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Interest and Attitude

A society's true nature consists in the state of mind of the beings that compose it. From this nature of society the two concepts of interest and attitudes arise. These two concepts are primarily psychological ones.

According to Maclver by interest is meant any aim or object that stimulates activity towards its attainment. Attitude is the state of consciousness within the individual human being. It refers to certain regularities of an individual's feelings, thoughts and predispositions to act towards some aspect of his environment. It is a subjective reaction with relation to objects. Thomas and Znaniecki define attitude as a state of mind of the individual towards a value. It is sentiment or a feeling pattern of behavior in response to particular people or objects. It is usually a hypothetical construct not directly open to observation but inferred from verbal expression or overt behavior. Interest on the other hand is the object of attitudes. It is an object of the will. It is something objective, sought or pursued.

All attitudes imply objects towards which they are directed but it is the state of mind not the object that is denoted by the term attitude. The objects need not necessarily be material external facts. These may be immaterial as well for example scientific theories or religious beliefs. Objects widely interpreted are those items to which one devotes attention and these objects are the interest of the person. When we say a man is afraid we must also say what he is afraid of .He may be afraid of the teacher, God, police, ill health or even his inner desires. In this case the objects of which he is afraid are his interest while fear is his attitude towards these objects. Both the atheists and the devotees are interested in God but their attitude to God is different .One is interested in women because he hates them; the other is interested because he loves them. Interest common and like, attitudes like but not common. It shows that whereas interests may be identical attitudes can never be so.

Attitudes are subjective, interests are objective. Different people cannot have a common attitude any more than they can feel a common pain. They can have only like pains and like attitudes because the subjective element is always individualized. It is also to be seen that whereas like interests lead to competition for the same good, common interests lead to cooperation.

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