Pico della Mirandola, in his Oration On the Dignity of Man wrote:
Man, when he entered life, the Father gave the seeds of every kind and every way of life possible. Whatever seeds each man sows and cultivates will grow and bear him their proper fruit. If these seeds are vegetative, he will be like a plant. If these seeds are sensitive, he will be like an animal. If these seeds are intellectual, he will be an angel and the son of God. And if, satisfied with no created thing, he removes himself to the center of his own unity, his spiritual soul, united with God, alone in the darkness of God, who is above all things, he will surpass every created thing.
In essence, he argued that man has the potential to be any type of organism, a vegetative plant, a savage animal, an angelic intellectual, or part of God himself. Mirandola has always been an inspiration to me since I encountered this argument. In contrast to religious thinkers who believe in predestination and other restricting frames of divinity for humans, Mirandola asserts humans can determine their own level of spirituality through their actions. If a person wants nothing but to ‘veg out’ on the couch, they certainly are not stimulating the intellectual or philosophical capabilities they were given. Taking advantage of all our bodies, minds, and spirits have to offer is essential in living up to the organisms we can be.
Upon reflection of our time at Pine Ridge, I believe that one of the greatest examples in my life of utilizing the highest form of function Mirandola says we have is the Littleboy Family. Mirandola tells that when the creation was built, “the Divine Artificer still longed for some creature which might comprehend the meaning of so vast an achievement, which might be moved with love at its beauty and smitten with awe at its grandeur.” It was then that the Father created man with all his capabilities. To me, there is no one living up to this intention more than the Little Boy Family does. They are “moved with love at [the world’s] beauty” every day that they worship the earth they live on and its fruits. The Littleboy family embraces the forth capability of humanity Mirandola outlines; they are “united with God.”
In my previous post and throughout time we’ve been back on campus, I have been contemplating the humble yet celebratory, reverent yet optimistic nature of the Littleboy Family. Now I am beginning to see that the source of their ability to love is the same intention that Pico saw as God’s intention for all of humanity. We can all only hope to live up to the way they live their lives, celebrate creation, and perform their human duty.