Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Lausiac History (419-420AD)

A brief interlude from studying gave me the leisure to listen to this delightful work on monks who chose to live in the Egyptian desert and practice extreme austerity throughout their lives.  It would seem to be some inspiration for my self-inflicted pain with the cold open water swims, except that the monks endured hardship in order to renounce the world, whereas I am driven only by vainglory.  The monks also lived continuously in the manner of self denial, whereas I daily retreat back to my comforts.

It is, however, truly exceptional to think that these men and women would go to the most wild extremes in order to avoid temptations.  Often a beautiful young women would lock herself into a tomb in order to not be a source of ill thoughts for the men.  In spite of all this, it seems that most of them spent extraordinary amounts of time wrestling with evil spirits, even as they tried to devote their mind entirely to meditating on God and living in utmost simplicity.

Still, the second command in the Bible is "love your neighbor as your self"and this is a bit tricky to do if you chose to spend 10 years without once seeing or interacting with another person.

5 comments:

Delirious said...

And then there is "It is not good that the man should be a alone." But of course monks choose that by becoming celibate in the first place.

Rummuser said...

In the Eastern traditions, withdrawing from society and leading an ascetic life to achieve Union is a regular feature and every family will have instances of one or more members going away to achieve precisely that. There are of course less rigorous methods that appeal to the less committed!

Looney said...

@Delirious, I am wondering if there has been any monk-like subculture to the LDS.

Looney said...

@Rummuser, there is some question about who started this asceticism and why. Sometimes I wonder if it was a fusion of Christianity with more eastern traditions of asceticism.

Rummuser said...

What is often forgotten is that the Abrahamic religions are also from the East! Okay, the Westerners now call that area as Middle East, or Near East, but East it is!