St. Augustine`s assertion about the Soul
St.Augustine’s assertion about the Soul
St.Augustine asserts that the soul is man’s chief good. He supportsthis claim by contending that nothing elevates the body to itsoptimal state than the soul (St. Augustine). Accordingly, he arguesthat the physical aspects that make life comfortable cannot becategorized as important when it comes to describing the body`s chiefgood. Issues like beauty, bodily pleasure, the absence of pain, orswiftness are not critical to maintaining the optimum state of thebody. The reason for this affirmation comes from the fact that man’schief good cannot be derived from anything that is inferior to him orthat which can be taken away from a person against his will. Thus,the soul cannot make a man happy by following something that italready possesses or by following itself (St. Augustine). Therefore,the soul can only secure man’s chief good if it seeks somethingthat is higher than itself. One may consider virtue to be greaterthan the soul, but virtue cannot exist in isolation hence, the soulmust follow a wise man or God to possess virtue and wisdom. In thisregard, the only thing that is higher than the soul is God, becauseman cannot lose him against his will. By following God, and reachinghim, man lives both happily and healthily. Considering the assertionshighlighted beforehand, one can assert that the soul is the chiefgood of man because it can direct him to contentment and a healthylife.
Withthe above presumptions considered, I endeavored to interview fivepeople about what they deemed to be man`s greatest good. Theseindividuals had different ideological positions on the subject thus,their responses differed significantly. One of the people that Iinterviewed held that the human soul is a product of a person`s"relatedness." He asserted that the issues that anindividual connects with go a long way toward defining his uniqueexperiences and capacities. Thus, such a person`s ability to love,take responsibility for his actions, communicate with God, andexperience transcendence is dependent upon his soul. The secondperson believed that the soul is immortal. He viewed the soul as areincarnation of the people that lived in the past. According to thisinterviewee, the characters of individuals are shaped by years ofexistence on earth. The third person held the position that the soulis God`s gift to man. This individual contended that man was rationalbecause the soul enabled him to separate good from bad. Therefore,the soul is what prevents humans from behaving like animals. Thefourth individual argued that the soul mediates a person`scommunication with God. According to this person, God connects withpeople through their souls. In other words, the ability of people tofeel the presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested by their souls. Mylast interviewee believed that the soul is perfect, but has beentrapped in an imperfect body. He assumed that the body is the causeof all evil. Therefore, this individual believed that the soul existsin isolation and people are responsible for crafting their suffering.
Afterthe interviews, I decided to compare the views of these people withmy personal understanding of the nature of human happiness. Isubscribe to St. Augustine`s discernment of the soul being the "chiefgood of man" (St. Augustine). My ideological position isdifferent from that of my first interviewees because Augustinebelieves that the soul determines whether or not a person enjoys hislife or not. I believe that focusing one’s efforts and emotions onGod enables the soul to make a person happy. I disagreed with thetheories of the first and the second individuals because they did notbelieve that God has control over a person`s soul. I trust that theexperiences of dead people cannot influence a person’s ability toenjoy his life. Such knowledge can only help the current generationto learn from the misdeeds of the past populations. The thirdinterviewee asserted that the soul is a gift from God. To a certainextent, I believe that this assertion is true because this individualacknowledged that a connection between God and the soul exists.Therefore, through the soul, God can direct a person’s actions,and, in the end, make him happy. I also related with the fourthindividual’s presumptions. He contended that God communicates topeople through the soul. This viewpoint is similar to St. Augustine’ssince it acknowledges the fact that the soul reaches out to God togain wisdom and knowledge. Finally, I felt that the assertions of thefifth interviewee were not in tandem with my thinking. He held theposition that the soul endeavored to break free from the body so thatit could exist in a perfect state. This stand does not acknowledgethe central role of God in the existence of the soul and thehappiness of people.
ST.Augustine. KendallHunt Publishing(2013): 53 – 54. Print.
No related posts.