Friday, November 19, 2010

On Creation and the Music of the Spheres



God created the heavens and the earth, but not only half-He created all the heavens and all the earth, creating the essence with the form. For he is not an inventor of figures, but the creator even of the essence of beings.-St. Basil of Caesarea, The Hexameron


But the soul receives the sweetest harmonies and numbers through the ears, and by these echoes is reminded and aroused to the divine music which may be heard by the more subtle and penetrating sense of mind. According to the followers of Plato, divine music is twofold. One kind, they say, exists entirely in the eternal mind of God. The second is in the motions and order of the heavens, by which the heavenly spheres and their orbits make a marvellous harmony. In both of these our soul took part before it was imprisoned in our bodies. But it uses the ears as messengers, as though they were chinks in this darkness. By the ears, as I have already said, the soul receives the echoes of that incomparable music, by which it is led back to the deep and silent memory of the harmony which it previously enjoyed. The whole soul then kindles with desire to fly back to (Fruatur, ad sedes) its rightful home, so that it may enjoy that true music again.-Marsilio Ficino, De divino furore (On Divine Frenzy)

2 comments:

The Western Confucian said...

Great music. Thanks.

Benedictus said...

Thanks!

I saw Meredith Monk's "Book of Days" about twenty years ago, and it was a bit strange and captivating, drawing parallels between human fears in the 14th century and the 20th (Bubonic Plague and AIDS, Apocalyptic expectations and fear of nuclear war, etc.). Clever and quirky.

This clip was my favorite moment in the short film, and I thought it went well with the two quotes from St. Basil and Marsilio Ficino.