The Consolation of Philosophy ePUB ✓ The

The Consolation of Philosophy He would have been remarkably in any age in the age in which he lived, he is utterly amazingBetrand Russell on Boethius.First of all, this is a beautiful book Boethius himself in a horrible situation strives to use the extent of his philosophic powers to condole others who are suffering, and to maintain a positive view of humanity and the universe That the man could have written this while awaiting death shows that he was a true philosopher I probably would have spent my time in jail wriHe would have been remarkably in any age in the age in which he lived, he is utterly amazingBetrand Russell on Boethius.First of all, this is a beautiful book Boethius himself in a horrible situation strives to use the extent of his philosophic powers to condole others who are suffering, and to maintain a positive view of humanity and the universe That the man could have written this while awaiting death shows that he was a true philosopher I probably would have spent my time in jail writing apologetic letters to Theodoric, begging him to spare me As far as philosophy is concerned, Boethius is slightly disappointing There is virtually nothing in here that is not contained in Plato and it is argued even less persuasively Additionally, unlike the great Greek master, Boethius does not put forward counter arguments against his main points, if only to address them Although the book is ostensibly a dialogue between himself and Philosophy personified, it mostly takes the form of a monologue of Lady Philosophy Though, I should say that the philosophy does get quite good near the end, during his investigation of free will and God s foreknowledge What s , it often seems like his points are contrived purely for the sake of consolation and not for the investigation of the problem The doctrines contained in this volume are very soothing to someone in distress but I suspect they will seem a bit smug and bland to most of us in our day to day lives But this isn t purely a work of philosophy it s also a work of art The writing is splendid, and the poetry a nice counterpoint to the exposition Besides, whether his philosophy is compelling or not, it is attractive Ideas can be beautiful, just as much as colors, timbres, and words Boethius arranges his ideas into an arrangement as pleasant as anybody s If they do not instruct, they will at least console Written by Boethius while under arrest for allegedly plotting against the Ostrogothic King.Boethius writes out conversations, interspersed with poems, between himself and a personification of Philosophy who encourages him to reject concerns with the world and concentrate on the eternal instead While cursing his evil fortune, Philosophy appears and upbraids Boethius for abandoning her and devoting himself to worldly concerns instead of learning and Christianity As the dialogues progress, Boethi Written by Boethius while under arrest for allegedly plotting against the Ostrogothic King.Boethius writes out conversations, interspersed with poems, between himself and a personification of Philosophy who encourages him to reject concerns with the world and concentrate on the eternal instead While cursing his evil fortune, Philosophy appears and upbraids Boethius for abandoning her and devoting himself to worldly concerns instead of learning and Christianity As the dialogues progress, Boethius comes to accept what has happened to him and turns the focus of his attention on to Philosophy and the eternal instead I ve heard the view that Boethius was not a Christian, and the nature of the discussions between Boethius and Philosophy are such that they could be Christian or Pagan I would be surprised if there was much here that either Marcus Aurelius or Saint Augustine could take offence to.A good part of me wishes that Boethius had remained fixated on his worldly concerns enough to have left us a detailed account of the politics of the Ostrogothic court at least in his initial laments, but the promise of the Kingdom of God proved too much for him Boethius composed De Consolation Philosophiae in the sixth century AD while awaiting death by torture, condemned on a charge of plotting against Gothic rule, which he protested as manifestly unjust Though a Christian, Boethius details the true end of life as the soul s knowledge of God, and consoles himself with the tenets of Greek philosophy, not with Christian precepts Written in a form called Meippean Satire that alternates between prose and verse, Boethius work often consists of a story told by Ovid or Horace to illustrate the philosophy being expounded The Consolation of Philosophy dominated the intellectual world of the Middle Ages it inspired writers as diverse Thomas Aquinas, Jean de Meun, and Dante In England it was rendered into Old English by Alfred the Great, into Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer, and later Queen Elizabeth I made her own translation The circumstances of composition, the heroic demeanor of the author, and the Meippean texture of part prose, part verse have been a fascination for students of philosophy, literature, and religion ever since The Consolation of Philosophy is about listening to your inner Voice of Reason Boethius, the author, personified