Notes on “Confessions”.

“Confessions” was written by Augustine. Below are some notes I made about his text. They aren’t quotations and may not reflect my views on a given subject.

  1. It seems like some people can’t function without having a religion.
  2. To talk about a god without knowing that god risks you to talk about the wrong god.
  3. God punishes.
  4. But God also forgives.
  5. If God is the wisest being in existence, disagreeing with him is being wrong (that doesn’t exclude the possibility of misinterpretation).
  6. A baby can’t have his desires completely fulfilled, because he can’t communicate his needs through words.
  7. Is a fetus an being on it’s own or part of the mother’s body?
  8. Time is a never-ending “today”.
  9. Children aren’t innocent.
  10. Children are capable of envy, aggression and other things, which puts the concept of innocence in question.
  11. We often don’t remember our childhood, but we sure did a lot of embarrassing stuff as children.
  12. How can we care if children are innocent or not, if we often can’t remember a time when we were “innocent“?
  13. We are start learning to speak through observation, thanks to need for communication.
  14. We can’t punish a child for not being able to learn something if they aren’t mature enough to understand.
  15. Coerced work is inferior to really voluntary work.
  16. If you want to get someone to accept your ideas, you aren’t supposed to do that by force.
  17. An immoderate soul hurts itself.
  18. Grammar, obviously, is more important than fiction literature.
  19. Learning a second language is hard because you usually have to rely on artificial terms to learn it, while the first language is learned at home in an easy-going manner.
  20. It’s much better to learn by curiosity than by being intimated to.
  21. At school, you learn a lot of stuff that you won’t ever use.
  22. Attributing human vices to gods is an attempt at making humans look less hateful.
  23. Bad behavior in adults is the same as bad behavior in children, just in different scale.
  24. By saying the the Kingdom of God belongs to children, says Augustine, Jesus is using children as a metaphor for being humble, rather than talking about inherent innocence.
  25. Love and lust may present themselves as the same thing.
  26. A married person can’t fully commit to other things.
  27. A teacher not always cares about your development as person.
  28. There’s cultural pressure upon men for libidinous acts.
  29. A thief also doesn’t want to have their belongings stolen.
  30. A person can commit a crime because it’s thrilling.
  31. It’s possible to love “too much”, when your love makes you do bad things.
  32. If you commit a crime for a good cause, it’s still a crime, though it’s also more worth being forgiven.
  33. Some crimes are easier or more fun to commit if you are in group.
  34. Gratuitous (senseless) bad behavior is like tickling: it’s fun, but you don’t know why.
  35. Blind love can stimulate us to lie to the loved person, in order to appear to be something that you are not, going out of your way just so they can like you.
  36. Loving implies taking the risk of jealousy.
  37. It’s disturbing that we tend to like tragedies (when they happen to someone else).
  38. Maybe that’s because we feel empathy over those who suffer.
  39. Philosophy isn’t always anti-religion.
  40. Fiction, as long as it’s seen as fiction, is not something to worry about.
  41. “Image and resemblance of God” isn’t at all physical appearance.
  42. Evil is lack of good.
  43. Absence is an evil.
  44. There’s a type of virtue implied in every act.
  45. A person can do bad things if they believe it’s a commission from God.
  46. The problem of astrology is that people attribute the responsibility of their acts to the stars.
  47. People often learn astrology because it’s fun, not because it’s useful.
  48. If astrology does something right, it was luck.
  49. Don’t place all of your love into something perishable, such as a friend or lover, because you will be devastated if that person dies.
  50. Crying is comforting, like a pain-killer, but it can be addictive.
  51. A lover must be ready for an eventual death of the loved one.
  52. A person can defend an idea that they actually don’t believe in, to be better accepted.
  53. It’s unlikely that you would be able to explain God rationally.
  54. You can’t run away from God.
  55. Religion and science aren’t mutually exclusive.
  56. Divine knowledge is more important.
  57. A person can speak like a researcher in order to make his lie pass as acceptable.
  58. “The letter kills, but the spirit vitalizes” isn’t literal.
  59. We often have to believe in things that we don’t fully understand, such as medical prescription, unless we are trained in medicine.
  60. How can I know if my parents are really my parents, if I don’t remember anything about the day I was born?
  61. Getting drunk may be tempting, but that’s a shameful kind of joy.
  62. Nonetheless, it’s better being happy and drunk, than building your happiness onto criminal things, because a drunk person, for a short while, has nothing to worry about, while a criminal is often worried about the police.
  63. A lot of people turn to religion for fear of death.
  64. If we define God as someone who isn’t incorruptible, then we should verify if an incorruptible thing really exists.
  65. Fear is evil, so, if you fear, evil exists.
  66. If twins are born under the same astrological configuration, see if their fate or personality traits are the same.
  67. Species are put in a hierarchy.
  68. Corruption happens due to a disturbance in a person’s “amount of good” (in this case, it could be health).
  69. Existence is good, so, if someone is deprived from all good, they disappear (die).
  70. The Bible is a text that can be interpreted in several ways, so it’s natural that some seem more logical than others.
  71. Paul’s doctrine has similarities with Platonism.
  72. Having money and wealth as life goal can make your life tedious.
  73. Not everyone can withstand marriage.
