...However, when I began to consider the reasons for these opinions, all these reasons given for the magnificence of human nature failed to convince me: that man is the intermediary between creatures, close to the gods, master of all the lower creatures, with the sharpness of his senses, the acuity of his reason, and the brilliance of his intelligence the interpreter of nature, the nodal point between eternity and time, and, as the Persians say, the intimate bond or marriage song of the world, just a little lower than angels, as David tells us. I concede these are magnificent reasons, but they do not seem to go to the heart of the matter .........................Euanthese the Persian....writes that man has no inborn, proper form, but that many things that humans resemble are outside and foreign to them "Man is multitudinous, varied, and ever changing". Why do I emphasize this? Considering that we are born with this condition, that is, that we can become whatever we choose to become, we need to understand that we must take earnest care about this, so that it will never be said to our disadvantage that we were born to a privileged position but failed to realize it and became animals and senseless beasts.... Above all, we should not make that freedom of choice given to us into something harmful, for it was intended to be to our advantage. Let ..ambition enter into our souls; let us not be content with mediocrity, but strive after the highest and expend all our strength in achieving it: Oration on the Dignity of Man - Pico della Mirandola (24th Feb 1463 - 17th Nov 1494)...
"All forms of knowledge that can not be taken from observing nature should be discarded as worthless...If we take in our hand any volume of divinity or school of metaphysics let us ask 'Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion" David Hume (1711 - 1776)
'I've reached the end of this great history / And all the land will talk of me: / I shall not die, these seeds I've sown will save / My name and reputation from the grave, / And men of sense and wisdom will proclaim / When I have gone, my praises and my fame' Closing lines of the 'Shahnameh' by the great Persian poet Hakim Abu'l-Qasim Fidawski (AD 935 - 1020)
"I am a man; I consider nothing human foreign to me" Terence (Publius Terentius Afer) b: 185 BC...
"it is an illusion through and through to assume that a sentiment which has passed from century to century and from generation to generation, could not be entirely false"..... Pierre Bayle (1647 - 1706)
What path in life should I follow? - Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650)A free man thinks of nothing less than death, and his wisdom is a meditation on life, not on death - Spinoza (1632 - 1677)
Even if someone knew the entire physical history of the world, and every mental event were identical with a physical one, it would not follow that he could predict or explain a single mental event - Donald Davidson (1917 - 2003)
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself - Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910)
Give me the liberty to know, to utter and to argue freely according to conscience John Milton (1608-1674