Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
SOCIAL CHANGE AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS

Social Change a Force . If, as has been pointed out in the previous chapter, social change has been responsible for much of the character of the modern leader and society's demands upon him, it has been even more responsible for the altered nature and increasing number of social problems with which modern society is faced. Indeed, if one reviews the general categories of social problems already listed in the previous chapters, it must be clear that most of them or their present manifestations are due to or accentuated by the process of social change. Thus the fact of social change becomes one of the fundamental social forces which must be considered as a background for the study of social problems. We may look at the subject from several viewpoints. In our discussion here this chapter will consider briefly the general nature and universality of change, some of the primary causes of social change, some of the ways in which the present situation is due to social change, some of its evolutionary aspects, and finally, the whole phenomenon as a social process and social force with its consequent bearing upon social progress and direction.

Change an Organic Process . The idea of the old Greek philosophers that all matter and form were in a constant state of change represented profound wisdom. Said Heraclitus in substance, "Nothing is. Everything is becoming." To test this statement one needs but look at nature all around us -- the flowing stream, the growing crops, the rotting wood, the moving worlds. Or we may turn back to the previous chapter on the good life in which we have shown how growth or development or process constitutes the truest summum bonum. The idea of change, too, is involved in the whole concept of social progress, as will be pointed out later. It is involved in the common proverbs and wisdom which constantly remind us that we cannot stand still -- we must move forward or

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