… 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 without 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.
Johannes Kepler, Mysterium Cosmographicum. The Secret of the Universe, 1596
Johannes Kepler and his life’s work have been appreciated extensively and profoundly in many publications, so that here just a few representative quotations shall illuminate his fundamental attitude to science.
To you I return, noble Kepler, whose sublime mind created a spiritual and moral universe, whereas in our day to slay everything, to debase what is noble, instead of raising what is inferior, is regarded as wisdom, even to the extent of subjecting the human spirit to the laws of mechanics.
Novalis (1772-1801), Fragmente, No. 92
It can be said of Kepler, as of few great scientists, that what he accomplished would never have been done had he himself not done it. The discovery from the examination of naked-eye observational reports that planets move on ellipses, and according to the area law, is so exceedingly improbable – and Kepler’s manner of arriving at it
was so decidedly personal – that it lies outside the course of any inevitable development.
Kepler’s Physical Astronomy, 1987
“The Harmony of the World” is an extremely beautiful book, perhaps the most beautiful one ever written by a naturalist about his world. It’s a dream! But it is also an adventure, an incredibly bold work which wants to shake people’s minds again and again and wake them up to a new venture, because, as Kepler says: “Lack of daring is the death of philosophy; let us live and be active! ”
Johannes Kepler, 1943
For Kepler, science is not at all a means of procuring material benefits for man, or of making possible a technology for better living in our imperfect world, and opening up the paths of progress. Quite the contrary – science is a means of elevating the mind, a way of finding peace and solace in the contemplation of the eternal perfection of the Creation.
The Physicist’s Conception of Nature, 1955
When the storm rages and the shipwreck of the state threatens, we can do nothing more worthy than to plunge the anchor of our peaceful studies into the depths of eternity.
quoted in the book ‘Kepler’, Johannes Hemleben, 1971