Explain Lady Philosophy’s arguments that bodily pleasure does not bring happiness.

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As a Neoplatonist philosopher, Boethius believes that the soul is much more important, more real, than the body. Whereas the body is always be subject to age and decay, the soul will endure, going on to be reincarnated in a new body in the next stage of its earthly existence.

The soul is the seat of rationality in a human being and must therefore be properly looked after and cultivated if one is to lead the kind of contemplative life recommended by the allegorical figure of Lady Philosophy. When she appears to Boethius in his jail cell, Lady Philosophy urges him to realize that the body is fundamentally weak, something that can so easily be damaged and destroyed. Even a bite from the tiniest gnat is enough to kill the body. Yet the soul cannot be destroyed. Even if a man is subject to the most brutal torture, his body disfigured by the turn of the rack or the lash of the whip, his soul will remain untouched.

Lady Philosophy is especially scathing of bodily pleasures. She points out that a preoccupation with bodily pleasure places us on the same level as animals—like the beasts of the field—that also seek to satisfy their bodily desires. For Lady Philosophy, bodily pleasures can only lead to bad consequences, such as disease, grief, and sin. It is therefore imperative that the wise man should focus instead on cultivating his soul, which is the only way to achieve lasting happiness.

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