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Additional resources for Altruism;: Its nature and varieties; the Ely lectures for 1917-18,

Example text

When we teachers offer to make our pupils wiser, we promise what we cannot perform. Ourselves we can make wiser. To our pupils we can only offer material for their use. We may tell them that by devoting themselves to study they will reach capacious lives. But such If our lives we have no power to bestow. suggestions are rejected, we are helpless. Such is Kant s extreme theory. But has he gone far enough? Have I any more I certainly ability to impart a pleasure? cannot pick up a pleasure and put it into another person, regardless of how it will There must be co-operation.

If another person can scatter a pleasure or two in his path, it is a worthy altruistic act. But for any one but himself to undertake his con presumptuous and, indeed, im In building a house we use possible. plastic material, which has no will. But a struction person is is essentially active, and beyond the reach self -directed, of agencies other i 42 ALTRUISM than his own. When we teachers offer to make our pupils wiser, we promise what we cannot perform. Ourselves we can make wiser. To our pupils we can only offer material for their use.

These form successively higher stages of giving, the judgment, greatest gift of all being, in my the gift of growth. Curiously enough, Kant as immoral. Man, he denounces this urges, is a person, the only being, so far as we know, who is capable of self-develop ment. To attempt to take away this power and substitute another s developing agency A man s growth is the is an intrusion. business of no one but himself. If another person can scatter a pleasure or two in his path, it is a worthy altruistic act.

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