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Re-Membering Giordano Bruno

we need only look to the excessive popular interest in ‘Eastern mysticism’ that has suffused the American culture. This is not to degrade the beautiful lineages that have taken up the responsibility of bringing a . could have been made much easier had those seeking a deeper spirituality read more thoroughly the works of innumerable European sources that contain the very same kernel of truth. Taoist and other Eastern traditions. If there is any question of this.History is a narrative. (those debating should read some of Bruno’s works!. to highlight a sacrifice for humanistic science and free thought. and the Catholic church’s ignoble position of having been the ruling worldly power during a long period of transition from ancient culture to our contemporary world. whose plot is often guided by the mistakes of well meaning scholars repeating errors and misrepresentations that have crept into the academic discourse. All of the effort translating terms. Hindu. The truth is beyond category. religious or secular. Labeling Bruno a martyr for science (in this instance. like the physicist Michio Kaku. A good example of this is the legacy of Giordano Bruno. science as it is popularly understood. parsing out linguistic nuances and attempting to separate cultural elements from core teachings in Buddhist. we still cannot be assured the persecutions. who has been labeled a “proto-scientist. and the necessity to triage resources while pursuing tangential investigations of a specific topic. This image of Bruno has developed out of the strange and stilted public debate on the supposed conflict between religion and science. This usually happens due to the vast amount of information available.) and this particular debate between those who take it upon themselves to represent the world’s faith traditions and those representing empirical science has done little to aid in humanity’s spiritual or empirical development. bloodshed and atavistic thinking could have been averted.” his legacy and martyrdom becoming a rhetorical device lauded by popular figures. and not the very basic idea of scientific inquiry) has obscured the true essence of his work. The lessons of the 20th century show us that had secular powers been in control.

Therefore. will intuitively conceive a pure and holy faith. however it is actually a bridge to a wider understanding of what Bruno was talking about: “The Lord Buddha replied. Besides. Bishops. Here this question. by the Dhyana Paramita. saying: “Have no such apprehensive thought. unmingled faith. you may find some surprising correspondences to other traditions that puts into question the image of Bruno as “proto-scientist” and brings to light a much more enlightened side to his work. Jr.’s 1964 translation of The Heroic Frenzies (De Gli Eroici Furori). many. etc.” In light of this broadened perspective on the potentials hidden in plain sight within Bruno’s work. it is important to realise that faith thus conceived. For instance. among the beings destined to hear this Scripture proclaimed. Even at the remote period of five centuries subsequent to the Nirvana of the Tathagata. but because of its affiliation with the universal thought of all the myriad Buddhas throughout the infinite ages.more thorough understanding to our culture’s closed mind. he mentions that some of the charges against Bruno stemmed from his statement that there were infinite worlds. is not exclusively in virtue of the individual thought of any particular Buddha. will believe in its immutability and will conceive within their minds a pure. as a rhetorical device. becomes nothing more than a simplistic assessment of Catholicism’s shortsightedness. here are some excerpts from Paulo Eugene Memmo. there will be many disciples observing the monastic vows and assiduously devoted to good works. Kaku draws this out to show the illegitimacy of the Catholic church’s position by recounting the Church’s question as to what this would entail in terms of Popes. but rather to echo the often ignored suggestion that we step back and begin reassessing our own heritage so that we can actively join the conversation rather than merely parrot what others have found. These. Saints. hearing this Scripture proclaimed. . in the above linked talk presented by Michio Kaku. Reading through these.

