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mental and character life. A tall man is perhaps a foot taller than a very short man; a giant is perhaps twice as
tall as a dwarf. A very fleet runner can "do" a hundred yards in ten seconds, and there are few except the
crippled or aged who cannot run the distance in twenty seconds. Only in the fables has the hero the strength of
a dozen men. But where dexterity or knowledge enters things become different, and one man can do what the
most of men cannot even prepare to do. Where abstract thought or talent or genius is involved the greatest
human variability is seen. There we have Pascals who are mathematicians at five and discoverers at sixteen;
there we have Mozarts, composers at three; there we have our inspired boy preachers already consecrated to
their great ideal of work; and we have also our Jesse Pomeroys, fiendish murderers before adolescence. I
believe with Carlyle that it is the heroes, the geniuses of the race, to whom we owe its achievements; and the
hero and the genius are the men and women of "greatest variability" in powers. The first weapon, the starting
of fire, the song that became "a folk song" were created by the prehistoric geniuses and became the social
heritage of the group or race. And "common man" did little to develop religions or even superstitions; he
merely accepted the belief of a leader.
This digression is to emphasize that children and the men and women they grow to be are widely variable in
their native social feeling, in their response to praise, blame, reward and punishmept. One child eagerly
responds to all, is moved by praise, loves reward, fears punishment and hates blame. Another child responds
mainly to reward, is but little moved by praise, fears punishment and laughs at blame. Still another only fears
punishment, while there is a type of deeply antisocial nature which goes his own way, seeking his own
egoistic purposes, uninfluenced by the opinion of others, accepting reward cynically and fighting against
punishment. More than that, each child shows peculiarities in the types of praise, reward, blame and
punishment that move him. Some children need...
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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