Francesco Petrarch was a scholar, historian, and poet in the 14th century who was also famous for his letters. In a letter to the monk Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro, Petrarch wrote his response to St. Augustine’s Confessions, an autobiographical work. Below is an analysis of this letter.
The two principal purposes that Petrarch employed through the symbolism of the mountain were to express his feelings about the Father and the Son and to express his thoughts regarding people’s journeys to Heaven. The natives referred to the peak of the mountain as the Son, which Petrarch thought was ironic because he regarded it as more of a father figure. It was at the top of the mountain where Petrarch began to feel guilty about loving material things and turned towards Jesus. The idea of the journey up the mountain as the journey to happiness and Heaven also applies because Petrarch, like other people, got lost along the way. Sometimes he took the wrong path and descended back into the valley, and other times when he took the right path he found it difficult to climb. In this metaphor, the valley represents sin and the peak represents happiness. The distinction he draws between material and spiritual happiness is material happiness is looking outward onto the world and spiritual happiness is looking inward and knowing the soul is great. To Petrarch, the purpose of life is to rid oneself of earthly desires and impulses and turn to God and Jesus.
John Lock was an English philosopher and physician in the 17th and early 18th century. Below is a look at his work, The Second Treatise of Civil Government.
According to Locke, the condition of man in a “state of nature” was to keep his promises and obligations and for the most part everything was peaceful. Things were insecure, but it was acceptable to punish a wrong-doer. An example of the “state of nature” was the American frontier. The difference between Locke and Hobbes regarding “natural rights” and “natural law” was that Locke believed man knew what was right and wrong, and what possessions he had a right to own, whereas Hobbes believed that man in a “state of nature” did not know what was his and what was someone else’s. According to Locke, man was able to resolve conflicts, although he did not always do so. According to Hobbes, man was in a constant state of violence. Locke’s conception of man differed from Hobbes because Locke believed peace was the norm and man usually stayed at the norm. Hobbes believed man did not know the difference between good and evil. Consequently, man could only live in peace under the rule of one master with absolute power, and he believed if two states were at peace with each other, it only meant there was war going on somewhere else.