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Mathematics of Motion: A Christmas Corollary
December 25, 1996
A dialogue between Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) and Isaac Newton (1642-1727).
We join Kepler and
* * *
Kepler: It gives me great pleasure, Sir Isaac, in
having this opportunity to meet and visit with you on this Christmas tour of
science and education in the
Kepler: I thank you for your compliment, and
though I had no opportunity, while
Kepler: Yes, your "calculus" has most certainly made a "difference". Yet I feel that there is much unexploited opportunity to further apply your theories within these teachings.
Kepler: Both students and teachers use your mathematical tools much as weapons, to attack the problems of the day. Sighting along the barrel of your canons, intent on obliterating the problems which stand before them, they would do well to recall your laws of action-reaction and conservation. For these laws will hold the momentum-sum of advancing projectile and recoiling intellect to zero.
Kepler: If the harmonies of the season favor a measure of frivolity and jolliness, I am for it, and so fortunately are these students. A moment ago I saw a pair of them studying calculus and making fun with their new-found "Newtonian" erudition. In their state of "nerdiness" and seasonal good humor one said to the other; "What is the entity which, when differentiated with respect to "t", gives "d-cabin" over "t"?" The other answered with a knowing grin, "log cabin". But his smile was brief as his friend retorted; "No, you forgot the "C", the constant of integration --- the correct answer is "houseboat", that is; "log cabin plus C."" Though I took my leave at this point, I could hear persisting fits of nerdy mirth from the far end of the corridor.
Kepler: Just for that, I shan't share with you the several superb lines of graffiti, which I captured from the girls' loo a few minutes ago.
Newton: I refuse to be drawn into the trap of asking you why you chose the girls' over the boys' loo, and as concerns the graffiti, the curiousity you raise in me is more in regard to pathologies of the adult human brain than with the sexual fantasies of twentieth century teenage girls.
Kepler: More's the pity.
But I make no apologies for the associations which my mind so liberally makes
between all manner of things, for it was through this
process that the three laws of motion of the planets and sun came to me, and I
suspect to you as well. Apart from my oversight on the nature of inertia, the
true nature being recognized by G
Kepler: While I concede to ego as being my travelling companion, it has been, and still is, the search for the truths in nature which motivates my life's work. As I said in "Harmonice Mundi", "... my mind is never at leisure for the game of inventing new doctrines that are contrary to the true. Whatever I profess outwardly, that I believe inwardly: nothing is a worse cross for me than --- I do not say, to speak what is contrary to my thought --- to be unable to utter my inmost sentiments."
If I take pride in my achievements, I take most pride in my manner of achieving them. Though I see many of my discoveries labelled with the names of others, this grieves me in measures vanishingly small by comparison to the pleasures taken from tributes such as that given me by Bernstein;
"In addition to being one of the most original thinkers in the history
of science, he had an extraordinarily open and appe
As I also said in "Harmonice"; "it gives me pleasure to remember how many detours I had to make, along how many walls I had to grope in the darkness of my ignorance until I found the door which lets in the light of truth. ... In such manner did I dream of the truth."
Kepler: Well, after all, your actions have not
been entirely unmeri
Kepler: This is indeed where there is a parting of minds between the two of us, and I should like to return to the "trivial" allegory of the log cabin and the houseboat, if I may, to make my point.
Kepler: Well then, do you recall the boy's reference to something often ignored when one descends into the domain of the calculus, i.e. into the domain of instantaneous behavior, of local properties of things which have been divided up into small parts? The boy referred to it as "C", the "constant of integration", associating the letter "C" with the idea of "sea". "Sea" is often used by the mind as a metaphor for consciousness, and the imagery of a log cabin is very different from the imagery of a houseboat floating on the waves of consciousness.
Kepler: It is clear that the calculus, the mathematics of instantaneous behavior, is the ultimate implementation of Descarte's "Methode" of dividing up problems into small parts so that they can be solved by part then summed to give an overall solution. In your Principia, you refer to your use of Descartes' "Methode" in the following terms;
"In this philosophy particular propositions are inferred from the phenomena, and after rendered general by induction. Thus it was that the impenetrability, the mobility, and impulsive forces of bodies, and the laws of motion and of gravitation, were discovered."