our conscience by employing a feature familiar to his audience, an imaginary dialogue between self and one s muse, who in his case was Lady Philosophy This technique and the ensuing exchange reminded me of similar literary encounters with mythical beings I could visualize her as Tolkien s Galadriel appearing to Frodo when most needed bringing astutely applicable advice also of a The Consolation of Philosophy is about listening to your inner Voice of Reason Boethius, the author, personified our conscience by employing a feature familiar to his audience, an imaginary dialogue between self and one s muse, who in his case was Lady Philosophy This technique and the ensuing exchange reminded me of similar literary encounters with mythical beings I could visualize her as Tolkien s Galadriel appearing to Frodo when most needed bringing astutely applicable advice also of a universal nature for the perspicacious As reader, may I be that eager eavesdropper Where is Reason in an oftentimes unreasonable world What is the reason for suffering Extreme poverty Death Humanity s greatest crimes against itself Is there reason for things as they are Or do we perhaps fail to listen to our own quiet inner voice Regardless of beliefs, most people agree Reason exists as a basic necessity for a good life however one defines that good As such The Consolation can be read as allegory, a reminder of so much which we already know and may have forgotten It is best read under circumstances similar to those under which it was written, i.e., dire straits Boethius was in prison awaiting trial and ultimately execution for treason when he wrote this his last and greatest work For me, this brought an especial poignancy to his words I was listening to a dying man s counsels to be strong and realize the futility of an oppressor s actions to ultimate well being Written as dialogue between two life long best friends, this advice was profound, as opposed to so much that passes for wisdom or consolation today Many excellent reviews on The Consolation have already been written Amateur philosopher that I am, there is little I can add to the finer points in this important discussion except to encourage modern readers to be gleaners Reason is an excellent teacher when we are cooperative listeners As a final note, the Librivox production would have been much improved if performed as follows one reader for each of the characters, Boethius and Lady Philosophy, and a third reader serving as a narrator for the poems at the end of each section Technically speaking, the best of these on GR is written by Mark Adderley here.Have always wanted to read this and have even started it a few times Ha I even have two different versions of it on my shelves to tempt me this one and the 2001 translation by Joel C Relihan Last night the word consolation in the title looked especially appealing and I checked out Librivox to see if there was an audio version There is Unfortunately it s one of those with multiple readers and the quality varies considerably Even so, this will be an enjoyable Thanksgiving diversion to alternately listen to and read for myself My daughter about to graduate college has even read it and told me I d love it I never heard of The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius until a couple of years ago when a friend mentioned, somewhat diffidently, that she was reading it She said just enough to intrigue me and the book looked intriguingly short It went onto my mental read someday list and that was as far as I got.Until now Corey Olsen s first Mythgard Academy class on The Consolation of Philosophy hit my iTunes feed I ve mentioned the Mythgard classes before, especially those to do with the Lord of th I never heard of The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius until a couple of years ago when a friend mentioned, somewhat diffidently, that she was reading it She said just enough to intrigue me and the book looked intriguingly short It went onto my mental read someday list and that was as far as I got.Until now Corey Olsen s first Mythgard Academy class on The Consolation of Philosophy hit my iTunes feed I ve mentioned the Mythgard classes before, especially those to do with the Lord of the Rings and Dracula They are really excellent and they are free.As it turns out The Consolation of Philosophy is not only one of the most influential books through Middle Ages and Renaissance, but strongly influenced J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis Not to mention that the ideas continue to filter through pop culture and can pop up in unlikely places.Am thoroughly enjoying this initial reading.FINAL UPDATEThis was an amazing book, made even richer is that possible by Corey Olsen s classes It is a cogent look at good versus evil, fortune versus innate worth, and the intertwined nature of God s foreknowledge and free will Thought provoking and inspirational, all without ever going beyond the bounds of philosophical thought and logic.I will be coming back to this manytimes Preface and AcknowledgementsAbbreviationsIntroductionSummary of the TreatiseNote on the TextSelect BibliographyA Chronology of Boethius Life and Times The Consolation of Philosophy Explanatory NotesIndex and Glossary of Names I first read Boethius