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Giordano Bruno - Quotes

In exercising its faculty, then, the mind can desire an object only to the extent that it is near, proximate, known and familiar to it. Thus a pig cannot wish to be a man nor desire anything appropriate to the appetite of a man. He prefers to wallow in the mud rather than in a bed of fine linen; he would sooner mate with a sow than with the most beautiful woman nature produces, because the desire conforms to the nature of the species.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

In this manner, although the soul at first launches complaints against its heart and thoughts, it now desires to be raised with them and manifestly deplores the union and familiarity contracted with corporeal matter. Leave me then, it cries, corporeal life, and do not trouble me, so that I may reascend to my native home, to my sun.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

I shall give you some clarification of the above. As one can see, the presence of the flame warms the globe, in which water is contained, and causes this humid element, rendered lighter and less dense by virtue of the heat, to resolve itself into vapor and consequently to demand a much greater space to contain it. If the water does not find an easy exit, it bursts forth with the greatest force and destruction to crack the vessel; but if an easy exit is procured for it, it issues out little by little with less violence and according to the extent of its evaporation exhales and expands into air. This figure represents the frenzied one's heart whose organization has been well disposed to the contact of love's flame, and consequently from its vital substance one part (of the heart) sparkles in flames, another part is transformed into abundant weeping rising from the breast, and still another sends up a wind of sighs to incense the air.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

The inferior powers of the soul, like a valiant and inimical army which one finds disciplined, skilled, and well provided in its own country, sometimes turn against the foreign enemy, who descends from the high summit of the intelligence to dominate the people of the valley and the swampy plains. It happens that, because of the harassing presence of the enemy and the difficulty of the precipitous swamps, these people find themselves almost lost, and in fact would be lost, were it not for a certain conversion by the act of contemplation to the splendor of the intelligible species; for the act of contemplation there is a conversion from the inferior to the superior degrees.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

Because it is impossible to design the whole sun at each point in the circle, two circles have been drawn here. One circle is drawn around the sun to show that the sun moves itself through it. The other circle is drawn inside the sun, to show that the sun is moved by it.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

It seems to me that this lover's particular intelligence is always thus with regard to the universal intelligence. In other words, the universal intelligence illumines the entire hemisphere, even though that intelligence appears sometimes obscure, sometimes more or less luminous, according to the impressions it makes upon the inferior potencies.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

All the intelligences are represented by the moon, inasmuch as they participate in potentiality and act, and inasmuch, I say, as they have the light unrefined and according to participation because they receive it from another. And these intelligences do not have the light of themselves and by their nature but have it by the view of the sun, the first intelligence, pure and absolute light, pure and absolute act.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

I say affected for the better or for the worse inasmuch as love operates through moral or contemplative acts, and because there are common afflictions by which all lovers are wounded.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

The potency is finitely infinite, and the object is infinitely infinite. But to return to our discourse. The motto says, Novae ortae Aeoliae because we may believe that all the winds enclosed in the deep caves of Aeolus are converted into the lover's sighs, if we consider that these sighs are caused by the affection which ceaselessly aspires to the supreme good in infinite beauty.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

As time is one and yet is divided into diverse temporal subjects, so the instant is one in all the diverse parts of time. As I am the same one who was, who exists now, and who will exist in the future, so am I the same person here at home, in church, in the fields, and everywhere.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

This is precisely the head of a frenzied lover; and very likely of all mortals who are afflicted, whatever may be the manner or mode of their affliction; for we cannot say, nor ought we to say that such a destiny corresponds to all in general, but only to those destinies which were or are laborious.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

And just as by its essence the mind is in God who is its life, similarly by its intellectual operation and the consequent operation of the will, the mind refers itself to its own light and its beatific object.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

Cognition can never be perfect to the extent that it shall be able to understand the highest object; but only to the extent that our intellect has the power to understand this object. It suffices that in this state of ours and in any other our intellect may perceive be divine beauty to the degree that it extends the horizon of its vision.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

I understand when he says, It is enough that I have been raised to the sky; but not when he says, and delivered from the ignoble number; unless he means that he has come out of the Platonic cavern, removed from the condition of the stupid and most vile multitudes; for it is understood that those who profit from this contemplation can be only a very small number.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

