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Sex Essay, Research Paper
Socrates and Augustine are two different men with some very similar views. They share in the idea that the body is the root of our problems or of evil in general. I believe more in what Augustine taught when he said that bad intentions with the body are just as bad as the action itself. Socrates believed that the body is not only rejected by philosophy but also that it gets in the way of knowledge. I believe that the body is an essential part of the human process and dispersing it without exploiting its capabilities will not lead us to a better life and will definitely not rid us of sin as believed by Augustine and Socrates.
Socrates had a strong feeling of dislike towards the body and the effect it had on the soul. He believed that the body gets in the way of knowledge and is the cause of the most of our problems. The body perceives objects in the world and that is where it runs into problems. The body concerns itself with material things. He believed that the body was, in essence, a shield that the mind gave off as a cover of what it wanted people to see.
In the book Phaedo, Socrates shows how he connects the mind to the body. He believes that the soul is eternal and immutable compared to the inferior and mutable body. He believes that the soul is always living, even before birth and after death. Then when death comes to man, the mortal part of him dies, it seems, but his deathless part goes away safe and indestructible, yielding the place to death (106e).
In this book he makes three major arguments concerning the mind and body. The first is the argument of opposites (70c-73a). That one state will follow the other. For example, that sleep comes from waking and that waking comes from sleeping. He also describes how the soul will continue on after death. The second argument is that of recollection (73-77c). This means that everything we know is recollection and when we learn these things we are really remembering them. Reason is a way to solve things and the way to solve things is through practice. He describes how the lives prior to birth as well. The third is the affinity argument (78b-84d). This argument connects emotions with the body and says that our behavior in the world decides our afterlife.
Throughout the book Socrates displays the way he feels about the mind (soul) and body. He shows how he feels that the soul is pure and the body is impure. The soul, not the body is our life force and if you don t have it you die. He shows how he does not want the body to be any part of his death. He believes his dying will be the separation from his soul, the good, and his body, the evil. He goes so far as to disperse the women from the death scene because they are related to the body. At the sight of Socrates friends his wife began to cry out and Socrates told them, let someone take her home (60a).
One of St. Augustine s major issues in his book the Confessions is the difference between the wrongness of the action and the wrongness of the thought of the action. Augustine believes everything comes from intentions. He says that it is not the action itself that decides if it is wrong, it is your attitude to it. Thinking someone bad to someone is sometimes just as bad as the action itself. He was a firm disbeliever in Utilitarianism, the idea that you have to weigh out the options to see what is right and wrong.
Augustine has the belief that the body is an instrument that will lead us to sin. Sin begins when people get caught up in material things. It becomes sin when we forget to use these material things to point to God. He shows this in the book because he didn t look at God he looked at the material things in the world around him. He believes in theodicy, the presence of evil with a good god. He believes that physical things are beautiful because they come from god, but become evil when they are not used to get to god. Augustine proves this in the book in the pear-stealing scene. Even if we ate a few, nevertheless our pleasure lay in doing what was not allowed (book2-9).
In the book he discusses three kinds of lust that include the body. The first is sensual lust, which is having the lust for everything you can. The second is the lust for domination (pride), which is an overall desire to control. The third lust is the lust of the eyes (senses), which is a curiosity or a liking to watch. They indulge a burning lust for that use which is contrary to nature (book 3 16). In lust the body takes control of the soul.
Augustine believes that the only things that become bad are originally good. Where then does it come from since the good God made everything good (book7 7)? Over time physical things can wear out or change and that is how they become evil. In the book he has the problem that sex, or his body is keeping him down. He teaches that reason should take over and lead us back to god. Passion will not allow you to think passionately and reason will take over the body. Our suffering evil is justice acting upon us.
Augustine says that in order to have action, you have to have the will to do it. It is very hard to will the mind to do something. Augustine says there are multiple wills. One of which is an evil will, this will takes over the good when you do bad things. Another will is a good will, which takes over the bad when you do good things. Augustine feels he is both of these wills at the same time. If there are as many contrary natures as there are wills in someone beset by indecision, there will not be two wills but many (book8 23).
These wills are our own creation and are ruled by passion. These passions can lead to habit and these habits are hard to live with. These habits become a form of necessity and then later turn into a form of bondage, or own prison. The way out of bondage is by forming a new will. This new will can only be received through god.
The views of Socrates and Augustine are alike in many ways but also very different. They are both in full belief that the body is evil. Socrates feels that the body is one big mass of evil. Augustine, however, believes that the body is good, turns evil, and then is returned to goodness. Socrates does not believe in this change. He feels that the body should be done away with all together. He says the soul lives before birth without it, and after death without it, so why should they live with this root of their sin. The belief that Augustine follows agrees that the body can cause evil, but is not the root of our evil. He says that when we take material things and don t use them to get to god, then we are committing evil. No matter how evil the body can make us our soul is always capable of the reformation back to goodness.
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