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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS                    19

experiences a feeling so great that it can be compared only with
the intense joy of one who discovers that he is being loved. It
is always in touching and conquering the minds of others that
we derive the only reward which is a true recompense.

Sometimes it happens that we pass through some moments
of happiness vouchsafed to men that they may continue their
existence in peace. It may be satisfied love, or a son born to us,
or the publication of a book, or a great discovery, which per-
suades us that no one ever was as happy as we are. But, if at
that moment some legal authority, or one which is vested in
our teacher, comes forward and offers us a medal or a reward,
then he acts as the tiresome destroyer of our true reward. " Who
are you," our vanished illusion might say, ** who has reminded
me that I ant not superior to all others since some one is so much
higher than I that he can give me a reward ? " The reward given
to a man should come only from God.

As for punishment, we do not mean to deny the social
function and the individual efficacy of it, but the moral adequacy
and the universal necessity for it. It is most useful when applied
to inferiors; but those are few, and social progress dees not depend
on them. The penal code threatens us with punishment if we are
dishonest within the limits prescribed by the law. But we are not
honest merely through fear of the law; we refrain from stealing and
killing because we see the intrinsic sinfulness in doing them, which
perception is intended to make us feel sharply, because the tenure
of our existence influences us towards good conduct and is con-
stantly and effectively restraining us from the danger of certain sins.

Without entering into psychological questions, it may be
affirmed that a delinquent, before he sins, knows of the existence
of a penalty and has felt the penal code weighing down on him. He
has challenged it, or he has entangled himself in it imagining that
he could set himself free; but there has ensued a struggle between
crime and punishment within his conscience. Whether or not this
penal code fulfills the purpose of preventing crime, undoubtedly
it has made for a single limited category of individuals—criminals.