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PONTIFICIA UNIVERSIT GREGORIANA FACOLT / ISTITUZIONE OF FILOSOFIA

LAVRO ELABORATO GIOVANNI PICO DELL MIRANDOLA

JAYANAND RACHETI MATR. 160433

PHILOSOPHY OF WILL AND FELICITY

Professore: ANGELO PELLEGRINI Data di presentazione: 17 Maggio 2012 Anno Academico: 2011-2012

INTRODUCTION Giovanni Pico della Mirandola is more fascinating and renowned philosopher among the famous and noble figures in the history of Renaissance in Italia.1 He was called by his friends with the title of the phoenix of the wits. 2 He is a personification of a great range of ideas of theology, different thoughts of philosophy, various traditions and multi languages. Even though he died at the age of thirty one, he left behind his remarkable thinking, excellent reflections, his syncretic knowledge in the form of writings. He wanted to introduce new type of philosophy. This we see in his Seventy-one3 paradoxical conclusions.4 Picos new philosophy lay in a traditional [], Neo Platonic framework, with a special ties to those high-syncretic Platonic system []5 In Picos new philosophy (correlative system) there are three important elements: first, cosmic emanationism, second, cosmic proportions and correspondence, and third, cosmic conversion. Among these three, the most consistent concept is the cosmic proportions and correspondence. He illustrates this concept throughout his renowned reconciliation between being and the one.6 The theory of knowledge of Pico derives from his attempt to reconcile the conflicting knowledges in Platonic and Aristotelian philosophies. And this theory is closely connected to the concepts of intellect and will of man.7 We cannot separate the concepts of intellect and will, because man cannot use the faculty of will in his freedom without obtaining sufficient knowledge that attained by the intellect through sensory data. In the same way will and freedom are intrinsically related. That is why, I, in this small elaborated work tried to show the importance of the will along with freedom in the life of man including the concept of felicity according to the Picos interpretation of man. 1. Philosophy of will Pico is open to multi-form of human knowledge and is not limited to one culture, or to one tradition or to one language or to one continent or to one philosophy in his research for the truth. In his ideal humanistic new era, Pico is decisive to show that the essential quality of man is not an essence determined, but the freedom. 8 In other words, what makes man superior to and that which distinguishes from the other creatures is freedom, the faculty of will. Pico, in his works exalted man as the microcosm of the universe, and uplifted the constituting essential element of man, which is freedom that elevates him above any other created being. This freedom lies in mans will to choose and determine what he wants and what he wishes to be. Accordingly, for him, freedom is the gift of God to man, because man is created in his image and likeness. This is more obvious in his man-centered inspirational work On the Dignity of Man. That is to say that man has the capacity to make himself like a beast or like God depending on his will to choose. For this, Giovanni Pico is considered by Italian humanists as the philosopher of will and often been represented as the archetypal Renaissance voluntarist. But critics say that Giovanni Pico was not a pioneer of will, because, he heavily opposed to intellectualist camp.9 But in reality, Pico emphasizes the predominance of the will in free human life. For him will is free. The will is verified by the intellect.

