Adverse Happiness

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Rose Steffen 5.10.2014 Final Essay Topic 4 CH 201. S. Grekor ”The greatest misery in adverse fortune is once to have been happy.” The idea that happiness was once attained and lost is a bitter sweet realization for any human who has experienced it. Fortune is acquired but it will be snatched away as quickly as it was bestowed upon one. When Boethius mourns the loss of his own fortune Lady Philosophy tries to reconcile with him. Attempting to “cure” Boethius of his ailments, she tells him that his current predicament is actually an act of good fortune. With Boethius sitting in prison awaiting his execution, it is understandable to see why he would have a tough time accepting it as good fortune. However, Philosophy has a way with words. Lady Philosophy comes to Boethius wanting to help him. After healing him of his minor amnesia, she tells him to explain his “symptoms” and she will “cure” him. He describes that he is depressed and wants to know why bad things happen to good people like himself and good things that happen to bad people. She understands that Boethius’ condition and the reason behind his depression is his false idea of the true nature of a human being. Boethius misses his worldly goods and believes that human beings are only rational creatures doomed to suffer through the good and bad the world had to offer. Philosophy tells him that he is wrong and that it is causing him pain. Lady Fortune, in Philosophy’s words, is a “monster” who “seduces with the friendship the very people she is striving to cheat, until she overwhelms them with unbearable grief at the suddenness of her desertion” (Boethius, 22). She is the representation of all good and evil which can happen to a human being, seemingly, without warning. Fortu... ... middle of paper ... ...appened to Boethius. She favored him all his life, giving wealth, family, connections, and fame. Then he is sent to prison to await his execution. Philosophy comes to comfort him out of his depression by giving reason to his sadness and reasoning behind the erratic nature that is Lady Fortune. Each explanation from Philosophy only leads Boethius to ask more question each at an increasingly deeper level. In the end, Philosophy heals Boethius of his depressing thoughts and longing of his worldly, fortunate goods. The main lesson he learns is that God will eventually bring you true happiness in another world. However, while still in this world, only knowledge and philosophy can bring you true comforts. Fortune’s gifts will be taken away, but she cannot take away what is inside you: what you know. Let Philosophy comfort you as you gain and lose all Fortune has to offer.
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