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Roistering egoists watch that no one skips his turn to stand treat. CHAP.I Cronies who are not good fellows show their yellowness when one of them falls into trouble. Then he is given to understand that no one cares to see his long face or listen to his tale of woe. For such fair-weather friendship the refrain is, "If you 're out of health or money you need n't come around."
It is the role of good manners to sweeten social intercourse by deleting or refining the struggle among the "I's." The well-bred refrain from such irritants as conspicuousness in dress, loudness of speech, boasting, self-display, monopoly of the conversation, controversy, rudeness, the humiliating of others. The best manDers call for the constant subordination of the claims of one's self to the claims of the selves of others. When all in a circle act up to this standard, association becomes in the highest degree enjoyable provided that real congeniality exists. In the best circles of our South the harmonization of the demands of different egos has become a fine art. The way in which a well-bred Southerner let the conversation take any direction you seem to wish, always playing up to your lead and suppressing his own preference, reveals the secret of the oft-noted "charm" of southern society. In eighteenth-century France the higher social class developed manners of a suavity before unknown and the spread of these over the world has put many peoples in debt to the French. Throughout Spanish America one finds diffused an older, unselfsh, but less sympathetic, manner that grew up among the hidalgos of Spain.
Manners a for Harmo. nizing the of Differ
The percolation down among the people of the manners Courtesy wrought out in a leisure class is a very important step in sociali- sary Step zation. Politeness is, to be sure, a poor substitute for good-will zation and respect for the rights of others, but where these traits do not. yet exist it is most valuable. Its function is not to sweeten the relation of kins folk, friends, or lodge-brothers but to lessen the chasing between strangers, colleagues, or rivals. Wherever, as in South America, good manners have become the heritage of all classes, even peons, muleteers and deckhands, the contacts of
en give rise to few quarrels and brawls. Good manners cannrt, of course, do away with such hostility as arises from condict of interests; but they go far to prevent troubles which have
CHAP, I their origin in the naive assertion of the “I” in human inter
THE MIRRORED SELF
The disturbing state of mind we term “ self-consciousness" is Our Con. sciousness rather our consciousness of others; of others, however, as noticof Onlooking ing and appraising one's self. For many children the first exOthers
periences of figuring in the minds of another are extremely upsetting. Some unable to bear an unfamiliar eye cover the face or hide themselves. Under the stranger's gaze the bashful child blushes, makes random movements, twists its body, pulls at its clothing, puts its finger in its mouth, or bites its nails. Muscular co-ordination goes by the board, so that it drops or spills things, stumbles over trifling objects, and finds its hands and feet become alien. It may giggle, laugh nervously, stammer, or even lose voice and word memory. In stage fright the symptoms match closely those of extreme fear. Even the experienced speaker finds discomfort in the “cold” or “unsympathetic " stare.
However, if closer acquaintance reveals a kindly attitude in others, children cease to shrink from their attention and even begin to court it. “In the youngest children,” say Hall and Smith, 11 ". showing off ' seems to be the simple, openly expressed desire for recognition and sympathy, the step in the extension of the consciousness of self which naturally succeeds the baby's development of self through the investigation of the limits of its
own body." Infantile "Showing
The desire to play a star part in other people's minds develops 00" much earlier than is commonly supposed. “The child,” says
Professor Cooley, “ appropriates the visible actions of his parent or nurse, over which he finds he has some control, in quite the same way as he appropriates one of his own members or a plaything, and he will try to do things with this new possession, just as he does with his hand or his rattle. A girl six months old will attempt in the most evident and deliberate manner to attract at, tention to herself, to set going by her actions some of those movements of other persons that she has appropriated."
The human looking-g'ass in which the infant sees its little I 11 Pedagogical Seminary, Vol. X, p. 160.
reflected furnishes it a powerful stimulus to do things. Children CHAP. I brought up in foundling asylums, where they receive good physical care but not loving personal attention, learn to walk and to speak much later than those whose baby efforts call forth the encouraging "ohs" and "ahs" of an admiring family, whose sympathy baby soon learns to claim as his right.
Strong joy and grief depend upon the treatment this rudi- Histrionic mentary social self receives. In the case of M., I noticed as early as the fourth month a 'hurt' way of crying which seemed to indicate a sense of personal slight. . . . The slightest tone of reproof would produce it. On the other hand, if people took notice and laughed and encouraged, she was hilarious. At about fifteen months old, she had become a perfect little actress,' seeming to live largely in imaginations of her effect upon other people. She constantly and obviously laid traps for attention and looked abashed or wept at any signs of disapproval or indifference. . If she hit upon any little trick that made people laugh, she would be sure to repeat it. . . . She had quite a repertory of these small performances, which she would display to a sympathetic audience or even try upon strangers.'
