Thursday, May 16, 2013

Oration on the Dignity of Man Theme/ Man’s Status/ Dignity in this world.

Oration on the Dignity of Man Theme/ Man’s Status/ Dignity in this world.
v Introduction:-
          Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola1463-1494) was a scantling star among the group of renaissance writers. He was one the most read of the renaissance philosophers because his work is an amalgamation of all the strains of renaissance and late medieval thinking-that is Neo-Platonism, humanism, Aristotelism, AND MYSTICISM.    Mirandola was a well known thinker and humanitarian in the mid of he 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 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 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 to the dehumanization of man.

v Dignity of Man
          The writer of this oration firmly believed that Man could become kingly, even angelic with the help of reason and will. The words in the title ’the dignity of man’ also mean ‘high nobility of soul and disciplined reason’. Through such an exercise of the soul and mind, human nature can be redeemed by Christ. After Pico’s oration, the phrase ‘dignity of man’ was on the lips of all sorts of people. He believed that “one man is as good as another, or may be a little better.” He also remarked that no man can dignify himself. Dignity is a quality with which one is invested. There must be a Master who can raise Man above the brute creation. If that Master is denied, no on man can attain dignity.

v Unique Creation of Human being by God:-
          In the beginning of his oration, Pico says,
          “There is nothing to be seen more marvelous than man.”
          Hermes also exclaims,
          “What a great miracle is Man!”
          These words remind us of Shakespeare’s most poetic expression about man’ dignity in “Hamlet”,
          “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinites in faculty! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angle ! In apprehension how like a God!           The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!”
          Pico further points out the ‘man is the intermediary between the God and His other creations.’ He has acute senses, sharp reason and brilliant intelligence. He is in the midway between the timeless and the flux. After the creation of this beautiful world, God had desired to create a creature which might comprehend the meaning of so vast an achievement, which might be moved with love at its beauty and impressed by its grander. At last He created Man. He offered him his own power of judgment and decision. He made him free from all the restriction which he had laid down for Nature and creatures. He gifted man with his own free will. Thus God placed Man at the centre of the world so that he could se and enjoy the pleasures of all thing created by God. God told Adam,
          “It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through your own decision to rise again to the superior orders whose life is divine”.

v Man’s Potentialities: -
          Pico also points out at the moment of man’s creation; God bestowed upon him Seed of all different potentialities. These seeds would bear hi m fruits according to his wish, The writer says,
          “if vegetative, he(man) will become  a plant; if sensual he will become  a brutish;, if rational he will  reveal himself a heavenly  being, if intellectual; he will be  an angel and the son of god.”

v Sacred Mysteries:-
          Here Pico refers to the ‘Sacred Mysteries such as Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones. The Seraphim burns with the fires of Charity. Cherubim stands for spelendour of intelligence and Through stands for the firm just. It is rightly observed in hymns that “Whoever is Seraph, i.e. the lover, in God and God is in him. In the other words, God and he are one. With the help of Thrones we attain the power of right judgment. Cherub is the intermediary and his light of intelligence prepares the man for the fire of the Seraphim and the judgment of the Thrones.

v Man and his status:-
          Thus in this magnificent creation on the dignity of man and his status in this world, Pico rightly points out that through the discipline of reason and will, Man can make himself kingly, even angelic. In any angel a real main dignified and nobly human so long as he acknowledges the authority of Almighty God. Preaching against the vegetative and sensual errors of our time, Pico bows down his head before the God as a sign of thankfulness of Man’s higher and dignified nature.

v Conclusion:-
          Thus Pico answers the question ‘what is the dignity of man? He located his dignity in the human capability and freedom to be whatever it wants to do. According to Pico, if we view the whole of human history, we shall find that nothing remain stable. No faith, no philosophy, no worldly view ever remains static. The only eternal thing is the human ability and freedom to change and express themselves in different ways. The great dignity of humanity is the boundless power of self transformation. 

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