On the Art of Living with Oneself

  • Markus Fierz


AS I MENTIONED earlier, Cardano spent the last years of his life in Rome. He was given a pension by the Pope and was permitted to practice medicine, but forbidden to publish.1 No further legal proceedings were begun against him, and the matter was quietly laid to rest. However, Cardano was still worried that the Inquisition might prosecute him again. The new pope, Gregory XIII, was regarded as amiable and had a liberal reputation, but he marked the beginning of his pontificat in Paris on St. Bartholomew’s night 1572, celebrating the festival with a TeDeum. The intellectual climate had changed significantly during the previous decade as the counterreformation was spreading everywhere. Understandably, these developments were most disquieting to the old Cardano, and he was not always successful in maintaining his philosophical calm. He was, nonetheless, a true philosopher and experienced psychologist, and knew how to cope with his own troubled mind.


Fairy Tale Sensual Pleasure Great Thing Famous People Intellectual Climate 
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  1. 1.
    This restriction was later relaxed as well, since his commentary In libellum Hippocratis de alimenta was published in Rome in 1574.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Opera I, p. 673.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Carl Gustav Jung discusses this method in Ego and Unconscious. See also C. G. Jung, “The Transcendent Function,” in Geist und Werk, Festschrift für Dr. Brody (Zurich, 1958).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The text is abridged in two places: when the father reminds Cardano of all the things he has read in Beatus, and when he talks about kings and other famous figures who spent their lives grieving.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    De Vita propria, Opera I, p. 29: “It seemed to me that my soul was in the heaven of the moon, freed of the body and solitary. When I asked the meaning of this I heard my father’s voice who said: I have been appointed by God as your guardian. There are souls here everywhere, but you do not see them. You will remain in this heaven for seven thousand years. You will stay that long in star after star until you have reached the eighth sphere. Then you will enter the kingdom of God.”Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Joh. Franciscus Beatus, professor in Padua about 1540, an Aristotelian. See: Jöcher’s Gelehrtenlexicon (Leipzig, 1750/51).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    This is not the “moon-dream.” The content of that dream is indicated later on.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    De Vita propria, Opera I, p. 38 (“res prorsus supra naturam”).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sylvester published Cardano’s De Sanitate tuenda et vita producenda in Rome in 1580. Cardano was working on it in 1576. See Vita propria, chapter 45.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    I. e., the Pope, or rather the Church and its Inquisition.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Adrasteia was a Thracian mother-goddess. Her name was understood by the Greeks to mean “the unavoidable,” and she was, therefore, identified with Nemesis.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Because this would be contrary to the order of the world.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tacitus, Annalen, 13:32.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Cardano was a freeman of Bologna.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Fierz
    • 1
  1. 1.KüsnachtSwitzerland

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