Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps
by Kees Boeke
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Author's Foreword

We all, children and grownups alike, are inclined to live in our own little world, in our immediate surroundings, or at any rate with our attention concentrated on those things with which we are directly in touch. We tend to forget how vast are the ranges of existing reality which our eyes cannot directly see, and our attitudes may become narrow and provincial. We need to develop a wider outlook, to see ourselves in our relative position in the great and mysterious universe in which we have been born and live.

At school we are introduced to many different spheres of existence, but they are often not connected with each other, so that we are in danger of collecting a large number of images without realizing that they all join together in one great whole. It is therefore important in our education to find the means of developing a wider and more connected view of our world and a truly cosmic view of the universe and our place in it.

This book presents a series of forty pictures composed so that they may help to develop this wider view. They really give a series of views as seen during an imaginary and fantastic journey through space - a journey in one direction, straight upward from the place where it begins. Although these views are as true to reality as they can be made with our present knowledge, they portray a wonderland as full of marvels as that which Alice saw in her dreams.

The pictures originated in a school in the Netherlands, the Werkplaats Children's Community at Bilthoven, where a group of children under my guidance drew the first versions of them. I began the project because of the importance of developing a sense of scale, and I therefore proposed to draw the same objects in different scales. In doing this I took advantage of the metric system, which logically corresponds with our numerical system, and made each successive scale one-tenth of the one before. When we do this we seem to go right up into the sky, so that we see objects from ever increasing heights, and at the same time see a constantly increasing field around them. We also notice that each imaginary jump we make to move from one scale to another one ten times smaller must be ten times greater than the previous jump. That is, if we start at, say, five meters from an object and we first move to a distance of 50 meters in order to see it at

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Copyright (C) 1957 by Kees Boeke. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted, or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photo-copying and recording, or in any information storage and retrieval system, without permission.