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Unformatted text preview: air. Tarts! The child becomes excited, his mouth waters, and those tarts
become the symbol and substance of pleasure,--and within his reach. But in the back of his mind, urging him
to stop and consider, is the memory of mother's injunction, "You must always ask for tarts or candy or any
goodies before you take them." And there is the pain of punishment and scolding and the vision of father,
looking stern and not playing with one. These are distant, faint memories, weak forces,--but they influence
conduct so that the little one takes a tart and eats it hurriedly before mother returns and then runs into the
dining room or bedroom. Thus, instead of merely obeying an impulse to take the tart, as an uninstructed child
would, he has now become a little thief and has had his first real moral struggle.
But it is a grim law that sensual pleasures do not last beyond the period of gratification. If this were not so
there could be no morality in the world, and conscience would never reach any importance. Whether we
gratify sex appetite or gastric hunger, the pleasure goes at once. True, there may be a short afterglow of good
feeling, but rarely is it strongly affective, and very often it is replaced by a positive repulsion for the appetite.
On the other hand, to be out of conformity with your group is a permanent pain, and the fear of being found
out is an anxiety often too great to be endured. And so our child, with the tart gone, wishes he had not taken it,
perhaps not clearly or verbally; he is regretful, let us say. Out of this regret, out of this fear of being found out,
out of the pain of nonconformity, arises the conscience feeling which says, "Thou shalt not" or "Thou shalt,"
according to social teaching.
It may be objected that "Conscience often arrays itself against society, against social teaching, against perhaps
all men." It is not my place to trace the growth in mind of the idea of the Absolute Good, or absolute right and
wrong, with which a man must align himself. I believe it is the strength...
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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