“There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity… it is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.” — Augustine
Our knee-jerk reverence for dead men is a habit we should break.
Augustine makes for interesting reading, certainly — When I first read his confessions, I was rapt. But he was wrong — about nearly everything.
I’m not one to completely reject a thinker of the past for holding views antithetical to our modern ways of thinking. That would be too naive — not taking seriously the profound impact of one’s education and social-training, of which, ours is FAR superior.
But, there are limits. When the philosophy of an ancient thinker leans towards Totalitarianism —- or anything else that can only be called evil —, I’m inclined to consider them in the enemy camp.
For instance, while I love the dialogues of the early Plato (ie, Socrates), by his middle period (especially in The Republic) he’d gone nuts — describing a Utopian society strongly reminiscent of an Orwellian nightmare. Plato was WRONG in his Republic about what a good society should look like, just as Augustine was wrong about the ethical value of curiosity.
No thank you.
Stay curious. Stay free. Be yourself.
Now go lift something heavy,