Wednesday, March 09, 2011
A poem from Piet Hein (Translated by James Honzik)
Why did they burn Giordano Bruno?
Because the open mind is dangerous.
Because the power of the word is a weapon.
Because the freedom of life is might.
Because a free life is the might
against which the violence of power is futile.
Because the power of the word is our weapon,
- inquiry against domination.
Because an open mind is dangerous
for anyone who lives within their servitude.
Because Aristotle is overthrown,
and Copernicus expands the world.
Because mankind’s long journey
into new diversity and richness
led by humble free thought
bursts the bonds of slavery.
Therefore, they burned Giordano Bruno.
Therefore, - Because a human is larger
than the chambers, one is forced into,
than the weapons, one is faced with,
than their power, ineffectually
towering against Giordano Bruno's thought.
Therefore, not they, but he lives.
Piet Hein was a Danish scientist, architect, polymath, universalist, poet, and friend of Neils Bohr.
Life Magazine article about Piet Hein
Giordano Bruno was 16th century Italian philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer, who wandered through the intellectual centers of Europe, teaching, learning, disseminating his ideas, which ran contrary to the dominant religious power structure.
Some of his writing seems prophetic of contemporary cosmological thought.
"This entire globe, this star, not being subject to death, and dissolution and annihilation being impossible anywhere in Nature, from time to time renews itself by changing and altering all its parts. There is no absolute up or down, as Aristotle taught; no absolute position in space; but the position of a body is relative to that of other bodies. Everywhere there is incessant relative change in position throughout the universe, and the observer is always at the center of things."
"In 1584, twenty-five years before Galileo lifted a telescope, Bruno took the Copernican hypothesis to the outrageous new conclusion that the sun is merely one of an infinity of stars, which stretch across boundless and inexhaustible space."
They burned him at the stake.
Wikipedia article about Giordano Bruno