The Directive and Regulatory System
The search for goals and directions is as old as mankind. While the magical outlook was still powerful, man sought for direction, for a resolution of the painful process of choice, via divination and magical practices. But there was always an area where pragmatic and "rational" choices had to be made, choices that followed or were prompted by previous experience and success. Otherwise man could not cope efficiently with conditions imposed on him by his environment.
In some vital areas, he followed practical and workable ways; in others, he was a victim of haphazard responses, failures and successes, and choices deduced from magic or divination. Again, those ancient practices expressed the need for and a sense of direction, orientation. A sense of orientation is essential to movement, to coping with the environment. Our intelligence, our skills in observation, contributes to our capacity to move and choose. It is a vital quality.
Thus, orientation is an activity of finding ways leading to our goals. The goals are of diverse origin and quality. But to meet the goals and in consequence also to meet or satisfy our needs, ways have to be found that lead in this direction. Sensitivity to the latter, our inborn qualities and skills, contributes to what might be called the sense of direction, the capacity of identifying goals and choosing ways. Thus, orientation suggests an attitude toward the environment at a given time when movement or action is considered and decided.
Direction has to be chosen in many diverse areas of our activity. Geographical orientation has to be distinguished from social-cultural. The latter is concerned with goals and direction within the social system--more, within the various areas of human activity, in the economic as well as in the cultural fields, even in systems of ideas such as arts, education, science.
The sense of geographic orientation is of course essential to human existence.