There was little reassurance or comfort here for a sensitive boy like Kepler. He was intelligent, and he knew it. That together with his stubbornness and his fierce independence served to isolate him from the other boys. Kepler made few friends in his two years at Maulbronn, so he kept to himself, withdrawn into the world of his own thoughts. ... But the real world of Kepler's time was far from perfect. It was haunted by fear, pestilence, famine, and war. Superstition was a natural refuge for people who are powerless.