There is in nature a revolution and a circle in virtue of which, for the perfection and aid of others, superior things incline toward the inferior, and for their own excellence and felicity inferior things are raisedto the superior.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

In the dubious path refers to the uncertain and the ambiguous reason and passion which the letter Y of Pythagoras symbolized. On the right this path shows him the more thorny, uncultivated and deserted arduous path upon which he unleashes the greyhounds and mastiffs near the traces of the wild beasts, which are the intelligible modes of ideal concepts.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

He says in purple, alabaster and gold, meaning the purple of divine power, the gold of divine wisdom, the alabaste of divine beauty, in the contemplation of which the Pythagoreans, Chaldeans, Platonists, and others attempt to rise as best they can. The great hunter sees: he as understood as much as he can, and he himself becomes the prey; that is to say, this hunter set out for prey and became himself the prey through the operation of his intellect whereby he converted the apprehended objects into himself.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

The lover's former progress symbolized by the hunter stirring his dogs here is symbolized by a winged heart; and from the cage in which it reposed in idleness and quiet it is dispatched to build its nest up on high, and to raise its little ones there -- its thoughts -- the time having come in which the obstacles posed by a thousand lures without and by the natural feebleness within are no longer present.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

Here the sorrowing soul, not in real discontent, but in the passion of a certain amorous martyrdom, speaks as though addressing its discourse to those who are similarly impassioned. It has dismissed its heart, as it were, against its will, for the heart directs its course toward an impossible goal, extends itself where it cannot reach and would embrace what it cannot grasp; and the more the heart is estranged from the soul, the more does it enkindle itself toward the infinite.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

The soul instructs its thoughts how they are to behave, for charmed and attracted by the object as they are, they are not too easily seduced to remain captives and companions of a heart.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

To that I would say that there exists in the sense and in the intellect an appetite and impulse towards the sensible in general. This is because the intellect desires to know all of the truth, in order to grasp all that is beautiful and good in the intelligible world.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

Because the soul always desires to love more than it loves and to see more than it sees. Moreover the soul desires that this species which the sight has engendered in it should not become attenuated, enfeebled, or lost.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

Here am I miserable, deprived of a heart, abandoned by my thoughts, bereft of the hope I had entirely placed in them. Nothing else remains but the sense of my poverty, unhappiness, and wretchedness. And what am I not deprived of this sense too? Why does death not come to my aid, now that I am deprived of life? For what purpose are my natural faculties deprived of their power?
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

The Platonists hold that with respect to its superior part the soul consists only in the intellect, so that it is more reasonably called intelligence than soul; for it is called soul only in so far as it vivifies the body and sustains it. Therefore here the same essence which nourishes the thoughts and maintains them on high in the vicinity of the exalted heart experiences a sadness in its inferior part and recalls those thoughts as rebels.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

What a tragicomedy! What act, I say, more worthy of pity and laughter can be presented to us upon this world's stage, in this scene of our consciousness, than of this host of individuals who became melancholy, meditative, unflinching, firm, faithful, lovers, devotees, admirers and slaves of a thing without trustworthiness, a thing deprived of all constancy, destitute of any talent, vacant of any merit, without acknowledgment or any gratitude, as incapable of sensibility, intelligence or goodness, as a statue or image painted on a wall; a thing containing more haughtiness, arrogance, insolence, contumely, anger, scorn, hypocrisy, licentiousness, avarice, ingratitude and other ruinous vices, more poisons and instruments of death than could have issued from the box of Pandora? For such are the poisons which have only too commodious an abode in the brain of that monster!
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

This is a beauty which comes and goes, is born and dies, blooms and decays; and is eternally beautiful for so very short a moment and within itself truly and lastingly contains a cargo, a store-house, an emporium, a market of all the filth, toxins and poisons which our step-mother nature is able to produce; who having collected that seed of which she makes use, often recompenses us by a stench, by repentance, by melancholy, by languor, by a pain in the head, by a sense of undoing, by many other calamities which are evident to everyone, so that one suffers bitterly, where formerly he suffered only a little.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

