Brahma is the first and creative aspect of God in the Hindu triad (trimurti) of Brahma (creation), Vishnu (preservation) and Shiva (destruction). He’s the father of Manu. And, as Wikipedia tells us, from Manu all human beings are descended.
Although Brahma as creator is on a par with Vishnu and Shiva in terms of status, he has no special bhakti cult, making him less well-known than the two other aspects of the trimurti.
Some writers mistakenly equate Brahma with the Brahman (which Hindus believe is an eternal and entirely impersonal Ultimate Reality).
- Brahma Vishnu Mahesh (thegreatindianepic.wordpress.com)
- God Brahma (upplevindien.wordpress.com)
- Soundarya Lahari – Shloka #1: Essential Oneness of Shiva and Shakti! (rudrakshayoga.wordpress.com)
- What is Shiva best known for ? (ganeshaexperience.wordpress.com)
- Look At The Gods… “Darashan Do” (sciencesummit.wordpress.com)
- Lord Shiva – The Destroyer (ganeshaexperience.wordpress.com)
- Temple of Brahma, other structures in state of neglect (thehindu.com)
- Great Master Shri Sujnana Giri Explains: Why do we Worship Millions of Gods in Hinduism? (rudrakshayoga.wordpress.com)
- Dr commander selvam (swamijisriselvam.wordpress.com)
Boy George (George Alan O’Dowd, 1961- )
In the 1980′s this lead vocalist from the pop group Culture Club followed David Bowie‘s lead by cross-dressing and generally combining big business with political statement.
The single “Karma Chameleon” touched on spiritual themes, as did his less commercially successful later work.
In the 21st century he remains an outspoken critic of figures like Madonna, although he’s virtually gone from an 80s big shot to a new millennium dark horse. In 2008 he served four months in prison for the assault and false imprisonment of Audun Carlsen.¹
I only mention George here because, in his day, he did have something to say.
- Boy George Is The Dharma Queen (noise11.com)
- What do Boy George and Mississippi in 1870 have in common? (southinpopculture.com)
- Boy George: My shock diet saved me from self-destruction (metro.co.uk)
- Boy George Takes On “I Wanna Be Your Dog” By The Stooges [Listen] (wxrt.cbslocal.com)
- Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon (blackmarketbabyblog.wordpress.com)
- Two Drawings of Boy George (expertspages.com)
- Boy George: lean, completely clean and ready for classy Meltdown (standard.co.uk)
David Bowie (1947 -) is a British musician, record producer, arranger, actor and visual artist. Originally David Jones, apparently he changed his surname to avoid confusion with the popular Monkee of the time, Davey Jones.
Most would agree that Bowie is in a rare league of iconic rockers, including the likes of Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Madonna and Elton John.
His best music synthesizes existing idioms to create something fresh and often exploratory. And because of his considerable talent, his musical explorations rarely go off the grid.
Bowie the philosopher, if you like, also takes us to new dimensions often passed over by status quo thinkers. His song “Starman” (1972) ponders the idea of extraterrestrial life and its potential impact on humanity.
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
And in “Loving the Alien” (1984) he sings:
Believing the strangest things
loving the alien…
Meanwhile, Black Tie White Noise (1993) looks to the meeting of spirit and the body, a topic that sometimes scares away so-called intellectuals who think they’re smart but really are quite narrow-minded:
Where the flesh meets
the spirit world
Where the traffic is thin…
You’ve been around
but you’ve changed me
In Bowie’s heyday the press often depicted him as “going away” from this world into some kind of creative journey and then “returning” whenever he produced a hit single.
There might be some psychological truth to this, as found in “Little Wonder” (1997):
Enter Galactic, see me to be you
It’s all in the tablets, Sneezy Bhutan
Little wonder then, little wonder
You little wonder, little wonder you…
Sending me so far away,
so far away…
Not unlike the Hindu Shiva-Shakti dyad, Bowie plunged into cross-dressing before this was considered chic in the music industry.
But there’s more to Bowie than meets the eye. Connecting him to religion and spirituality is far from spurious, considering his interest in parapsychology, as found in “Sound and Vision” (1977):
Don’t you wonder sometimes
‘Bout sound and vision…
I will sit right down,
Waiting for the gift of sound and vision
Within Asian systems paranormal abilities are known as siddhis, and in Catholic mysticism those which come from God are called called interior locutions, insights, perceptions and private revelations.