Thus did you take the phenomena of the harmonies of the planets into this
domain of small local parts and differences, gener
In 1619, in "Harmonice", sixty years before your Principia, I had discussed this problem of the particular and the general, the parts and the whole, saying;
"From the celestial music to the hearer, from the Muses to Apollo the leader of the Dance, from the six planets revolving and making consonances to the Sun at the centre of all the circuits, immovable in place but rotating into itself. For although the harmony is most absolute between the extreme planetary movements, not with respect to the true speeds through the ether but with respect to the angles which are formed by joining with the centre of the sun the termini of the diurnal arcs of the planetary orbits; while the harmony does not adorn the termini, i.e., the single movements, in so far as they are considered in themselves but only in so far as by being taken together and compared with one another, they become the object of some mind; "
Isaac, do you see what you have done? ... Your calculus and your propositions have extracted the living harmony, nature's consciousness, the "Logos" from our view of nature and irrevocably banished it! For as we extract the parts from the whole, examining and "understanding" them in detail and out of natural context, thence returning them to their relative positions, we ignore the living aiether which gave them birth. And from the laws of the harmonies of the planets, from my third law which shows the two-thirds proportioning of period to radial length of orbit to be constant, it was from this law that you developed your "universal law of gravitation", F=GMm/r**2 through a sterilizing process which left it barren of any reference to time or harmony.
...And, adding injury to insult, you endowed this theory with the ability to estimate the effects amongst multiple bodies through the mechanical contrivance of a gravity "field", a computational exorcism of natural harmonies which split apart the effecting from the effected bodies. Thus did your "field" contrivance artificially inseminate the future from the past, denying conjunctio to the participants and destroying all records of inheritance through an averaging process ... an "immaculate" conception which orphaned present and future from their rightful parentage and rich traditions.
When the goddess Venus comes to me in my dreams, I could take your calculus and your propositions and map her every pore in space and time. But in looking through or beyond her charms to get to such detail, then returning to the whole by way of a summing of the parts, her vital essences would be lost. The harmonious, undulating "C" which infused her pores with the dance of life, would be no more, but in its place, a machine-like matrix, dumbly awaiting my next round of manipulations.
"I wish we could derive the rest of the phaenomena of nature by the same kind of reasoning from mechanical principles; for I am induced by many reasons to suspect that they may all depend upon certain forces by which the particles of bodies, by some causes hitherto unknown, are either mutually impelled towards each other, and cohere in regular figures, or are repelled and recede from each other; which forces being unknown, philosophers have hitherto attempted the search of nature in vain; but I hope the principles here laid down will afford some light either to this or some truer method of philosophy."
Kepler: Well stated, Sir Isaac, but how many of the followers of your method have read and understood your Principia? It is a book so obscure and difficult that even Voltaire, one of your most committed supporters, proclaimed it a book that "many want to have read, but few want to read."
And how often are your qu
Kepler: Some would say that it was because your
post at the Mint was one of the most lucrative in
"And as a multiplicity of laws often furnishes excuses for evil-doing and as a State is much better ruled, when, having but very few laws, these are most strictly observed; ...".
Your own words, born of some of your unusual theological persuasions, echoed those of Descartes;
"It is the perfection of all God's works that they are done with the greatest simplicity ... And therefore as they that would understand the frame of the world must endeavour to reduce their knowledge to all possible simplicity..."
Could this have been the reason why you attended so assiduously to the task of executing "coiners" during your tenure at the Mint? Or did your bent for executions go back to the underpinnings of Cartesianism, to Aristotle's Nichomachian ethics, a cultural conditioning which has persisted into the present;
"Virtue, then, is a kind of moderation inasmuch as it aims at the mean or moderate amount. Again, there are many ways of going wrong (for evil is infinite in nature, to use a Pythagorean figure, while good is finite), but only one way of going right; so that the one is easy and the other hard--easy to miss the mark and hard to hit it. On this account also, then, excess and deficiency are characteristic of vice, hitting the mean is characteristic of virtue: 'Goodness is simple, evil takes any shape.'"
