He writes of humans being "free" and assigns humans to a place in the great...
Mirandola states in this essay that man is a glorious creation because of his ability to think and to reason. He writes that humankind is "a great miracle and a being worthy of all admiration."
He writes of humans being "free" and assigns humans to a place in the great chain of being between angels and animals. He writes that God said,
We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, in order that you may, as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through your own decision, to rise again to the superior orders whose life is divine.
Because humans are so marvelously endowed with reason, all the traditions of human thought should be studied, not just those written in Latin from the Roman Catholic Church. Mirandola was a syncretist, which meant he tried to reconcile and harmonize different schools of thought. He advocated studying the Greeks, the Hebrew mysteries, and Arabic texts, along with Latin sources. He writes of
my determination to bring to men's attention the opinions of all schools rather than the doctrine of some one or other (as some might have preferred), for it seems to me that by the confrontation of many schools and the discussion of many philosophical systems that "effulgence of truth" of which Plato writes in his letters might illuminate our minds more clearly, like the sun rising from the sea. What should have been our plight had only the philosophical thought of the Latin authors, that is, Albert, Thomas, Scotus, Egidius, Francis and Henry, been discussed, while that of the Greeks and the Arabs was passed over . . .
Finally, Mirandola distinguishes between what he calls two types of "magic." The first is demonic and must be rejected. The second, however, is the "magic" of the natural world, God's creation, which is worthy of study in order to reveal the glory of God. We today would call this second type of "magic" science. Mirandola writes:
For nothing so surely impels us to the worship of God than the assiduous contemplation of His miracles and when, by means of this natural magic, we shall have examined these wonders more deeply, we shall more ardently be moved to love and worship Him in his works, until finally we shall be compelled to burst into song: "The heavens, all of the earth, is filled with the majesty of your glory."
Because of his emphasis on the glory, rather than the sinfulness, of humans; his advocacy of broad and inclusive learning; and his belief in studying science, Mirandola's essay is a classic example of Renaissance humanism and empiricism.