On the center of the world

13 01 2010

It is no less false that the center of the world is within the earth than that it is outside the earth; nor does the earth or any other sphere even have a center. For, since the center is equidistant from the circumference and since there cannot exist a sphere or a circle so completely true that a truer one could not be posited, it is obvious that there cannot be posited a center (which is so true and precise) that a still truer and more precise center could not be posited. Precise equidistance to different things cannot be found except in the case of God, because God alone is Infinite Equality. Therefore, he who is the center of the world, viz., the Blessed God, is also the center of the earth, of all spheres, and of all things in the world. Likewise, he is the infinite circumference of all things.

-Nicholas of Cusa, On Learned Ignorance

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