The freedom of having the right to think and have thoughts for yourself is that one thing we will always fight for or perhaps ask not to be taken away of us because living a life that stops us from having our thoughts is a life of hardship and silence. Silencing our thoughts from speaking what we know or what we think about our life or our environment is same us being blind for all the things around us. In the story of Carlo Ginzburg, he opened a story of a man who was speaking about what he thinks and the curiosity of his mind soon gave him his end.
Ginzburg told about the life of a miller named Domenico Scandella or whom people call as Menocchio. It was cold in the mountainous region of Friuli and the people of Pordenone were also cold. A bonfire was lit around them and soon an old man whom they know as Menocchio, a sixty-seven year old ill-educated man who was not unknown to the residents of Pordenone since used to be a mayor in Montereale, an administrator of the parish church of the same place and now a miller by trade. Soon he was placed in the stand of wood stack which already have a lit and right there and then he was burned in front of other people (Ginzburg, 1976).
A story of so much creativity, this book was first published in 1976 and the author was indeed good enough to retell a story which was long gone and closed already by time and by the Church Archives. It was a story which told a story of a peasant life filled with obscurity. All he had done was to share a piece of his thought and he was burned alive as punishment for his deeds. Perhaps it is really a very sad idea and yet during those times when the reign of the Catholic Church is on its height of success and those who speak ill about it will face a serious punishment.
Why does the peasant man accused of heresy and sentenced of inquisition? It is simple. Because of what he said, a piece of thought, he somehow threatened the church by sharing the possibility that God was made out of something and probably he cam from worm. Menocchio said:
I have said that, in my opinion, all was chaos … and out of that bulk a mass formed – just as cheese is made out of milk – and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels, and among that number of angels, there was also God, he too having been created out of that mass at the same time. (Ginzburg/Scandella)
Because of these words which he claims as his opinion, he was burned alive and the church though and perhaps assumed that if this is true and if the people believed in him, they will lose power and the reign of the catholic church will end. The words of Scandella is a threat to the most powerful religion of the time that his words if used will give the people, the rest of the society the idea that the church was just fooling them and that they were just using what they know to get something from the people.
The death of the man is not justified by what he did because in the end all he did was to share a piece of his opinion and nothing else. He did not ask for the people to believe in him and he got an unfair judgment. What if the Catholic Church at that time was sharing their opinion too, could they also be burned? Perhaps not because they were already powerful and Scandella is no one but a poor miller who shared a piece of his thought and got burned just by stating something he wanted to believe in.
Ginzuburg, Carlo The Cheese and the Worms, The Cosmology of a 16th Century Miller Johns Hopkins Univ Press, Reprint edition March 1992