Pagina:Scientia - Vol. IX.djvu/398

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390 scientia

a year, the reckless might have a rate of impatience of 10 per cent, when the forehanded would experience a rate of only 5 per cent.

Therefore the rate of impatience, in general, will be higher in a community consisting of reckless individuals than in one consisting of the opposite type.

2) We come next to self-control. This trait, though, distinct from foresight, is usually associated with it and has very similar effects. Foresight has to do with thinking; self-control with willing. A weak will usually goes with a weak intellect, though not necessarily, and not always. The effect of a weak will is similar to the effect of inferior foresight. Like those workingmen who cannot carry their pay home Saturday night, but spend it in a grogshop on the way, many persons cannot deny themselves any present indulgence, even when they know definitely what the consequences will be in the future. Others, on the contrary, have no difficulty in controlling themselves in the face of all temptations.

3) The third characteristic of human nature which needs to be considered is habit. That to which one is accustomed exerts necessarily a powerful influence upon his valuations and therefore upon his rate of impatience. This influence may be in either direction. A rich man’s son who has been brought up in habits of self-indulgence, when he finds himself with a smaller income than his father provided him during his formative years, will have a higher rate of impatience than a man who has the same income but who has climbed up instead of climbed down.

4) The expectation of life will affect a man’s rate of impatience. A man who looks forward to a long life will have a relatively high appreciation of the future, which means a relatively low appreciation of the present, i. e. a low rate of impatience; whereas a man who has a short life to look forward to will want it at least to be a merry one. « Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die », is the motto applying to this type.

5) The fifth circumstance is love for posterity. Probably the most powerful cause tending to reduce the rate of interest is love for one’s children and the desire to provide for their good. When these sentiments decay, as they did decay at the time of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire,