Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Author:Yuval Noah Harari [Harari, Yuval Noah]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2016-09-05T16:00:00+00:00

The Holy Spirit, in the guise of a dove, delivers an ampulla full of sacred oil for the baptism of King Clovis, founder of the Frankish kingdom (illustration from the Grandes Chroniques de France, c.1380). According to the founding myth of France, this ampulla was henceforth kept in Rheims Cathedral, and all subsequent French kings were anointed with the divine oil at their coronation. Each coronation thus involved a miracle, as the empty ampulla spontaneously refilled with oil. This indicated that God himself chose the king and gave him His blessing. If God did not want Louis IX or Louis XIV or Louis XVI to be king, the ampulla would not have refilled.

© Bibliothèque nationale de France, RC-A-02764, Grandes Chroniques de France de Charles V, folio 12v.

What’s true of ethics and politics is also true of aesthetics. In the Middle Ages art was governed by objective yardsticks. The standards of beauty did not reflect human fads. Rather, human tastes were supposed to conform to superhuman dictates. This made perfect sense in a period when people believed that art was inspired by superhuman forces rather than by human feelings. The hands of painters, poets, composers and architects were supposedly moved by muses, angels and the Holy Spirit. Many a time when a composer penned a beautiful hymn, no credit was given to the composer, for the same reason it was not given to the pen. The pen was held and directed by human fingers which in turn were held and directed by the hand of God.

Medieval scholars held on to a classical Greek theory, according to which the movements of the stars across the sky create heavenly music that permeates the entire universe. Humans enjoy physical and mental health when the inner movements of their body and soul are in harmony with the heavenly music created by the stars. Human music should therefore echo the divine melody of the cosmos, rather than reflect the ideas and caprices of flesh-and-blood composers. The most beautiful hymns, songs and tunes were usually attributed not to the genius of some human artist but to divine inspiration.


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