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Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600)


Italian philosopher, astronomer, satirist, occultist, mystic, and martyr, who was burned at the stake as a heretic; born Filippo Bruno, in Nola, Italy, he often called himself Il Nolano.
Giordano Bruno
Before anything else the One must exist eternally; from his power derives everything that always is or will ever be. He is the Eternal and embraces all times. He knows profoundly all events and He himself is everything. He creates everything beyond any beginning of time and beyond any limit of place and space. He is not subject to any numerical law, or to any law of measure or order. He himself is law, number, measure, limit without limit, end without end, act without form.
Bruno quotes
Se non ? vero, ? molto ben trovato.
Bruno
To a body of infinite size there can be ascribed neither centre nor boundary... Thus the Earth no more than any other world is at the centre.




Bruno Giordano quotes
Perchance you who pronounce my sentence are in greater fear than I who receive it.
Bruno Giordano
The First Great Star — Herald of the Dawn — was Bruno... He was a pantheist — that is to say, an atheist. He was a lover of Nature, — a reaction from the asceticism of the church. He was tired of the gloom of the monastery. He loved the fields, the woods, the streams. He said to his brother-priests: Come out of your cells, out of your dungeons: come into the air and light. Throw away your beads and your crosses. Gather flowers; mingle with your fellow-men; have wives and children; scatter the seeds of joy; throw away the thorns and nettles of your creeds; enjoy the perpetual miracle of life.
Giordano Bruno quotes
Joyce gives the ghost guises like Saint Bruno and The Nolan of the Cabashes and Noland's brown and Nolan Browne and Bruno Nowlan and Nolans Brumans and Mr. Brown and Bruno Nolan and many others. The encyclopedic Joyce was deeply impressed by Bruno's heady coincidence of contraries, and was no doubt sympathetic to Bruno's hectic and finally tragic bouts with the Inquisition. McLuhan the Joycean scholar was certainly conscious of Joyce's debt to Bruno. But I like to think there was more: that when "Bruno Nolan" winked from one of paper sleeves, McLuhan made a recognition as if glimpsing a companion from across the centuries and winked back.
Giordano Bruno
He was a man of grave and cultivated mind, of rapid and mature intelligence; inferior to no preceding astronomer, unless in order of succession and time ; a man, who in natural ability was far superior to Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Eudoxus, and all those others who followed in their footsteps. What he was, he became through having liberated himself from certain false axioms of the common and vulgar philosophy — I will not say blindness. Nevertheless, he did not depart far from them ; because, studying mathematics rather than Nature, he failed to penetrate and dig deep enough altogether to cut away the roots of incongruous and vain principles, and thus, removing perfectly all opposing difficulties, free himself and others from so many empty investigations into things obvious and unchangeable. In spite of all this, who can sufficiently praise the magnanimity of this German, who, having little regard to the foolish multitude, stood firm against the torrent of contrary opinion, and, although well-nigh unarmed with living arguments, resuming those rusty and neglected fragments which antiquity had transmitted to him, polished, repaired, and put them together with reasonings more mathematical than philosophical ; and so rendered that cause formerly contemned and contemptible, honourable, estimable, more probable than its rival, and certainly convenient and expeditious for purposes of theory and calculation? Thus this Teuton, although with means insufficient to vanquish, overthrow, and suppress falsehood, as well as resist it, nevertheless resolutely determined in his own mind, and openly confessed this final and necessary conclusion : that it is more possible that this globe should move with regard to the universe, than that the innumerable multitude of bodies, many of which are known to be greater and more magnificent than our earth, should be compelled, in spite of Nature and reason, which, by means of motions evident to the senses, proclaim the contrary, to acknowledge this globe as the centre and base of their revolutions and influences. Who then will be so churlish and discourteous towards the efforts of this man, as to cover with oblivion all he has done, by being ordained of the Gods as an Aurora — which was to precede the rising of this Sun of the true, ancient philosophy, buried during so many centuries in the tenebrous caverns of blind, malignant, froward, envious ignorance; and, taking note only of what he failed to accomplish, rank him amongst the number of the herded multitude, which discourses, guides itself, precipitates to destruction, according to the oral sense of a brutal and ignoble belief, rather than amongst those who, by the use of right reason, have been able to rise up, and resume the true course under the faithful guidance of the eye of divine intelligence.
