Morals and the Evolution of Man

Morals and the Evolution of Man

by Max Nordau


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The average man can act morally without first working out a clear picture of the future. It is enough that he has been trained to the habit of respecting current precepts, and of accepting the views obtaining in his circle as to what is good or bad, what is admissible or inadmissible. This morality, of course, is merely a matter of drill or training; it is unthinking automatism; it is inferior, and not to be compared with the living, creative morality of higher natures, which, as a sovereign law-giver, comes to an independent decision in every case and, like the guardian angel of childlike faith, guides man on his path through life, indicates the right course at the cross-roads, and warns him of pitfalls and stumbling-blocks. But for everyday use mechanical morality may suffice. In the uneventful existence of the average man, which passes in a stereotyped way, this mechanical morality is an acceptable guide and counsellor, but it remains an outside influence foreign to his inner consciousness; he is glad to deceive and outwit it, as a slave does his master's bailiff if he can do so without running the risk of a thrashing; but if his destiny unexpectedly rises above its accustomed dead level, then this dogmatic morality, which he has never really assimilated, leaves him in the lurch, and mournfully, in piteous tones, he utters the well-known cry, "It is easy to do one's duty; it is difficult to know where one's duty lies."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781515352471
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

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