Heloise and Abelard: Focus on Right and Wrong Essay
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According to Abelard morally wrong action are distinguished by four things. First, there is a mental vice that makes us prone to sin, such as lust and desire, followed second by the sin itself which is dependant on the situation. Third is the will for evil and finally the doing of evil. He holds these separate for “to will and to fulfill the will are not the same, so to sin and to perform the sin are not the same”(2-511-L). Just as there is a difference between someone who intended to push someone off a train platform but tripped before they could perform the act and someone who succeeded in doing so. There is also a difference between the individual who has intention or desire of pushing someone versus the one who actually performs…show more content… While Abelard’s focus is the relationship between the individual and God, Heloise’s focus is on people’s relationships with each other and how we act right or wrong with regards to other people, not God.
Unlike Abelard, Heloise never wrote a unified and comprehensive piece of work. Instead we have to gather her philosophy from her few letters’ and our understanding of her from Abelard’s responses. From her writing Heloise seems conflicted in both major relationships of her life, both Abelard and with God. With Abelard she is upset that after everything she did for him, he does nothing for her “Tell me one thing, if you can. Why, after our entry into religion, which was your decision alone, have I been so neglected and forgotten by you that you neither speak to me when you are here nor write to me when you are absent?”(1) This portrays an interesting image of Heloise living a life pursuing God in the nunnery but not for Him, and not for herself but for Abelard, because he wanted her to. In doing this she puts Abelard’s interests before not only her own, but even God’s “I can expect no reward for this from God, for it is certain that I have done nothing as yet for love of him”(2). It is in this way that we can learn Heloise’s philosophy, of furthering the interests of others rather than your own. It is this motive that Heloise finds to be good, action performed for the best