Revelations of Human Life

Essay by BizeekieCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

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In Petrarch's dialogue, "My Secret", St. Augustine depicts human life as an ongoing quest for virtue and self-discovery, which one should approach with humility and modesty. He maintains that life is a challenging period of trials and tribulations and that one must confront these challenges without succumbing to the corruption and debauchery inherent within them. "How many are the things that tempt your soul to perilous flights. You must take every precaution not to fall..." (Petrarch, Paragraph 9) Life, according to St. Augustine, is not a time for flaunting one's natural abilities and physical attributes. Rather, it is an opportunity to humble and redeem oneself for previous transgressions in order to improve the quality of his or her soul. "You can understand how insignificant are the things you pride yourself on. You know in how many ways your talent often fails you and how many are the skills in which you are not a match for even the humblest of mankind."

(Petrarch, Paragraph 9) St. Augustine's perception of human life advocates recognition of an individual's inferiority and continuous vigilance in the pursuit of virtue.