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to whom it is a personal affront to do this. What we call urbanity is tolerance of other opinions; what we call
reasonableness is the willingness to change opinions if convinced. What we call vacillation is to have no fixed
opinion, to be influenced at once by the opinions of others. The pleasure sought in argument is a victory for
our opinions and thus for ourselves.
Here Montaigne's wisdom aptly expresses itself: "We deride ourselves a hundred times when we mock our
neighbor." He is stubborn and unreasonable who does not agree with us. "Be reasonable," cry the
unreasonable as they argue. "How stubborn and pigheaded you are," say those inaccessible to reason. The
difficulty in reaching a true estimate of the world, ourselves and our neighbors lies in the egoism which
permeates our beliefs and opinions.
A second direction of the impulse to superiority is personal beauty. Not only does the young girl (or any other,
male or female) dress and adorn herself to attract those whose good opinion she seeks, but also she seeks
superiority over her competitors. Her own self-valuation increases with the admiration of some and the
discomfiture of others. To be beautiful, attractive or pretty becomes thus a goal to many aims of the
personality; it offers a route to success in obtaining power, riches, etc.; it yields the longed-for admiration, and
it gives the satisfaction of superiority. It rarely has in it any ideal of service or of help, though beauty in the
abstract is an ideal of high value. To desire to be beautiful physically as a leading aim usually leads to
selfishness and petty vanity. As a subsidiary aim it balances character, but unfortunately, as we have before
seen, it is inculcated as a primary aim early in the life of a girl. True, men seek to be beautiful in a masculine
way, but the goal of masculine beauty is strength, which is directly serviceable. This is not to say that there
are no men who are vain of their good looks, for th...
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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