Bowie himself, however, is often critical of organized religion, as expressed in this chant from The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), released several years before the Catholic sex-abuse lawsuits hit the media:
Sex and the church
Sex and the church
Sex and the church
And the church
And the church
Bowie might someday be regarded not just as a musician but as a visionary or futurist. Considering the looming global water crisis the following scenario from “Looking for Water” (2003) doesn’t seem too far off:
Silver leaves are spinning round
Take my hand as we
go down and down
Looking for water…
I’m looking for water
Looking for water
I’m looking for water
Looking for water…
Pythagoras linked musical harmony to cosmic order, while Orpheus used his lyre to wrest his wife Eurydice from the underworld lord of death, Cerberus. But like Lot’s wife, and against a dire warning not to look back while escaping, Orpheus foolishly cast a glance backward, losing Eurydice forever.
This story speaks to the wisdom of accepting and trusting in the future, an idea summed up in Bowie’s tune, “Changes” (1971):
Turn and face the strange
ch ch changes…
time may change me
but I can’t trace time
Bowie has also ventured into acting and composing soundtracks for film and video games. For some time he hosted a lively, free internet forum called “Discourse” at davidbowie.com, which now charges membership fees.
Although criticized for being cheap when it comes to charity, Bowie replies
I can never make my mind up, I’m so f***ing flippy floppy. I can see both sides of everything and it’s really awful. Source » “DAVID BOWIE – BOWIE’S CHARITY STRUGGLES” at contactmusic.com
Cheap or not, for his considerable import as an artist he was awarded the 2008 Andromeda Award at earthpages.org.
Around 2004 Bowie suffered a heart attack and underwent emergency surgery. Since then he’s understandably kept a low profile, appearing here and there, and endorsing his son’s 2009 “Moon” movie.
All that changed when on his 66th birthday he released a new album, The Next Day (2013). Keeping true to form, one of his videos for the record upset the Catholic League. And so far it’s the fastest-selling album of 2013.
Other interesting things about Bowie:
- he was offered but declined a knighthood
- his actual religious views remain somewhat mysterious
- he just wants to make records now (and not give concerts)
- he’s apparently vowed never to do public interviews again
Earthpages.org’s Very First 2008 Andromeda Award!
Related Posts » Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Caitlin Moran on TV: Whenever pop is ambitious, it’s thanks to Bowie (thetimes.co.uk)
- David Bowie … Heroes, 1977 (frithstreetpost.com)
- David Bowie is (tonicdaily.wordpress.com)
- David Bowie – Five Years, BBC Two, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Bowie’s back – 8 January 2013 (paulsmith.co.uk)
- David Bowie’s TV appearances: a history (guardian.co.uk)
- David Bowie talks like a chimney sweep from Mars (telegraph.co.uk)
- Ricky Gervais on David Bowie: ‘We chat about music and comedy’ (digitalspy.co.uk)
- The Multiple Readings of David Bowie (loveandlifeproject.com)
- David Bowie Swipes The Catholic Church In The Next Day Video (noise11.com)
Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) was a French social thinker who built on ideas popularized by postmoderns such as Michel Foucault and the semiologist Roland Barthes. Like Foucault, Bourdieu was critical of Marxism, Existentialism and Structuralism and he tried to understand the practice of Sociology within its own cultural context.
Michael Payne says Bourdieu also argued that theories, beliefs and dispositions influence cultural practice, often “unconsciously and uncritically.”¹
So any good theory, including scientific theory, should be “reflexive”—that is, it should seek to identify and overcome its own biases. This sounds sensible but, at the same time, scientists are just people, with all the flaws, limitations, pride and ambition that we all share. These personal biases usually interfere, in varying degrees, with the reflexive aspect of science. In other words, the ego gets in the way. This is, perhaps, most obvious in so-called “soft science” disciplines like psychology and psychiatry, but it’s present in all aspects of science. Whenever a worldview becomes an entrenched form of belief, its reflexive aspects usually diminish. For a while, anyhow.