As it has been noted by several of your biographers, including John Brooke, there are echoes of such ethics in your own biblical study; "...whereby the cherubim and seraphim became hieroglyphs of ordinary social groups. Evil spirits became mental disorders, and devils became the imaginary ghosts of the departed, whom the heathen characteristically worshipped as gods."
"but though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws."
"but it is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to as many regular motions, since the comets range over all parts of the heavens in very eccentric orbits;"
"This most beautiful of system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being fomed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One;"
Kepler: It is true that these statements of yours
were made so as to be clearly seen, with their placement in the Preface and in
the General Scholium summarizing the Principia. At
the same time, the public's fascination with your mechano-mathematical
treatments of motion lulls them into believing, as did Parmenides and later
Aristotle, that the world is fully describable by the exterior behaviors of the smallest, most instantaneous fragments of
time-space; that our re
This line of thinking led me towards the development of the solid logical
"bricks" or propositions which could be safely built upon, to
construct answers to any question. Thus did I feel no necessity to share my
private visions with the public, having done my best to assure the v
This, my worst fear was slowly but relentlessly re
By the beginning of the twentieth century, Poincare
was observing, in "La Science et l'Hypothese"
(1903) that; "induction applied to the physical sciences is always
uncertain..."; Wittgenstein, in "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus"
(1921) pointed out that logic and mathematics were "content-free" and
incapable of guaranteeing tomorrow's sunrise. Einstein said in "Geometry
and Experience" (1921); "So far as the laws of mathematics refer to
Thus did my strategy of building from the bottom, from solid mathematical propositions, a full and faithful general view of nature, crumble and crack.
Kepler: I shall pass over the inconsistencies in your remarks concerning your subscription to Descartes' propositions, while you simultaneously sought insights from alchemy and theology. What I don't understand is why you made no attempt to state that the visions of nature in your mind went far beyond what you were capable of expressing in your mathematics of motion? For we are all faced with the problem that the creative imagery of our minds goes beyond our means of expressing it. As I said in "Harmonice";
"For as the sun rotating into itself moves all the planets by means of the form emitted from itself, so too --- as the philosophers teach --- mind, by understanding itself and in itself all things, stirs up ratiocinations, and by dispersing and unrolling its simplicity into them, makes everything to be understood. And the movements of the planets around the sun at their centre and the discourses of ratiocinations are so interwoven and bound together that, unless the Earth, our domicile, measured out the annual circle, midway between the other spheres --- changing from place to place, from station to station --- never would human ratiocination have worked its way to the true intervals of the planets and to the other things dependent from them, never would it have constituted astronomy."
And as Einstein later spoke to these same issues, more clearly and succinctly than had I, yet with no less conviction;
"A geometrical-physical theory as such is incapable of being directly
pictured, being merely a system of concepts. But these concepts serve the
purpose of bringing a multiplicity of real or imaginary sensory experiences
into connection in the mind. To ``visu
David Bohm was right when he guessed that my insight on gravity came out of the same subtle harmonies of which you speak, as I studied the moon's orb in the time of the plague; ... "as with the order of movement of an apple in fall, so with that of the moon and so with all." But this mental notion; that all motion was influenced by all other motion, though known by the ancients but kept secret through symbolic encryption, was too profound and dangerous to be openly discussed, even in the mathematics of my day. For this reason, I made the following, false documentation of the origins of my insight on gravity;
"In the same year I began to think of gravity extending to ye orb of the Moon and (having found out how to estimate the force with wch globe revolving within a sphere presses the surface of a sphere) from Kepler's rule of the periodical times of the Planets being in sesquialternate proportion to their distances from the centres of their Orbs, I deduced that the forces wch keep the Planets in their Orbs must [vary] reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centres about wch they revolve: and thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her Orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the Earth, and found them answer pretty nearly. All this was in the two plague years of 1665-1666... "
