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Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy - Since every reward is desired because it is believed to be good

Identifier

003153

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Aaaah but what is 'good' and what is 'evil'?  An interesting set of quotes but lacking the final touch of a definition of what is evil and it cetainy has nothing to do with moral values

 

A description of the experience

Boethius – The Consolation of Philosophy

Since every reward is desired because it is believed to be good, no one will consider a man endowed with goodness to be without reward.  But what kind of reward?  The greatest and most beautiful of all.  Think again of that corollary I emphasised to you a short time ago, and consider it this way.  Goodness is happiness and therefore it is obvious that all good men obtain happiness in virtue of their being good.  But we agree that those who attain happiness are divine.  The reward of the good, then, a reward that can never be decreased, that no one's power can diminish and no one's wickedness darken, is to become gods..............

 You can see, therefore, the filth in which crime wallows and the light in which goodness is resplendent.  It is clear that good deeds never lack reward, or crimes, or crimes their appropriate punishment.  The proper way of looking at it is to regard the goal of every action as its reward, just as the prize for running in the stadium is the wreath of laurels for which the race is run.  Now, we have shown that happiness is the very same good which motivates all activity; so that goodness itself is set as a kind of common reward of human activity.  But goodness cannot be removed from those who are good; therefore, goodness never fails to receive its appropriate reward.  So despite all the raging of the wicked, the wise man's crown of laurels will never fall from him or wither away.  The wickedness of others can never wrest their individual glory from the good.  If it was a borrowed glory that we prided  ourselves upon, other people including the very one who conferred it on us could take it away; but since the glory is conferred on each one by his own goodness he will only lose his reward when he stops being good............

 From all this the power of good men is obvious and beyond all doubt, so is the weakness of bad men.  And it is clear that what Plato said in the Gorgias is true, namely that only the wise can achieve their desire, while the wicked busy themselves with what gives pleasure without being able to achieve their real objective.  Their actions depend on the belief that they are going to obtain the good they desire through the things that give them pleasure.  But they do not obtain it, because evil things cannot reach happiness

 

The source of the experience

Boethius

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References