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A council has decided that now we have twelve planets in the solar system instead of nine. By creating a category called “Pluton,” astronomers can include several smaller masses in which the first one is Pluto.
The planets are, of course, a central part of the Mill. It was always to be believed that there were seven planets. The number seven became holy and became symbolized, or rather, incorporated into numerous ancient civilizations. Shakespeare had King Lear say, “There cannot be more than seven planets!” and the Fool replied, “You would make a good fool indeed.”
What is interesting to me is that astronomers are so unwilling to drop Pluto from the category of a ‘planet.’ It is as if Pluto has entered the imagination and is unwilling to budge. Or, rather, the astronomers are unwilling to fight that battle with the public who are used to Pluto. The astronomers are sure they would lose such a fight. So instead, they have done something which always requires immediate apologizing: they have added a new word to our language: the pluton. The astronomical definition of pluton is ‘spherical,’ ‘has gravity,’ and ‘goes around the sun,’ but the real definition is “we’re too chicken to demote Pluto as a planet so we will promote all these little planetoids instead.” Even with the Mill and the cosmological scale far removed from history and the arts, the stubbornness of the public in their approach to the planets shows that… reverence to celestial bodies is something practically inside most Humans…not just “primitive man.” Every kid today instinctively stares at the sky, names the clouds, wonders at the stars. It is no wonder that the ‘golden age’ of science fiction is said to be 10-14 for kids.