Several of my biographers noted that this account did not fit with his
Kepler: It is indeed curious how fearfully we
approach the unknown and how often we unconsciously cling to the current
cultural "knowns", whatever their
deficiencies. For example, Aristotle's tidy formulae for gravity and inertia
held for two millenia until G
But what did you say; --- that it was up to priests and academies to guide
the students? It seem you felt no need to avail
yourself of such advice, for thus guided, your innovations might never have
seen light of day. And such a statement is scarce consistent with your most
vigorous and public efforts to prevent the admission of a Benedictine Monk into
My thought is that we need no stewards of truth in this world, for as Blake said, "the tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction". And as I myself say, in "Harmonice";
"For the boundary posts should not be set up in the narrow minds of a few men. 'The world is a petty thing, unless everyone finds the whole world in that which he is seeking,' as Seneca says. But the boundary posts of true speculation are the same as those of the fabric of the world; but the Christian religion has put up some fences around false speculation which is on the wrong track, in order that error may not rush headlong but may become in other respects harmless in itself. Antiquity teaches us by examples how vainly man sets up boundary posts where God has not set them up;"
....and; "As regards the academies, they are established in order to regulate the studies of the pupils and are concerned not to have the program of teaching change very often: in such places, because it is a question of the progress of the students, it frequently happens that the things which have to be chosen are not those which are most true but those which are most easy. And by that division in things which makes different people form different judgements, it so happens that certain people are in error contrary to their own opinion." ... "Accordingly, if certain subtleties which are difficult to grasp should not be laid before beginners, or if they should not be preferred to the accepted and necessary teachings, it does not follow that therefore, those things should neither be written nor read privately."
So I am not at all regretful that it was you,
My further regret is that the children who grace these hallways, distracted for the moment by the hubbub of the season, .. will soon be exposed to unprecedented levels of crime, violence, drugs, and material madness, which relate in no small measure to your abdication of responsibility in making the serious incompletenesses in your method known to the world.
This young woman studying at her desk, Madonna as her friends are calling her, whose attractiveness and grace you had earlier made note of, will not be joining friends and family in the traditional Christmas carollry, nor does the coming spring promise a continuance of the happiness of her youth. For the small gift-package just now passed to her contains drugs which, when found by dogs sniffing at her locker, will forever change her forward journey.
The clouds of trouble and destruction now gathering round her are born from simple facts and simple rules; pass or fail, innocent or guilty. Taken together, the outgrowth of the events of this day will be more than her youthful consciousness can support. As psychologists of this age, such as Laing have noted, the probabilities are far more "favorable" for young people to be admitted to mental hospitals than to universities.
Newton (his eyes darting about wildly as he bites on a half-crown of British origin, taken from Kepler's purse): I have no more stomach for this discussion, nor this tour of twentieth century "mathematics of motion". Though you waste no opportunity to speak of nature's harmonies, you present yourself to me as a doctor of discord, a sower of disenchantment and a revivor of sins of the past for which there is now't to be done.
Kepler: But something can be done. For the suffering which grows out of the incompleteness of your science shall linger on the longer if you do not, in your own austere and convincing way, divulge the inner workings of your mind as you sowed these ideas so deeply into the collective psyche of the western world. And by this disclosure, you may help to purge the torment in a multitude of minds, yours included.
Newton: Though I await a flood of anger which must follow such provocation, I sense none. Instead, I feel the onset of a warm and steady tide of peace and harmony, an unexpected gratitude towards you, for giving me this opportunity to unburden myself of these repressed thoughts.
Kepler: Let it flow forth, then, free of all pretence and conditioning, for as Pareto has said; "Give me truthful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own correction. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself."
Newton: Though your words mock my life's habitudes, I hear you, and I shall do my best. While the roots of this story are long, it is short in leaf and blossom. But beware that size is no measure of complexity, as Aristotle has warned, the devil is in the detail.
