A Choice For Life
The decision to be selfish or unselfish is not just a choice of the moment but is a fundamental part of character, as it is one of the first, if not the first, value that is formed by the developing mind of a baby. Nature delivers the infant with an incomplete set of values along with the ability to request succour. The history of the results of infantile demands insensibly teaches the first lessons of life, which become the foundation for understanding all other experiences.
Inevitable Results Of An Undisciplined Upbringing
Adults who allow their basic desire to pamper children dominate the way they rear their offspring, such as by feeding on demand, are placing the baby in control and insensibly teaching:
1. The baby's feelings rule.
The youthful students can only learn that the most important thing in its life is its feelings, because they rule the baby, who rules the household. When the baby cries adults leap into action to relieve the distress, regardless of the reason for the tears; and when the baby smiles, the adults smile and so confirm who is in charge.
2. The baby is the servant of its feelings.
Indulging feelings is Right, failing to indulge feelings is Wrong, hence Justice is getting what you want.
3. The parent is the servant of the child.
Having learnt how to get a response, the infant will invoke tears whenever it does not get its own way, and reward with a smile whenever it does. The lesson being foisted on developing newly born awareness is that their guardians can be manipulated by clever use of tears and smiles, so the way to get on is to display these emotions as required; which in turn must also teach:
i. Contempt For Authority: Allowing children to manipulate their parents throughout childhood can only teach the developing citizen that authority, with its restrictions and laws, is nothing but hot air that can be safely flouted by emotional appeal.
ii. Truth Is Unimportant: By failing to enforce a fixed set of rules and allowing the child to avoid punishment despite fault, the lesson must be that truth (what actually happened) is unimportant compared to the subsequent emotional reaction of others.
This is Selfishness: the pursuit of self-indulgence won by feigned emotional responses to others, regardless of the inevitable denial of truth; restrained only by convenience —immorality.
Inevitable Results Of A Disciplined Upbringing
Whereas if the child learns it has to adapt its wishes to meet the demands of the parents, such as four-hourly feeding, then the lessons taught are:
1. The parent is the master of the child.
The child must be obedient and respectful to those in authority; when the parent smiles the baby smiles, and so confirms who is in charge.
2. The child is the master of its feelings.
The child must control its feelings to meet the wishes of authority.
3. The child's feelings can only be sated when it is right.
The child must learn Right, which is that approved by authority, from Wrong, which is that disapproved by authority.
This is Unselfishness: the pursuit of duty, showing respect, being obedient and upholding right over wrong (justice), all founded upon truth —morality.
And once these values are learnt they become the parent of all other values and so control the understanding of the future adult. The subsequent personality must be either be selfish or unselfish, depending upon this early education.
We All Like To Be Thought Unselfish
At a more mature stage in life many selfish people may wish to be thought unselfish, but this springs from self-seeking motives and is part of being self-centred; for well before the age of reason has been reached, this question has been irrevocably decided by childhood.
Decision Made By Upbringing
The decision to be moral or immoral is not a conscious decision but is resolved in early childhood before awareness has properly developed. So unless unselfishness is imbued during infancy by enforcing a code of discipline, the subsequent adult must become selfish, and thus immoral.
|« NEXT »||« Two Kinds Of People »||« A Study Of Our Decline »||« Home »|