As a sociologist, Bourdieu developed seminal concepts such as “habitus,” “fields,” “cultural capital” and social “reproduction” to better illustrate his ideas about societal discrimination, inequity and domination. With regard to domination, he introduced the term “symbolic violence” to describe ways of seeing that are subtly imposed on groups and individuals. Along these lines, Bourdieu made important contributions toward the deconstruction of language, scholarship and science. Without the deconstruction of ideas and practices, those with social power seek to impose their particular view of the “natural” or “just” on those who lack the power to shape the understanding of these concepts within society. Whether or not this dynamic occurs willfully or unreflectively is a matter of debate.
Again, it would be wrong to say that Bourdieu was the first to come up with the idea of symbolic violence. Sociologists have been thinking out of the box ever since Max Weber argued that the Protestant work ethic played a central role in the development of Capitalism. As such, the related concepts of work and laziness have taken a definite shape and form in so-called developed societies. And Emile Durkheim looked at the phenomenon of suicide from a statistical perspective, trying to link social conditions to this tragic activity. So for Durkheim, suicide isn’t just a personal choice. It’s linked to the norms and expectations of a given culture.
¹ Michael Payne, ed. A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory, Oxford: Blackwell, 1997, p. 73.
- A philosopher’s guide to Pierre Bourdieu (syntheticzero.net)
- Darwin, Bourdieu and today’s scientific culture (lutzid.wordpress.com)
- Picturing Algeria (jadaliyya.com)
- Social Theory and Education Research Understanding Foucault, Habermas,Bourdieu and Derrida (2013) (foucaultnews.com)
- To “Commit Sociology” (everydaysociologyblog.com)
- Habitus (thoughtsinmyheart.wordpress.com)
- Soziologie und Radsport- ein gastkommentar (crispinus.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Social Work and Social Theory- Making Connections by Paul Michael Garrett (irishleftreview.org)
- Golf as a phenomena of tasteless class? Part One (jamesblogventures.wordpress.com)
Hieronymus Bosch (Originally Jerome van Aken, 1450-1516) was a Catholic Painter from the Netherlands born in Hertogenbosch. Later in life he was suspected of heresy, which is not surprising, considering the times and the nature of much of his work.
Bosch’s depictions of demons and hell are horridly convincing, perhaps enough to compel some of the most hardened of sinners to repent and pray.
The contemporary treatment of Bosch’s work is illustrative. Prestigious art galleries display his frightening and gruesome representations without any public protest while fundamentalist and conservative religious persons point to the alleged debauchery and danger in rock and rap music videos, seeing these as indicative of a decline in cultural morality.
This arguably is a form of hypocrisy and, perhaps, racism against black rappers. In any case, it illustrates how societies, or certain aspects of a given society, can be arbitrary and selective when pointing the proverbial finger.
Many people don’t realize that representing evil doesn’t necessarily mean that an artist (or writer) advocates evil. In fact, C. G. Jung argued the opposite. Jung believed that evil left unrepresented or “swept under the rug” just reemerges in equally disgusting forms—a point that many religious persons and pillars of society sometimes overlook.¹
Among Bosch’s most popular works are The Garden of Earthly Delights (in the Prado) and the Temptation of St Anthony (at Lisbon). Bosch also had a noticeable impact on Surrealism.
Interestingly enough, there’s ongoing debate over how many of Bosch’s works were actually created by Bosch. He only signed seven works and art scholars agree on a mere 25 that they believe can be attributed to him. Many other works once thought to be Bosch’s are now thought to be those of his followers and imitators, his style being hugely influential.
¹ A similar dynamic occurred with satirical writings and dialogues of Erasmus (1466 – 1536). Martin Luther denounced Erasmus’ Ten Colloquies and vowed to tell his son not to read them. Even some of Erasmus’ friends and patrons didn’t like some of his work. Craig Thompson notes that, in his defense, Erasmus distinguished between (a) content appropriate for characters and dramatic situations and (b) an author’s actual opinions. See Erasmus, Ten Colloquies, trans. Craig R. Thompson 1986, MacMillan, pp. xxv – xxvii.
Related Posts » Projection
- ArtSmart Roundtable – Hieronymus Bosch: Morality and Monsters (daydreamtourist.com)
- +Tree Man Larger by Hieronymus Bosch from Garden of Earthly Delights (largerhieronymusgardenearthlydelightsg1sale.wordpress.com)
- Imagine No Religion. Here’s What It Looks Like. (bigthink.com)
- Ben Moore’s ‘On Earth as it is in Heaven 2013′ And ‘Hell’ by Hieronymus Bosch (ukgovernmentwatch.wordpress.com)
- Hieronymus Bosch-Inspired Portrait of Joan Rivers (galleryoftheabsurd.com)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a German composer and musician born in Eisenach. He’s often described as one of the greatest Western classical composers.
