Wednesday, 21 April 2021

CONTRA GENTILES - BOOK THREE: PROVIDENCE -Chapter 31 THAT FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN WORLDLY POWER

[1] Similarly, neither can worldly power be man’s highest good, since in its attainment, also, fortune can play a most important part. It is also unstable; nor is it subject to man’s will; oftentimes it comes to bad men-and these characteristics are incompatible with the highest good, as was evident in the foregoing arguments.

[2] Again, man is deemed good chiefly in terms of his attainment of the highest good. Now, he is not called good, or bad, simply because he has power, for not everyone who can do good things is a good man, nor is a person bad because he is able to do evil things. Therefore, the highest good does not consist in the fact of being powerful.

[3] Besides, all power is relative to some other thing. But the highest good is not relative to something else. Therefore, power is not man’s highest good.

[4] Moreover, a thing that one can use both for good and for evil cannot be man’s highest good, for that is better which no one can use in a bad way. Now, one can use power well or badly, “for rational powers are capable of contrary effects.” Therefore, man’s highest good does not consist in human power.

[5] Furthermore, if any sort of power is the highest good, it ought to be the most perfect. But human power is most imperfect, since it is rooted in the wills and the opinions of men, in which there is the greatest inconstancy. And the more important the power is considered to be, the more does it depend on large numbers of people, which fact also contributes to its frailty, since what depends on many can be destroyed in many ways. Therefore, man’s highest good does not lie in worldly power.

[6] Man’s felicity, then, consists in no exterior good, since all exterior goods, the ones that are called “goods of fortune,” are contained under the preceding headings.

Next - CONTRA GENTILES - BOOK THREE: PROVIDENCE -
Chapter 32 THAT FELICITY DOES NOT CONSIST IN GOODS OF THE BODY

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