Monday, October 23, 2017

Fool's Goods

Today is the feast of St. Severinus Boethius in the Roman Martyrology. From the Consolation of Philosophy (Book III, Prose 8):

Will you strive to heap up money? But you will steal it from the one who has it. Would you wish to be resplendent in high offices? You will play the suppliant to the one who grants them to you, and so you who want to outdistance all others in honor will become worthless through the humiliation of having to beg for it. Do you desire power? You will be exposed to the plots of your subjects, and will subject yourself to risks and hazards. Should you seek glory? But you are dragged in all directions then, on each and every rough road, and so cease to be free from anxiety. Would you lead a life of pleasure? But who would not dismiss and push away what is the slave of this most worthless and fragile thing, the body?...

From all of these considerations, this is the sum total that it may be reduced to: these things, which cannot offer the goods that they promise, and which have not themselves been brought about by the convergence of all good things, do not lead to true happiness as if they were various true paths, nor do they themselves bring it about that people are perfectly happy.

[Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, Relihan, tr., Hackett (Indianapolis, IN: 2001) pp. 65-66.

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