Orphaned at the age of 10, Johann Sebastian was raised by his brother, Johann Christoph (1671-1721), who taught him the organ and clavier.
A devout Lutheran, biographers note that Bach was a perfectionist to the point of beating his students when they made mistakes. Nevertheless, his polyphonic inventions raised the existing Baroque tradition to a new and unsurpassed level of magnificence.
In 1711 he was kapellmeister (orchestra leader) to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, composing the Brandenburg Concertos (1721) and The Well-tempered Clavier (1722). In 1723 he was cantor (director of church music) of the St Thomas School in Leipzig, writing cantatas, including the St Matthew Passion (1727), the Mass in B Minor and The Art of Fugue.
Pianist Angela Hewitt notes that the move from kapellmeister to cantor was a professional step down for Bach, “but he knew that Leipzig would be a better place to educate his children.” She adds that Bach wanted better instruments and performing musicians but his requests were repeatedly refused by authorities in Leipzig who didn’t appreciate his rare genius.¹
Almost entirely blind at his death, his work as a composer was not fully recognized until the following century. During his lifetime he was known mostly as an organist. This oversight is ironic as many today speak as if he snatched music from heaven for the benefit of mankind.
His influence reverberates throughout classical, jazz, and even pop music. The Canadian pianist Glenn Gould came to love Bach over all the other composers. Gould recorded the Goldberg Variations twice, once in analog and later in an early digital studio. Sales of those records, especially the analog recording, reached all-time highs for classical music.
A 1934-36 recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations BWV.988, Italian Concerto BWV.971 and Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue BWV.903 by keyboardist Wanda Landowska has been marketed by EMI records as a “great recording of the century,” despite the sound quality being subpar. And Landowska’s rendition of The Well Tempered Clavier – tinny sound and all – makes a lasting impression on anyone sensitive to great moments in recorded music.
Along with Mozart and Beethoven, Bach stands out as one of The Big Three, whose works Polish composer Henryk Górecki described as the “bread and butter” of the classical repertoire.
¹ Angela Hewitt, liner notes from Bach, The Six Partitas, Hyperion: 1997. This CD has a soft but definitive touch that makes Hewitt my favorite contemporary Bach pianist. (MC)
- who do you prefer musically bach or beethoven? (johann-sebastian-bach.information-about-music.com)
- Bach and Handel (Their Influence On Future Composers) (johann-sebastian-bach.information-about-music.com)
- Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (johann-sebastian-bach.information-about-music.com)
- Bachs: A Bach Notebook for Trumpet – review (guardian.co.uk)
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and his oboe concerti (walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com)
- Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and his Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra in EM (walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com)
- Johann Sebastian Bach (walkerhomeschoolblog.wordpress.com)
- Luther and Bach (bachandsons.wordpress.com)
- 31 Day Music Challenge: Day 10 A Song that Makes You Fall Asleep (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Bach Unwrapped, Kings Place, review (telegraph.co.uk)
In the American TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg are a disturbing species of cybernetic organisms whose sole purpose is to increase their alleged perfection by assimilating the intelligence and technology of weaker life forms throughout the galaxy.
Their technology enables them to psychically connect to a collective like a termite colony. Individuality is unknown and the Borg exist in a dark synchrony of de-individualizing amalgamation.
Among other things, they arguably represent the Orwellian extreme of unreflective political, corporate and religious yesmen and yeswomen who do whatever they’re told by authoritarian figures without heeding their own conscience.
The Borg image is particularly effective as it recasts previous Frankenstein and zombie myths within a futuristic scenario of techno-gloom. An interesting and optimistic twist, however, appears with the character Seven of Nine (played by actor Jerry Ryan and introduced in Star Trek: Voyager) who was once abducted by the Borg but is gradually re-humanized among the supportive crew of the Federation starship Voyager.
In the feature film Star Trek: First Contact (1996) we’re introduced to the hideously compelling Borg Queen—again, not unlike the Queen of a termite colony. She’s a frightening but, for some, darkly attractive creature who in the TV series Voyager is jealous of Captain Katherine Janeway, arguably a symbol of American drive and determination. Indeed, heroic Federation starship captains like James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard and Katherine Janeway represent the very opposite of the Borg’s chilling refrain: “Resistance is Futile.”
