LITERATURE: Consolation – Philosophy’s Reply

After quietly listening to the complaints and woes of Boethius, Philosophy understands and focuses not on the situation in which Boethius finds himself, but to the degree of which he has allowed it to unsettle him:

"When I first saw you downcast and crying, I knew you were in misery and exile.  But without your story I would not have known how desperate your exile is."  (Consolation, p. 13)

And now the good stuff:

"You have not been driven out of your homeland; you have willfully wandered away.  Or, if you prefer to think that you have been driven into exile, you yourself have done the driving, since no one else could do it.  (…)  Surely you know the oldest law of your true city, that the citizen who has chosen to establish his home there has a sacred right not to be driven away.  the man who lives within the walls of that city need not fear banishment; but if he loses his desire to live there, he loses also the assurance of safety.  And so, I am not so much disturbed by this prison as by your attitude.  I do not need your library with its glass walls and ivory decoration, but I do need my place in your mind.  For there I have placed not books but that which gives value to books, the ideas which are found in my writings."  (p. 13)

Is Philosophy then saying that the knowledge and theories that are in the mind are what create the "place" in which to reside?  Is there a physicality to the mind, can it be relocated, moat and drawbridged, burned down, swept away by the floods of dissension?

And, is the place where one resides not the material made of stone and earth, but just within the confines of the mind; as books are physical, the ideas are not.

Has Boethius then created his own prison?

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