Opposition Conquered

The tendency to oppose any new idea is one of the most striking peculiarities or vagaries of the human mind. It is almost always observed whenever any new line of thought or effort is presented, or when some work is to be done which is not strictly in accordance with the established order. For instance, should a person who is familiar only with English, desire to learn French or German, the human mind would be characteristically and instinctively opposed to such a departure from the usual order, and would resist continuously, even after a fair working knowledge of the language had been acquired by the application of a stronger desire or determination. The acquisition of knowledge under such circumstances is neither more nor less than one force quelling another. It succeeds in the very face of opposition, because the attack continues until the original resistance can no longer defend or maintain itself effectively.

If we were to view the illustration from a different standpoint, or rather if we were to replace the factor of age by that of youth, we would see a very different state of affairs. The child, not yet set in the grooves of habit, at least not to the same degree as the adult, would easily acquire a knowledge of French or German, or even of several languages, at the same time that he was acquiring a knowledge of English. He would accomplish this, too, with no more apparent effort, provided he was associating with those who made constant use of the foreign tongue or tongues, and who likewise required the child to converse in these languages, and also provided they did not instil opposition in the child's mind by means of ridicule or otherwise.

Concerning Habits
February 28, 1914

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