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this is the end of real duty the average man or

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Unformatted text preview: hority has its burden, but in giving up its certainty man also gives up tranquillity. Much of modern neurasthenia is characterized by a feeling of uncertainty, unreality, doubt: what is right, what is real? True, as religion in the dogmatic sense relinquishes its power, ethics grow in value and men seek some other formula which will compensate for the dogma. It is no accident that as the old religions lose their complete control new ones appear, with all-embracing formula, like Christian Science, New Thought, etc. Though these start with elastic general principles, sooner or later the directions for conduct become minute and then fixed. The tragedy of a great founder of religion like Buddha or Christ is that though he gives out a great pure principle, his followers must have, demand and evolve a dogmatic religion with fixed ceremonials. Man, on the whole, does not want to choose; he wants to have the feeling that he ought to do this or that according to a code laid down by authority. This will make a real democracy always impossible. However the sentiment of duty arises, it becomes the central feeling in all inner conflicts, and it wrestles with inclination and the pleasant choice. Duty is the great inhibitor, but also it says "Thou shalt!" Ideally, duty involves self-sacrifice, and practically man dislikes self-sacrifice save where love is very strong. Duty chains a man to his task where he is inclined for a holiday. Duty may demand a man's life, and that sacrifice seems easier for men to make than the giving up of power and pelf. (In the late war it was no great trouble to pass CHAPTER VIII. 68 laws conscripting life; it was impossible to pass laws conscripting wealth. It was easier for a man to allow his son to go to war than to give up his wealth en masse.) The power of the feeling of duty and right over men is very variable. There are a few to whom the feeling of "ought" is all powerful; they cannot struggle against it, even though they wish to. All of their goings, comings and doings are governed thereby, and even though they fi...
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