s The Consolation of Philosophy several years ago, before I ended up studying philosophyformally I greatly appreciated it back then, and, when I recently felt the urge to revisit it, I decided to try this new translation by David R Slavitt, figuring that I d not only reread it, but also re experience it which is what a new translation often helps you do The translation is very contemporary and verging on the informal, which makes it highly readable I personally I first read Boethius s The Consolation of Philosophy several years ago, before I ended up studying philosophyformally I greatly appreciated it back then, and, when I recently felt the urge to revisit it, I decided to try this new translation by David R Slavitt, figuring that I d not only reread it, but also re experience it which is what a new translation often helps you do The translation is very contemporary and verging on the informal, which makes it highly readable I personally lean towards the formal when it comes to works like these, but it wasn t distracting on the whole, excepting perhaps one or two instances where word choice appeared conspicuously removed from what Boethius might have chosen in his time The verses came across as especially well translated better, it seems to me, than the translation I previously read As for the work itself, I was less impressed by the philosophy of the Consolation this time around, which was probably inevitable Nevertheless, the beauty of both the poetry and the prose, as well as the immense poignancy of the occasion a man sentenced to death, most likely wrongfully, seeking solace in philosophy and flights of the mind , was just as if notremarkable this time around A Rare And Varied ConsolationBoethius s The Consolation of Philosophy is a rare and unusual philosophical work in that it continues to be read by many people who are not philosophers or students of philosophy This is witnessed by the many thoughtful reader review the book has received here and elsewhere The work continues to be read, I think, because Boethius placed his philosophy in the context of his own experience The book has a personal and immediate tone Boethius also broadened the bo A Rare And Varied ConsolationBoethius s The Consolation of Philosophy is a rare and unusual philosophical work in that it continues to be read by many people who are not philosophers or students of philosophy This is witnessed by the many thoughtful reader review the book has received here and elsewhere The work continues to be read, I think, because Boethius placed his philosophy in the context of his own experience The book has a personal and immediate tone Boethius also broadened the book to make his own experience speak to many people of his own and later times Most readers will find at least some of Boethius s philosophical teachings valuable and persuasive The book also combines philosophy with a beautiful literary style Poetry alternates with and supplements philosophy Philosophy is personified and speaks to Boethius in the form of a beautiful woman The book is full of allusions to classical Greek and Roman literature.Boethius 480 524 A.D wrote this book near the end of a life that was both active and scholarly He had occupied a high position in the Roman Empire before he was imprisoned for treason He wrote the book in prison in the months before he was brutally tortured and killed At the beginning of the Consolation, Boethius is morose and grieving over the injustice of his imprisonment and impending fate He feels that his life has been meaningless.When she enters, the figure of philosophy largely recalls Boethius to himself The discussion proceeds in layers, moving from the concrete and specific to the abstract Philosophy tells Boethius that she must take him and his situation as she finds them and move gradually to help Boethius understand himself As the book proceeds, it becomesof a teaching by philosophy than a dialogue between philosophy and Boethius Prose and argument take the place of poetry as the book becomes heavily Neoplatonic and theistic in tone.I understood best the earlier parts of this short works, largely books I III of the five books in which it is divided Here, with philosophy s guidance, Boethius meditates on what makes life worthwhile He comes to understand that what he had primarily valued in life things such as pleasure, power, money, success are evanescent and pass away They do not produce true happiness because they are not part of what a person is and can be taken away They are inherently changeable and fickle In an important passage in Book II, philosophy says p.31 Why then do you mortal men seek after happiness outside yourselves, when it lies within you You are led astray by error and ignorance I will briefly show you what complete happiness hinges upon If I ask you whether there is anythingprecious to you than your own self, you will say no So if you are in possession of yourself you will possess something you would never wish to lose and something Fortune could never take away In order to see that happiness can t consist in things governed by chance, look at it this way If happiness is the highest good of rational nature and anything that can be taken away is not the highest good since it is surpassed by what can t be