Explain the difference between happiness and fortune in book 2 of the Consolation of Philosophy.

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According to Lady Philosophy in book 2 of the Consolation of Philosophy, it is actually impossible for a human to be truly happy on earth—this is something that can only be achieved in heaven. In conversation with Boethius, she explains that although he may have been blessed with "gifts" from Lady Fortune earlier in his life, he should not actually allow himself to dwell on the fact that these things have now been taken away, because they were only loans to begin with. Fortune, or luck, is something which can give a man such things as wealth, or good health, or a beautiful family. Boethius still has the family Fortune gifted to him; this has not been taken away. The other things Fortune bestowed upon him may have been taken from him, and so he feels that he is now less happy than he was then. But, according to Lady Philosophy, it is actually impossible for material, earthly things to make a person happy.

Good fortune, then, may have made Boethius feel temporarily happy, but fortune's gifts—honor, power, wealth and possessions—actually have no inherent value. Wealth has value only in context; power and honor can be lost; possessions can be taken away. The only lasting gift Fortune can bestow, Philosophy explains, is wisdom, particularly the wisdom that comes from having been blessed by Fortune and then lost those blessings. Because the human soul is not temporary, it can never achieve lasting happiness through temporary blessings from Fortune which will be meaningless in the kingdom of God.

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