Fundamental Question: “Who Am I?”
In Book VIII of Confessions, Augustine tells the story of his conversion, the miraculous change that, it might be thought, would end the intellectual wanderings of his youth and bring peace to his restless heart. Yet Augustine goes on to pose some truly fundamental questions near the beginning Book IX: “Who am I, and what am I?” (IX.1.1). Even after his conversion, that is, there is much that Augustine fails to understand about himself: his mind, his heart, his failings, and his place in the world. He still confesses to God, “In your eyes, I have become a question to myself” (X.33.50).
The “Who Am I” question thus guides the student’s journey through the ACS 1000 and 1001 sequence, from the ancients to the moderns. In order to ask, “Who am I?” as Augustine did, students must examine not only the ancient world but the modern world as well—our world. Accordingly, if ACS 1000 is about “Augustine and His World,” ACS 1001 may be said to be about “Augustine and Our World.