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St. Augustine on Curiosity ***

There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity... It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.


- St. Augustine

***10/5/2013 - Note: this is probably a misquote, for the purpose of defaming St. Augustine.  I published it without any research as to its veracity, and I regret it.  He is a revered figure in Christianity and western culture, and whether we subscribe to his philosophy and views or not, everyone deserves at least to be described accurately. - James Carr.

Comments

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Alan Cossey said…
What's your source for this quote from Augustine, please? I can't find it anywhere and am therefore wondering if it is accurate.

Thanks.
Alan Cossey said…
Would you please let us know where you got this quote from. I can't find it anywhere and am wondering if your quote is accurate.

Many thanks.
Alan Cossey said…
Would you please let us know where you got this quote from. I can't find it anywhere and am wondering if your quote is accurate.

Many thanks.
Alan Cossey said…
If you go to http://www.ccel.org/ccel/augustine/confessions.xiii.html and scroll through, I think you'll find you misquoted Augustine. At least I can't find the bit you quote.

Besides this there is yet another form of temptation still more complex in its peril. For in addition to the fleshly appetite which strives for the gratification of all senses and pleasures--in which its slaves perish because they separate themselves from thee--there is also a certain vain and curious longing in the soul, rooted in the same bodily senses, which is cloaked under the name of knowledge and learning; not having pleasure in the flesh, but striving for new experiences through the flesh. This longing--since its origin is our appetite for learning, and since the sight is the chief of our senses in the acquisition of knowledge--is called in the divine language “the lust of the eyes.”380 For seeing is a function of the eyes; yet we also use this word for the other senses as well, when we exercise them in the search for knowledge. We do not say, “Listen how it glows,” “Smell how it glistens,” “Taste how it shines,” or “Feel how it flashes,” since all of these are said to be seen. And we do not simply say, “See how it shines,” which only the eyes can perceive; but we also say, “See how it sounds, see how it smells, see how it tastes, see how hard it is.” Thus, as we said before, the whole round of sensory experience is called “the lust of the eyes” because the function of seeing, in which the eyes have the principal role, is applied by analogy to the other senses when they are seeking after any kind of knowledge.

Etc.
James H Carr said…
Alan, I do not remember exactly where I found this quote, but since you asked, I have found at least one blogger who claims it is a false quote. (http://blog.drwile.com/?p=7590)

Since I value honesty and accuracy, I think I should remove this probable slander from my blog, or at least edit it to show that it is disputed.

Thanks for your input.

James Carr.

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