The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius

Boethius’ petitions Lady Philosphy to provide him consolation amidst his imprisonment.

An Aged Quill Recording:

Overview:

A choice excerpt from the esteemed Roman Senator Boethius, whom penned this letter to Lady Philosophy whilst falsely imprisoned for treason. Boethius is acknowledged as a Saint, and is burried in a crypt in Pavia, Italy. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explained the relevance of Boethius to modern day Christians by linking his teachings to an understanding of Providence. This audiobook excerpt is from Book V, the notable pinnacle of the philosophy expounded within. Book five contains six parts. Follow Boethius as he logically tracks you through an explanation of the coexistence of Fate Vs. Free Will, which is the existince of Free Will inspite of the omnipresence of Providence, and the subtle but significant difference between looking forward in time to predict something and looking at all things in time simultaneously.

This is one of my personal favorite pieces of philosophy ever-written, and it was an honor to record it for anyone whom wishes to pursue the acquisition of knowledge in the pursuit of an understanding of divine intelligence.

Wiki Excerpt:

“Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius, also Boetius (477–524 AD), was a Roman senator, consul, magister officiorum, and philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born about a year after Odoacer deposed the last Western Roman Emperor and declared himself King of Italy. Boethius entered public service under Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great, who later imprisoned and executed him in 524 on charges of conspiracy to overthrow him. While jailed, Boethius composed his Consolation of Philosophy, a philosophical treatise on fortune, death, and other issues, which became one of the most popular and influential works of the Middle Ages. As the author of numerous handbooks and translator of Aristotle, he became the main intermediary between Classical antiquity and following centuries.”

Philosphical Synopsis:

The by and large gist is knowledge of activities occurs in orders of perception. That is, an event is known by the knowledge of it; also, there are orders to knowledge: divine intelligence, man’s reason, the imagination, and sense-based experiences. Boethius thinks the way in which we know a thing is determined by the level at which we approach it. The act of observing a man walking and the sun moving simultaneously above him are both, in his terms, ‘necessary’ when observed. However, one is volutional, that is free-will based (the man walking) though necessary because of its clear observation, while the other is also necessary, (the sun’s movement), but is based on a higher order of cohesion.

So to, the difference between the divine intelligence perceiving an event, which is absolutely necessary but also enables free will, and the difference between rationally understanding something, choosing and experiencing it, is the difference between these two types of necessary, one self-evident (sun moving), the other conditional (man goes for a walk). The reason these two types of necessary can exist is because Bothius believed God’s perception of events aren’t in time in the sense of past, present, and future, like the process of putting on your sneakers, and going for a walk, but rather God’s glance at an infinite present contains all these subsequent sequences (or orders). In his estimation, the apperception of all events in time is a higher order of knowledge: that is to say divine intelligence, uncaptured in time, perceiving everything as a single moment.

Again, in his opinion this does not-with-stand time relative ‘free-will’ (man chooses to go for a walk). The higher order perception of all events does not reduce the possibilty to choose any event within it. To unpack that a bit, to perceive a sense-based event is different than to imagine it. To reason over a truth or a law, is more significant than to engage the imagination, and beyond that, to issue forth a law by or order of God, is an even higher order that supersedes our ability to reason over, imagine, or experience it. So this is the essential pecking order Boethius contends exists in the manner that man perceives events. Boethius concludes that since all is seen in a glance by God, pray fervently, lift up your voice to our creator, and strive to act in accordance with a higher order of knowledge.

Since all events are a consequence of the order in which we percieve them, and a higher order perceives more of the picture, Boethius believes that one actually becomes ‘more free’, and genuinely exercises ‘free’-will, when one moves in accordance with this higher order, which is God’s divine intelligence. The senator also contends to move against this though allowed, is actually a departure from higher levels of perception of the divine order, representing a ‘lack of freedom’, which is to say, though acting within our freewill, engenders the opposite, a feeling that imposes its own prison.

“In the same way, human reason refuses to believe that divine intelligence can see the future in any other way except that in which human reason has knowledge. This is how the argument runs: if anything does not seem to have any certain and predestined occurence it cannot be foreknown as a future event.

Of such, therefore, there is no foreknowledge. And if we believe that even in this case there is foreknowledge, there will be nothing which does not happen of necessity. If therefore, as beings who have a share of reason, we can judge of the mind of God, we should consider it most fitting for human reason to bow before divine wisdom just as we judged it right for the senses and the imagination to yield to reason.

Let us then if we can raise ourselves up to the heights of that supreme intelligence. There reason will be able to see that which it cannot see by itself. It will be able to see how that which is no certain occurence, may be seen by a certain and fixed foreknowledge, a knowledge that not opinion, but the boundless immediacy of the highest form of knowing.”  

– Excerpt from ‘The Consolation of Philosophy’ by Boethius

The entire playlist of: Excerpts of Philosophical Literature.

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