Breakfast with Boethius (Book 3)

Once again Boethius has joined us for breakfast. Coffee, a doughnut and/or bagel with cream cheese, and philosophy – for what more could one ask? Well, answers to life’s big questions, for a start . . . 

It turns out Book 3 of Consolation of Philosophy isn’t exactly quotable, being a long treatise on what forms the chief Goodness. Spoiler: Boethius thinks it’s God. Nevertheless, there were several notable passages, which I may or may not have taken out of context.

* * * *

 Indeed the remedies that await you are better when tasted but become all the more sweet when they are swallowed down deep.

Indeed friendship is the most sacred good, since that results from virtue, not chance, while other goods are cultivated for the sake of power or delight.

Now high offices do bring honor and respect to those who obtain them. Yet is there really any power in offices that enables one possessing them to implant virtue in his mind or to cast out vices? On the contrary, offices tend to bring wickedness to the surface rather than remove it, and so it happens that we often become angry when they come to worthless men.

Indeed what more harmful source of ruin is there than an enemy who is close to you?

The only good there is in nobility, I think, is this: noble men seem obliged to live up to the virtue of their ancestors.


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