The Confessions of St. Augustine, A Closer Look at a Natural Phenomenon
Peer pressure can be completely harmless, but also terribly deadly. In his Confessions, St. Augustine talks about a number of such situations in which he found himself during his adolescence. These events took place because of his friends and the pressure they put on him. Over the centuries since Augustine’s era, much has changed in our world. Has peer pressure been changed or expelled from our world? No. This “natural phenomenon” among humans was in full use long before Augustine’s time, and unless all can truly stand secure in themselves, it will continue long after this day and age.
In his fantastic autobiography, Augustine focuses a good amount of energy on narrating his teen years. He talks about two examples or situations, in great detail, which he found himself in due to peer pressure. The main issue, a massive stroke against the life of his soul, was his blooming sexual life. After grade school, his father sent him to Carthage to get a “good education” in liberal studies. As soon as he arrived in Carthage, it appears he got in with the wrong crowd. Augustine began living a sexually immoral series of habits. He says at first his relationships were begun out of his essential desire to love and be loved. Instead of finding this love in God, he found it in an unnamed woman, who many scholars believe to have been the long-term concubine of Augustine and the mother of Adeodatus. In his autobiography, he reports that he continued living more and more into this licentious lifestyle as his teen years went on. He says peer pressure had a big part of it; he would always report his escapades, and exaggerate them when necessary so as to not come off as naïve. Another example brought to the spotlight of his adolescent years is a story of theft. He and his friends invaded and stole pears from a neighbor’s tree. Augustine notes that, by himself, he would not have dreamed of such an evil deed,...
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