Bruno Giordano quotes
The men of "sound common sense," i.e., of those snails in intellect who wear their eyes at the tips of their feelers, and cannot even see unless they at the same time touch. When these finger-philosophers affirm that Plato, Bruno, etc., must have been "out of their senses," the just and proper retort is "Gentlemen! it is still worse with you! you have lost your reason."
By the bye, Addison in the Spectator has grossly misrepresented the design and tendency of Bruno's Bestia Trionfante; the object of which was to show of all the theologies and theogonies which have been conceived for the mere purpose of solving problems in the material universe, that as they originate in the fancy, so they all end in delusion, and act to the hindrance or prevention of sound knowledge and actual discovery. But the principal and more important truth taught in this allegory, is, that in the concerns of morality, all pretended knowledge of the will of heaven, which is not revealed to man through his conscience; that all commands, which do not consist in the unconditional obedience of the will to the pure reason, without tampering with consequences (which are in God's power and not in ours); in short, that all motives of hope and fear from invisible powers, which are not immediately derived from, and absolutely coincident with, the reverence due to the supreme reason of the universe, are all alike dangerous superstitions. The worship founded on them, whether offered by the Catholic to St. Francis or by the poor African to his Fetish, differ in form only, not in substance. Herein Bruno speaks not only as a philosopher but as an enlightened Christian; the evangelists and apostles everywhere representing their moral precepts, not as doctrines then first revealed, but as truths implanted in the hearts of men, which their vices only could have obscured.
Bruno
The whole of Bruno's philosophy is based on his view of an infinite universe with an infinity of worlds. He conceived the universe as a vast interrelationship throughout space and time, comprehending all phenomena, material and spiritual. Thence he was led to contemplate the parts under the mode of relativity. The conception of the infinity of the universe renders meaningless the ascription to it of motion, but Bruno conceives each of the infinitely numerous worlds to be moving on its course in relation to other worlds, impelled by its own twofold nature as individual and as part of the whole. All estimates of direction, position and weight within the whole must be relative. Moreover, the cosmological system is illumined by the properties of number.
Bruno Giordano
Everything that makes diversity of kinds, of species, differences, properties… everything that consists in generation, decay, alteration and change is not an entity, but a condition and circumstance of entity and being, which is one, infinite, immobile, subject, matter, life, death, truth, lies, good and evil.
Giordano Bruno
We find that everything that makes up difference and number is pure accident, pure show, pure constitution. Every production, of whatever kind, is an alteration, but the substance remains always the same, because it is only one, one divine immortal being.




Giordano Bruno quotes
I understand Being in all and over all, as there is nothing without participation in Being, and there is no being without Essence. Thus nothing can be free of the Divine Presence.
Giordano Bruno
Even to have come forth is something, since I see that being able to conquer is placed in the hands of fate. However, there was in me, whatever I was able to do, that which no future century will deny to be mine, that which a victor could have for his own: Not to have feared to die, not to have yielded to any equal in firmness of nature, and to have preferred a courageous death to a noncombatant life.
Bruno quotes
Nature is none other than God in things... Animals and plants are living effects of Nature; Whence all of God is in all things... Think thus, of the sun in the crocus, in the narcissus, in the heliotrope, in the rooster, in the lion.
