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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
being to be in all men, which cannot possibly have different origins.  And Plato would have that all men depend upon one idea alone, and not on more or many, which is to give them only one beginning.  And undoubtedly Aristotle would laugh very loudly if he heard of two species to be made out of the Human Race, as of horses and asses; and (may Aristotle forgive me) one might call those men asses who think in this way.  For according to our Faith (which is to be preserved in its entirety) it is most false, as Solomon makes evident where he draws a distinction between men and the brute animals, for he calls men “all the sons of Adam,” and this he does when he says:  “Who knows if the spirits of the sons of Adam mount upwards, and if those of the beasts go downwards?” And that it is false according to the Gentiles, let the testimony of Ovid in the first chapter of his Metamorphoses prove, where he treats of the constitution of the World according to the Pagan belief, or rather belief of the Gentiles, saying:  “Man is born “—­he did not say “Men;” he said, “Man is born,” or rather, “that the Artificer of all things made him from Divine seed, or that the new earth, but lately parted from the noble ether, retained seeds of the kindred Heaven, which, mingled with the water of the river, formed the son of Japhet into an image of the Gods, who govern all.”  Where evidently he asserts the first man to have been one alone; and therefore the Song says, “But that I cannot hold,” that is, to the opinion that man had not one beginning; and the Song subjoins, “Nor yet if Christians they.”  And it says Christians, not Philosophers, or rather Gentiles, whose opinion also is adverse, because the Christian opinion is of greater force, and is the destroyer of all calumny, thanks to the supreme light of Heaven, which illuminates it.

Then when I say, “Sound intellect reproves their words As false, and turns away,” I conclude this error to be confuted, and I say that it is time to open the eyes to the Truth; and this is expressed when I say, “And now I seek to tell, As it appears to me.”  It is now evident to sound minds that the words of those men are vain, that is, without a crumb or particle of Truth; and I say sound not without cause.  Our intellect may be said to be sound or unsound.  And I say intellect for the noble part of our Soul, which it is possible to designate by the common word “Mind.”  It may be called sound or healthy, when it is not obstructed in its action by sickness of mind or body, which is to know what things are, as Aristotle expresses it in the third chapter on the Soul.

For, owing to the sickness of the Soul, I have seen three horrible infirmities in the minds of men.

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