Ancient Times. Plato: The Golden Section
Though it could seem rather weird, the greatest mathematic discoveries have always been interconnected with nature. It seems that mathematics is the only reasonable explanation of all the processes which are going on in the world. Among the most important discoveries of the world, the golden section takes one of the first places. After all, people noticed the mathematical wisdom of nature long ago, and now they find the proofs for that with each step they make. Thus, it is a well-known fact that nature uses only whole numbers; DNA is 34 long by 21 wide; the design of a propeller was based on the golden section found in a seashell, and so on…
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The discovery of the golden section was equal to a scientific breakthrough. It is also peculiar that Plato chose a line, not numbers, to demonstrate the genial idea. Perhaps, because of the complicacy of the ratio of the long and the shorter, it could be demonstrated with the line best. Indeed, the greatest ideas never die.
The Middle Ages. Ramon Lull: The Stories of Knighthood
One of the first people to introduce to mankind who a knight is and what his duties and pride is, Ramon Lull created more than merely a list of postulates – he created the chronicles of the history of knighthood. Emphasizing that the chief goal of a knight is to serve his lord, Lull draws a clear line between the nobility and the knighthood.
However, it seems that Lull also implies that the nobility is something that cannot be inherited with a title. Creating the image of a perfect, chivalrous, and courageous man who will do everything that he is due to, Lull comes very close to the idea of creating a missionary order which would encompass the knighthood and the monasticism.
The Middle Ages. Thomas Aquinas: What Makes Heresy and Vice
Heresy is associated with something that is considered blasphemous by the church and belonging to condemnation. However, it has not always been that way. Due to the change which happened to the church as the time passed, the word which initially meant choosing was finally transformed into lies and sacrilege worth punishing for.
Revealing this secret to the entire mankind, Thomas Aquinas made quite a stir in the then society. Claiming that heresy was a specimen of unbelief, Aquinas drew the conclusion that a heretic is worth sympathy rather than condemnation, and claimed that the church should be merciful to those sinful and try to bring back the stray ship to the fold, and there is no need to be as strict as Beza, Calvin or Luther. Another striking example of a heretic was Bilney; because of his thinking that focusing on faith was the key aspect of the religion, he was considered a heretic.
Protorenaissance. Francesco Petrarca: The Man with a Poem in His Heart
No matter how much one could talk about Petrarch and the impact which this man has on the culture of the Protorenaissance, there would never be enough. With the amazing talent of his, the great poet and scholar broke fresh ground in the world culture. However, there was something more than the poet shared with the rest of the people, the secret hidden in the heart of his hearts – the fear to fall into sin.
Reflecting on what makes a man with his greatest and most spiritual desires which finally end with “the lowest wish”, Petrarch anatomized his feelings to understand if his passion for Laura is worth a man of virtue. Not falling into such extremes as the ideas of Bruni, who thought no women to be spiritual enough to deserve his attention. Still, Petrarch was inclined to think in the way Loyola did; considering that any knowledge that is not virtuous will be deleted, he claimed in the dialogue with St. Augustine that the love for Laura led him to the love for God.
Renaissance. Giorgio Vasari: Casting a Glance into the Renaissance Times
Another prominent person in the world of art and religion, Giorgio Vasari was the man who showed nature to the people in its blissful beauty. Linking the perfection of nature with the religious beliefs based on the idea of nature as God’s divine creation, Vasari praises everything natural and thus beautiful. Consequently, Vasari found everything that was unnatural as “ridiculous”, made weirdly. Among the “unnatural” issues which Vasari touched upon was the Gothic style with its pretentious patterns.
With his innovative approach, Vasari was thinking that when mimicking nature, people become closer to the Divine; thus, he considered that the more people observed and imitated nature, the more progress mankind would make. Although this approach could raise a lot of arguments at present, it seems that the great artists did have a point, for many secrets of nature are still to unravel.