St. Augustine Confessions Essay, Research Paper
Saint Augustine s Confessions
Saint Augustine was believed to be the Christian Plato. He describes Plato with the adulation of an admirer and follower. He achieved most of his knowledge through the interpretations of the immensely popular neo-Platonists. Throughout Augustine s Confessions, he is plagued by the question of how one can know God lies in memory. He believes that memory is the repository of all of a persons experiences and knowledge. Augustine within the text, learns that the answers to all of his questions will be found by turning inward and reflecting in his own memory.
This book opens with Augustine seeking God and wondering whether God can be sought if he is already not known. He then goes on to explain the power of memory and how a parallel to knowledge can be drawn from memory. He says, Great is the power of memory, an awe inspiring mystery, my God, a power of profound and infinite multiplicity (10.17). Memory includes sensations and perceptions, imaginations and dreams, emotions and self-awareness. Memory is the locus of personal identity. Augustine believes in short, that memory is the mind and that knowledge resides in memory. Memory is such an important notion for Augustine, compliments of his Platonic heritage.
Plato, in Meno, believes that knowledge is the recollection of another plane reality, dealing with the images of the physical world. Augustine view on knowledge differs from that of Plato s. Augustine maintains that the very possibility of knowledge requires something in addition to persons and the world. Augustine does not denigrate sense perception or the physical world as a source of knowledge. So although sense perception is a valuable tool for the attainment of knowledge, because Augustine believes in the existence of immaterial entities, eventually sense perception must yield to something more than what is in the physical world, leading him to wonder about God.
Throughout the text in the beginning Augustine believes he will never attain the knowledge of God. He concludes this simply because of the fact that he cannot see him, nor has he ever seen him. Upon reading scriptures and listening to speakers Augustine reaches a point of realization. This point occurs when he realizes that God is more real than anything in the physical world. He believes that God knows all and he is truth. He believes he resides in everyone s memory. And because of this he searches within himself and his own mind to look for answers. He reflects in his own memory for God and for answers in his life.
Saint Augustine was a man who found himself and God after years of living a sinful and lustful life. He looked beyond the material world and underneath to find God. He searched within himself and found the omnipotent God. As he looked everywhere for answers and for God, he eventually realized that he would find God and answers to his question by searching within his own mind.