The Consolation of Philosophy

The Consolation of Philosophy - Boethius, Victor Watts 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 much more. There 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 the more wicked 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 not more widely 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.