humanism being

I’m in Chicago for Thanksgiving.  During my jetlag downtime, I compiled a list of notes from the pages earmarked while reading A History of Civilizations.  Hopefully this will help me retain more knowledge from it.

On Humanism:

Renaissance humanism was the Middle Ages ‘not plus humanity but minus God’.- Etienne Gilson

Humanism frees and magnifies humanity, diminishing the role of God even if not completely forgetting it.

“The name humanism can be applied to an ethic based on human nobility. Turned towards both study and action, it recognizes and exalts the greatness of human genius and the power of its creations, opposing its strength to the brute force of inanimate nature. What is essential remains the individual’s effort to develop in himself or herself, through strict and methodical discipline, all human faculties, so as to lose nothing of what enlarges and enhances the human beings. ‘Reach towards the highest form of existence,’ said Goethe at the beginning of Part Two of Faust, ‘by dint of uninterrupted effort.’ Similarly, Stendhal said to Eugene Delacroix on 31 January 1850: ‘Neglect nothing that can make you great.’ Such an ethic based on human nobility requires of society a constant effort to embody the most highly perfected form of human relations: an immense feat, an immense cultural achievement, and ever greater knowledge of humanity and of the world. It lays the foundations of individual and collective morality; it establishes law and creates an economy; it produces a political system; it nourishes art and literature.” – Augustin Renaudet


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