07 February 2007

Mystery Passage: Guess the Book and Author

I've thought of adding this feature to my blog, and today I'll do it. Once a month, I'll give a quotation from a book, and your job is to guess which book it is, by which author.

Today's inaugural post along these lines has a bonus. You can also try to guess an author quoted within the text.

The mystery passage I have in mind is found within a section of the book which carries this curious subtitle:

UTRUM INTEMPERANTIA SIT PUERILE PECCATUM

And the passage is as follows. (You will see that it contains a quotation. Your task is to guess also the source of the quotation.)

We are wilful, and are so from infancy. We may think that when a baby cries and screams for the breast this shows that he is the helpless victim of his physical needs. Yet we do not have to think that. Do we really know that a baby's physical needs are objectively greater and therefore more overwhelming than those of adults, and that the baby is simply overcome by his needs? We could equally think that a baby values his needs in an infantile way. What is overwhelming is the baby's peremptory will, his desires, his demands. ______ tends to come down in favor of the second opinion:
At first ... the child is much more dependent and in much more need than the animal. Yet in this, too, the child already manifests its higher nature. It at once makes known its wants in unruly, stormy, and peremptory fashion. Whereas the animal is silent or expresses its pain only by groaning, the child makes known its wants by screaming. By this ideal activity, the child shows that it is straightaway imbued with the certainty that it has a right to demand from the outer world the satisfaction of its needs, that the independence of the outer world is non-existent where man is concerned.


Answer (increase text size to view):

I wasn't entirely fair. The subtitle in Latin would understandably throw someone off. But the passage comes from John Casey's Pagan Virtue (Clarendon, 1990), and the text he quotes is Hegel, Philosophy of Mind, sect. 396.

1 comments:

steven andresen said...

Wild guess: Augustine quoting Marcus Aurelius.