So I was thinking about my paper last night and then I was reading Pascal (1623-62) and then I was having this thought.
See, Pascal says this:
It is dangerous to make man too aware that he is on the same level as animals without demonstrating to him his greatness. It is also dangerous to make him too aware of his greatness without showing him his baseness. It is even more dangerous to leave him ignorant of either state, but very helpful to demonstrate both of them to him.
Man must not think he is on a level with either beasts or angels, and he must not be ignorant of those levels, but he should know both.
" - Pg. 38 (of the 1995 Oxford World Classics edition of the Pensees, translated by Honor Levi)
Which is a very interesting thing to say, I hope you agree. Although not particularly Medieval. But then I remembered that during the Reformation John Calvin (It could have been somebody else though - I'm having some trouble finding / remembering it properly) used to argue how we are lower on a celestial hierarchy than animals, because we are corrupted beyond repair in the face of God while animals have since the dawn of time unhesitatingly followed their task (to be used by men).
So I was wondering, do any of you have any late Medieval or Reformation examples you've been dying to pull out? I'm really curious how these sorts of distinctly un-beastiary views (either that men are at the bottom or that the hierarchy itself is essentially a tool with multiple correct answers) arose. And I have a sinking suspicion that they didn't start with Calvin. What did Augustine have to say on the subject of animals and original sin?
I don't know these things. Do you know these things?
Tell me if you know these things.