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Saint Augustines and Lonergans Approach to Personal Interiority and Transcendence
Saint Augustine and Bernard Lonergan are philosophers from two different eras of philosophy establishment. They had similar and, at the same time, different beliefs and ideas concerning different aspect of life. Their approach to personal interiority and transcendence is similar though the philosophers are from different eras. Their similarities, as presented to readers, take similar approaches on appreciating the Supreme Being.
Augustine propagated that evil was a tool that deprived the aspect of wisdom in the human life. He complains that the virtue of doing evil makes a person forget the goodness in people. He also believed that evil makes good virtues cease existing. He meant that when an individual commits himself or herself to doing evil, it wipes out the good deeds of him/her. Augustine says that he could not do well, because he could not reason beyond the needs of his body. He viewed that his mind was full of fantasy on unimportant issues. His beliefs were further controlled by many irrelevant ideas. He could believe in whatever the society said was a way of cleansing his body and thoughts. This is shown by the example of a fig tree. He believed it was holy and whoever digests it was capable of being clean from the particles they emitted. He further shows his unclean ways by engaging with friends in search of popularity and receiving applauses from the members of the society. Their only way of liberating themselves from such evil ways was by carrying food for holy people in the society, so as to be cleansed from the digestion of their food. His idea about God was misplaced in that he viewed Him as a mass of bodies. This was majorly from the ways he viewed the people whom he believed were holy. He summarized all this as a wrong approach of treating a virtuous person, which became his undoing. He specifically says an inevitable error. Augustines approach on being good before the eyes of the Lord were fully appreciated during his era by the virtue that he tried to do good even if he went astray.
Lonergans approach on personal interiority and transcendence takes the steps of being good as a human being. He suggested that the human good is characterized by the components of skills, feelings, values, beliefs, cooperation, progress, and decline. Under skills, he uses the babys symbolism as an example of human good. He says that people learn to be good from their environment. The good things are learnt gradually, just like the steps of a baby grow. He believed that a man has to use the experience he gathers from his surrounding to be and do good. In feelings, he suggested that a man should use the approach of a woman falling in love. Here, a person should be able to feel the good virtues that are required to be good. He believed that feelings should make a person differentiate the need of evil and righteous. Lonergans other views on values and beliefs were that the human species have a mandate to weigh options in life. This entails having the rationale to differentiate between good and evil. The measure of someones deeds depends on their ability to weigh the values of their intended actions and select those with the highest merit. Lonergans completed on beliefs and values is that an individual with a rounded moral judgment is a fully virtuous person. A person develops this through rationale and experiences what he or she obtains from the surrounding. His views on personal interiority and transcendence of a person are to be understood as a simple way that a person becomes good in the society. A person is able to appreciate the good deed of understanding the Creator by following the values proposed by him in his philosophical approach.
In a hypothetical scenario where the two philosophers were to meet and discuss their beliefs and ideologies concerning personal interiority and transcendence, they would agree and disagree. Concerning the issue of babys approach, Augustine would propagate that the environment will affect the way a person decides whether to do evil or good. Lonergan would bring out the approach of how a persons development in morals is affected by the surroundings during his growth. Their arguments on these will be in a parallel position by their different understanding of the environment. The two in the subject of understanding the virtues of the Creator will differ because of their different approaches. Augustine viewed that being cleansed to be a righteous person entailed the helping of those considered holy in the society and eating of the fig tree, while Lonergan viewed it as being able to measure the values of morality and select those with merit that will make a person a good human and which will please the Almighty. Their views concerning rationalism to understand the difference between evil and good are contrasting in that Augustine views the human experience on issues are more important in making a decision, while Lonergan views are that reasoning is more important in making good decisions and making a righteous person. Augustines beliefs on the surroundings of a person differ with Lonergans. He believed that friends make a person what he or she is and is encouraged by the applauding of the society, while Lonergan believed that friends and society surrounding a person only make an individual able to make decisions.
In conclusion, the two philosophers understand the need for being righteous in the society. They each take different approaches though their ideas and beliefs are of a similar nature. They encourage the need to search for the better good that makes a person able to appreciate and understand the Maker. Their discussion in the different eras tend to be a mirror of each others works and beliefs in the different fields they tackle concerning the need of a man to be rational in his beliefs and actions.