A Review of Saint Augustine’s Virtue and the Human Soul

1094 words 5 pages
A Review of Saint Augustine’s Virtue and the Human Soul In Augustine’s article “Virtue and the Human Soul,” happiness is discussed in great detail. What makes a man happy? How do we obtain this happiness and where does happiness reside? Can this happiness be lost? Augustine answers these questions by the notion of one’s “chief good.” He explains that a man’s chief good is the reason behind all happiness. If one is not happy, it is because they have not found their chief good, and therefore cannot be happy until they find it (Augustine 264-267). “Happiness is in the enjoyment of man’s chief good. Two conditions of the chief good: 1st, Nothing is better than it; 2nd, it cannot be lost against the will” (Augustine 264-267). As human …show more content…

The coachman does the most satisfactory job of caring for the horses, all because Augustine has provided the funds and bounty to the coachman. Can any one deny that the good condition of the horses is due to Augustine? (Augustine 264-267). His point is that without his money and horses, the coachman would never be able to do the job he was assigned, and because of Augustine in this example, the coachman can provide the happiness and care to the horses. This relates to the body being a direct worker of the soul. The body is the outward laborer of the soul’s control. Augustine’s article is summed up in the discussion of virtue. “Virtue gives perfection to the soul; the soul obtains virtue by following God; following God is the happy life” (Augustine 264-267). Augustine debates whether or not virtue exists on its own, or if it can only exist within the soul. He says virtue must exist on its own because the soul must have something to follow after in order to attain that virtue. Virtue must be gained; it is not already contained within the soul. This virtue, according to Augustine, belongs in the pursuit of God. As mentioned before, Augustine believes that one’s chief good cannot be taken away against one’s will. Therefore, it must remain that God is the virtue one seeks. Through following God, one’s chief good, happiness, and virtue can be both loved and possessed (Augustine 264-267). After reading and re-reading