Jun 15, 2006

Augustine My Love (Threshold)

“Thou hast created us for Thyself,
and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.”

St Augustine of Hippo

In these comments I said there is a solitude threshold, which is one way to measure character, much as the threshold of pain is a way to measure physiological response. The lower your threshold, the less amount of solitude makes you lonely. Augustine, I think, had a very low threshold of pain: ("Nor was that wound of mine as yet cured which had been caused by the separation from my former mistress, but after inflammation and most acute anguish it mortified, and the pain became numbed, but more desperate). I suppose his threshold of solitude was also low: ("solitude was suggested to me as fitter for the business of weeping.")

In the inner sanctuary of his soul revealed in Confessions, he never stops talking to God, and wanting to know him, parallel to knowing himself. He does not seem as comfortable with ascetic solitude as other saints, and his meditations are always filled with images of people. What is more, the Confessions explore his life in the 'transitional period' of his quest for God and Truth. After his conversion and baptism he became part of a monastic order and later a bishop, which meant social and political involvement.

As an aside, Augustine was a man of incredible intellectual power - he had an education in philosophy and rhetoric, he was a theologian postulating the relationship between free will and predestination (with emphasis on the latter, which I personally disagree with), writing on the nature of time (time is a feature of creation, the creator is outside time) - but also of deep emotions, astonishing passion and poetic inclination:

"Belatedly I loved thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new, belatedly I loved thee. For see, thou wast within and I was without, and I sought thee out there. Unlovely, I rushed heedlessly among the lovely things thou hast made. ... Thou didst gleam and shine, and didst chase away my blindness. Thou didst breathe fragrant odors and I drew in my breath; and now I pant for thee. I tasted, and now I hunger and thirst. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for thy peace."

His oxymorons are so sensual they take my breath away.

Back to the threshold now.

How much solitude is too much? How much of everything is too much?

In Guild Wars there is a message appearing after each hour of play.
'You have been playing for 1 hour'.
'You have been playing for 4 hours. Please take a break'.
You have reached a threshold, you've had too much of a good thing, now stop... if you want.

I had a discussion with friends on the benefits of this message, and one said that this message is an infringement of his freedom. For me this is just a measurement, like stepping on the scales and seeing how much weight you gained. Well, if you break the scales, it is a direct message, but otherwise, it just *shows you how far you've gone*. It's completely up to you to choose your course of action, you can go on eating, lazying, playing, etc. in the same way, but a warning is always nice, at least for me. It's like after one or two drinks I start drinking fruit juice only:)

The chart of a person's life has its ups and downs and I have reached the peak of my self-sufficiency. I may not find final rest this side of death, but I feel it's time for a night in an inn.

1 comment:

ikew said...

М, ще коментирам само по частта с GW - ако просто казваше "You have been playing for << n << hours", всичко щеше да е куул и това съобщение щеше да е особено готино и полезно.
Частта с please take a break обаче считам за проява на липса на уважение. А такива неща не обичам.