Character and the Conduct of Life: Practical Psychology for Everyman

By William McDougall | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
Further Observations on Character

WE have seen that character is essentially a system of sentiments gradually developed through the experiences of life; each sentiment being an acquired liking or dislike, an enduring love, respect or admiration for, or a contempt, a scorn, hatred or loathing for, its object. And each sentiment, embodying in its structure one or more of the fundamental native tendencies, is a spring of action and of various emotions in relation to its object.

An array of sentiments possessed by an individual is hardly worthy of the name of character unless it is integrated to form a system by the dominance of a master‐ sentiment. And the sentiment most fitted to play this rôle of master-sentiment is self-regard. In its imperfect forms, such as ambition or pride, the sentiment of self‐ regard may give vigour to character and great consistency to conduct. But only in the form of self-respect, regulated by some ideal of character, can it form a character that is wholly admirable, a strong moral character.


SUBLIMATION

Certain features of character-formation on which I have not touched hitherto are deserving of some brief discus

-133-

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