Friday, August 28, 2015

St. Augustine -

I was familiar with Augustine, but I had never really read in depth or read about him. I now consider Augustine the smartest human being I’ve ever encountered in any form. His observations about human psychology and memory are astounding, especially given the time. What’s even more amazing is he combines it with emotional storms. He’s at once intellectually unparalleled and emotionally so rich a character. I portray him as sort of an Ivy League grad. He portrays himself in “The Confessions” as this sexual libertine, but he wasn’t really that. He was just an ambitious and successful rhetorician and teacher who found that being a successful rhetorician was too shallow for him. He felt famished inside. I think his confession is a very brave renunciation of ambition.

With him what I found so attractive, and this is more a Christian concept, is the concept of grace, the concept of undeserved love. It helps to feel religious to experience grace. Even if you’re secular person, you can always have the feeling that people love you more than you deserve and that you’re accepted.

- An interview David Brooks
by Sarah Pulliam Bailey