Socrates: ah, here you are Aurelius, I was looking for you.
Aurelius: I am always with you, Socrates, you should know that.
Socrates: yes, dear Aurelius, this is what you say, but if you are always with me, why don’t you protect me better? What are guardian angels good for, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.
Aurelius: you are not happy with the things that are happening to you, aren’t you? However, you are the wisest of creatures as the pythia told you a long time ago, what more do you want?
Socrates: knowing that I don’t know anything don’t always help me in my daily life. Why do I have a guardian angel if he does nothing for me?
Aurelius: you have no idea what your life would be like if I didn’t protect you.
Socrates: here is a real sophist response, impossible to dispute. You are asking me to believe without proof because the questions I am asking you do not please you.
Aurelius: I make sure everything goes well for you, but you don’t always see it. If you had faith in me, you would know that everything is for the best.
Socrates: so when something negative happens to me, it’s positive?! I grant you that my ailments are often bearable and that in the long term, they prove sometimes beneficial but what do you say to those who lose their children? That everything is for the best for them? For their children? And what about terrorists, are they protected by their guardian angels too? That does not make sense!
Aurelius: I will answer you in two ways because your questions are multiple. First, if you know you don’t know anything, why worry about your mistakes? And how do you know that these are errors? As you say, what looks bad one day may turn out to be good the next. So accept what is because you do not know what will be. Furthermore, there is freedom for the sinner. It is essential that everyone can understand why to believe in the superior value of the good. The bad guys are those who have not found their guardian angel. They don’t let their hearts guide them.
Socrates: the one I call my benevolent demon prevents me from making mistakes, but he leaves me free?
Aurelius: that’s what I’m telling you. To listen to him, you have to believe in him. Because demons as angels, we can only act if we have free rein in your heart, and we cannot stop the evil. Just indicate that it exists.
Socrates: would you say that the victims were deaf?
Aurelius: they are the sign that we are not infallible. This is why they will be rewarded in the afterlife.
Socrates: sacrificed sheep, right? But for what purpose?
Aurelius: a goal that goes beyond the individual while serving him. You should know there are forces that are very difficult to fight against and that I cannot protect you from everything, otherwise you would be eternal and eternally happy. It’s incompatible with the very essence of life on earth. What happens has a meaning even when that meaning exceeds your capacity for understanding.
Socrates: it’s a difficult jump to make …
Aurelius: granted! However, believing in a guardian angel is a precious help because it gives you assurances that don’t exist in everyday life. That said, do whatever you want and see what works best for you. You want certainties where there cannot be any.
Socrates: you are a master in rhetoric, dear Aurelius.
Aurelius: it’s mainly that we don’t speak the same language, dear Socrates!
Want to think a little more? See The Confessions where St Augustine shows how divine grace is necessary to turn to good.
Want to help improve these dialogues? Write your comments and questions below.
Want to know more about the tastes of Socrates and Emily? Their favorite books are in the domain library.