Being and Other Realities

Being and Other Realities

Being and Other Realities

Being and Other Realities

Excerpt

It does not take long before an infant becomes aware that it has to act in different ways on different occasions. New insistent demands, the responses of others, and its failure to obtain satisfactions cut short its inclination to act along the lines it had previously followed with some success. Not all that it seeks or that it is required to do is benign; nor does it always focus on what is best for it. The most desirable outcomes and the best of habits are not always produced. On the whole, an infant will be content to have its needs satisfied, to be left undisturbed, free from pain or threat, with its major urges quieted. Later, it may fare better, but rarely as well as it could and should. The young cast long shadows on the promise they may realize.

Only some acts are in the best interests of those who perform them. Restraint must be exercised, and what is irrelevant or counterproductive must be altered or avoided. Much has to be done to enable one to live on one's own terms, or even to fit in well with others. New demands push forward, requiring fresh ways of acting. With time, old habits are modified and others carried out, more or less in consonance with common, established practices.

Since there are many individuals, obdurate and insistent, together able to use considerable power, it is expedient for each to plan, speak, and act in considerable consonance with what is prescribed and with what is usually done. At the same time, each both assesses and adjusts himself to the natures and activities of what is confronted, as well as to what is expected. In consequence, what is done will be a complex outcome of . . .

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