03 March 2014

More Augustine on privation

From Against the Epistle of Manichaeus
For who can doubt that the whole of that which is called evil is nothing else than
corruption? Different evils may, indeed, be called by different names; but that which
is the evil of all things in which any evil is perceptible is corruption. So the corruption
of the educated mind is ignorance: the corruption of the prudent mind is imprudence;
the corruption of the just mind, injustice; the corruption of the brave mind, cowardice;
the corruption of a calm, peaceful mind, cupidity, fear, sorrow, pride. Again, in a
living body the corruption of health is pain and disease; the corruption of strength is
exhaustion; the corruption of rest is toil. Again, in any corporeal thing, the corruption
of beauty is ugliness; the corruption of straightness is crookedness; the corruption of
order is confusion; the corruption of entireness is disseverance, or fracture, or
diminution. . . . Enough has been said to show that corruption does harm only by
displacing the natural condition; and so, corruption is not nature, but against nature.
And if corruption is the only evil to be found anywhere, and if corruption is not
nature, no nature is evil.

On the Nature of Good
“Nature therefore which has been corrupted, is called evil, for assuredly when incorrupt it is good; but even when corrupt, so far as it is nature it is good, so far as it is corrupted it is evil.” 4