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The Core Curriculum

Sign of the Macrocosm from Astronomicum Caesareum, 1540.

Relates to: 

And this volume of mysterious lore / in Nostradamus’s hand and pen— / is it not sufficient company?

[....]

(He opens the book and sees the sign of the macrocosm).  / Ha! A rush of bliss flows suddenly through all my senses!

[...]

(He gazes at the sign) / How all things are weaving one in one; / each lives and works within the other. (Iines 419-448) 

Influenced by Neoplatonism, Early Modern philosophy—particularly Christian scholastics and the writings of humanist scholars from Paracelsus to Leibniz—conceived of the relationship between the individual and the universe as the correspondence between a microcosm and a macrocosm. The metaphysical relationship between the individual human and nature in this model is no longer merely that of a part that fits into the divine plan for the whole, but one in which the self, individual knowledge, and understanding become part of what it means to be a human. By assigning cosmological value to the microcosm of human individuality, this conception bespeaks a departure from the pre-modern image of human agency.  



Source/Citation: 

via Wikimedia Commons. Image in the Public Domain.

Type: 
Contemporaneous Resource
Access Level: 
Licensed for Public Use