Johannes, as you already know, and as I tried to say in my publications, most of that which has been attributed to us was already known in ancient times; i.e. that the moon was to the earth, as the earth was to other celestial bodies; that there was a mutual force of gravitation that extended to all other systems, that force itself extending indefinitely in all directions; that all matter was made of atoms which were hard, solid and immutable; that gravity accrued to both atoms and the bodies they composed; and that gravity was proportional to the amount of matter in every body; that the proportion in which gravitational power decreased with distance was analogous to the law governing tension and pitch in a string instrument, and was concealed in the ancient concept of the 'harmony of the spheres', and that the relationship of tension to the period of the vibration was an inverse square relationship.
So has it been remarkable to me that the greatest of public attributions I
have received is in "my" discovery of the inverse square law of
gravitational attraction. In fact, Pythagorus himself
had demonstrated the inverse square relationship of tension and pitch and such
had been confirmed by numerous scientists, well prior to my
"Principia" including G
So you see that what weighs largest in the public recognition of our works has not been the abstract notions themselves, for these abounded well prior to our efforts. What matters is the harmony with which new science can be melded with the thought streams of the times. So it was for scientists in our time, that the challenge was less one of discovery than of cultural appeasement, and thus t'will ever be.
Kepler: You are speaking of such things as the concept of a force acting at a distance being considered "occult" in our time and, as Kuhn has said, "representing a regression to the "mystic sympathies" and "potencies" of mythopoeic thought. It being the job of natural philosophers such as ourselves to show cause for all natural motion through direct and causal contact.
While our thoughts were thus stewarded by an unholy alliance of Church and State, we were unearthing grave flaws in our enforced beliefs that our earth was at the center of the universe, that bodies fell to earth with a velocity proportional to their bulk, that moving objects slowed and came to rest if no forces acted upon them .... we were finding that these abstract notions, woven into doctrine of church and culture, were easily refuted by experiment! Yet the stewards of nature's truths had successfully preserved these falsehoods for two millenia.
But in seventeenth century England, where Henry VIII had ceased listening and obeying, where Cromwell raided and disempowered the monasteries, where Parliament had beheaded the King, people were no longer in a mood to listen and believe ... they demanded that their truths be delivered, not on Papal parchment, but on the laboratory table and the field of experiment.
Kepler: It is true that in this time, the need to bring the mysteries of nature down to earth in real and tangible form was powerfully felt amongst the populace. But the need for simplicity prevailed in a like proportion. And we both know that the most beautiful of these mysteries, the order and harmony which comes out of the unifying of the opposites, and which builds continuously as latent experience and learning, ... this mystery and beauty cannot be reduced to simple terms, to imagery of billiard balls and their collisions. How then, did this conflict resolve itself within your mind's conjectures?
Newton: In two ways; by moving those aspects of understanding as could be moved into the domain of the real and tangible, in the form of physically verifiable propositions, and by ascribing those aspects not amenable to this process, to the realm of God and his transcendent blueprints..
Your third law, published in "Harmonice"
in 1619, furnished me all ingredients for the former task,
... a plentiful supply of accurate observations assuring tangible v
Kepler: I do not understand.
Newton: Your theory is all about the experience and history of material bodies; harmonies of motion building on harmonies of motion, the fusion of being and becoming, while your concept of inertia was that moving bodies retained no memory of their history; that motion was a product of the present, the result of the forces acting upon bodies at a particular instant of time.
My theory, on the other hand, was all about instantaneous behavior, and ignored experience and history. Rather than being about motion in the sense of cycles and harmonies, it was about instantaneous tangents. Yet the concept of inertia which I embraced was one in which the experience and history of the body was all important, for it is prior experience which imparts to a body its velocity which in turn shapes its form of motion as manifest in the present.
Kepler: Say no more. Preserving the harmonies while expressing the system in terms of force would have required that you deal with the experience aspect of matter. This would have complicated the problem and your mission enormously.
With the "experience" aspect of this tale now in the picture, we can now return to the ideas of the ancients, particularly Heraclitus, who said;
"They do not comprehend how a thing agrees at variance with itself; it is an attunement turning back on itself, like that of the bow and the lyre." ... "The name of the bow is life; its work is death."
Heraclitus knew that nature was composed of opposing forces which were unified through "hidden attunement". Just as the bow string and the bow oppose each other, the "life" in the tensioned system of bow and string resolves itself through oscillatory motion, until forces and oscillations fully dissipate and the system "dies".
