Consolation of Philosophy (Part 2)

Continuing from my last post, I will begin to dig into the book, The Consolation of Philosophy, but only those parts referring to happiness in this life – which is the focus of my book and this website.  By the way, the book is divided into five books or sections.

Book One

Boethius says to Philosophy that he is sad at his loss.  He has been ruined professionally, he has been stripped of his possessions, his reputation has been destroyed, his liberty has been lost, he can no longer see his family, and he faces execution.  All of this is due to wicked people that opposed him in life.  He is upset that such wickedness can prevail over those that are wise and virtuous.

Philosophy tells Boethius that he has forgotten man’s nature and purpose, and so he is not capable of understanding the real reason of what has happened to him.  She mentions at the end of this first book that she will lead Boethius out of his darkness and into the light of truth.

Book Two

In this section of the book, Philosophy teaches Boethius that happiness can not be found only in possessing the transitory goods. She defines these transitory goods as: 1) material possessions, 2) public honors, 3) exercises of power, and 4) physical attractiveness. These goods are short-lived. Philosophy even mentions that fame earned by good people in the performance of important works is a limited and insufficient goal in life.

Philosophy concludes this second book by mentioning that bad fortune is often better than good fortune: good fortune enslaves the one who enjoys it while bad fortune frees the person from the bondage of these transitory goods.

More to come!


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