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Unformatted text preview: of time even they who have defended begin to shift from it and it
becomes refuted. Beliefs, as Lecky so well pointed out, are not so of ten destroyed as become obsolete.
 Lecky: "History of European Morals." As he points out, the belief in witchcraft never was disproved, it
simply died because science made it impossible to believe that witches could disorganize natural laws.
It may seem as if imitation were a separate principle in mental growth, and there have been many to state this.
As is well known Tarde made it a leading factor in human development. It seems to me that it is linked up
with desire for experience, desire for fellowship, and also with a strongly competitive feeling, which is early
manifest in children and which may be called "a want of what the other fellow has." Children at the age of a
year and up may be perfectly pleased with what they have until they see another child playing with
something,--something perhaps identical with their own. They then betray a decided, uncontrollable desire for
the other child's toy; they are no longer content with their own, and by one means or another they seek to get
it,--by forcible means, by wheedling or coaxing, or by tormenting their parents. The disappearance of
contentment through the competitive feeling, the competitive nature of desire, the role that envy plays in the
happiness and effort of man, is a thesis emphasized by every moralist and philosopher since the beginning of
things. In the strivings of every man, though he admit it or not, one of the secret springs of his energy is this
law of desire, that a large part of its power and persistence is in the competitive feeling, is in envy and the
wish to taste what others are experiencing.
A basic law of desire lies in an observation of Lotze, elaborated by William James. We may talk of selfishness
and altruism as if they were entirely separate qualities of human nature. But what seems to be true is that one
is an extension of the...
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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