Some never develop much beyond this childish stage. I recall a clever young college instructor who in every conversation wast sly occupied with the impression he was making. After he hal touched off an epigram you could see him busily priming the next one, in the meantime paying not the slightest attention to your remarks unless they dripped compliment. The callow mongist would make the round of his acquaintances like a land
d collecting rents and then retire to his den to gloat over the admiration he believed he had excited.
No one is totally indifferent to his mirrored self, but people d fer greatly in sensitiveness. The wise man schools himself to be content with the approval of the discerning. The strong man rres only for the handclap of his peers and will not be looking every minute for fear his social image has changed. Those born. the purple give themselves little concern over what the comly think of them. We perceive Haman was an upstart when we read: "But when Haman saw Mordecai in the King's ge, that he stood not up nor moved for him, he was full of indig
11 Cooley, "Human Nature and the Social Order," pp. 164-67.
ness to the
CHAP. I nation against Mordecai." After telling over his honors, he adds: "Yet all this availeth nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the King's gate." 13
A man may think he turns on his own axis, but "if failure or disgrace arrives, if he suddenly finds that the faces of men show coldness or contempt instead of the kindliness and deference that he is used to, he will perceive from the shock, the fear, the sense of being outcast and helpless, that he was living in the minds of others without knowing it, just as we daily walk the solid ground without thinking how it bears us up."
One we call "independent" or "self-sufficient" is not outside pendent" society nor dispensing altogether with social approval. He may Supported be a massive deep-draft character that from past approval has by Imagi- gained enough headway not to be stalled in the slack water of indifference, nor caught in an eddy of blame. He may be a discriminating person who smiles at the catcalls of the multitude provided only the wise appreciate him. He may be serene when all men revile him because in his imagination he sees himself triumphantly justified before some high tribunal of the worthies of the past or of the élite of the generations to come. As Ibsen puts into the mouth of one of his characters, "The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone," seeing that for corroboration he relies least on numbers or contemporaries. This is why faith in God is so bracing to the disinterested champion of an unpopular cause. Imagined divine approval enables him to hold his course amid general opposition and obloquy. In the homes. of the Christian missionaries in Inner China one can read from the many cheering religious texts hung about the walls how, aliens in a strange land, they feel the need of counteracting the moral isolation in which they live.
No One Is
Why the Vain Man Is Weak and Dependent
In a light-draft mind preoccupation with one's reflected self shows itself as vanity. The vain man, unlike the constructive and stable sort, cannot hold steadily to an idea of his worth. He cannot fix past social approval as a durable part of his thought of himself, cannot get the habit of taking his merits for granted. Hence his self-feeling is subject to great ups and downs. Let people show admiration or envy of him and he treads on air; but in a trice some slight or rebuff has cast him into the depths. His nature lacks a flywheel to carry him past the "dead points" in
18 Esther V: 9, 13.
14 Cooley, "Human Nature and the Social Order," p. 177.
his experience. He cannot keep up his self-confidence with the CHAP.I huzzas of last year or even last month; he needs his praise fresh. Such constant dependence is a weakness and will be exploited if it is worth while to do so. The vain man who happens to be rich or powerful or influential is an easy mark for sycophants and toadies, since he swallows gratefully the flattery that buoys his soul in hours of self-distrust. One who skilfully feeds the vain man his needed ration of "taffy" makes himself indispensable. Vanity, too, may be played upon to make one a tool of others. The vain are easy to get the better of and are always burning their fingers pulling other people's chestnuts out of the fire.
To pant for recognition, to yearn to impress one's personality Thirst for deeply upon one's people or one's time, is the essence of ambition. tion The ambitious youth thinks he thirsts to "do something" or to "be somebody," but his thirst would not be slaked by a success
body noticed or acknowledged. Really what he craves is to figure potently in the minds of others, to be greatly loved, admured, or feared. The mere notoriety-seeker is less nice and bankers to be read about or talkd about even if the self reflected is far from impressive. This type that would rather be butt than cher is kin to the lunatic with a mania for self-exhibition.
Less dependent than the ambitious is the power-seeker who lakes his thirst for self-effectuation by molding the destinies of cthers but cares nothing for recognition by them. The retiring Enancier or unofficial Warwick, who secretly pulls the wires that make politicians dance, finds his pleasure in seeing the puppets chey his will. Beyond him is the achiever, careless whether the public he benefits ever learns of his existence; but even he needs an inner circle who understand and appreciate his achievement.
It is rather a fine type that is captivated by the idea of recognition by the unborn. A man who shrinks from newspaper pubScity may revel in imagining his name in a stained glass window, carved on a portal, or attached to a street. As between wide fame and lasting fame the more imaginative prefer the latter, counting it better to be remembered by posterity than to be the pular idol of one's time.
In a time like ours, when money can work wonders, men are a to exaggerate its power over souls. Just as there are fools who think they can buy true love and silly rich who actually find satisfaction in the deference paid them by their lackeys and on