On The Confessions (400 CE), books 1–9.
The question is not “What is virtue?” because knowing what virtue is isn’t enough. The problem, for Aurelius Augustinus, aka St. Augustine of Hippo, is doing what you know to be right. However, we shouldn’t expect our capacity to know to be operating well unless we’re already oriented correctly, which for Augustine means toward God. Yes, God created all this stuff, and qua creation it is Good, but getting too wrapped up in worldly things is misguided for one, because those things don’t last; foolish, because they don’t provide true satisfaction anyway (which would have to be eternal); and corrupting, because it rips your will in two, creating exactly this division between what you want to do and what you know you should do.
Mark, Wes, and Dylan fight between interest in Augustine’s puzzles and overload at his self-loathing and constant, quotation-packed praying. Seth loses the fight.
Our consideration of this text continues with ep. 122.
Image by Sterling Bartlett