What is the meaning of social life for the political attitudes of successive elites? Plainly very different personality forms may share the same political outlook and belong to the same elite. At one time the predominating attitudes may be "local," "regional," "national," or "international." At another time the ruling attitudes may be loyalty to "class" or "skill." Under some conditions the ruling groups are "militant"; often they are "conciliatory." Politics is a changing pattern of loyalties, strategies, tactics; and political analysis may quite properly review the succession of predominant attitudes through the stream of time.
Acts of the most acute political interest are acts which change the social environment. Political acts are therefore externalized acts, since they implicate the environment as they run to completion. Internalized acts involve only the organism itself. If we observe any individual through a given period of time, we may perceive that he stimulates his personal environment, and that he in turn is directly stimulated by this environment. There is no doubt that his acts are object orientations. But if an individual is out of touch with the immediate situation for five minutes, we may be in some indecision about the nature of his subjective reactions. He may be solving a problem which will culminate in relevant action in some future situation. If so, his thought is adjustive. But it may be that he is plunged in gloomy meditation on his own deficiencies, merely intensifying the mood of depression and initiating no activity
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Publication information: Book title: Psychopathology and Politics; Politics: Who Gets What, When, How; Democratic Character. Contributors: Harold D. Lasswell - Author. Publisher: Free Press. Place of publication: Glencoe, IL. Publication year: 1951. Page number: 427.
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