Pico Della Mirandola was born in 1463 and lived through to 1494. He was born in a royal family in Italy. During his youth, he paid visits to prominent French and Italian universities.
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He also challenged scholars to a debate of his nine hundred theses in Rome in 1846. However, the Pope forbade any such debates because of the heretical nature of some of the theses. Consequently, he suffered prosecution and was absolved by Alexander VI in 1943. Pico sought knowledge and his works are compounded with mysticism. He was a theologian, philosopher and a humanist.
He also sought after knowledge. He wrote different types of works such as sonnets and elegies. He wanted to reconcile philosophy and religion. His work on oration on the dignity of man claimed that man was a miraculous and wonderful being. This discussion shall look at the reasons why Pico considered man a miraculous and wonderful being and whether human beings are truly free.
Pico considers a human being a wonderful creature. He urges that man is a miraculous being because he can choose what he wills. God granted man the power to choose. Thus, man can choose to be good or evil because God created him with seeds of all possibilities. This means that man can become whatever he cultivates be it bad or good.
For example, some men turn out to be plants, others become brutish and others become angelic and sons of God. Man can also recollect himself if not satisfied with all the creatures. Then become one in spirit with God. The ability of man to transform himself made Pico claim that man was a wonderful being.
Man is a miraculous being because he was created in the image of God. The creation story tells about all the things that God created during the first six days and on the seventh day, he desired to create a creature that resembled him so that he could have a relationship with it. The creature that he saw fit for his desire was a human being whom he fashioned in his own image. Thus, man is the only being created in God’s image thus making him a wonderful creature.
Man is a miraculous creature because he can take many forms. In both Christian and mosaic writings, man is sometimes called all flesh and other times every creature. A man is called by these different terms because he is able to fashion, mold himself, and assume any characteristic that he so desires.
In this regard, Evantes concurred with Pico when he said that a man is born with no specific semblance but has many according to his will. Man is unique and cannot be classified as heavenly or earthly. Furthermore, man does not fit into the categories of immortal and mortal.
God created man this way because he wanted him to be free to be the shaper of himself into whatever form he preferred. Man can attain any level he desires such as become the least of all creatures or be reborn in the divine order. Pico came up with a new creation allegory that depicted Adam as a man who had unlimited choices.
Among all the creatures, that God created only man can admire nature. Man has the ability to admire the vast creation of God and marvel at its beauty.
That is why God created him after He had finished creating all the things in the universe. He felt a need of having a creature that would be like him. He created man in a unique way and he did not fashion him from any archetype on earth. God wanted to create a being that would contemplate about the universe and man was the answer to that need.
Man was placed at the center of the universe. God placed man at the center so that he could easily see whatever was in the earth. Man is the only creature with the ability to look around his surrounding and admire it making him a wonderful creature.
Pico is of the contention that humans are to be envied by angels. He says that angels should envy human beings because a man can choose their destiny unlike the angels who are destined to serve God and cannot change their form. I think that angels can envy human beings because man has the power to power to admire the universe unlike the angels.
Angels can also envy man because he has the power to become like them or attain their level by observing the life of angels. On the other hand, angels are destined to serve God and are thus assured of a life in heaven unlike man who has to decide his destiny through his actions.
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If man is not careful, he can become a brute or a plant and therefore fail to enjoy the things in the high levels. A man has to live through life in which he faces many things and it might become difficult for him to focus on doing good in order to become like angles in a world full of so many evils. Still, man is a being to be envied by angels even by all other creatures because of his unique nature and ability to shape his destiny.
Pico posits that man has freedom but must observe the universal law to enjoy the freedom. God created man and give him the freedom. Freedom is the essence of dignity in man. It places man in high rank because only man has the ability to be free in the cosmos. Man is able to realize the possibility that is heavenly through his actions.
Man can reach this divine possibility by meditation, which ignites compassion, intuitive and intelligence. A man who aims to be one with God will activate the three qualities by practicing moral science and purifying the soul and abandoning dialectical reasoning.
Thus, man is free to choose if he wants to be one with God or separate. Pico urges that man is a free being because he has many gods within him and can choose whatever he wills. Pico asserts that the essence of man’s freedom was to enable man to die in flesh and live in God in form of the mind.
Man is free to choose to either follow the nature within him that pulls him towards divinity or low sphere of trouble. If he chooses to be driven by discord, he will be separated from gods and banished into the deep realm. On the other hand, if he chooses to follow the moral philosophy that teaches love he will be able to attain peace. If all men choose to practice moral philosophy then the world will become peaceful and men can live like brothers and sisters.
Freedom gives man an opportunity to live wherever he so wishes. When God created man, he placed him at the center of the earth. From this position, man is able to see all the things that are the world. God placed him there so that he could in accordance to his own judgment and desires choose any place to call home. The freedom that God gave man set him free unlike animals that are constrained by laws he has no limits.
It means that only man can choose the limits to place in his nature. Thus, he has the freedom to occupy whichever place he desires. For instance, man has been able to reclaim the sea and build cities because he has the freedom to do so yet no other creature can do such a thing.
When God created man, he wished to have a relationship with him forever. Thus, he gave man freedom of will so that he could choose salvation and live with God forever. Man can acquire salvation through his deeds and just as God told Adam when he created him, it was upon him to choose and live his life according to his own will. Thus, freedom can enable man to attain salvation.
Lastly, a man is free to choose his destiny unlike the other creatures that are controlled by external factors. Man defines and fashions his own destiny. I think is the highest trait in man that distinguishes him from all other creatures that walk on the face of the earth. The freedom innately found in man truly makes him a wonderful being.
On the other hand, hand can be evil and make the life of his fellow miserable through his actions such as hatred and even wars that lead to so much suffering.
However, I do not think that man is truly free because some men are controlled by other men and have no say in whatever they are asked to do. For example, some men have been turned into slaves by others and denied the freedom to think or even do, as they will. Their masters dictate what they should do and in this case, such men cannot be said to be truly free.
They carry out the evil deeds due to a command because they are not given a choice and failure to carry out the orders may result in sever punishment. For example, some perpetrators of atrocities during the Nazi era claim they were only obeying orders. Were such men truly free? Nonetheless, man is a free being and can choose to be whatever he wills.