The Harmony of the World, published in 1619, is a keystone in Kepler's own life's works, representing the culmination of a 25-year-long thread of development and investigation which began with the publication of his first work in 1596, The Mysterium Cosmographicum. However, its scope is not so limited; what's clearly presented to the world in the fifth book of this work also represents a crucial achievement for human scientific thought and method, generally.
The kernel of this method was expressed early on by Kepler, as seen declared in a letter to his patron Herwart von Hohenburg:
“Not every hunch is wrong. For man is an image of God, and it is quite possible that he thinks the same way as God in matters which concern the adornment of the world. For the world partakes of quantity and the mind of man grasps nothing better than quantities for the recognition of which he was obviously created.”
He expressed it later in the prelude to the Mysterium Cosmographicum, in this way:
“For the reason why the mind was joined to the senses by our Maker is not only so that Man should maintain himself, which many species of living things can do far more cleverly with the aid of even an irrational mind, but also so that from those things which we perceive with our eyes to exist we should strive towards the causes of their being and becoming, although we should get nothing else useful from them. And just as other animals, and the human body, are sustained by food and drink, so the very spirit of Man, which is something distinct from Man, is nourished, is increased, and in a sense grows up on this diet of knowledge, and is more the dead than the living if it is touched by no desire for these things. Therefore as by the providence of Nature nourishment is never lacking for living things, so we can say with justice that the reason why there is such great variety in things, and treasuries so well concealed in the fabric of the heavens, is so that fresh nourishment should never be lacking for the human mind, and it should never disdain it as stale, nor be inactive, but should have in this universe an inexhaustible workshop in which to busy itself.”
The concept that the universe is created on principles of reason by a Creator of whose mind we are an image, and that man's mind comes ever closer to the knowledge of God's mind not by deduction from objects of the senses (mathematics and geometry), but by conceptualizing that infinity which is beyond the powers of expression of those sensible things—this idea was firmly laid as the cornerstone of modern science in the 15th Century by Nicholas of Cusa. The Cusan conception of creative man's role within the universe clearly shaped the topography upon which Kepler's thinking unfolded, as pointed to by the foregoing quotes.
It was during the period following the publication of the Mysterium while working under the astronomer Tycho Brahe that the idea which had taken root in him from a young age was consolidated in its mature, practiced form.
Having been assigned the task of calculating the orbit of Mars by Tycho, Kepler did not—could not—remain within confines of an astronomy built on a geometric and mathematical modeling of the appearances in the sky. In 1609, as the new Imperial Mathematician to the court of Emperor Rudolph II, he shocked Europe by laying this discovery before the world in the publication of his New Astronomy. In this work, he not only succeeded in fettering the elusive Mars into a known, elliptical (rather than circular) orbit, but to do that, he had to overthrow the very foundation upon which astronomy had stood for millenia, and refound it as a branch of physics—thereby proving that man could know physical causality, and was not imprisoned within the logic of modeling the appearances of his sense perceptions. This is clearly presented to the reader in the New Astronomy, keyed around what he calls his “vicarious hypothesis”—a clear proof that no model based on sense perception contains the truth 1.
Echoing the work of Cusa, Kepler takes the reader through the experience of the leap that a mind must take to find the truth behind the shadows of the appearances. After showing that even the most perfect geometric model is still eluded by the physical motion of the planet, he presents, as if out of the blue, a physical hypothesis: that the Sun, as the physical mover of the planetary bodies, moved them around himself by the immaterial species (or idea), which diminishes in power in proportion to the planet's distance from the Sun. This proposal of an initial concept of universal gravitation, was nowhere contained in the mathematical modeling or charts of data; it was arrived by the introduction of a unique thought of Kepler's concentrated, hypothesizing mind.
The success of this method, clearly presented in the published work, demonstrated firmly that man's knowledge is not limited to deduction—something which relegates the mind as a subordinate of sense-experience. The mind can leap, discontinuously by way of hypothesis to what principle, for which there is no direct evidence or measurement in the data, is generating those appearences. To loosely quote Kepler's later admirer, Albert Einstein: to be able to think “the thoughts of God”...and to come up with the right answer!
The success and beauty of this new method of hypothesizing physical causes spurred Kepler on to seek the unified thought which is generating the motion of not just a single planet, but of the entire set of heavenly spheres of the Solar system as a unified composition. This completion of the discovery of universal gravitation is presented to the reader in the 1619 work which is the subject of this website.
With Kepler's firm proof that the human mind is not shackled to deductive methods, the human species had the opportunity at that time to safely leave behind the folly of statistical mathematical logic, as a relic of a more primitive past. Had this been done, the developments in science, art, and statecraft begun with the 15th Century Renaissance could have been fully revived, and the oligarchical system which dominated Europe could have been brought to a swift, and permanent end.
Instead, the then-Venetian-based oligarchy reacted swiftly, trying to contain the effects of what might be unleashed in all aspects of society by a sound demonstration that the human mind is in fact free from the shackles of sense perception. However, since what Kepler discovered was already too powerful to be suppressed, a massive campaign was run to cover-up the knowledge of how that discovery was made, by masking the living principle of universal gravitation within the dead formulas of mathematics and statistical thinking—i.e., the Isaac Newton project, and other frauds of so-called “science”. The fraud of what was done to cover-up how gravitation was actually discovered persists to the present day, pervading the thinking of every corridor of the institutions of society, from the halls of government and policy making, to the university and other scientific laboratories. At root, it is our own failure to rid ourselves of the folly of statistical, deductive thinking which has led society to the edge of another great precipice of collapse today.
This website is intended to give those wishing to overthrow this folly a firm grasp of modern scientific method, as pioneered by Kepler, and thus provide a foundation for the reclaiming of all branches of science—especially economic science—from where they've been languishing among the dead of mathematics and logic. This must be done if mankind is going to succeed in moving out of the collapse phase we are currently in, and into establishing the new branches of science which will accompany our increasing mastery of processes on a Solar Systemic and galactic scale2.
Below are Part I and Part II of an introductory class given by the author on May 26th, 2012. Part I covers the historical and political context in which Kepler was working, and his direct continuation of the scientific method of Nicholas of Cusa. Part II covers the tempering of the musical system (as seen here in Book III), and the tempering of the heavenly harmonies, as seen in Book V.