Friday, September 07, 2007

Quote Quiz: Who Said It?

Can you figure out who said the following things? Your options are: a.)a Muslim cleric, b.) a Talmudic scholar, c.) a famous Christian theologian and d.) a renowned Enlightenment philosopher. No Googling.

1. On masturbation: "Therefore, watch carefully over the young man; he can protect himself from all other foes, but it is for you to protect him against himself. Never leave him night or day, or at least share his room; never let him go to bed till he is sleepy, and let him rise as soon as he wakes. Distrust instinct as soon as you cease to rely altogether upon it. Instinct was good while he acted under its guidance only; now that he is in the midst of human institutions, instinct is not to be trusted. It must not be destroyed, it must be controlled, which is perhaps a more difficult matter. It would be very dangerous if instinct taught your pupil to divert these senses and to supplement the occasions for satisfying them. If once he acquires this dangerous supplement he is lost. From then on, body and soul will be enervated; he will carry to the grave the sad effects of this habit, the most fatal habit which a young man can be subjected to."

2. On masturbatory "rape": "This vice, which shame and timidity find so convenient, has a particular attraction for lively imaginations. It allows them to dispose, so to speak, of the whole female sex at their will, and to make any beauty who tempts them serve their pleasure without the need of first obtaining her consent."

3. On race: "I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered the symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In Jamaica, indeed, they talk of one Negro as a man of parts and learning; but it is likely he is admired for slender accomplishments, like a parrot who speaks a few words plainly."

4. On women: "One needs only to see the way she is built to realize that woman is not intended for great mental or for great physical labour. She expiates the guilt of life not through activity but through suffering, through the pains of childbirth, caring for the child and subjection to the man, to whom she should be a patient and cheering companion. Great suffering, joy, exertion, is not for her: her life should flow by more quietly, trivially, gently than the man’s without being essentially happier or happier. […] Thus nature has equipped women, as it has all its creatures, with the tools and weapons she needs for securing her existence, and at just the time she needs them; in doing which nature has acted with its usual economy. For just as the female ant loses it’s wings after mating, since they are then superfluous, indeed harmful to the business of raising the family, so the woman usually loses her beauty after one or two childbeds, and probably for the same reason."

5: On women: "As a consequence of her weaker reasoning powers, woman has a smaller share of the advantages and disadvantages these bring with them. She is, rather, a mental myopic […] One must say that the fundamental defect of the female character is a lack of a sense of justice. This originates first and foremost in their want of rationality and capacity for reflexion but it is strengthened by the fact that, as the weaker sex, they are driven to rely not on force but on cunning: hence their instinctive subtlety and their ineradicable tendency to tell lies … Dissimulation is thus inborn in her and consequently to be found in the stupid woman almost as often as in the clever one … A completely truthful woman who does not practice dissimulation is perhaps an impossibility, which is why women see through the dissimulation of others so easily it is inadvisable to attempt it with them."

6. On illegitimate children and infanticide: "Legislation cannot remove the disgrace of an illegitimate birth … A child that comes into the world apart from marriage is born outside the law … and therefore outside the protection of the law. It has, as it were, stolen into the commonwealth (like contraband merchandise), so that the commonwealth can ignore its existence (since it was not right that it should have come to exist this way), and can therefore also ignore its annihilation."

7. On rape: "No matter what torments I have to suffer, I can live morally. I must suffer them all, including the torments of death, rather than commit a disgraceful action. The moment I can no longer live in honour but become unworthy of life by such an action, I can no longer live at all. Thus it is far better to die honoured and respected than to prolong one’s life … by a disgraceful act … If, for instance, a woman cannot preserve her life any longer except by surrendering her person to the will of another, she is bound to give up her life rather than dishonour humanity in her own person, which is what she would be doing in giving herself up as a thing to the will of another."

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