Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/682

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is of consequence as the starting-point wherefrom to count the efficacy of deprivations. The pains opposed to the pleasures of self-esteem and praise are among the most powerful weapons in the armory of the disciplinarian. They are the chief reliance of such as deprecate corporeal inflictions. Bentham's elaborate scheme of discipline in the "Chrestomathia" is a manipulation of the motives of praise and dispraise, which he would fain make us believe to be all-sufficient.

Of the two divisions of the present class of emotions, namely, self-esteem on the one hand, and desire of praise on the other, the opposite of the first—self-reproach, self-humbling—is very little under foreign influence. To induce people to think meanly of themselves is no easy task; with the mass of human beings it is wellnigh hopeless. Any success that attends the endeavor is an offshoot from the second member of the class under discussion, namely, dispraise, depreciation. There is no mistaking our aim here; we can make our power felt in this form, whether it has the other effect or not. People live so much on one another's good opinion that the remission tells in an instant; from the simple abatement or loss of estimation there is a descent into the depths of disesteem with a result of unspeakable suffering. The efforts that the victim makes to right himself under censure only show how keenly it is felt. There can be little doubt that on the delicate handling of this instrument must depend the highest refinements of moral control.

The Emotions of Intellect.—The pleasurable emotions incident to the exercise of the intellectual powers have not the formidable magnitude that we have assigned to the foregoing groups. Indeed, on the occasions when they seem to burst forth with an intense glow, we can discern the presence of emanations from these other great fountains of feeling.

It is an effort of prime importance to trace exhaustively the inducements and allurements to intellectual exertion. What are the intrinsic charms of knowledge, whether in pursuit or in possession? The difficulty of the answer is increased rather than diminished by the flow of fifty years' rhetoric.

Knowledge has such a wide compass, embraces such various ingredients, that, until we discriminate the kinds of it, we cannot speak precisely either of its charms or of its absence of charm. Some sorts of knowledge are interesting to everybody; some interest only a few. The serious part of the case is, that the most valuable kinds of knowledge are often the least interesting.

The important distinction to be drawn here is between individual or concrete knowledge and general or abstract knowledge. As a rule, particulars are interesting as well as easy; generals uninteresting and hard. When particulars are not interesting, it is often from their being overshadowed by generals. When generals are made interesting, it is by a happy reflected influence upon the particulars. It would serve