Pico della Mirandolla was an Italian philosopher and scholar during the Renaissance period in Italy. He was born on February 24th, 1463 and before his death on November 17, 1494 he had written over 900 theses including his most acclaimed work the "Oration on the Dignity of Man," which has been called the "humanist manifesto.".
Pico like most renaissance philosophers was a humanist who spent most of his time exploring the power of the human mind. In his "Oration on the Dignity of Man," he glorifies humanity because he feels that the human race possesses a quality that no other creature mortal nor immortal has, the "freedom of choice." As a result of being "constrained by no limits, in accordance with (their) own free will (humans) have the power to be reborn into the higher forms, which are divine." This distinctive quality allows mankind to choose his or her own destiny. "Whatever seeds each man cultivates will grow to maturity and bear in him their own fruit." .
Pico is self-confident and seems unforgiving toward humans with simplistic minds as well as sinners. He illustrates this by saying, that by being an intellectual himself, "he will be an angel and the son of God." He also states that people who are "vegetative" or absorb/reap the benefits of other people's work without contributing anything of their own, "will be like a plant" in their after life. Pico argued that humans where put on earth to luxuriate in Gods masterpiece, the universe. He declared that "when the work was finished, the craftsman (God) kept wishing that there were someone to ponder the plan of so great work, to love its beauty, and to wonder at its vastness He finally took thought concerning the creation of man." .
Pico's great love and respect toward the human race and its ability to reason, truly exemplifies the philosophy behind the Renaissance. The "Oration on the Dignity of Man" eloquently focuses on the idea that the human being was and still is the center of the universe.