This is the third of three posts concerning three passages in the third section, "Children & Dissolution," of the third chapter, "Ethics," of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, a book I reread this Christmas.

The philosopher:

The need for an upbringing is present in children as their own feeling of dissatisfaction within themselves at the way they are - as the drive to belong to the adult world whose superiority they sense...

The commentator: Childhood is the worst state to be in, and so the only good that can come out of it is precisely a sense of steadily and quickly coming out of it. Those who praise children for being such, for being just kids, are doing them more harm than good. Indeed, elsewhere Hegel writes: "By representing children, in the immature state which they feel they are in, as in fact mature, by endeavoring to make them satisfied with the way they are, this method distorts and obscures the true need of the children themselves for something better..." A child's true need is to become all that it is not, to undo itself entirely, to grow ever so swiftly out of a very messy and trying situation. The body of a child is its obstacle, its enemy. And It is here that we find one of the main wrongs that reside in the sexual desire for boys or girls. It is a desire for something that is in essence the enemy of the child; a desire for what imprisons, frustrates, and blocks them. The very nature of a pedophile's desire is to arrest a child's development. This is the dark root of Lolita—to arrest a body of time in a prison of language. This is why the damage of such a desire is often the extension (often into adulthood) of the prison sentence that is a boy's or girl's childhood.