The word special

Catholics, Unitarians, Evangelicals, and most non-religious institutions charged with educating children insist that one of the first moral principles a child should learn is that he is “special”. The difficulty with insisting on this is that “special” denotes distinction from others by superiority. To insist that ones greatness comes from being special, then, will end up meaning that one cannot be great or virtuous except to the extent that he separates himself from others. This will mean that one must place his whole greatness in the particular and sensible good, as opposed to seeing it in the intelligible, spiritual, superabundant, communicable good. The fascination with the merely private good opposed to others will also lead to the love of any base or low aspect of character, so long as it makes us distinct from others. To insist on being special, therefore, will make virtues out of mere personality quirks or even vices, and divide us from our greatest good.

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