Excessive of Self-restraint in Saint Augustine’s Confessions

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Excessive of Self-restraint in Saint Augustine’s Confessions When it comes to renunciation, "no pain, no gain" is what I've slowly, reluctantly, inexorably come to believe. And when Pete opted for scholarly monkhood, I think he was just trying to outsmart his pain. . . . He'd calculated that by considering the physical world "illusory" and burying his nose in metaphysical texts he could go on doing something comfortable--while his ignorance and sufferings and hometown and troublesome family just fell away like so much excess poundage. Obviously l question his calculations: to slough off half a self in hopes of finding a whole one is not my idea of good math. --David Duncan,The Brothers K In his Confessions, Saint Augustine…show more content…
But Aristotle writes, There is also a type who feels less joy than he should at the things of the body and, therefore, does not abide by the dictates of reason. . . . For a morally weak person does not abide by the dictates of reason, because he feels more joy than he should in bodily things, but the man under discussion feels less joy than he should. (NE22)[2] Aristotle does not give a name to this type of person, so we shall call him the moral martyr. Moral martyrs abandon worldly pleasures such as friendship, food, and entertainment for the apparent benefits of self-restraint. Therefore, they are deficient in their enjoyment of worldly pleasures and excessive in their use of self-restraint. Saint Augustine has clearly taken the path of moral martyrdom. He writes, "The eye is attracted to beautiful objects, by gold and silver and all such things. There is great pleasure, too, in feeling something agreeable to the touch, and material things have various qualities to please each of the other senses . . . . But our ambition to obtain all these things must not lead us astray" (Conf., 48). In claiming this much, he is in agreement with Aristotle--a man who pursues every pleasurable thing in life is succumbing to moral weakness. But instead of merely advising restraint, Saint Augustine encourages the complete avoidance of worldly pleasures. For example, he writes, "I admit that I still find some enjoyment in the music of hymns . . . . I confess

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