How would St. Augustine describe the self?

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For Augustine, the self only has meaning in relation to God. Individuals can forge an identity of sorts apart from God, as Augustine himself did in his younger days, but it's not a self in the true sense of the word. In our estrangement from God we remain restless, never fully sure of who and what we are. It is only once we open our hearts and accept God into our lives that we can finally get in touch with our true selves:

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.

On this reading, a self is not an isolated unit, separate and apart from everything else. It is only a self insofar as it stands in an appropriate relation to God. According to Augustine, it was God who created the self. If we choose, then, to separate ourselves from the Almighty, we will become estranged from our Creator and lose touch with what makes each and every one of us unique.

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