74 Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 and natural dynamism to keep its sight oriented towards God: “Reason is the eye of the soul, and the ability to see correctly is a virtue. Seeing God is the ultimate aim of looking, not because there would not be anything else behind him, but because there is nothing more noble to which human soul could pay attention.” (Augustinus 1986a, 21). However, because of being united with the body, the soul must active orientation to fulfil the requirements of physical existence. This is why, according to Augustine, action and contemplation are related to various activities of the human intellect which produce various kinds of knowledge: “in the human soul there is a certain rational marriage between contemplative reason and active reason, without a disruptive impact of their respective functions on the unity of the soul, without damaging the impact of the distinction of their roles on the unity of the soul” (Augustinus 2001, 373). Because knowledge is associated with being, these intellectual operations direct the soul towards various degrees of reality. In this sense, Augustine does not separate but distinguishes action from contemplation from a scholarly point of view (by intellectual knowledge of outer things and wisdom), which means intellectual knowledge of the highest eternal ideas, drawing attention to the internal orientation of the first towards the second (Augustinus 2001, 379). According to Augustine (1986b, 224), contemplation is the true highlight of the life of a sage and the way to obtain true knowledge of changeless and immaterial reality: “it searches for a refuge in God, contemplation of the truth itself, which represents an immense, noble reward for the soul of a sage.” Following the path commanded by God, enlightened by His grace, culminates in the supreme Creator and sovereign principle of all things. This is when man in the highest act of contemplation realizes the vanity and contingency of everything that has been created (Lichner and Hamarová 2021, 48–53). Contemplation, as perfect knowledge, represents the answer to the effort of a man aimed at the pursuit of happiness (Augustinus 1986b, 33). Rational thinking brings the means to get to know visible, created things, which are substantially contingent and represent only the image of true being that is incorporeal, supratemporal and transcending space. Augustine (2001, 379) quotes from apostle Paul’s First Letter to Corinthians (12:8): “To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit,” and this quotation allows him to distinguish “intellectual knowledge of eternal things from rational knowledge of temporal things”. In this context, scholarly knowledge represents a link between the experience of the senses that make us feel physical naturalness and intellectual understanding of eternal truths. Activity provides the means of contemplation, but only when it contributes to the growth of wisdom through the unveiling of universal laws and numeric principles that rule nature: “Desire for knowledge is inherent to reason, because knowledge substantiates material subjects perceived by the physical senses, and its reasonable use helps this knowledge relate to the ultimate goal – sovereign goodness; this knowledge, however, is used in the wrong way if it remains there, rejoices there and if illusory bliss is sought there.” (Augustinus 2001, 371). As Augustine affirms, every action can have both positive and negative connotations. 5 Right and Wrong Cognition Augustine believes that active cognition is used correctly when it does not remain focused on itself as the ultimate goal but proceeds on its way towards a higher eternal order. Contemplation is thus the conclusion of partial moral decisions supported by virtues (Augustinus 1986a, 22). It is true that action may result in fault on a moral level by leading the soul towards excessive attachment to earthly goods and pushing it away from its fundamental orientation. Instead of searching for the ultimate good for all, the soul keeps everything to itself, creating the absoluteness based on contingent individual needs and desires. This is why Augustine described the original sin of Adam as a sin of pride, as an excessive love for action that captures the soul in the net of insignificant and temporal matters (Augustinus 2017, 86): “A man moves away from God as much as his heart is proud, and rushes into the abyss. In contrast, a humble heart will compel God bow down to him and be close to him.” (Augustinus 1956, 1317). Similarly, the sin of excessive curiosity – a concupiscence of the eyes – has its roots in a disordered desire to get to know physical and temporal images (Augustinus 1992, 25): It moves away from God not regarding place, but through love and craving for lower things than himself, filling his heart with imprudence and misery. He returns to God through love, which he does not use to get even with Him, but to subordinate. The sooner and more willingly he does it, the sooner he will be blessed, subordinate and free under His reign. This is why he needs to be aware of being a creation, for he must believe that his Creator remains inviolable and unchangeable by the nature of truth and wisdom, and he must confess that he can fall into the abyss of imprudence and deceit because of mistakes he tries to avoid. But again, he must prevent separation from the love of God that sanctifies and keeps him in the state