This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: of the social instinct, is a credulity, a willingness to accept as if personally
experienced things stated. Part of the seeking of experience is the asking of questions, because the mind seeks
a cause for every effect, a something to work from. Indeed, one of the main mental activities lies in the
explaining of things; an unrest is felt in the presence of the "not understood" which is not stilled until the
unknown is referred back to a thing understood or accepted without question. The child finds himself in a
world with laid-down beliefs and with explanations of one kind or another for everything. His group differs
from other groups in its explanations and beliefs; his family even may be peculiar in these matters. He asks,
he is answered and enjoined to believe. Without credulity there could be no organization of society, no rituals,
no ceremonials, no religions and customs,--but without the questioning spirit there could be no progress. Most
of the men and women of this world have much credulity and only a feeble questioning tendency, but there
are a few who from the start subject the answers given them to a rigid scrutiny and who test belief by results.
Let any one read the beliefs of savages, let him study the beliefs of the civilized in the spirit in which he
would test the statement of the performance of an automobile, and he can but marvel at man's credulity. Belief
and the acceptance of authority are the conservative forces of society, and they have their origin in the nursery
when the child asks, "Why does the moon get smaller?" and the mother answers, "Because, dear, God cuts a
piece off every day to make the stars with." The authorities, recognizing that their power lay in unquestioning
belief, have always sanctified it and made the pious, non-skeptical type the ideal and punished the
non-believer with death or ostracism. Fortunately for the race, the skeptic, if silenced, modifies the strength of
the belief he attacks and in the course...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11