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Boethius--The Consolation of Philosophy

        Boethius expresses the by now traditional Platonic critique of poetry: poetry is an inferior pursuit, even a dangerous pursuit. The Muses of poetry are described by the goddess of philosophy as "seducing mummers . . . with poisonous sweets." They "stifle the fruit-bearing harvest of reason with the barren briars of the passions."
        For Boethius, philosophy is the highest, and only, truly legitimate pursuit. Philosophers have always been at variance with the ways of men and have always been attacked as a result. The chief aim of philosophers is to oppose evil. The dejection of Boethius is due to a limited human perspective; the consolation of philosophy is achieved when one raises one's focus from the human to the Divine perspective. Part of achieving Divine perspective is the acceptance of the transience of temporal things and circumstances: Fortune's wheel spins one to the top and to the bottom. Therefore the most important thing is one's attitude: nothing is inherently wretched unless made so in one's mind. In this way Boethius recommends a spiritual stance which sounds remarkably like the way of the Buddha between fear and desire. Bearing good and bad fortune equally with calmness and acceptance will bring one peace.
        Poetry, by its nature, dulls the reason by exciting the passions of fear and desire; therefore poetry is opposed to the aims of the philosophy of Boethius.