Thursday, May 16, 2013

Oration on the Dignity of Man Humanism and Renaissance Text:-

Q:- 2 Oration on the Dignity of Man Humanism and Renaissance Text:-
v Introduction:-
          Mirandola was a well known thinker and humanitarian in the mid of the fifteenth century. During his short life of thirty one, he had studies the Bible and many other schools of religion. He was a master of the schools of language and a great orator. Once he challenged different heads of the schools of religion to dispute with on nice hundred grave questions. The title of one of his religious discourses is the “The Dignity of Man” delivered by him in 1486 at Rome. This oration is the compact expression of the mind of the Renaissance and the manifesto of humanism.
          Richard Hooker, commenting on it asserts, thus
                   “if there is such a thing as  a manifesto of the renaissance,  Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola’s  ‘oration’ is it.”

v Oration On The Dignity of Man As a Renaissance Text:
          The core of renaissance ‘oration’ is a stupendous text so far as the renaissance tone is concerned. But before going deep in search of renaissance trinkets on text, it is equally important to understand what the renaissance is all about.

v What is Renaissance:-
          Many attempts have been made to define the renaissance. The Italian term ‘Rinascita’ means rebirth or awakening is the name applied to the period of European history following the middle ages.
           It is commonly said to have began in Italy in the late 14th century and to have continued in Western Europe through the 15th and 16th century. Moreover it has been described as the birth of the modern world out of the ashes of the dark ages. The discovery of the world and the discovery of man in the era of untrammeled individualism in life thought, religion and art.
          Now this oddball genius of a work is the manifesto of humanism. In the 16th century the word humanist was coined in the ‘studio humanitatis: or humanities’. In the 19th century new word humanism came to be applied to the view of  man- the general values and educational ideas common to many renaissance humanists as well as the later writers in the same trait.
          Typical renaissance humanism assumed the ‘dignity…’ and central position of man in the universe and emphasized upon the study of classical imaginative and philosophical literature as against natural science but with emphasis on its moral and practical rather than purely aesthetic values. In the words of Egon Freidell renaissance humanism is the rebirth of man in the likeness of god. The man of the middle ages was a self-effacing conscious man; always aware of his fallen and sinful nature; feeling himself a miserable foul creature watched by an angry god.

v Combination of religion and Renaissance :-
          Pico belonged to a brilliant Renaissance family .He studied at Bologna, and wandered through the Italian and French Universities for seven years. He masters the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, Chaldee and Arabic languages. Along with his age, he became a mystic, magician and grand scholar. In his works, we find a happy combination religion and Renaissance as we find in Donne and other metaphysical poets. He was the most semantic of all the Humanists. He wished a synthesis and reconciliation among the Hebrew, classical and Christian traditions.

v Manifesto of humanism
          Thus “The Dignity of Man” is the manifesto of humanism. It regenerate Man. Egon Friedell rightly says,
          “This is the primary meaning of the Renaissance; the rebirth of man in the likeness of God.”
          The man of the Middle Age was humble and conscious of his fallen and sinful nature. But Pico firmly believed that the Man was only a little lower than the angles. He can descend to abysmal depths and he can also become Godlike. He said, “How marvelous and splendid a creature is man!”

v Dehumanization of Man:-
          Pico points out that today in our lust of divine power, we have forgotten human dignity. In the twentieth century, the ambition of men of progress is to occupy God’s place, to repeat His deeds, to recreate and organize a man made cosmos according to man-made laws of reason, foresight and efficiency. This ambition moves us very near toe the dehumanization of man.

v Three Delphic precepts:-
          According to Pico, “God is a philosopher, a seer’. One should never forget these three Delphic precepts which are necessary for everyone who wants to enter the holy temple of Apollo. Apollo illumines every soul when it enters the first. This tripartite philosophy considers three aphorisms.
          The aphorism is ‘Nothing too much’. This means that excess of anything is to be avoided. Everything that goes out of limit is Polson. One must have measure and rule for everything. There should be a ‘mean’ of everything in life.
          The second aphorism is ‘Know thyself’ This means that one should know the real nature of different creations of God. This is not possible unless and until one know himself. With the help of self-knowledge one, one can know all other things. The same philosophy is sported by Zoroaster and Plato. This philosophy leads one very close to God.
          The third aphorism is ‘Thou Art’ which means that with the help of Apollo, one has to play his or her own role in this world and illumine one’s own soul. The happy combination of this three dimensional philosophy lays the foundation of humanism in one’s life.

v Opinion of Pythagoras:-
          Then Pico also supports the opinion of Pythagoras, who was one of the wisest men, yet he never claimed himself worthy of that name. His first precept to us was “Never to sit on bushel”. This means that one should not keep his power of reason idle through inaction. One should use reason which examines judges and measures all things. One should direct it and keep it agile.
          Pythagoras further warns one not to make water facing the sun or to cult our nails while offering sacrifice. The sun is our Father and Guide. One should take active part in the sacred rites and should not divert attention by doing trivial activities like nail clipping. Bacchus also firmly believed that we should dedicate ourselves soles to a sings activity on hand.

v ‘Feed the Cock’
          Pico continues his support of Pythagoras who will command us to ‘Feed the Cock’, which means to nourish the divine part of our soul with the knowledge of divine things as with substantial food and heavenly ambrosia. This is the cock whose face is that a lion which is the symbol of all earthy power, fear and awe. According to Job (a culture story), ‘this is the cock to whom understanding was given. At this cock’s crowing, erring man returns to his senses. This is the cock which every day in the morning twilight awakes many of us. When Socrates took the deadly Polson, Hemlock and was about to die and join the Divinity, he hard the crowing of this clock and called it ‘he healor of souls’.
          No faith, no philosophy, no world view ever remains static the only eternal thing is the human ability and freedom to change and express themselves in different ways. The greatest dignity of humanity is the boundless power of self transformation.

v The essence of humanism :-
          This is the theme of Pico’s oration. It is the spirit, the spark of Gold, which raises man above all the rest of creation, Pico does not believed in the modern notion that “Man makes himself”, but he declares that “Man is God’s noblest work, an image of God. God sad to Man, “Thou shalt have the power to degenerate into the lower forms of life, which are brutish. Thou shalt have the power to be reborn to into the higher forms which are divine”.
          Such is the essence of humanism which spread out of Italy into the whole Europe. As a great Renaissance humanist, Pico considered human nature ‘a gift of God. A humanist does not attempts to dethrone God but through the moral discipline he aspire to struggle upward toward the God head.   

          The Pico wished to synthesis all human knowledge into a single whole. He wished reconciliation of every human philosophy and every human religion to Christianity.

v Conclusion:-
          This oration no doubt commands a great respect as far as the Renaissance elements are concerned. It is typically a Renaissance text having many glimpses of other religions, cultures and philosophy. It is rich not only in tone but also in structure and texture. This project establishes him as a Platonist, Christian, Sorcerer, Rhetorician and mystic as he designs his 900 questions as an irrefragable proof of man’s uniqueness. Here he does not put forth his favoritism towards Renaissance man only but he says, “a real man in any age Is dignified and noble.”