Bruno Giordano
His view with regard to morals and their relation to religion may best be seen from the following words addressed by Momus to Jove: “It will be sufficient if you put an end to that lazy tribe of pedants, who, without doing good, according to the divine and natural law, consider themselves, and wish to be considered, as religious men, agreeable to the gods, and declare that it is not by pursuing good and shunning evil that men become worthy and pleasing to the gods, but by believing and hoping according to their catechism." Elsewhere, he makes Wisdom say: “Wherefore, it is an unworthy, foolish, profane, and reprehensible thing to think that the gods demand reverence, fear, love, worship, and respect for any other good end or utility than those of men themselves, inasmuch as being perfectly glorious in themselves, and therefore unable to add any glory to themselves from without, they have made laws, not so much to obtain glory from men as to communicate glory to them. Hence, laws and judgments fall short of the goodness and truth of law and judgment, just in proportion as they fail to order and approve, above all other things, that which consists in the moral actions of men with respect to each other." I doubt whether the Society for Ethical Culture could frame a better statement of the relation between ethics and religion than this of Bruno's. Reading this, we are at no loss to understand why Bruno, though he spent some time in Geneva, and afterward in Protestant England and Germany, never became a Protestant. He appears, from recently discovered documents, to have got into considerable trouble at Geneva; and no wonder, when he puts into the mouth of Wisdom words like the following, concerning the chief reformers: “While they say that all their care is about invisible things, which neither they nor anybody else ever understood, they maintain that, in order to obtain grace, all that is required is fate, which is immutable, but which is determined by certain affections and fancies on which the gods are especially fond of feeding." Indeed, his contempt for the doctrines of the reformers, who exalted faith as all-potent for salvation and despised works and a moral life, is without bounds. His treatment of the doctrine of predestination is not only contemptuous, but funny.
I think I need not say anything more to convince you that Bruno was one of the mighty, one of those strange, incomprehensible, pioneer geniuses that lived centuries before their time, destined, apparently, to lay out the tasks for many succeeding ages. He rose not only above the dogmas and superstitions of half-obsolete mediaeval Catholicism, but, with equal ease and firmness, above the new follies of growing Protestantism. He belongs not to the sixteenth century, but to the nineteenth, and even to the elite of it. Great in philosophy, great in science,— physical and moral, — he was greater still in practice, in life and in death. No man ever labored more or suffered more, in order to be free himself and help others to be so. No one ever met death more firmly and heroically. Among the martyrs for truth and freedom, — those first essentials of manhood, — he occupies the highest place.
Bruno Giordano quotes
All things are in the Universe, and the universe is in all things: we in it, and it in us; in this way everything concurs in a perfect unity.
Giordano Bruno
Bruno is the first thinker who based the soul's duty to itself on its own nature: not on external authority, but on inner light. … Of Bruno, as of Spinoza, it may be said that he was "God-intoxicated." He felt that the Divine Excellence had its abode in the very heart of Nature and within his own body and spirit. Indwelling in every dewdrop as in the innumerable host of heaven, in the humblest flower and in the mind of man, he found the living spirit of God, setting forth the Divine glory, making the Divine perfection and inspiring with the Divine love. The Eroici is full of the pantings of his soul for intellectual enfranchisement and contact with Truth, the divine object.... The heroic soul, says Bruno, shall seek truth and find it. The time had not then come for Pilate's question to be put again. Bruno was happily unvexed by the problem of truth... there is a view implicit in the Eroici and in all but the earliest of his philosophical writings, and this is that our truth is a progressive, ideal approximation towards that whole Truth which is one with the inmost nature of Being.
Giordano Bruno quotes
This whole which is visible in different ways in bodies, as far as formation, constitution, appearance, colors and other properties and common qualities, is none other than the diverse face of the same substance — a changeable, mobile face, subject to decay, of an immobile, permanent and eternal being.
Giordano Bruno
Like Cusanus and Calvin, Bruno has an unknown and ineffable God. But his God is unknown not in virtue of His infinite actuality and real transcendence of the universe, but in virtue of the immensity of the universe itself and the relative disproportion between it and the human way of knowing and loving.
Bruno Giordano
Chi vuole che la quaresima gli paia corta, si faccia debito per pagare a Pasqua.


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