The Social Welfare Library
Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC
By: Edward Thomas Devine
Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III THE INDIVIDUAL AS THE BASIS OF COMMUNITY This task of community organization involves the development of a social order inclusive enough, rich enough, varied enough, stimulating enough to reach every normal-human being: to transform all our common social institutions into instruments of service, and to compete with all lesser elements for the loyalty and support of the individual. The individual must be [ "on the inside." What are the bases of such a community in the motivations of the individual ? What in his own nature will hold him to this community, and at the same time-give to his life the conditions of normal development? i The primitive basis of community life was tradition and custom, which when taken on effectively by the new individual became habit. Such a community is the most stable imaginable, as long as conditions remain unchanged. The community of custom exists in the individual as a structure of habits. Until the middle of the nineteenth century society was both by theory and practice committed to a program of inertia: the conception of a created, finished, stationary universe came to us out of the Orient, where practically allactivity was unpleasant and where a curse had been pronounced upon work. This conception carried over into the aristocratic social orders of Europe, and maintained itself through all the Middle Ages. It was wrought into the structure of the political life, industry, the social order, religion, and education. It was sanctified by the theology of the time, and bolstered up by the fears of anarchy and the terrors of the migrating barbarian hosts. But this theory could not handle the element of impulse and instinct in human life save on the basis of the doctrine of total depravity and the necessity of repression. The Middl...