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Man's Quest For Significance Free PDF book by Lewis Way (1948)

Man's Quest For Significance Free PDF book by Lewis Way (1948)


Man's Quest For Significance

Excerpt from the author's introduction

It is hardly possible to discuss social questions without the help of psychology. In order to say what society is or what it ought to be, we must first hold some view of human nature and its fundamental strivings. The theories of Hobbes, for instance, are based on his belief that men strive for power, and those of Bentham on his belief that they strive for pleasure. Among the moderns, Adler and Freud are the scientific representatives of these two traditions of thought.

While there have been numerous attempts to apply the plea- sure-psychology to our social problems, the Adlerian standpoint seems to have been curiously neglected. Let me hasten to say that, although Adler’s influence, is paramount in the present book, neither his name nor his particular set of scientific terms figures greatly in the text, and no attempt has been shade to represent what might have been his personal views on social questions. Adler’s psychology was designed with special reference to the neurotic patient, and it ought not to be applied wholesale. The Will to Power, especially, is true only..of the neurotic, and it has always seemed- to. me" that Hobbes, Nietzsche, Machiavelli, and its other distinguished exponents overstate the matter when they try to make it fit a larger context. The concept of Significance, from which this book takes its title, is intended as the broader formulation required if Adler’s psychology is to be made applicable to the normal man.

In a book of this sort, one is always confronted with the problem of how to prove one’s 'assertions. The methods of physical science are debarred to one by the nature of the subject matter; qualitative psychological changes cannot be weighed and measured, and theories concerning the behavior of society can- not be verified by experiment.

On the other hand, it is obvious that society is something more than a mere agglomeration of accidental traits, components, anomalies, and conflicting tendencies; it possesses, like the individual human being, like everything that lives and develops, a specific style or character. The task of the social psychologist is to grasp this character in such a way that its apparently contradictory traits resolve themselves into a general pattern and their changes are seen as necessary developments of their interaction. The proof of his assertions will then lie in what Dilthey has called “the principle of coherence”. His work will win the reader’s conviction if he is able to take all the known facts, to show their consistency with each other, and to -weave them into a story that will explain society’s behavior.

Contents of the book


I. THE DEGRADATION OF WORKER II

n. THE FRUSTRATION OF SEX 43

III. THE DECLINE IN SOCIAL STANDARDS 73

PART II

IV, INDIVIDUALITY 101

V. FROM DEMOCRACY TO ETATISME 128

VI. REVOLUTION AND CROWD-PSYCHOLOGY 152

VII. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND GOVERNMENT 179

INDEX 207

Author: Lewis Way
 Publication Date: 1948


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