Social Change with Respect to Culture and Original Nature

By William Fielding Ogburn | Go to book overview

10
PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAITS AND CONSERVATISM

The element of fear is another psychological factor in human beings that tends to cause them to resist changes. Fear may appear too strong a word; perhaps anxiety is more accurate, or the degree of fear found generally in uncertainty and in ignorance. The fear in uncertainty may be the reason for the use of the phrase, “let well enough alone.” There is, for instance, some such uncertainty in the minds of voters who reject the proposal to adopt “proportional representation.” Although the reasons given for not adopting the new may often be rationalized expressions for some other reaction, still, the element of uncertainty is manifested noticeably with regard to many proposed changes. There is more human risk in social experimentation than in a scientific laboratory. The uncertainty may be particularly prominent because of the high degree of interdependence and orderliness necessary in social organization.

Since human beings are always active agents in all cultural change, these changes could be

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