And just as bow and bowstring, when in tension, constitute life based on opposition unified through harmonious co-evolution, so do the centrifugal and centripetal forces of the planets in their orbit round the sun live, oppose and unify, in a harmonious way.
To Heraclitus, aitherial "fire" or motion was the motive agent for all cosmological processes; "all things are an equal exchange for fire and fire for all things, as goods are for gold and gold are for goods." ... he maintained that; "pure, or aitherial, fire has a directive capacity." For Heraclitus, understanding the hidden order in the world equated to wisdom; "Men should try to comprehend the underlying coherence of things; It is expressed in the Logos, the formula or element of arrangement of all things."
It did not escape my attention that your own statement in "Harmonice"; "Geometry existed before the Creation, is coeternal with the mind of God, 'is God himself'." paralleled the thoughts of Heraclitus; "The ordering, the same for all, no god or man has made, but it ever was and is, and will be: fire everliving, kindled in measures and in measures going out." ..."Wisdom consists in understanding the way the world works" ... "One thing, the only truly wise, does not and does consent to be called by the name of Zeus." Thus did Heraclitus, like yourself, ascribe to nature --- order and harmony, and to god --- understanding.
Thus, the legacy of the ancients was rich in abstractions which covered
most, if not all of the ground of our current philosophizings,
even to the epoch we now visit. For one cannot avoid seeing, in the imagery of Heraclitus, the notions of "phase trajec
Science is but a part of the economy of ideas, and often stocks the shelves
well in advance of even the beginnings of demand. That a new theory satisfies a
scientific need signifies little in terms of its general acceptance, as was the
case with your first two laws, and many others which, though of proven v
Kepler: What you say is true, for all of my works were founded on the ideas of Pythagorus, Plato, Proclus or others who struggled to illuminate the secrets of the heavens well before me. My own contribution lay in applying their ancient wisdom to the interpretation of the new and more accurate observations of Tycho Brahe. It turned out that my third law was most well received while the first two were largely ignored, perhaps because it was so simple in concept, and tangibly demonstrable, in measures of time over distance. In fact, history has assessed that my biggest impact came from my publication of the "Rudolphine Tables" in 1627, an offering which was little more than a bookkeeping exercise to me. I would venture that the appeal of this offering was in its potential for liberating scientific thought from prescribed doctrine and channels.
This Christmas dialogue is, for me, rich with new insight beyond the
clarifying of his
Beyond this complication, the world of experience is the world of the collective, and once one opens the door to interactions which give rise to experience, there is no end to the matter. As Heraclitus has said; "thinking is shared by all" since thinking is most often the playing back of experience in the mind.
Kepler: So comes it now clear to me, why my harmonic theory of motion was too early for its time, for it would have introduced, or re-introduced too many new and abstract notions into the field of natural philosophy, and been too lacking in the scientific tools to make the truths in these abstractions apparent.
Kepler: I hear your words, but see no harmony in your thoughts, for if nature is complex and you present it as being only "real", there will be a price to pay. And it seems to me, as it did to Laing, that the bulk of this price is paid by innocents such as Madonna.
For no matter how finely you partition an observed problem into "real" fragments, so as to explain the problem part by part, ... like Humpty-Dumpty, there will be no way to re-assemble the parts such that nature's intent is honored. For the harmonies which were essential to their true nature will then be lost. Give me the most detailed "factual", in other words, "part-by-part" account of any man, and a Shakespeare can give you back a thousand different characters, all of which honor these "facts". For it is the timing relative to the whole that makes all the difference in how such facts are put together; is not rape untimely embrace, or murder untimely killing? The wisdom of Solomon, 1000 years before the birth of Christ has spoken to this issue;
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
That you could cast out this ancient wisdom, as the baby with its bath water, contending that; "the 'music of the spheres' is a concealed representation of the inverse square law of gravitational attraction" both astounds and dismays me. Though you claim that you see farther by standing on the shoulders of giants, the lenses of your propositions reveal to you a desert of static force and matter where lived a garden of divine harmonies. And those harmonies, banished as ungodly "noise", linger on in the shadows of the mind as denial, repression, projection and estrangement from nature.
