Big truth must be presented on small stages for humans to get it.*
The “gods” know nothing,
they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations for the earth are
Though we perhaps do not think of ourselves as gods yet we can act as though we are … when we see how far we have come, when we take stock of all that we have, when we compare ourselves with others.
Denis Diderot and his companions wanted to record the dignity and worth of people of all rank and skill:
‘In the Encyclopedia, Diderot and his colleagues celebrated the vitality rather than dwelled on the suffering of those deemed socially inferior. Vigour was the point: the encyclopedistes wanted ordinary workers to be admired, not pitied.’^
In so doing, they were perhaps opening themselves to becoming more human, to join passions in some encyclopaedic way is to become compassionate:
‘A great being stays with what she loves; she’s patient, she forgives, and she allows what she loves to develop. She overlooks its mistakes, and in this sense she suffers for and with reality. This is the deepest meaning of passion: patior is the Latin verb meaning to suffer or to undergo reality as opposed to controlling it.’*
Which sounds more godlike.