With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on. -- William Morris

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kant vs. Copernicus

An Easy Essay in the Spirit of Peter Maurin, inspired by William Desmond

Kant (1724 – 1804) vs. Copernicus (1473 – 1543)

Before Copernicus, it was thought that
The sun revolved around the earth,
That man was the center of all.
But Copernicus was a revolutionary,
Whose perspicacity, like none other,
Keenly peered into the
True nature of revolution, and declared
The earth revolves around the sun.
Man was no more the center of all,
But, instead was held in the embrace of a world
Full of things whose intelligibility would lead man
To ever higher realms of existence.

Before Kant, it was known that
The earth revolved around the sun,
That man was not the center of all because
There was a world of things surrounding him.
Kant assumed the position of “revolutionary,”
And declared that he had discovered a new center
The transcendental subject, and its conditions for thought.
Man was pushed back into the center, and all things
Were now subject to man’s cognitive dominion.
Man now held the world in his fragile embrace,
Imposing intelligibility upon things that prove themselves
To be more and more recalcitrant to man’s dominion.

But if Copernicus realized man was not in the center,
And if Kant pushed man back into the center,
It is odd that Kant declared his movement to be
A Copernican Revolution.


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