Related Posts » Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Why Fans of Classic Movies Should Like Star Trek: Voyager (thebestofalexandra.wordpress.com)
- The Voyage Continues With Star Trek Legacy Minimates! (graphicpolicy.com)
- Resistance Is Futile: ‘Star Trek: Next Generation S3′ & ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- My Favorite Scene: Star Trek VIII: First Contact (1996) (sleeplessthought.wordpress.com)
- Star Trek: First Contact (thesnorksays.wordpress.com)
- Star Trek Uniform Guide – Costume SuperCenter (costumesupercenter.com)
- “The line must be drawn here!” Star Trek: First Contact (tor.com)
- The Borg (webowers.wordpress.com)
- “Resistance is Futile . . .” (johndrusedum.com)
- Video: Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-ray Reveals The Data on Brent Spiner’s Acting Style (seattlepi.com)
Christian apologists say that Job’s suffering points to the mysterious ways of God and highlights the need for faithful obedience in the absence of human understanding. Critics say that it depicts God as an immature, cruel tyrant. For instance, the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung and some Jungians say that God “makes a bet” with Satan. In the story, Satan contends that Job will not remain faithful if God allows Satan to torment him.
In Jung’s Answer to Job, a short commentary about the Job’s plight, Jung says the Biblical story reveals a dark, non-integrated aspect of God. Why would a perfect God, Jung argues, allow a blameless servant to be persecuted by the devil? When Job challenges God, asking why he suffers, God answers not on Job’s terms but by completely overwhelming him. God asks if Job is able to create the stars, the oceans and a sea monster.
Jung sees this as indicating God’s immaturity. For Jung, God projects his own dark side onto Job. While this dynamic may occur in many people, to Jewish and Christian believers it’s misguided to suggest that God would behave this way (See Isaiah 55:8-9). As God implies to Job, could an allegedly immature consciousness create all of creation?
Biblical scholars debate whether the story of Job refers to an actual person or if it’s just a folktale outlining the general human problem of why do bad things happen to good people? The author of the book is not mentioned. Some traditional rabbis and early Christian theologians believed the author was Moses. Today, some scholars believe that parts of Job were written by at least one additional author.
But to return to Jung, he seems to overlook the folktale aspect by treating Job as a real person. Jung’s writings about Job have also been criticized by Fr. Victor White. White says that Jung confuses a narrative image of God with the actual God. In Jungian terms, White says Jung confuses the God-image (archetypal image) with God (archetype).
Indeed, it seems that Jung analyzes God from the perspective of his own, man-made psychological theories. In reducing God to Jung’s all too human ideas, might Jung, himself, exhibit the psychological mechanism of projection? Theological critics of Jung would certainly say that his commentary on Job suffers from presumption—that is, intellectual arrogance.
Regarding the problem of evil, many theologians would maintain that God’s ways are usually way over our heads. Along these lines, we could hypothesize that God permits evil to torment Job for a greater good which, Job, Satan and Jung couldn’t hope to understand.
Jung’s (questionable) analysis aside, the story of Job has parallels in other cultures, most notably the ancient Egyptian Protests of the Eloquent Peasant.
- Lessons from Job. (katherineannesmith.wordpress.com)
- Jung-jung (knittedart.wordpress.com)
- “Why Do the Righteous Suffer?”: Wisdom From the Book of Job (thomaslovesjesus.wordpress.com)
- Putting Satan in his place (reassuringquotes.wordpress.com)
- Nuanced Media is Proud to Present the Southern Arizona Friends of Jung Website (prweb.com)
- Murray Stein and Brigitte Egger Discuss the Power of Water and the Vital Impact it has on Earth. The Asheville Jung Center will host “Elixir of Life” on April 4th (prweb.com)
- A Love Affair With Carl Jung (jeanraffa.wordpress.com)
- Do you relate to the greatest story of suffering yet, faith? His name was job…Read on (pastormikesays.wordpress.com)
- When I was back there in seminary school… (mclark.wordpress.com)
Book of Isaiah – Isaiah, son of Amoz, was a statesman, counselor to Kings and a prophet in the Old Testament around the 8th-century BCE. He apparently lived in Jerusalem, having a profound influence in the Kingdom of Judah.
