More on the microcosm

15 09 2009


Assuredly, man is a small world in such a way that he is also a part of the large world. Now, a whole shines forth in all its parts, since a part is a part of a whole. Just as the whole man shines forth in the hand, which is proportioned to the whole, but, nevertheless, the whole perfection of man shines forth in a more perfect manner in the head: so the universe shines forth in each of its parts, for all things have their respective relation and proportion to the universe, but, nevertheless, the universe shines forth more greatly in that part which is called man than in any other part. Therefore, because the perfection of the totality of the universe shines forth more greatly in and through man, man is a perfect, but small, world and is part of the large world. Hence, a man has particularly, specially, and distinctly the things which the universe has universally. And because there can be only one universe but there can be a plurality of particular and distinct things, many particular and distinct men bear an image of, and a specific resemblance to, the one perfect universe. Thus, the stable oneness of the universe is unfolded quite perfectly in such a variegated plurality of small transient worlds that succeed one another.

-Nicholas of Cusa, De Ludo Globi



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