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ORATION On the Dignity of Man.

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  • dick.richardson@rocketmail.com
    ORATION On the Dignity of Man. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola The Count of Mirandola 1463-94. Manifesto of the Enlightenment I have read in the records of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2010
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      On the Dignity of Man.

      Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

      The Count of Mirandola 1463-94.

      Manifesto of the Enlightenment

      I have read in the records of the Arabian's, reverend
      fathers, that Abdala, the Saracen, when questioned as to what on this
      stage of the world, as it were, could be seen to be most worthy of
      wonder, replied; "There is nothing to be seen more wonderful than
      Man". In agreement with this opinion is the saying of Hermes
      Trismegistus.... "A great miracle, Asclepios, is Man".

      At last it seems to me I have come to understand why Man is the most
      fortunate of creatures and consequently, worthy of all admiration. And
      what precisely is that rank which is his lot in the Universal chain of
      being - a rank to be envied not only by brutes but even by the stars and
      by minds beyond this world. The best of artisans - the creative powers
      - addressed Man thus...

      "The nature of all other beings is limited and constrained within
      the bounds and laws prescribed by us. Thou, constrained by no limits in
      accordance with thine own free will in who's hand we have placed
      thee, thou shalt ordain for thyself the limits of thy nature. Thou
      shalt have the power to degenerate into the lower forms of life, which
      are brutish. Thou shalt have the power, out of thy souls judgement, to
      be reborn into the higher forms, which are Divine. Whatever seeds each
      man cultivates will grow to maturity and bear in him their own fruit.
      If they be vegetative, he will be like a plant. If of the senses, he
      will become brutish. If intellectual, he will become an angel in the
      son of God. If rational, he will grow into a heavenly being. And if -
      happy in the lot of no created thing - he withdraws into the centre of
      his own unity, his spirit made one with God, in the solitary darkness of
      God, who is such above all things, he shall surpass them all".

      So let a certain holy ambition invade our souls, so that, not content
      with the mediocre, we shall pant after the highest, and, since we may,
      if we wish, toil with all our strength to obtain it, full of Divine
      power, we shall no longer be ourselves but shall become with he Himself
      who made us, for he who knows himself in himself knows all things - as
      Zoroaster first wrote.

      I have also proposed theorems dealing with magic, in which I have
      indicated that magic has two forms, one of which depends entirely on the
      work and authority of demons - a thing to be abhorred, so help me the
      God of Truth, and a monstrous thing. The other, when it is rightly
      pursued, is nothing else than the utter perfection of natural
      philosophy. The former can claim for itself the name of neither art nor
      science, but the latter, abounding in the loftiest mysteries, embraces
      the deepest contemplation of the most secret things, and - at last - the
      knowledge of all nature. As the farmer weds his vines to elms, so does
      the Magus wed Earth to heaven, that is, he weds the lower things to the
      endowments and powers of the higher things.

      If all of this appears new and strange to you reverend fathers, then
      think on how the Sphinxes carved into the temples of the Egyptians
      reminded them that the mystic doctrine should be kept inviolable from
      the common herd by means of the knots of riddles. The theologian,
      Origen, asserts that Jesus Christ - a teacher of life - made many
      revelations to his disciples which they were unwilling to write down
      lest they become commonplaces to the rabble. This is in the highest
      degree confirmed by Dionysius the areopagite, who says, that the hidden
      mysteries were conveyed by the founders of religion from mind to mind,
      without writing, through the medium of speech. Let us consult the
      apostle Paul, a chosen vessel, when he himself was exulted to the third
      heaven. He will answer, according to the secret interpretations of
      Dionysius, that he saw the cherubim being purified then being
      illuminated, and, at last, being made perfect.

      When we have been so soothingly called, so kindly urged, we shall with
      winged feet fly up like Earthly Mercury's, to the embraces of our
      blessed Mother and enjoy that wished for peace, most holy peace,
      indivisible bond, in one accord, with the friendship through which all
      rational souls not only shall come into harmony with the one mind -
      which is above all minds - but shall, in some ineffable way, become
      altogether one. This is that peace which God creates in His heavens,
      which angels descending to Earth proclaim to men of good will, that
      through it, men might ascend to heaven and become angels. Let us wish
      this peace for our friends - for our century.

      - PDM

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