Like many other books in the Bible, scholars question the authorship of the Book of Isaiah. While some fundamentalists still believe that all of the books of the Bible were written by the authors ascribed to them, contemporary biblical scholars generally agree that the prophetic book written in Isaiah’s name contains material from at least two other unnamed prophets, known as Deutero-Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah.
The Isaiah recorded in the Bible shows some hostility towards his political enemies, but this is tempered by his hope for a better future that he never sees… not in this world, anyhow. Wikipedia nicely sums up the bulk of Isaiah:
The first 39 chapters prophesy doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God, while the last 27 prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel and a new creation in God’s glorious future kingdom; this section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant, four separate passages referring to the nation of Israel, interpreted by Christians as prefiguring the coming of Jesus Christ.¹
In Trito-Isaiah God reveals his total sovereignty over human life and thought:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are my ways your ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.²
After the Assyrian invasion of 701 BCE, it is generally believed that Isaiah was martyred.
² Isaiah 55 : 8-9 . This is one of my favorite Biblical passages and it was instrumental in my conversion to Catholicism. During a transitional stage in my life a non-Catholic Christian, quite out of the blue, suggested I read Isaiah 55 : 6-9. When I did, the power of the words hit me hard and I eventually converted to Catholicism. Interestingly, the numbers 55 and 69 had already been personally significant for several years prior, in a sort of ongoing synchronistic way. So hearing the Christian suggest I read that particular passage, and the effect it had on me, contained special significance. It seems that God usually works that way (MC).
- Book of Isaiah (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz (sharperthanatwoedgedsword.wordpress.com)
- Fear Leads To Spiritual Darkness (nweatherhead.wordpress.com)
- The Beginning (discoveringisaiah.wordpress.com)
- Starting Monday off with a message from God (aliendad.wordpress.com)
- “What should we learn from the life of Isaiah?” (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Who is the “Man of Sorrows” in Isaiah 53? (verse4psalm37.wordpress.com)
- Status Report Day 98 (journeyofthebible.wordpress.com)
Ancius Manlius Severinus Boethius (480-524) was an educated Roman Statesman, philosopher and man of letters.
He became court minister under the Gothic ruler, Theodoric. In 510 he was elevated to consul but later got caught up in politics when trying to block an informer’s letter to protect the Senate’s reputation. Sadly for Boethius, the letter got through and the Senate charged him with treason, condemning him to death.
While in prison awaiting certain death he wrote De Consolatione Philosophiae (The Consolation of Philosophy). In the Middle Ages the Consolation was translated into several languages, second in popularity only to the Bible.
In a nutshell, it goes like this: While contemplating his grave situation, ‘Philosophy’ comes to Boethius in the form of a beautiful woman, her garment slightly dusty. She drives away the Muses of Poetry who’d previously been dictating to Boethius.
Philosophy and Boethius engage in debate, much like a Platonic dialogue. She instructs him on how human beings should rightly relate to God. Fear of material loss and desire for material gain are both rejected in favor of hope for eternal salvation through an all-knowing, good God. Ephemeral worldly concerns are to be replaced by the desire to lead a virtuous life with God.
Much like St. Augustine’s theology, personal free will is emphasized but, at the same time, God is said to know how one will choose—both in the present and in the future.
Judging from the content and style of The Consolation of Philosophy, many believe that Boethius must have been an early Christian, although Jesus is not mentioned. Because the Consolation is a book on philosophy, some commentators say that Boethius prefers to use concepts germane to philosophy. At the same time, however, a good deal of the text employs lengthy quotations from Greek and Roman mythology to support and illustrate his philosophical ideas. Why then, would the apparently Christian Boethius exclude Christian stories?
Boethius never escaped imprisonment and was put to death after completing his book, which makes reading it all the more poignant.
- The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (yalebooks.wordpress.com)
- Worldly Success: How Much is Enough? (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
- Book Review: The Consolation of Philosophy – By Boethius (ellipsisomnibusreviews.wordpress.com)
- Is There More to Ill Fortune? Boethius Says Yes (rpatsybrown.wordpress.com)
- Review of “The Consolation of Philosophy” (Ignatius Critical Edition) (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- For The Love Of Wisdom (metafilter.com)