Free «Oration on the Dignity of Man» Essay Sample

Pico Della is one of the most famous renaissance philosophers from Italy. He gained his fame at a tender age of 23 years in 1494 when he proposed to defend 900 theses on magic, philosophy, religion and natural philosophy against all critics (Dougherty, 2008). It is in this effect that he came up with the famous 'Oration on the Dignity of Man', which he used to introduce his 900 theses. This writing is also referred to as the 'manifesto of renaissance' and a very important document of renaissance humanism. The Oration was generally about the incredible capacity of human achievements. He attempted to put into track human setting so that it could cater for attention on human capacity and human perception (Mirandola, 1999).

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After arriving in Florence, Pico taught about the capacity of human achievement. He had observed that people had a tendency of underrating their abilities and that is why he decided come up with the oration with an intention of awakening the society to a new perspective of life. He was a living prove that indeed human beings had a wider capacity of achievement than what many believed. In the oration he goes a head to tell his own achievements on how he had studied everything in the university curriculum of renaissance. To him the oration was an introduction to a massive compendium of the intellectual achievement of humanity (Mirandola, 1999).However he died before witnessing his intended human achievements in education come true.

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Della continues with the oration to talk about the dignity of liberal arts. He did this by addressing clerics of the dignity of the liberal arts and that of the dignity and glory of angels. He argued that man is free to exercise freedom of worship and creativity because he has knowledge. According to Della, philosophy is about reasoning and all intellectuals have the ability to reason and make reasonable decisions. Therefore, religion and other superstitions should be left in the hands of the person involved to determine what is fit for him/her. According to him, if man's deeds are rational, they will reveal him as a heavenly being and if he was an intellectual he will be an angel and son of God. He stated in the oration that philosophers were creatures of heaven and not of earth. This was basically destined to those who criticized his work and his 900 thesis. To him knowledge makes an individual a unique creature "heaven creature" and ordinary people "earth creature" do not understand them (Dougherty, 2008).

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During the speech Pico also defended the importance of the human urge for knowledge. He went a head with the oration to explain his argument by referring to the biblical theory on how God created all creatures so that they could appreciate one another. According to him, the most conscious person is the one who appreciates God's creation since he fixed everything the way it is and nobody can change his it. He argued that man should learn how to appreciate and learn by imitating what God had already created. According to Pico, philosophers should be respected for ascending the chain of being towards the angels and with communion with God through their incredible reasoning. He argued that men have the ability to change themselves through their own free will by continuing what God created (Mirandola, 1999).

He also highlights that philosophers, like him, were responsible for changes in the society, and they are known for improving man's ability to change his life constantly. As the oration comes to an end, Pico writes that human career is magical or spiritual and is achieved in three stage way which constitutes moral transformation, intellectual research and final perfection in the identity with God (Dougherty, 2008). This reasoning is unique because it is common in every tradition. His thinking had immense influence on arts and he was able to change writers and painters from their old-fashioned role as mere artisans to followers of rebirth ideal that views an artist as a genius in terms of creativity. The oration made Pico very famous among great thinkers in Italy and the rest of European countries.

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