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Development Of Reason And Will





Later still, when the child is older, we may have somewhat the following
mechanism: "Sweets, good, want, taste; spank, hurt; don't care, spank
not hurt much, maybe never found put, sweets very good."

Now the child is reasoning and choosing between two courses of action,
don't and do. His decision will depend upon whether immediate
satisfaction of desire is stronger than the deferred satisfaction of
being good, and the fear of punishment. He probably prefers to take a
chance, and even if the worst comes, weighs it with the other worst, not
having the sweet--and takes the "bird in the hand." He has reasoned, and
has chosen between two emotions the one which his judgment says is the
more desirable; and his will carries out the decision of his reasoning.
His chief end in life is still to get the most immediate pleasure. Still
later in child-life, much later, perhaps, his decision about the jam is
based on neither love of it nor fear of punishment, but--despite his
still sweet tooth--on a reasoned conclusion that if he eats jam now he
may be sick, or he may spoil his appetite for dinner; or on a
consideration that sweets between meals are not best on dietetic
principles; and will very readily backs up the result of his
reasoning. Though his determination is largely based upon feeling,
reason has chosen between feelings, between immediate desire to have,
and desire to avoid future discomfort. Reason is triumphant over present
desire.





Next: Judgment

Previous: The Beginning Of Reason



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