Essay on HUMAN BEINGS AND NATURE DURING THE REVOLUTION OF THE MIND

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HUMAN BEINGS AND NATURE DURING THE REVOLUTION OF THE MIND

"Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Dare to Know! Have courage to use your own reason!- that is the motto of enlightenment."
-Immanuel Kant, 1784 (1)

From the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, a drastically new way of thinking developed in Western Civilization, a way of thinking that has shaped and defined the modern world. This new mode of thought evolved within two movements, the Scientific
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(2) This theory deviated from the popular, Aristotelian belief that the earth, due to its heaviness, comprised the center of the known universe, surrounded by the other heavenly bodies, which moved within crystalline spheres. Beyond these the kingdom of God supposedly existed. The Church supported the Aristotelian view because it placed God's supreme creation, humanity, at the heart of His created world. The Aristotelian theory was given further support by Psalm 104: "Thou didst set the earth on its foundation, so that it should never be shaken." Yet Copernicus found the mathematics supporting the popular view of the universe unsatisfactory, and so he formulated the Heliocentric Theory, freeing the scientists who would follow in his footsteps from a rigid view of the universe. (3)

In 1615, the inventor of the telescope, Galileo Galilei, wrote a letter to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany ardently defending the Heliocentric Theory, which was being attacked as heretical by various members of the scientific and religious communities. Galilei affronted the authority of the Church by proclaiming the Bible to be a symbolic, not a literal, read that was being twisted and misrepresented by opponents of the Copernican view. (4) He stood by Copernicus until the age of seventy, when two appearances before the Catholic Inquisition forced him to change his stance on the matter. (5)

Shortly after Galilei's letter, in 1620, the
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