Wednesday, December 06, 2006


kissesAt any given time I've got at least five books going that I'm unable to finish because life always gets in the way. However, because I have the unusual treat of having a really relaxing, anticlimactic exam period, I found myself thumbing through a book that I put down mid-August about Johannes Kepler and his mother, entitled Kepler's Witch.

I'm kind of like Sir John A. in that I can open up a book that I haven't read for a couple years and find the exact word I left off on, regardless of if there was a bookmark there or not. Though, that's about where the similarities end, I guess, because I didn't build a railway, I've never been prime minister and I'm not in the habit of declaring that Liberals make me sick before vomiting on the floor of the House of Commons. I'm still young.

Kepler, you might remember was the guy who confirmed what Copernicus suspected, which is that everything revolves around the sun, and provided the groundwork for Newton to come up with the laws of gravity.

I'm finding that the prose kind of wanders a bit, occasionally circling back upon itself, and that irritates me. However, it does a good job of situating Kepler's life within social, political and religious context, without which you can't really understand his accomplishments much. Context is always everything.

Context being the Protestants and the Catholics beating the shit out of each other over matters of faith during the counter-Reformation, when in truth, their ideas weren't all that different from each other. Not much has really changed since then, even though we tend to use history as an example as to how we've changed and become better.

Church history has always fascinated me, and I've never been sure why. It's certainly not for a love of religion. My Marxist upbringing made sure of that. Perhaps I derive a perverse sense of pleasure out of how irrational religious devotion seems to be. Perhaps I just want to understand.