The Importance Of Self-Mastery In Plato's Confessions

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One of the core themes in Plato’s Republic is the notion that the attainment of a just and good society can only fulfilled when its citizens strive to gain knowledge and improve upon their capabilities. Only through enlightenment may one learn the truths of our world, and it is through this illumination that one can begin to work toward the betterment of humanity. Nevertheless, not everybody can reach this level of understanding, thus making it the duty of these enlightened individuals, the ‘philosopher-kings,’ to guide the rest of society down a prosperous path. This emphasis on the importance of self-mastery can be seen also in St. Augustine’s autobiographical work Confessions. St. Augustine stressed the necessity for individuals to attempt to live a moral and educated life, believing seeing the truth to be an important goal for…show more content…
Augustine in Confessions. His thoughts about wisdom are comparable to Plato’s idea of true knowledge, stating that “wisdom is not made, but is as she has been and forever shall be […] because she is eternal” (Book IX, Chapter X). St. Augustine esteemed wisdom to be one of greatest qualities for an individual to gain during his or her time on earth, and asserted that one comes to be wise through the trials which we face “against an enemy or temptations.” This wisdom will allow a person to reach a point “where the very highest of physical sense and the most intense illumination of physical light seem […] not worthy of comparison” (Book IX, Chapter X); just as Plato believed in a perfect world greater than our physical one, St. Augustine believes in a place which exists outside the realm of corporeal objects. Moreover, given that an individual will garner knowledge by overcoming temptations, presumably transforming them further into a moral being, St Augustine appears to view a wise and well-educated man to also be a good and virtuous man, an idea shared by

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