there is so much salt extracted out of salt-water, besides that so many fresh Rivers and Springs do mingle and intermix with it; Neither doth the Earth seem less for all the productions of Vegetables, Minerals and Animals, which derive their birth and origine from thence: Nor doth the race of Mankind Page  150 seem either more or less now then it was in former ages; for every species of Creatures is preserved by a conti∣nued succession or supply of particulars; so that when some die or dissolve from being such natural figures, o∣thers are generated and supply the want of them. And thus it is with all parts of Nature, both what we call Celestial and Terrestrial; nor can it be otherwise, since Nature is self-moving, and all her parts are per∣petually active.