Thus are we encouraged to look upon Madonna through these lenses which reduce live harmony to inert fact. But there exists no sufficiency of facts, without the seasons and harmonies which give them context, which can come near to illuminating Madonna's truths. Justice so constrained, shall be ill equipped to distinguish between worth and unworth in hearing her case.
A unity has come to my thinking which eluded me throughout my life, and whilst the final arbitor of my thoughts has always been the holy scriptures, it becomes apparent that in interpreting these writings, I did give them the same rough prunings as I had nature's works, and so obscured the fuller truths within them.
Kepler: We must be ever vigilant to keep the trickster within us from laundering the unconfessed selfishnesses of our minds through the external symbolry from which we seek unbiased counsel and approvals. Indeed, through this self-deception, Christ's holy image has been more oft used to justify earthly politics than to solicit heaven's harmonies. As I said in "Astronomia Nova...";
"So much for the authority of the Holy Scripture.
Now as regards the opinions of the saints about these matters of nature, I
answer in one word, that in theology the weight of
Authority, but in philosophy the weight of Reason alone is v
Kepler: With the synergies given us by this atunement of once opposing minds, and in the spirit of this season, can we not now turn our thoughts to Madonna, discovering some way to lift the shadow of our obsession with "facts" and denial of "experience" as now threatens her with grave and unjust injury?
Kepler: Distilling complex nature into simple rules of "good" and "evil" yields a clarity whose essence is deception. For in the applying of such rules an infinity of unspecified situations present themselves. And as nature's complexity re-rears its head, so returns the questions of balance in judgement, which follow from the words of Aristotle; ... there are many ways of going wrong but only one way of going right, for "evil is infinite in nature, while good is finite".
By no means do I myself embrace this "western" ethic or any other which deems itself, by virtue of God's will in Man or other such ratiocinations, worthy to sit in judgement of itself, nature, the whole of which we are part. As my words and work are testimony, my ethic is to judge things by nature's Truths, the seasonal harmonies or disharmonies characterizing men and all nature's children, but never by frozen moments separated from the whole, snapshots for friend or foe to caption according to their current pleasures. But given that we use such simple fishnets for "entrapping evil" with a mind to "concentrating good", Aristotle's words make clear that such industry rests on character of both fisherman and fish. For "evil" being infinite, fishermen tenacious as a Javert shall surely discover "evil" where'er they look, and fish honest as a Jean ValJean shall surely admit to it whene'er asked. Thus is the ultimate legacy of this ethic a world of liars and lawyers, ... or do I repeat myself?
Newton: The wellspring of remorse from these reflective insights, joined with memories of the self-deluding actions of my past, is made the more bitter-sweet as I look upon Madonna, struggling to prepare for her exams, unaware of the rude change in her life's course, about to unfold. ... A plague on all rules which deny past harmonies safe passage through the portals of the present, on their mission to enrich our future!
Kepler: In this moment of clarity and feeling, can you, ... can we find something to say or do which could change the outcome for Madonna? I can see the officers just now parking their van and escorting the dogs towards the school entrance.
Hello, ... Isaac?
Kepler (thirty minutes later): Where did you go? The most curious thing occurred. As the officers took the dogs by Madonna's locker, they passed without a sniff or a whimper, as if the drugs had somehow vaporized.
Kepler (as the penny finally drops, giving
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Primary Source Documents:
Editors Fauvel, Flood, Shortland,
Kepler, Johannes, "Epitome of Copernican Astronomy & Harmonies of the World", Prometheus Books, 1995
Kirk, G. S., "The Presocratic
Kahn, Charles H., "The Art and Thought of Heraclitus",
Laing, R. D., "The Politics of Experience", Pantheon Books, 1967
Bernstein, Jeremy, "Experiencing Science", E. P. Dutton, 1978
Koestler, Arthur, "The Sleepwalkers", Penguin Books, 1959
Kuhn, Thomas S., "The Copernican Revolution,