taken away Fortune by her very mutability can t hope to lead to happiness Boethius introduces the figure of the wheel of fortune which, apart from the personification of philosophy, is the most striking figure of the book He was not the first to use this metaphor, but he made it his own The figure of the wheel and the emphasis of change and suffering in life reminded me of Buddhist teachings which I have been studying for the past several years Boethius does not take his philosophy this way but instead develops a Neoplatonic vision of the One or of God which culminates in a beautiful poem at the conclusion of Book III section 9 of the Consolation pp 66 67 In the remaining portions of the Consolation, Boethius seeks for further understanding of happiness and of the good Philosophy s answer becomesdifficult and theological If focuses on the claimed non existence of evil, the difference between eternity and time, and the nature of Providence.In rereading the book, I thought Boethius convincingly presented what people today would call an existential or experiential situation he was imprisoned far from home and awaiting a gruesome death He learns some highly particular and valuable ways of understanding that help him and the reader with his condition As he develops his understanding, Boethius and philosophy adopt a Neoplatonic synthesis of Plato and Aristotle that contemporary readers are likely to reject or not understand There is a further difficult question whether Boethius s teachings are exclusively Neoplatonic and pagan, or whether they are Christian as well Christianity and Jewish Christian texts go unmentioned in the Consolation Thus, I think the Consolation continues to be read and revered largely because of the situation it develops in its initial pages and because of Boethius s poetically moving teaching of the nature of change, suffering and loss It is valuable to have the opportunity to see these things With change in times and perspective, not all readers will agree with or see the necessity for the Neoplatonic or Jewish Christian, given one s reading of the work underpinnings with which Boethius girds his teaching of change and suffering As I mentioned, it is tempting to see parallels with Buddhism But it islikely that modern readers will try to work out Boethius s insights for themselves in a framework which is primarily secular I thought that much of the early part of the book, for example, could well have been written by Spinoza The Consolation remains a living book both because of what it says and also because it allows the reader to take Boethius s insights and capture them while moving in somewhat different directions.Robin Friedman You ever wonder why God or the universe would allow a truly awful human being like Donald Trump to flourish I do and this book delves into that kind of question with gusto The author, Boethius, through his dialog with the lady, Philosophy, tells us and muchThere is no cop out with his answers It s not the standard Christian drivel that we will be rewarded in an infinite after life nothing as easy as that Not to take way from the author, but the answer is along the lines that God or You ever wonder why God or the universe would allow a truly awful human being like Donald Trump to flourish I do and this book delves into that kind of question with gusto The author, Boethius, through his dialog with the lady, Philosophy, tells us and muchThere is no cop out with his answers It s not the standard Christian drivel that we will be rewarded in an infinite after life nothing as easy as that Not to take way from the author, but the answer is along the lines that God or the universe is the absolute Good The ultimate good can not know evil We only can do wrong vice or evil when we don t know A truly wicked person, like Donald Trump, is that way because they do not know and thewicked they become the less they know about the Good and hence the less they are as a person and their soul suffers for that lack of knowledge and dearth of Good It s clear that Boethius is reworking Plato and Aristotle into a coherent philosophy in support of his world view He doesn t really stop at just what makes us happy and also delves deeply into our passions, free will, a transcendental God and actually he has Einstein s block universe, where time happens all at once That means he also reworks the dialog Parmenides with his one I ve just recently read Spinoza s Ethics, and I am currently reading Hegel s Logic, and I would say they both definitely borrowed from this very unique take on the universe from Boethius There s a line of reasoning that he often uses That our intuition, senses and intellect can only intersect within ourselves and that the judgement we make on the particular to the universal can only be made by the individual that is doing the observing and the thing observed can not act alone to understand This guy is a really cool thinker It s a pity that he s notwidely read Fortune works on us all and never let yourself be too cocky for the fickled finger of fate will point at you sooner or latter At its core this book is a self help book at least the first half I have no idea why the modern self help writers of today ignore books like this one The worst most popular book ever written