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Quote #10

Well, here’s the stroke of genius. I discovered that while waiting for the masters with their rods, we should, like Copernicus, reverse the reasoning to win out. Inasmuch as one couldn’t condemn others without immediately judging oneself, one had to overwhelm oneself to have the right to judge others. Inasmuch as every judge some day ends up as a penitent, one had to travel the road in the opposite direction and practice the profession of penitent to be able to end up as a judge (6.18).

A little explanation of this Copernicus business: before Copernicus, everyone figured the earth was the center of the universe, and the sun rotated around it. Around 1543 Copernicus made it clear that, in fact, the earth went around the sun. In Jean-Baptiste’s thinking, Copernicus "reversed the reasoning." He imagines himself doing the same. Before Jean-Baptiste, the world judged others in order to avoid judging themselves. His reasoning is that we should judge ourselves in order to have the right to judge others.

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