Now the potencies of comprehension and affection are ordered in such a way that a potency always has an affinity for the one immediately above it. is seen better in colors in the order of their progression from one extreme. and each soul eternally serves its own life. the inferior ones toward the material mass which becomes vivified by that divinity and maintained among the tropics of generation and corruption of the living things of these worlds. white. I reply that this world being infinite and without dimension or measure appears to be immobile. is more efficaciously in the refulgence diffused upon refined and transparent bodies as in the reflection of a mirror or the moon. and in the highest and most principal degree. even though it is the place of an infinite number of movable worlds and has infinite space in which are all those large animals we call stars.” Excerpt from Dialogue V: “The degrees of contemplation are like the degrees of light. this our earth. by warmth and divine light always maintains it in the same. If you speak of the world according to the meaning held among the true philosophers for whom the world is every globe. is seen in the sun itself.Except from Dialogue IV: “If you speak of the world as the vulgar refer to it. customary state. every star. to the opposite extreme. and unformed. the superior powers lead it toward the divinity. black. Because each of these souls is composed of superior and inferior powers. is more vividly in the rays scattered from the sun. when they call it the universe. and the action of divine providence always in the same measure and order. and each potency by a conversion toward the one which raises it reinforces itself . the moon and even others. Light. inanimate. the sun’s body. I reply that the soul of each of these worlds not only ascends and descends but moves in a circle. which is never in darkness but sometimes appears shadowy.

This my noble torch ever martyrs me. It seems to me that this lover’s particular intelligence is always thus with regard to the universal intelligence. that is. and still it delights me. now you turn along your usual path to give light to the south and the last confines of Lybia. you who emerge from the horizon with your horns now empty. the universal intelligence illumines the entire hemisphere. consequently. It means that to the star. always so cruel and so beautiful.” Excerpt from Dialogue VII: “The following crest presents a full moon with the motto. and is ever full. to the sun and to him the moon is always such as it is here. now full. frightens the enemy and puts him to rout. And my sun is the same. full and free clear in the entire circumference of its circle. when the rational appetite clashes with the sensual concupiscence and by the act of contemplation confronts the intellectual light. sometimes more or . So that you may understand this better. converted to the intellect. which ever burns and is so resplendent. then it retrieves its lost virtue. So the moon of my sky for my continual torment is ever steady. fickle moon. which forever ravishes and restores me. your orb reascends now white. I would have you read the poem written upon the tablet: Inconstant moon. even though that intelligence appears sometimes obscure. Talis mihi semper et astro (‘Such is it always to me and to the sun’).against the inferior one that draws it down (as the reason. now dark. In other words. reinforces its nerves. is not seduced or conquered by the sensitive powers). now you illuminate Boreas and the valleys of the Caucasus.

and as though torn by the inferior potencies) always sees its object immobile. and it always delights him because he is conjoined to it in his affection. sometimes it returns and approaches. beaten. But the active intellect by incessant labor (for it is foreign to human nature and the human condition which is wearied. and sometimes it seems to rise from the valley. Or perhaps it would mean that his speculative intellect (invariably in act) is always turned and drawn toward that human intelligence represented by the moon. For as the moon is called the lowest among all the planets and is found nearest to us. the human intelligence represented by the moon sometimes seems to decline. and always in plenitude. according to the impressions it makes upon the inferior potencies. that is. and always so beautiful in communicating itself to the degree that he offers himself to it. insofar as it does not display itself in act. because sometimes it dispenses only a shadow. similitude. it is always as cruel to him by withdrawing itself as he similarly withdraws himself. Therefore the object always ravishes him insofar as he fails to offer himself to it. incited. and always restores him insofar as he succeeds in offering himself to it. sometimes brilliant. so the intelligence which illuminates all of us (in our present state) is the lowest in the hierarchy of intelligences. fixed and constant.less luminous. and vestige. that is. or sometimes it pours out the light more openly. sometimes it declines toward the south. With respect to the intellect in potency. from the bottom of the concealed hemisphere. distracted. accordingly as it gives more or less light. solicited. and in the same splendor of beauty. sometimes to the north. sometimes its orb is obscure. sometimes it displays itself vacant and sometimes full. It always martyrs him separated from him by space.” - . as Averroes and other more subtle Peripatetics note. sometimes it retires and alienates itself more and more from us. It always enflames his passion as much as it is resplendent in his thought.

(Photo Credit: Gabriel D. Roberts) - .