Max’s Post: Understanding the Universe in Renaissance

Trying to understand the universe when one can not understand the natural laws of Earth seems almost impossible. But Renaissance is very much about trying to understand how the Universe worked and then create formulae that could describe and explain it without contradicting religion. Was Earth the center of the Universe or the Sun? Was the planets made of the same matter as Earth or is Earth unique?
Kepler was deeply influenced by Copernicus philosophy, but at the same time he believed in Pythagoras. He firmly believed that the sole foundation of the whole universe was maths, numbers, and that the whole universe was One huge entity, One machine.
But the Aristotelian philosophers believed that Earth was fundamentally different that the rest of the Universe. Kepler was also a mystic. He believed that the Sun was the foundry of life and motion. That the Sun consisted of the ‘anima motrix’, a soul that give motion to the Universe. Although believing to something that he felt that existed although he couldn’t see it was not difficult for Kepler, he spent decades trying tp apply the natural laws of the Earth to the motion of the other planets. He was also convinced that the motion of these planets affected things on Earth. This led him to the discovery that the moon is controlling tides on Earth.
At Kepler’s time Astronomy and Astrology were not that separated. But Kepler used his Planets observations in order to make predictions. He saw it as a way to support his family financially, especially during the 30year war. He created more than 800 astrological maps for individuals. In 1595, he predicted a villagers riot, a Turkish invation as well as freezing winter cold, all with absolute success. This gave him fame and power.
300 years after his death, Einstein wrote: “Kepler’s faith in natural laws was so strong that devoted decades of patient and tiresome work of empirical research in the motion of the planets and the mathematical laws that govern it, all alone, without the help of anyone, and with the scientific understanding of so few…”

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