Interestingly, it was the journey into their souls, if we may call it, which made them believe and adore the concept of the dignity of man. The dignity of man attained its greatest prominence and was given its characteristic meaning in the Italian Renaissance. Though as an idea it is usually ill defined and tends to express a complex of notions, classical and Christian, which writers of the period desired to assert, this interest into the importance of manhood brought about important paradigmatic shifts in the European society.
It is important to realise that this idea of the Renaissance was first coined in 1867 by Jakob Burckhardt in his book, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. The term has come to dominate our consciousness of what the historical experience of this period was. The Renaissance, as far as this book is concerned, is conceived as a departure from the Middle Ages, a fracture point where European culture suddenly changed into a new and different culture. It was a term that was formulated to stress the uniqueness of modern European culture, as something new on the face of human culture. Interestingly, in formulating a beginning for modern culture, the idea of the Renaissance also created the idea of the "middle ages," a period between the classical period and the Renaissance.
Thinking of a period that is perhaps bes...
in his Novum Organum, or 'New Instrument', tried to replace the methods put forward in Aristotle's Organon, on the other hand, we find that ideas such as Metacognition began to gain ground. If travellers and discovers like Magellan were finding new lands, there were people like John Milton who were still trying to trace the result of "Man's first Disobedience" so as to chart the Euro-centric God's "justification of the ways of men".
If we look back and try to analyse what actually happened during the renaissance, we can perhaps find the reasons why Europe soon began to have colonies and how imperialism became rampant. It is to be kept in mind that where as the Europeans in the fifteenth century, thought they understood the universe pretty well, the discoveries of Columbus and other explorers had left them deeply shocked. Here was a civilisation which was based on the concepts of rationality, goodness, whiteness, and logic who were suddenly confronted by people who were not white, who were "uncivilised" and went about the places doing mysterious deeds and prayed to evil looking gods and goddesses. Put shortly, the New World that they discovered did not fit easily into the European scheme of things. So, what would they do They took it upon themselves to "civilise and educate" these beasts, something which is mocked today in postcolonial studies as the "White Man's Burden". It was this racial sense of the renaissance supremacy, added with their vigour for educating the uncivilised which found a race armed with Descartian rationalism to colonise the entire world.
If there was anything that made renaissance what it is, it is the idea called Humanism. The attitude of Humanism emphasised the dignity and worth of the individual and held the basic premise of human