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johnnyFive  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The 23rd Semi-Occasional Quote Thread

    The mind commands the body and is obeyed. The mind commands itself and meets resistance.

I've been catching up on my early Christian writers, and just started St. Augustine's Confessions (written over 3 years from 397-400). Like many of the others, there's a lot about being wary of "worldly" things or those "of the flesh." This is still something I'm trying to figure out -- I'm not a hedonist by any means, but I'm wary of too much self-denial as well. To say nothing about how much modern Christianity has gone off the deep end when it comes to things like sex. As with all things it's a balance. But I'm suspicious of many modern churches' views on this topic; the early church seems to have had somewhat different views on this point (and was certainly not monolithic). But Augustine gets a bad rap, as the introduction by the translator of my edition explains:

    Against the Manichees he upheld the essential goodness of the procreative impulse. The Pelagian controversy, however, led him to see the process of reproduction as the transmitter of the irrationality and egotism that infects the sexual urge. By his stress on 'concupiscence' (uncontrolled desire) he set the West on the path to identifying sin with sex; that was not his intention.