The “Happy Life”, According to Augustine
“How then am I to seek for you, Lord? When I seek for you, my God, mu quest is for the happy life. I will seek you that ‘my soul may live’, for my body derives life from my soul, and my soul devices life from you. How then shall I seek for the happy life?”
Saint Augustine's passionate and immeasurably personal account of his conversion and views has enamored readers for centuries and stood the test of time. Unfortunately, the passion and personal nature of the writing can stand as a barrier to comprehension, with much dense ideas to breakdown, and many possible interpretations. Add to this the fact that the work has the character of one long and sustained prayer to God, contains many passages that are tediously meditative, and refers to a time and place that are foreign, to understand and appreciate the work is daunting, to say the least. However, one overarching sentiment of his book ‘Confessions’ is indisputable; his views on what components are necessary to live a life of true joy.
There is one unanimous goal that every human being mutually strives to achieve, which is to simply be happy. According to Augustine, the true and greatest joy is joy in God. Even to those who have yet to believe in him remain drawn in toward some image of true joy, leading them on a quest to obtain its origin. We all yearn for it, yet the only path that will ever arrive at this destination is through God. To experience it without him is impossible. Any straying, disobedience, or refusal from God can only be caused by a human’s ignorance in acknowledging that God is the root of all good.
With that said, it is easy to comprehend why we all seek it: because it fills the hunger in our hearts. All beautiful things come from God, with all aspects attributed by him. He is the center of being, the index catalyst in the universes existence. To understand anything without him is to only see the surface, and to never have any deeper...
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