For reasons I won’t go into here, I’ve been looking at the life of Giordano Bruno. Fascinating thinker given that his thinking took place over 400 hundred years ago when thinking was okay, so long as it was Aristotle’s from centuries before. And if it didn’t offend the churches of all persuasions.
I was particularly struck by this comment of Bruno’s:
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 centre of things.
Or how about this: “Innumerable suns exist; innumerable earths revolve around these suns in a manner similar to the way the seven planets revolve around our sun. Living beings inhabit these worlds.”
A sixteenth-century monk? This fella had nailed relativity on the head (if not the detail) before Einstein had clipped two paperclips together in his patent office. And his prize? To be burnt at the stake. Just glad his name survives, but especially in the SETI League.