was The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren Why can t those kind of authors just save us their pablum and refer us back to book like this one This author really knocks it out of the ball park A total non believer in fairy tales and someone who tries to never pretend to know things that he doesn t know i.e faith can still enjoy a book such as this one Though I think he bends over too much by defending an All Knowing God with a deterministic universe and free will i.e a lack of cause and effect within humans allowing evil by redefining it as not good like Augustine does I like to think truly not good people like Donald Trump are getting there punishment, but Boethius does point out that punishing the wicked really doesn t help us Too bad Why does a good God allow bad things to happen to good people And why does He allow bad people to get away with doing bad things In 524, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius was executed, most likely by strangulation, on a charge of treason Whilst languishing in prison, he wrote a book that was to become one of the most influential philosophical tracts of the next thousand years, The Consolation of Philosophy.Boethius is himself the narrator of the book He speculates on being visited, in his pl Why does a good God allow bad things to happen to good people And why does He allow bad people to get away with doing bad things In 524, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius was executed, most likely by strangulation, on a charge of treason Whilst languishing in prison, he wrote a book that was to become one of the most influential philosophical tracts of the next thousand years, The Consolation of Philosophy.Boethius is himself the narrator of the book He speculates on being visited, in his plight, by Dame Philosophy, who explains to him patiently why his experiences reflect the existence of a good and benevolent God The world is not ruled by chaotic forces, reward and punishment are not random it s just that his limited human perception cannot fully understand the situation.Philosophy begins by proving by meticulous reasoning that God is not only good, but the source of goodness People are good in so far as they participate in divine goodness they are evil in so far as they reject it To be human is to accept good to reject it makes one subhuman The evil therefore only appear to be triumphant in the world In fact, their own evil is their punishment.The reason the bad seem to be rewarded is that they are favoured by Fortune, the force that rewards and punishes within the world It is better, Philosophy argues, to follow Providence, the force that sees to it that God s plan is followed, no matter how men mar it.Philosophy finishes up by reconciling God s foreknowledge of events with Man s free will Foreseeing a thing does not necessitate that one has influenced it at all God s foreknowledge merely enables him to see what will happen He foresees because, from the perspective of eternity, all events, past, present, and future and simultaneously present to Him.Understanding these concepts helps with understanding at least Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucerfully but they are also helpful in one s day to day life Why does a benevolent God allow bad things to happen in His world Boethius answer is a rational one, an answer which does not depend on revealed truth i.e., the Bible It is therefore a satisfactory answer to that question for someone who doesn t believe in revealed truth.Looking over the other reviews here, it seems that one thing people find negative about it is that it s personal Boethius wrote it to console himself about the situation he was in It s important to recall that this doesn t disqualify his ideas That s really an ad hominem argument, and you should evaluate the quality of his thought independently of the circumstances under which they were written That having been said, there s a poignancy to the situation that, I think, adds an edge to the philosophy It s no mere abstraction, but a way of thinking that can really make a difference to folk In short, if you want to understand the Middle Ages and the world in which you live, The Consolation of Philosophy is a cornerstone text


About the Author: Boethius

Anicius Manlius Severinus Bo thius, commonly called Boethius bow EE thee us ca 480 524 or 525 AD was a philosopher of the early 6th century He was born in Rome to an ancient and prominent family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after Odoacer deposed the last Western Roman Emperor Boethius, of the noble Anicia family, entered public life at a young age and was already a senator by the age of 25 Boethius himself was consul in 510 in the kingdom of the Ostrogoths In 522 he saw his two sons become consuls Boethius was imprisoned and eventually executed by King Theodoric the Great, who suspected him of conspiring with the Eastern Empire While jailed, Boethius composed his Consolation of Philosophy, a philosophical treatise on fortune, death, and other issues The Consolation became one of the most popular and influential works of the Middle Ages A link between Boethius and a mathematical boardgame Rithmomachia has been made.


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