Pico emphatically asserts that God endowed man with free-will and kept in his own hands his destiny itself. Such a privilege makes man as the centre of the world and the architect of his own life.10 It is, because of this freedom, Pico opposes astrology, magic11 and any other element that determines mans destiny and he elevates the constructive element of mans destiny: freedom. Pico equates freedom with the existence of man. In other words Pico wants to emphasize that man will be what he wants to be12 and he is not in any way determined by anything but is determined by his own freedom of will. Thus, we can assume that according to Pico, man is author of his own destiny of life. That is why, Ernesto Balducci, in his Storia del pensiero Umano rightly affirms that for Pico, man is totally free-willed and is a second creator for his own good and bad.13 Here, there is a possibility for the criticism with regard to this philosophic view of man in the perspective of freedom. The criticism is that Pico seems to be a philosopher of absolute freedom. But in reality, he is not. Because, he clearly demonstrates that man needs grace to be uplifted. This concept we shall deal later in the next chapter philosophy of felicity. With regard to the outstandingness of human nature, Pico is not satisfied with assertions of the many men; hence, he asserts that man is the animal that is most happy and because of this reason he is worthy of all wonder. He is a work of indeterminate form.14 That is to say that man is the maker and moulder of himself; and he may sculpt himself into whatever shape he wants.15 In other words, he is free to choose according to his will. He is not controlled in any way. It is given him to have that which he chooses to be and to be that which he wills16 He says that our mind must be pervaded by the holy ambitions, and we must aspire the highest things with all our striving forces to attain them, because, if man wills he can achieve what he wants, but it must be attuned to reality. Hence, the destiny of man is in his own will. It is the willing life that makes us great. It is within us to choose what we want to be. Here, Pico propagates the important role of will in the construction of man for the best or worst.17 He invites everyone to compete with the angels in dignity and glory by emphasizing the importance of the decisive role of the will in realizing our lofty desires. Thus Pico exalts the greatness of man in his work On the Dignity of Man by showing that mans destiny is in his hands in choosing what he wants, through the affirmation of his will. He suggests a method to reach the desired goal. The method that he proposes is a dedication to an active life and meditation of the workman in the work and the work in the workman. 18 For this, one need to study philosophy, because ones choosing of ones destiny depends on ones own state of knowledge.19 Philosophy of Felicity Pico comparing man to God he shows a very interesting difference between them, that is God contains all things in Himself as their origin, and man contains all things in himself as their centre.20 Here we see man and God sharing an analogous action. This action is not given to any other creature than man.21 Adding to this, he says that man shares the life of plants, the sense of brutes outer and inner, the soul powerful in its heavenly reason, angelic mind. Man as having angelic mind seeks and wills like

angels the felicity. Felicity is of two kinds: natural and supernatural. Pico defines natural felicity as something attaining God in itself; and supernatural felicity means that something attaining God in Himself.22 But Pico proposes that man must attain the felicity which is supernatural, that is through grace and not through nature. This concept is well exposed by Pico in his Heptaplus. In this, Pico comes to a conclusion that the proper end of man is nothing other than felicity. The intelligence and free-will of man are conducive to natural felicity. According to Pico, felicity is the highest good is what all things seek. The highest good is the beginning of all things. Hence, he defines felicity as the return of each thing to its beginning.23 The beginning of all things lies in none other than God who is the One and Good. He is the One, because, He is the origin of all things. He is the Good, because he is the end, rest and absolute felicity of all things. Pico affirms that only man among the animals is born for felicity. But mans nature by itself cannot attain supernatural felicity which is in another words true felicity, because it cannot rise itself above its nature. Therefore, in the words of Pico, as vapor rises upwards because of the sun rays, so also man needs divine power which is grace. 24 But, unless and until man wills to be moved by this grace, he cannot be lifted to the supernatural felicity. In the words of Pico, we move in proportion to our freedom. That is to say we are led by the spirit to the fullness of God but it depends on our freedom to allow it or not. Pico says that if we dont hear the knocking of the moving spirit that knocks unceasingly at the door of our heart, we will be wretched and unhappy; if we let in we will be led to the true felicity.25 Thus Pico wants emphasize the dignity of man by highlighting the faculty of will which in its essence free and determinate. Man is responsible for his decisions and actions. Pico affirms that mans responsibility lies in his will to make right decision. That is, he has to choose in his freedom that which is akin to his nature. His nature aspires the highest happiness which is akin to his nature. But if he refuses to receive the moving spirit in his freedom then, he automatically defiles his own nature and deprives the only desire of the nature. He who knowingly and willingly rejects what is good to his nature, he is not right and his freedom is used for the deprivation of true felicity, making himself corrupt.26 By this we understand that mans freedom is situated in his will to choose what is good to his nature. Thus, Pico proposes and exalts the moral philosophy. CONCLUSION Though man is created in the image and likeness of God, he is produced in an imperfect and copied way;27 but he is given the possibility to be the second creator of his own self with the gift of freedom. Since, man is an unfinished product, he has to overcome his own imperfections by making use of his freedom in imitating and reproducing his creator and in the end reaching him. Thus, Pico shows the very roots of human dignity in the making of his own nature through the faculty of will, which is founded on the image and likeness of God. The nature of man seeks felicity. The will of man makes it possible by allowing the spirit to lead man through grace to the highest good, the true felicity, God. Thus, Pico formulates the moral life of man through the philosophy of will.

