‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I?’ Resolving the Tensions of Interpersonal Connectedness in Confessions of a Sinner

View previous topic View next topic Go down

‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I?’ Resolving the Tensions of Interpersonal Connectedness in Confessions of a Sinner

Post by JordanMo on Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:20 pm

At certain points in his Confessions, Augustine’s view on companionship, friendship and interpersonal relationships with various people seemingly undergoes a dramatic change, resulting in an apparent tension between the opinions he expresses.  On the face of it, Augustine’s earlier perception of friendship as a ‘delightful bond, uniting many souls in one’ (II, V p.11) is quickly undermined when he defines companionship as being ‘like theft, is not a thing at all’ (II, VII p.13). Describing both his family and his company of fellow truants of his youth in particularly critical, acerbic words, he appears to take a poor view of humanity and its modes of behaviour. In fact, he even goes as far as to hold the influences of this company responsible for the errant undertakings of his youth, claiming to G-d that ‘by myself […] I should not have done it’ (II, IX, p. 13). Despite giving an accounting of his own wayward behaviour, Augustine seems to endeavour to set himself apart from others, and has nothing positive to say about his relationship with those around him.
This stance is not consistently maintained, however. For a few pages later, Augustine likens friendship to the ‘clear waters’ (III, I p. 13) of a river, and blames himself for sullying an otherwise pure element of his life through the ‘filth and lewdness’ (III, I p.13) of his own misdeeds. Seemingly, he considers himself to have failed to meet the higher standards of humanity, kept apart from this pure bond as a consequence of his own actions, and would rather share in the company of his fellow men. This aspiration seems incompatible with his previous assertions, but the apparent contradiction may prove resolvable if considered alongside other tensions which Augustine explores: that between spirituality and physicality, and temporality and eternality, which may suggest that these two opposites may be able to work in conjunction despite their distinctions.

JordanMo

Posts : 6
Join date : 2017-07-23

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum