The Frustration of Philosophy

I’ve been reading the Consolation of Philosophy and am frustrated with it, because I think Boethius makes a fundamental mistake. His argument is that happiness (or ‘God’) is the highest good and therefore excludes evil. Inevitably, this definition requires theodicy and that to me is pointless. Theodicy to me is paradoxical and circular reasoning that serves to justify unfounded beliefs. It tries to explain the existence of evil alongside an all-encompassing and all-powerful good that makes evil an impossibility or else makes itself impossible. It ignores the fact that good and evil are not things to reconcile. They are already one and the same or else they are nothing at all. If anything, happiness is constituted in and embraces both. It’s a joining of opposites that have meaning only in conjunction with each other. Hate in itself is meaningless and so are love and life and death. A simple truism perhaps, but still true.

Accept your self-hatred and learn to love yourself at the same time and you’ll find some measure of happiness or peace with yourself. It’s difficult to do, because of the friction inherent in that thought, but not impossible. I’ve been asked why I can’t accept other people’s love of the things I hate about myself. It’s because I have trouble accepting them for what they are, because rationally I wish I were a better, easier, less narcissistically nihilistic person. And yet, secretly, I take some pride in the fact that I am this way, however wrong of me I think it is. I may never come to terms with my own vanity in these things, because that seems like a contradiction in terms, but I have to try, because otherwise what’s the point of anything?

 

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