FOOTNOTES
GIOVANNI DI VINCENZO, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola nella Storia del Rinascimentoe della Filosofia in Italia, Palermo, Tipografia e Legatoria del Boccone del Povero, 1894, 1. 2 GIOVANNI FRANCESCO PICO, Giovanni pico della Mirandola, Trans. Thomas More, London, 1890, V 3 Actually, internal evidence shows that there are originally seventy-two propositions. 4 Syncretism in the West: Picos 900 Theses (1486), The Evolution of Traditional religious and philosophical systems, Medieval and Renaissance Tests and Studies, Vol. 167, Trans. S.A. Farmer, Arizona, 1998, 18. 5 Ibid., 19. 6 Ibid., 20-25. 7 Ibid., 105. 8 ERNESTO BALDUCCI, Storia del Pensiero umano, Vol. 2, Ed. Cremonese, 1986, 1. 9 Syncretism in the West: Picos 900 Theses (1486), 106. 10 GIOVANNI SEMPRINI, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola La Fenice dgli Indegni, Edi. Atanor di Todi, MCMXXI (1921), 73. 11 E. BALDUCCI, Storia del Pensiero umano, Vol. 2, Ed. Cremonese, 1986, 1. 12 E. BALDUCCI, Storia del Pensiero umano, Vol. 2, Ed. Cremonese, 18. 13 ERNESTO BALDUCCI, Storia del Pensiero umano, Vol. 2, Ed. Cremonese, 26. 14 GIOVANNI PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA, On the Dignity of Man, Trans. Charles Glena Wallis, Paul J.W. Miller and Dauglas Carmichael, Hackett Publishing company, Inc., 1998, 3-4. 15 Ibid., 5. 16 Ibid. 17 GIOVANNI PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA, On the Dignity of Man, 6. 18 Ibid., 7. 19 Syncretism in the West: Picos 900 Theses (1486), 33. 20 Ibid., 135. 21 Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, Ed. By Andrew Colin Gow, Vol. CXVI, Boston, 2006, 44. 22 Ibid., 51. 23 Syncretism in the West: Picos 900 Theses (1486), 148. 24 Ibid., 150-153. 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid., 153-154. 27 GIOVANNI PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA, On the Dignity of Man, xii.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY FRANCESCO PICO GIOVANNI, Giovanni pico della Mirandola, Trans. Thomas More, London, 1890, V DI VINCENZO GIOVANNI, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola nella Storia del Rinascimentoe della Filosofia in Italia, Palermo, Tipografia e Legatoria del Boccone del Povero, 1894. , Syncretism in the West: Picos 900 Theses (1486), The Evolution of Traditional religious and philosophical systems, Medieval and Renaissance Tests and Studies, Vol. 167, Trans. S.A. Farmer, Arizona, 1998. BALDUCCI ERNESTO, Storia del Pensiero umano, Vol. 2, Ed. Cremonese, 1986. SEMPRINI GIOVANNI, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola La Fenice dgli Indegni, Edi. Atanor di Todi, MCMXXI (1921), 73. DELLA MIRANDOLA GIOVANNI PICO, On the Dignity of Man, Trans. Charles Glena Wallis, Paul J.W. Miller and Dauglas Carmichael, Hackett Publishing company, Inc., 1998.
, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, Ed. By Andrew Colin Gow, Vol. CXVI, Boston, 2006.