AugustinePaper-1 - Lauren Berry Philosophy 225g(McCann...

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Lauren Berry Philosophy 225g (McCann) October 6, 2009 Prompt #2 In Confessions Book VIII Augustine outlines his doctrine of two wills in conflict. He retreats to the garden to wrestle with the thoughts in his mind. He is overwrought because he has not been able to turn himself over to God’s laws or covenant. As he questions himself and struggles to find answers he develops his doctrine of two wills in conflict. Essentially, Augustine sees this doctrine as a conflict between man’s desire to wholly devote himself to God versus his earthly desires of the flesh, which hold him back from making a full commitment. Augustine attributes man’s original sin as the cause of the struggle within the mind. Augustine recognizes he is the son of Adam and therefore accepts that he innately sinful. His doctrine characterizes the mind as being pulled in different directions by various desires and this struggle causes disorder until one commits completely. As Augustine becomes closer to God he is more tormented. He refers to the “lower condition which had grown habitual was more powerful than the better condition that I had not tried.” (Page 157, XI stanza 25). The nearer he came to becoming transfigured spiritually the more he was horrified. He recognizes there is a controversy in his heart that sets himself against himself, the struggle to become closer to God versus being distracted by earthly desires. Augustine, in the midst of turmoil, acknowledges God’s omnipotence, “ You knew, not I; but there I was, going mad on my way to sanity, dying on my way to life, aware of how evil I was, unaware that I was to grow better in a little while.” (Page 154, VIII stanza 19). 1
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Augustine has immense frustration because he cannot control his mind like he can control his body. He says, “ The mind gives the body an order, and it is obeyed at once; the mind gives itself an order and it is resisted.” (Page 154, IX stanza 21).
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AugustinePaper-1 - Lauren Berry Philosophy 225g(McCann...

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