Whenever I read Augustine, I wonder why I read anything else. I do not mean Augustine is the only author worth reading, but rather that the depth and profundity of his ideas seems to nearly eclipse the normative (and comparative) trash I regularly find in the news or on the Internet. People are so eager to write about something new – to get you to click on their article or watch their video. In the last 24 hours I have seen so many comments on the iPhone 6 Plus possibly bending that I am tempted to believe that actually matters. Unbelievable, except for the fact that, at least for a time, I believed it today.
When I read Augustine I am reminded of the weighty matters of life – wisdom, truth, justice, integrity, love, happiness, and community. These things matters, and they are issues one is more likely to misunderstand just to the degree that one is likely to claim to understand them.
I do not claim to understand them. Yet I live many days as if my understanding is sufficient. This should be sufficient evidence that it is not.
I long for a simpler life, a life not berated by technology, a life characterized by patience, contentment, wonder, curiosity, creativity, friendship, vulnerability, and deep community.
Where am I likely to find this life? Not in the places I usually look (online). It’s so hard to break free from the monotonous rhythm of triviality our society venerates and mass-produces.
Maybe I am being too hard on myself.
I struggle deeply with anxiety, and am frustrated that our culture does not foster a healthy pace or clear vision of meaning. When I read Augustine (or many other philosophers for that matter), something in my soul resonates with the depth and seriousness with which he approaches life. Where can I find that today?