The passage of the Confessions in question (which might also be familiar to fans of T.S. Eliot's Wasteland): "I came to Carthage, where a cauldron of shameful loves seethed and sounded about me on every side. I was not yet in love but I was in love with love, and by a more hidden want I hated myself for wanting little. I sought for something to love, for I was in love with love; I hated security, and a path free from snares." The point being that Augustine, afraid of real commitment, chose not to love people but instead the subjective experiences of attraction and intimacy, which of course only fed his frustration.
Augustine continues, with what could just as easily describe many of our popular entertainers: "Therefore, I defiled the very source of friendship by the filth of concupiscence, and its clear waters I befouled with the lust of hell. Yet foul and vicious as I was, with overflowing vanity, I took pride in being refined and cultured." One need only think of the recently uncovered rape culture of Hollywood, whose members have--for decades!--arrogated the role of moral and cultural educators of the nation.
To finish the passage, here Augustine remarking on how its downright providential that superficial love, unlike the genuine item, always fails: "I plunged headlong into love, whose captive I desired to be. But my God, my mercy, with how much gall did you sprinkle all that sweetness of mine, and how good you were to do it! For I was loved, and I had gained love's bond of joy. But in my joy I was bound about with painful chains of iron, so that I might be scourged by burning rods of jealousy, and suspicion, and fear, and anger, and quarreling."
This year, Valentine's Day coincides with Ash Wednesday. Thank God. I hate Valentine's Day for all its mercantilised erotomania, the awkward neckties, the hasty reservations, the second guessing--so much second guessing--the glaring fact that you can't pin the ineffable motions of love to a calendar. In the elementary schools it is now the rule that everyone give everyone a valentine treat, presumably for the same reason that zero-sum games are increasingly discouraged. Which of course squeezes it dry of any meaning it might once have had. Why did Valentine's Day ever make inroads into schools in the first place? It's a mystery to me, the whole thing's a mystery to me.