This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: ectualized and socialized very early in the career of the child. In fact, we might judge a man largely by
the way he displays himself, whether by some essentially personal bodily character, some essentially mental
attribute or some essentially moral quantity; whether he seeks superiority as a means of getting power or as a
means of doing good; whether he seeks it within or without the code. One might go on indefinitely, including
such matters as whether he seeks superiority with tact or the reverse and whether he understands the essential
shallowness and futility of his pursuit or not. To be superior is back of most of striving, and it is the most
camouflaged of all human motives and pleasures. For this is true: that the preaching of humility, of righteous
conduct, of service, of self-sacrifice, by religion and ethics have convinced man that these are the qualities one
ought to have. So men seek, whenever they can, to dress their other motives and feelings in the garb of
Camouflage of motive as a means of social approval has thus become a very important part of character; we
seek constantly to penetrate the camouflage of our rivals and enemies and bitterly resist any effort to strip
away our own, often enough hiding it successfully from ourselves. There are few who face boldly their own
egoism, and their sincerity is often admired. Indeed, the frank child is admired because his egoism is
refreshing, i. e., he offers no problem to the observer. Out of the uneasiness that we feel in the presence of
dissimulation and insincerity has arisen the value we place on sincerity, frankness and honesty. To be accused
of insincerity or dishonesty of motive and act is fiercely resented.
The desire for power and superiority will of course take different directions in each person, according to his
make-up, teaching and the other circumstances of his life. Property as a means of pleasure, and as a symbol of
achievement and of personal worth, is valued highly from the earliest days of the child's life. Very early does
the child show that it prizes goods, shows an acquisitive trend that becomes finally glorified into...
View Full Document
- Spring '11