Friday, 8 May 2015

Margaret Lane: Naked is the abyss of human consciousness Nuda est abyssum humanae conscientiae

This is a quotation from Confessions 10:2:2 and denotes our transparency to God which contrasts with our obscurity to ourselves and other people. Augustine speaks frequently of our need to return to our conscientia and to inspect or interrogate it. This examination of conscience or state of consciousness looks back to the old Stoic practice of vigilance or attentiveness and forward to the Examen of St Ignatius.  With the practice of self examination, Augustine believes we can become more, though not completely, transparent to ourselves, coming to know ourselves as we are known by God. My paper will look at the method of self examination that Augustine recommends in order to arrive at naked self-awareness, from which I hope it will be clear that what Augustine is advocating is more in the nature of a practice of mindfulness than something akin to the Examen of St Ignatius.

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