"The exercise of our faculties is the great end, though not the goal we had in view when we started with such eagerness."

— Wollstonecraft, Mary (1759-1797)


Place of Publication
London
Publisher
Joseph Johnson
Date
December 1790
Metaphor
"The exercise of our faculties is the great end, though not the goal we had in view when we started with such eagerness."
Metaphor in Context
If I were not afraid to derange your nervous system by the bare mention of a metaphysical enquiry, I should observe, Sir, that self-preservation is, literally speaking, the first law of nature; and that the care necessary to support and guard the body is the first step to unfold the mind, and inspire a manly spirit of independence. The mewing babe in swaddling-clothes, who is treated like a superior being, may perchance become a gentleman; but nature must have given him uncommon faculties if, when pleasure hangs on every bough, he has sufficient fortitude either to exercise his mind or body in order to acquire personal merit. The passions are necessary auxiliaries of reason: a present impulse pushes us forward, and when we discover that the game did not deserve the chace, we find that we have gone over much ground, and not only gained many new ideas, but a habit of thinking. The exercise of our faculties is the great end, though not the goal we had in view when we started with such eagerness.
(p. 46)
Categories
Provenance
Reading
Citation
First edition appears in December of 1790. Second edition, with MW's name on the cover, published December 14. 2 entries in ESTC (1790).

Reading The Vindications. eds. D. L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf. (Toronto: Broadview Press, 2001). [Based on the 2nd ed.] See also edition at the Online Library of Liberty <Link to OLL>.
Date of Entry
12/02/2009

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.