Social Change with Respect to Culture and Original Nature

By William Fielding Ogburn | Go to book overview

5
SUGGESTIONS FOR BETTER ADJUSTMENTS

While it does seem true at the present stage of development of man and of culture that it is futile to think of man’s ability freely to control cultural changes as he wills, still it is thinkable that a more harmonious adaptation of culture to man may be made without any such deity-like power over culture as a whole. In other words, to make a more desirable adjustment, it is not necessary to have all power or even to make wholesale changes in culture. Indeed it is conceivable that by making certain changes in culture, relatively minor compared to the plan of directing culture as a whole, a more harmonious adjustment may be attained. For instance, the acuteness of the lack of adjustment between culture and human nature is manifested in certain spots or areas like neuroses and social problems. To bring about better adjustment the attention should be focused chiefly on the particular fields where the maladjustment is most serious. The achievement of better adaptation even in such problems may be very difficult to make. Yet such a programme would appear to be much more practicable than the larger plan of directing the course of civilization. In the growth of culture there are probably limits to the lack of harmony with human nature, since in adopting new cultural forms human desires play some part. The bringing about of a more harmonious relationship, then, concerns certain special fields rather than culture or human nature as a whole.

This Part is not concerned primarily with amelioration. There are readers who are fired with so great a zeal for making the world more

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