Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Philosophy of...what?

Augustine of Hippo (b. 354 - d. 430) - One of the most influential thinkers ever in the West, both theologically and philosophically.

So I've been going through a lot of philosophical texts lately and I thought some of you might be interested in a few of the deep insights that I've come across. Well, in recently reading Augustine's De Civitate Dei (City of God), amidst important ethical reflections concerning how one ought to live the good life, I found this interesting passage from Book XIV Chapter 24, where he's reflecting upon the power of the will over the body:
We do in fact find among human beings some individuals with natural abilities very different from the rest of mankind and remarkable by their very rarity. Such people can do some things with their body which are for others utterly impossible and well-nigh incredible when they are reported. Some people can even move their ears, either one at a time or both together. Others without moving the head can bring the whole scalp -- all the part covered with hair -- down towards the forehead and bring it back again at will. Some can swallow an incredible number of various articles and then with a slight contraction of the diaphragm, can produce, as if out of a bag, any article they please, in perfect condition. There are others who imitate the cries of birds and beasts and the voices of any other men, reproducing them so accurately as to be quite indistinguishable from the originals, unless they are seen. A number of people produce at will such musical sounds from their behind (without any stink) that they seem to be singing from that region...
Pretty good stuff, eh? And you probably thought philosophy wasn't any fun! Of course, the more serious stuff is fun too, for me at least. I was wondering though, if one tried to develop that last strain of thought from Augustine in the above excerpt, would you call it a "philosophy of flatulence"?


At 3/29/2006 05:15:00 AM, Blogger The Village Idiot said...

I can wiggle my ears and condense my scalp. I can also read faster than most of my classmates. However, I don't find myself to be a very good theologian.:(

At 3/30/2006 09:56:00 AM, Blogger Steve said...

chris, once you become too enlightened, i think you'll pop and disappear. beware!

At 3/31/2006 11:21:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Steve, I don't think anyone could ever be too enlightened, unless they were God. Our very finitude as humans means that we'll never be able to comprehend everything. Rather, we only get at aspects of reality from our own various relative finite and historically contexted perspectives in time and space. In other words, I don't think there will ever be an end to learning.

And if I do someday pop and disappear, you can have all of my philosophy books. ;-)

At 4/02/2006 01:03:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

And as Megan seems to rightly put it, we can't even know ourselves fully!

At 4/21/2006 12:06:00 AM, Blogger J. Marcantel said...

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