The process of a child’s development consists of acquiring knowledge, which
requires the development of his capacity to grasp and deal with an
ever-widening range of abstractions. This involves the growth of two
interrelated but different chains of abstractions, two hierarchical structures
of concepts, which should be integrated, but seldom are: the cognitive and
the normative. The first deals with knowledge of the facts of reality—the
second, with the evaluation of these facts. The first forms the epistemological
foundation of science—the second, of morality and of art.
In today’s culture, the development of a child’s cognitive abstractions is
assisted to some minimal extent, even if ineptly, half-heartedly, with many
hampering, crippling obstacles (such as anti-rational doctrines and influences
which, today, are growing worse). But the development of a child’s normative
abstractions is not merely left unaided, it is all but stifled and destroyed.
The child whose valuing capacity survives the moral barbarism of his upbringing
has to find his own way to preserve and develop his sense of values.