Yet (that there be no mistake) I do not wish that here should be taxed the dignity of those ladies who have been worthily praised and who are praiseworthy: and those, especially, who may and do reside in this British land, to whom we owe the love and fidelity of the guest; for even if one were to find fault with the whole worold, one could not find fault with this nation, which in this respect is not the terrestrial world, nor a part of it, but is entirely separated from it, as you know: so that any discourse regarding the whole feminine sex could not and would not include any of your women, who must not be considered part of that sex; because they are not women, they are not ladies, but, in the guise of ladies, they are nymphs, goddesses and of celestial substance, among whom it is permitted to contemplate that unique Dianba, whom I do not desire to name in the rank or category of women.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

T. No; but he who endures, observes, and understands; who, considering the evil and the good, holding the one and the other as something variable and subject to movement, mutation, and change (so that the end of one contrary is the beginning of the other, and the extreme stage of one is the commencement of the other), takes care neither to humiliation himself, nor becomes puffed up with pride, moderates his inclinations and tempers his desires; for him it is an established fact that pleasures not pleasure, because he is ever aware of its limits, and in the same way pain to him is not pain, because he is aware of its limits by the power of reflection. In this manner the wise holds all mutable things as things which do not exist, and he believes these are nothing else but vanity and nothingness, because the same proportion exists between finite time and eternity that exists between mere point and the line.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

I say further that they are one and the same virtue; for where there is contrariety there is vice; and contrariety is there above all where the extreme is; the greater contrariety is nearest to the extreme, and least contrary or no contrary at all is in the middle where the extremes meet and become one and indifferent.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

Affection is in the state of virtue when it establishes itself in the mean, departing from the one and the other extreme; when it tends to be extremes, inclining to one or the other of them, it falls short of virtue so much that it becomes a double vice; and vice consists in this, that a thing deviates from its own nature whose perfection consists in unity; and the composition of virtue is at the point where the contraries unite.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

He tells of his intense pain, he laments of his love certainly not because he loves (for new no lover really dislikes loving) but because he loves unhappily and has submitted to the arrows which are the rays of those eyes, which, accordingly as they express disdain and refusal, or on the contrary as they express benevolence and favor, become the portals which lead to heaven, or, on the other hand, to hell.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

Those who are of the first sort have within them a great dignity, power, and efficacy inasmuch as they harbor the dignity. But those who belong to the second class are of their very selves more worthy, powerful, and efficatious; they are divine. Those who belong to the first are worthy in the same way as the ass who carries the sacraments; those who belong to the second have a worthiness that is truly sacred. In those of the first class the divinity is considered and viewed according to its effect and is admired, adored, and obeyed; in those of the second, the excellence of their special humanity is considered and brought to light.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

It is also true that he usually wanders at random and transports himself now toward one and now toward another form of twofold Eros, for the chief lesson love teaches him is to contemplate the shadow of the divine beauty (when he cannot contemplate its direct reflection), as, for example, the suitors of Penelopy amused themselves with her servants when they were not permitted to converse directly with the mistress herself.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

For this evil is not an evil absolute; it is an absolute evil only with respect to what is held good according to a certain opinion. And this opinion is as fallacious as the condiment old Saturn used (for his dinner), when he devoured his own sons.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

All loves (if they are heroic, and not purely animal, the physical means by which those enslaved by nature are called to procreation) have divinity for their object and tend to the divine beauty, a beauty which first communicates itself to the souls and is resplendent in them, and then, from the soul, or better still, through the souls, is communicated to the body.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

This occurs when both souls are vicious and as though spotted by the same ink, so that, because of their likeness love is aroused, enkinded, and confirmed. Thus the vicious meet each other in a practice of the same vice.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

And many we love because they are beautiful, but we do not wish them well because they do not merit it; and among those things he deems his beloved does not merit, the first is the love he as for her.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.

The divinity is the final object, the ultimate and the most perfect object, but it certainly cannot be found here below where we can see God only as in a shadow or a mirror; and for that reason the divinity can be the object only in similitude, and not a similitude abstracted and acquired from corporeal beauty and excellence by virtue of the senses, but a similitude the mind can discern by virtue of the intellect.
Bruno, Giordano. The Heroic Frenzies. 1585.