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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 To explain this world of relationships, a world where all is interrelated and interconnected, Llull, in addition to the use of geometric figures, like the circle, the triangle, the square, and others,

Skip to 0 minutes and 28 seconds proposed two major symbols: the ladder and the tree. The ladder is one of the symbols that best express the relationships of all levels of creation and nature. For example, at the bottom of this whole ladder structure we see artificial works, the works produced by men artificially.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds Then are the four elements of nature: fire, water, air and earth.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds Further up is the the vegetative faculty, the sensory faculty, that is to say, the external senses: sight, hearing, etc. Above we have the imagination as a synthesis between sensory faculties and superior faculties. On the next step is man, fundamental for Llull, since his philosophy basically consists of an anthropology. Llull believed that Man is not something that is born as such, but one must become man.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds Llull was very modern, practically like a man of the Renaissance: he believed that we do not attain humanity merely by being born, but we must achieve it. One step further up we have heaven, that is to say, the cosmological system. Then, the angels, those beings who, according to Francesc Pujols one of the philosophers of the 20th century who followed some of the ideas of Ramon Llull were like stones that had awoken in heaven. Above is empty space, which indicates the great separation between created beings and God, the principle of all reality. In fact, we could say, and this is one of the important points of Ramon Llull’s scientific system, that God is pure interaction.

Skip to 2 minutes and 29 seconds And, this interaction, for example, can be seen in the dogma of the trinity: there is an interaction between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, therefore, God is an internal interaction. This internal interaction is conveyed to the other levels of creation, heaven, human kind, the faculties of the soul, that is to say, memory, understanding and will. Not only must we remember, understand and want, but understanding, will and memory must be interrelated, that is to say, we must understand and we must love or we must turn the object of our understanding into something that can also be loved. This is one of Ramon Llull’s great thinkings.

Skip to 3 minutes and 16 seconds All this is accompanied by one basic idea: the difference is at the basis of any thing, at the basis of any unity. There must be unity, but that this unity is guaranteed by difference; Llull says that without difference there cannot be love. Therefore, there can be no union without this difference. Next we will see one of Llull’s other major symbols, together with the ladder, which is the symbol of the tree, and by extension, the forest, which are symbolic or allegorical elements of the thinking Ramon Llull exposed through his literature.

The Ladder

In this video, Amador explains that Llull believed in a world where everything was connected.

How do the images of the ladder and the tree fit in with this world view? Pay special attention to the notions of connection and difference.

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

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

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