For they ignorant and arrogant may purchase his

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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 altruism. 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...
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