The Letters Of Abelard And Heloise

1129 words - 5 pages

In the story of "The Letters of Abelard and Heloise" is thought to be one of the world's most greatful and tragic love affairs. In the realm of critical thinking, Abelard undoubtedly ranked highly in his day. He was an expert dialectician, philosopher and theologian, and as a result led a movement towards individual thinking. He traveled a lonely path of individuality, and when his ideas were suppressed, he found different ways to express his individuality. The beginning of his life was marked by extreme personal freedom. As his journey through life continued, he found himself compounded with innumerable restrictions.He could not change by playing the role as a monk, and his individuality brought him even greater misfortune. He may forewarn others against the risks of such extreme individualism, but his life clearly shows that Abelard thought his individuality was a natural part of him, a part that was as inseparable as his faith.From the start of Abelard's Story of my Calamities, he thinks of himself as an individual. The as oldest child in his family his life was intended for a military career, but as he tells us, he abandoned Mars for Minerva, denouncing the popular and glorious profession of arms for that of learning. In writing this he shows his clever and distinct way of thinking by referring to dialectic, the art of examining options or ideas logically, as a weapon of war. "I chose the weapons of dialectic to all the other teachings of philosophy, and armed with these I chose the conflicts of disputation instead of the trophies of war." (p. 58, ll. 7-9). This is remarkable for the son of a soldier to make such a choice - even renouncing his inheritance - and pursue only intellectual advancement. Leaving home, he traveled off to school in Paris. He was welcomed for a short while, but soon found disfavor with his teacher Champeaux, the grand master of dialectic at the time, by refuting his arguments and proving himself several times to be the superior in debate. This shows Abelard's superior intellect at a very early age.This early conflict caused Abelard to leave and start his own school. Unfortunately, he could not maintain it and had to return home.Years later he was teaching in Paris again, he tells us how pupils flocked to him from every country in Europe, a statement which is more than corroborated by the authority of his contemporaries. In the Story of My Calamities, he confesses that at that period of his life he was filled with vanity and pride. "I began to think myself the only philosopher in the world, with nothing to fear from anyone, and so I yielded to the lusts of the flesh." (p.65, ll.13-15). This statement is a window into what made Abelard an individual. Then he tells us in graphic language the tale of how he fell in love with Heloise, niece of Canon Fulbert.In the midst of his exploits he met Heloise, and in the first time writing about her in The Story of My Calamities he describes her individuality. " the extent of...

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