Character Traits and Dialogues of Giordano BrunoJune 27, 2021
Giordano Bruno was born in 1548. There is no clear information about the first years of his life. We can describe the period in which he lived as a period of contradictions. A period of reform after Martin Luther and waves of anti-reformation that followed. In this period, with the Renaissance, the Ancient Greek philosophers were remembered again and this situation accelerated the reform movements.
Counter-reform movements were organized in order to prevent these movements by the church, which saw these movements as a threat, and these counter-reform movements were organized with meetings called “Meeting of the Thirty”. This movement decided all kinds of inhuman practices of the Middle Ages and the decisions taken were implemented by the structure called “Holy Organization”. In this period, ignorance and religious misinterpretation are at such a point that people are burned alive because it says “do not shed blood” in the Bible.
As we mentioned above, there is no clear information about the first years of Giordano Bruno’s life. We know that at the age of 17 he entered a Dominican convent in Naples. He worked here for 11 years and studied pre-Socratic philosophers such as Thales and Pythagoras, and got to know the philosophers of the Renaissance. The works he read in the monastery were forbidden to be read at that time. In fact, an investigation was launched against him on the grounds that he had read the books of Erasmus, and after a while he escaped from the monastery.
Our philosopher has a fiery and outspoken personality. For this reason, he was expelled both from the university in Geneva, where he was accepted after the monastery in Naples, and from the university, where he continued in France, where the students chose their own teachers.
According to the Hermetic thought advocated by Bruno, everything in nature is a reflection of God. Even thoughts are like that. According to this doctrine, which argues that the world consists of a thought and an image, what we call physical and mental thought are not different from each other.
He has worked almost all over Europe. He was interested in the subject of “universe science” in England. The universe view he advocates is close to today’s thought. According to Bruno, the universe is infinite and expanding.
It may seem incomprehensible to us that the church should oppose such a scholar and even condemn him to death. But the basis of this attitude of the church is again Bruno’s view of the universe. According to the medieval church, the church is the only representative of God. Therefore, there are no other worlds, and contrary to what our philosopher advocates, the world is the center of the entire system and the universe, including the sun. Saying the opposite, Bruno devalues the church.
As a result, Giordano Bruno was arrested in Venice in 1591, due to his thoughts about the universe and his work on memory, when a nobleman invited him to his palace. (We touched on his thoughts on the universe above. You can find our article on his work on memory here.) After his arrest, he was held in the dungeons of “Piompi” (Turkish: Kurşun) for nine years, in this place below sea level where the waves crashed against lead plates and made crazy sounds has been tortured. After all this, when the sentence of being burned to death after his tongue was cut off was read to his face, he famously said to the inquisitors: “You are more afraid than I am when you read this verdict.”
“I neither like to hide the truth that I see, nor am I afraid to express it openly. ”
The owner of these words is the Italian philosopher, priest, poet Giordano Bruno, who is considered to be the “first apostle of freedom of thought” in history.
Giordano Bruno believed in the eternity of the universe in the Middle Ages, when ignorance, superstitions and dogmatism lived all around under the name of religiosity. Because his family wants him to be a priest, he sends him to a monastery and the church opens its doors with their own hands to its greatest judge. The doors open, but Bruno wants to knock down those doors one by one. He fell right into the heart of what he was questioning. That’s why their questions, depressions and inferences are different from everyone else; “God uses good people on earth to dominate his will; and the wicked people of the earth turn to God to dominate their will.”
While on a trip with his father, he sees Mount Vesuvius, which appears bare and gray in the distance. His father tells him that there is rich vegetation there, just like where they were. Giordano realizes that things seem different from afar and realizes that one should not rely on the senses. The moment he realizes that everything is doubtful, the thinker in him is born.
Despite being a priest, Bruno, who is not afraid to criticize the church and even religion with the harshest words, cannot live anywhere permanently, he has to constantly travel (literally flee). Geneva, Southern France, Germany, Zurich, Paris and London