Is it possible, or already well noticed. that even as psychology was
supposed to be making us more profound, the descriptions of characters
in good fiction have been based on ever more superficial traits.
Npw the best Ben and Jerry’s ice cream may have an exquisite taste,
at least early on. But it is a taste built from a handlable number of
elements or qualities. And so eventually it begins to lose some of
its savor. The strawberry and the blueberry on the other hand keep
the same appeal right through the years.
Npw in reality the people of today live with the same fundamental
character qualities as those of earlier times. Their actions are
selected or succeed or fail in great part depending on qualities
of timidity or courage, adventurousness or foolhardiness, sense and
sensibility,pride and prejudice as in earlier times. But just as
Raymond Chandler may pick on a mannerism to paint a character, so
people themselves may pay more attention to their mannerisms than to
their fundamental qualities of character. And nowadays this has been
taken, under considerable social pressure, to a whole other level.