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This content is taken from the Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona & Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona's online course, Understanding Ramon Llull: ​Philosophy, Arts and Science through the Ars Combinatoria. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds There are two ideas that summarize the thinking of Ramon Llull: movement and interaction. In a certain way, this extraordinary man of the fourteenth century, between the thirteenth and the fourteenth century who wrote more than 260 books in Catalan, in Latin and in Arabic, conceived reality as a set of constantly connected elements. For him, the principle of this reality was God. But what God meant for Ramon Llull? A principle of interacting; the relationship between God himself and men, and between men and the various elements of creation,

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds and the different stages or levels of existence: stones, angels, plants, metals… To be able to explain the complex relationships of such rich and broad thinking we are at the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), which has prepared an exhibition entitled “The thinking machine. Ramon Llull and the Ars combinatoria”. Why the Ars Combinatoria? The Ars combinatoria is the language that includes the method that makes us understand how these elements of reality are interrelated. To my right is the first volume of the complete works of Ramon Llull in Latin, published in Germany in 1724. Why in Germany? Over the centuries, Lullism became a school of thought in Europe with both admirers and detractors.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds But Ramon Llull’s thinking interested mathematicians, scientists, theologians and philosophers. This first volume by Ramon Llull is introduced by an ink engraving, in which we see two beams of light.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 seconds Symbolically, they are the light of grace and the light of reason: precisely the great theme of medieval philosophy and, especially, of the thinking of Ramon Llull. That is to say, it is not necessary to sacrifice intellect to understand the great mysteries of Christian theology, such as the dogmas of the incarnation and the trinity. Other philosophers of the time, such as Thomas Aquinas, however, believed that the incarnation and the trinity could not be understood intellectually, that is, the entire conceptual apparatus could not be used to understand them. This is not the case of Llull. Llull dignified intellect because he believed that everything could be understood rationally.

The light of grace and the light of reason

This video highlights the notions of movement and interaction in Lullian thinking.

The ars combinatoria can be thought of as a language that includes this system of interaction between elements. In this system, God is the connecting principle.

The diagram in Salzinger’s edition of Llull’s work, which you can see in the video, shows the reconciliation between faith and reason as two beams of light.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Ramon Llull: ​Philosophy, Arts and Science through the Ars Combinatoria

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

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