The human and the divine Essay

This essay has a total of 1509 words and 8 pages.

the human and the divine



1) Introduction

Through out history, as man progressed from a primitive animal to a
"human being" capable of thought and reason, mankind has had to throw
questions about the meaning of our own existence to ourselves. Out of those
trail of thoughts appeared religion, art, and philosophy, the fundamental
process of questioning about existence. Who we are, how we came to be,
where we are going, what the most ideal state is....... All these questions had
to be asked and if not given a definite answer, then at least given some idea
as to how to begin to search for, as humans probed deeper and deeper into
the riddle that we were all born into.
As time passed, the works of many thinkers and artists added up and it
became inevitable for the people who wanted to find some answers to the
ancient question, the question of existence, to trace back to the times of
the older thinkers to get an idea as to what we have been thinking about as
an important source for reaching the goal. Also, for the people who want to
study the ways of the people back in history, it is equally important to make
a study of the thinkers and artists of that time in order to define the
characteristics and personality of that age. So, as the goal of this report is
to find out what the people of ancient western world thought in view of the
concept and relationship between the human and the divine, it is inevitable
for us to also look into the thoughts and arts of that time.

2) Cicero and Virgil

In the works of Cicero, we see him asking questions about social
responsibility, about what it is that gives value to a human life. Cicero
conveys to us his belief that it is most natural for a person to show the
most defined characteristics such as magnanimity, and loftiness of the soul,
and courtesy, etc. , and that because of this, it is only true for a person to
take on the responsibilities of this world with this kind of attitude in tact.
He tells us why we must not live only for our own advantage; because it is
against our nature as humans to do so, because without the basis of this
human characteristics, the whole human society would fall apart. The qualities
we value most in our fellow human beings are the most natural to us because
they were endowed to us from the gods so that the race of human beings
and the human society could go on existing. We can know this from his words;
"People who argue like this subvert the whole basis of humans community
itself - and when that is gone, kind actions, generosity, goodness, and justice
are annihilated. And their annihilation is a sin against the immortal gods. For
it was they who established the society which such men are undermining."
Cicero's belief in the natural goodness of the human race was stead-fast
because he believed that it was endowed to us from the gods.
In Virgil's "Pollio", which christians believed to have prophesied the birth of
Christ, we can see what he thought of the conditions of the human race of
his time and also of what he thought the coming of god will do for the good
of his people. Virgil percieved the humans race as being in the "Iron Age" (In
Ovid's "Metamorphoses", we see the concept of humans becoming more and
more dirtied as they moved though time from the "Golden, Silver Ages", to the
" Bronze, Iron Ages"), the age of corruption which the coming of "Pollio" will
disinfect for us. He writes, "Time has concieved and the great sequences of
the Ages starts afresh. ...... With him, the Iron Age shall end and the golden
Man inherit all the world. ..... And it is in your consulship, yours, Pollio, that
this glorious Age will dawn and the Procession of the of the great months
begin. Under your leadership all traces that remain in our iniquity will be
effaced and, as they vanish, free the world from its long night of horror."
Through this, we can know that Virgil believed in the power of "Pollio" to
restore and to guide the human race to its rightious state.
In both Cicero and Virgil, it is obvious that they thought the highest
qualities of humans to be our most natural state because it was endowed by
the gods to be so, and that if there was corruption in the human world, the
divine powers would restore them because it is the will of the gods to form
and maintain the human race and society. Their belief in the human race came
from their faith in god.

3) Egyptian and Greek Art

When we look at Egyptian paintings, we see that the drawings do not quite
describe objects as they actually are. When a man is drawn, his face is
turned sideways but his shoulders and body are facing the front while the
foot is turned sideways. This strange way of drawing is called the "정면성의
원리( I'm sorry, I don't know what that is in English)". What the Egyptians
were trying to achieve through the use of this method was to present the
parts of the object which most clearly shows its characteristics. For
instance, the characteristics of a man's face is most distinctly shown when it
is turned sideways, and the body's when it is turned towards the front, and
so forth. The Egyptians don't seem to have been interested in drawing
objects as they actually were. When they drew, they analized the visual
information of the object so that they could present its most distinct
characteristics in the form of visual generalization. For them, the important
thing was to catch the essence of the object. In this sense, it can be said
that for them, art was a form of abstract vision.
On the other hand, the Greek arts had a very different personality. Their
starting point was to realize actual beauty in art. That was why they
searched out the "golden proportion", in order to achieve the most beautiful
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