— Jean Piaget Swiss psychologist, biologist, logician, philosopher & academic 1896 - 1980
The Moral Judgment of the Child (1932), Context: Every observer has noted that the younger the child, the less sense he has of his own ego. From the intellectual point of view, he does not distinguish between external and internal, subjective and objective. From the point of view of action, he yields to every suggestion, and if he does oppose to other people's wills — a certain negativism which has been called "the spirit of contradiction" — this only points to his real defenselessness against his surroundings. A strong personality can maintain itself without the help of this particular weapon. The adult and the older child have complete power over him. They impose their opinions and their wishes, and the child accepts them without knowing that he does so. Only — and this is the other side of the picture — as the child does not dissociate his ego from the environment, whether physical or social, he mixes into all his thoughts and all his actions, ideas and practices that are due to the intervention of his ego and which, just because he fails to recognize them as subjective, exercise a check upon his complete socialization. From the intellectual point of view, he mingles his own fantasies with accepted opinions, whence arise pseudo lies (or sincere lies), syncretism, and all the features of child thought. From the point of view of action, he interprets in his own fashion the examples he has adopted, whence the egocentric form of play we were examining above. The only way of avoiding these individual refractions would lie in true cooperation, such that both child and senior would each make allowance for his own individuality and for the realities that were held in common.
Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game, § 8 : Conclusions : Motor Rules and the Two Kinds of Respect