Boethius Notion of Self-Sufficiency Essays

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“For it is in your power,” says Marcus Aurelius in the Meditation “to retire into yourself whenever you choose”. Struggling to live the virtuous life according to Stoic philosophy, the roman emperor wrote in his private Meditations about the Good, the Bad and the Indifferent. In order to avert angst over the Indifferent –those things that are by nature uncontrollable-, Aurelius practiced the stoic virtue of ¬autarkeia or mental independence of all things. In light of this, the following essay will explain Boethius notion of self-sufficiency in Consolation of Philosophy in relation to Hellenistic philosophy.
The Consolations opens with the apparition of a lady -personifying Philosophy- over an anxious prisoner who scolds the slings and
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In Book II the appearance of a third character, Fortune, is invoked to explain her “ambivalent features” (i.e. essence, inherent character). Fortune claims that her nature is inconsistency, thus it is fair (or just) and favors Boethius equally to all others. Further, Fortune lists Boethius material possessions and claims that these are not to be sought as happiness for its own sake. In the phrase, “When nature brought you forth”, Philosophy explains that all man are born without material resources, thus lamenting over what is not really ones own (i.e. non essential) is senseless. Corresponding to the teachings of Fortune, Philosophy refers to Boethius political rank of Master of Offices –an intermediary between the king and everyone else- as a blessing. For the purpose of explaining that some of fortune’s gifts –for instance honor and power- are shallow and have no intrinsic value, accordingly, the position of Master of Offices has no inherent good in itself. Honor and power are thought to be (good) features towards happiness; however, can become causes of distress. Moreover, rank is referred as neutral (i.e. neither good nor bad), but the pursue of high rank as a path towards happiness is a recipe for anxiety or even failure. With this in mind, the saying -“if you have a lot, there’s a lot you haven’t got”- describes the psychological appeal to the superfluous and

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