  74. When you find something that was lost, the joy is always bigger than the joy of always having something, because, when you find something that was lost, you both feel happy for finding it and experience immediate relief from pain.
  75. When important people are converted to a faith, more people feel encouraged to join too, that’s why new religions aim to convert celebrities.
  76. Feeling unsure isn’t the same as having two souls or two minds.
  77. Life isn’t always a battle between good and evil, because we sometimes have to choose between two equally evil things.
  78. The religious chant is a way to push sadness and boredom away, to make meetings more tolerable.
  79. A person can be perverted by praise, even if it’s praise coming from friends.
  80. Body can resurrect.
  81. It doesn’t matter where you are buried after you die.
  82. If a person had a good life and died peacefully, there’s no need to feel sorrow; it’s more of a matter of slowly adapting to the person’s absence.
  83. We cry a lot over things of less importance, but also are often indifferent to tragedies.
  84. You should confess your sins to God, but particularly, not to someone else, in a selected place, like how confession is currently done.
  85. It’s impossible to fully know someone else, specially because we often don’t know ourselves completely either.
  86. God was here first.
  87. There’s a way to escape every temptation.
  88. Reason is supposed to interpret what we see, hear or feel.
  89. People bow to the things they created, such as money, submitting themselves to it and submitting the next generations as well.
  90. Isn’t possible to get close to God without the use of reason.
  91. Almost everything that we have in memory came from our five senses.
  92. Our memories are interpretations of what we once felt and may not reflect what we actually felt.
  93. A sensation leaves an impression, which we can recall even when that sensation is absent.
  94. Language depend on memory.
  95. The mind can copy concepts that are in another mind, without having experienced what that mind experienced, through means of teaching and learning.
  96. We can work with math even when concrete elements are absent.
  97. “Spirit” can stand for “memory”, depending on the context.
  98. Recalling emotions won’t necessarily make us relive those emotions.
  99. Memory is a big mystery.
  100. The ability to think is proof that we are alive, because we can’t think if we don’t exist.
  101. Memory isn’t exclusive to humans.
  102. How can we define something we don’t feel, such as happiness?
  103. If happiness as concept exists in memory, then we felt it once.
  104. Different people define happiness differently, but what those definitions have in common?
  105. It seems like happiness is related to joy, which is something that we feel.
  106. If you learn something good, you can say that you learned something divine.
  107. Not all pleasures are forbidden.
  108. Gluttony is harder to avoid than lust, because you, naturally, eat more often than you have sex, obviously.
  109. We aren’t fully aware of our weaknesses, as no one can fully known themselves.
  110. A person can do something because they are curious, despite knowing it’s frowned upon.
  111. Sensuality, curiosity and pride are three common sources of sin.
  112. A person can only enjoy a praise if they are praised for something they want to be praised for.
  113. If you claim that you hate boasting, you are already boasting.
  114. If nothing exists, then you create.
  115. God sees the time as an eternal present, rather than sectioning it into past, present and future.
  116. Time can be infinitely divided.
  117. If you claim to be able to measure past (which is gone) or future (which hasn’t come yet), then you are claiming that nothingness can be measured.
  118. Past and future only exist in the present, as memory and anticipation.
  119. Still, speaking about before and after, if it’s needed for communication, isn’t a bad thing to do.
  120. Time is the way humans measure movements (in the sense of change from a state to another).
  121. Is it possible to know how long the present lasts?
  122. While it’s not possible to know how long the present lasts, we can measure how long events that take place in present last.
  123. Explaining a discovery is easier than actually discovering something.
  124. God’s not in a literal “sky”.
  125. God creates the sky twice in Genesis, but Augustine says that the first sky is the Heaven, where God inhabits, with the second sky being the one above our heads.
  126. Genesis can not be understood in a single way, so it’s natural that people would arrive at different conclusions about it.
  127. “God’s spirit floated over the water”, but there’s no mention in the Genesis about where that water came from (Genesis 1:1-2).
  128. To understand creation isn’t the same as understanding what Moses wrote.
  129. We can’t verify which interpretation of Genesis is correct.
  130. It’s only natural for different people to arrive at different conclusions about the same text.
  131. What you conclude from a text can change as you grow older.
  132. Even if something can exist without having a shape, you can’t give a shape to something that does not exist.
  133. Weight not always pulls an object down (for example, if something is lighter than the air, it will float).
  134. God gifts people with abilities that are useful to the community.
  135. If you aren’t aggressive, you will likely be loved.
  136. You can’t take the Genesis literally.
  137. It’s hard for non-intellectual people to appreciate spiritual or intellectual things.
  138. A text that doesn’t expresses it’s ideas using time measures (past, present, future) won’t be understood.
  139. Worshiping is thanking.

Publicado por Yure

Quando eu me formei, minha turma teve que fazer um juramento coletivo. Como minha religião não me permite jurar nem prometer, eu só mexi os lábios, mas resolvi viver com os objetivos do juramento em mente de qualquer forma.

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