Analysis Of Augustine's Emergence From The Cave

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Augustine 's Emergence from the Cave

Augustine’s Confessions is the story of his search for ultimate truth. Out of the Greek and Roman scholars that influence Augustine, Plato 's iconic imagery of the Cave is one of the most influential works apparent in Confessions. Much like the man emerging from the cave and adjusting to the sunlight, Augustine has to emerge from his life of sin to acquaint himself with the truth, the light of the Gospel message. According to Plato, people are chained up inside a dark cave. This cave represents a single-minded view of life. The people spend their lives believing that the shadows cast on the wall by the light are reality, because they are unable to see anything else. If one person is freed from his chains
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In Carthage, he is met with sexual temptations that he had not previously faced, and he gives himself over to living a life bent on self-pleasure. Reflecting on his former life, Augustine said, “My sin consisted of this, that I sought pleasure, sublimity and truth not in God but in his creatures, in myself and other created beings” (Augustine 22). This is reminiscent of Epicurus, who believed that “pleasure is our first and kindred good. It is the starting-point of every choice and aversion” (Epicurus 82). Augustine 's search for the satiation of his desires is, as it is in the case of Epicurus, ultimately a life devoted to the self. Yet even Epicurus is not as insistent in his pursuit of pleasure as Augustine. Epicurus goes on to say in the same passage, “When we say that pleasure is the end and aim... It is not an unbroken succession of drinking-bouts and of merrymaking, not sexual love” (Epicurus 83). In the Epicurian view, pleasure is simply a way of living life devoid of problems, not a life of wild lust. Augustine not only seeks the life free of pain and problems, he is also looking for exactly what Epicurus condemned. This hedonist lifestyle is part of Augustine 's search for meaning in life. But he finds no meaning or truth in pleasure. He is beginning to see, like the man emerging from the cave and adjusting to the sunlight, that a life devoted…show more content…
Ambrose receives Augustine warmly and influences him towards the Christian faith because of his knowledge and rhetorical skill. After listening to many of Ambrose 's arguments and sermons, Augustine decides to leave the Manichee sect and tentatively study Catholicism. He is not yet convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith, but he resolves to learn until he finds “some clear which [he] could direct [his] course” (Augustine 89). Breaking away from the Manichees is the next part of Augustine’s journey towards God. He is inclined to believe in Christianity, at least until it is proven false, yet is greatly distressed by Ambrose 's practice of celibacy. Augustine is not yet willing to fully give up his sexual desire for the sake of Christ. He is engaged in several liaisons, and also engaged to be married. Augustine 's hesitation in regard to the evil of sexual desire, along with his general search for truth, leads him to question the nature of good and evil in the world. Augustine seeks answers among Neoplatonist
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