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Marsilio Ficino: Magnus of the Renaissance, Shaper of Leaders
Integral Development (2009)
This article summarises the life of Marsilio Ficino, a philosopher, priest and scholar, and his profound influence on the Renaissance. The major events and achievements of Ficino’s work are described along with his physical characteristics, personality and life style. Marsilio Ficino translated the major works of Plato and other ancient philosophers and convinced the leading thinkers of the Catholic church to modify their view of the relationship of reason to belief. He also helped redefine the ‘human being’ in the eyes of the Church and the leaders of that time.
The Renaissance was a time of major social, economic and political upheaval and Ficino provided a stabilizing force for the society of Florence and played a significant role in influencing the thoughts and actions of the leaders of 15 th century Europe. Ficino’s view of mankind and his interpretation of the immortality of the soul helped unleash extraordinary amounts of creativity in architecture, painting, sculpture and literature.
This article puts forward the view that Ficino’s work was not only a major influence on the Renaissance but affected the ways we treat people in Western society and workplaces. Ficino also has shaped our view of the ideal leader. The Academy that Ficino led was the forerunner of today’s institutions that focus on the development of leadership. Ficino also laid the groundwork for the growing interest in business schools in philosophy, ethics, the environment and spirituality of work. His work contains ideas similar to Wilber’s Integral theory such as the universe consists of partwholes organised into a natural hierarchy.
Finally, this article suggests that modern times are similar to the tumultuous social, political and economic conditions of the Renaissance and that Ficino’s example and ideals provide significant relevance for leadership behaviour today.