Healing the Sicknesses of Philautia and Egocentricity through the Restoration of the Nous

In a previous post, I mentioned, “The soul of fallen man has come under the illusion of self-sufficiency.  Therefore, it is not satisfied with concerning itself with temporal needs (food, clothing, and shelter), but seeks also to dominate nature and others as well as to find new sources of sensual enjoyment.  In fact, man begins to view self-expansion and the self’s pleasures in their extreme form as inalienable rights.  Such a soul has become what is today called an ego. On the one hand, our spirit (or nous) in communion with God is our real self, the true seat of our personhood. On the other … [Read more...]

Saint Anthony the Great’s Three Keys to the Spiritual Life

"I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, 'Humility.'" A brother said to Abba Anthony, "Pray for me." The old man said to him, " I will have no mercy upon you, nor will God have any, if you yourself do not make an effort and if you do not pray to God. The brothers praised a monk before Abba Anthony. When the monk came to see him, Anthony wanted to know how he would bear insults; and seeing that he could not bear them at all, he said to him, "You are like a village magnificently … [Read more...]

Self-esteem, Philautia, and the Fathers’ Solution

For many people, the barometer, that determines whether they are happy or not, has to do with their self-esteem. William James once defined self-esteem as “perceived competence in domains of importance.” So if I value writing good posts, my self esteem should go up if others tell me that such is the case and I will then feel good about myself. If a businessman values becoming a CEO, a promotion to that position will be a promotion in self-esteem that will make him feel good about himself. If young woman values being a smart dresser, comments by others to that effect will increase her … [Read more...]