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The Free and Social Self

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Abstract

Popular assumptions and contemporary social thought alike now question the possibility of individual freedom or personal unity. The individual is assumed to be buffeted about and split internally by forces over which he has no control. Even his self conception is interpreted in derivative terms. This contemporary vision also makes genuine social relationships problematical. For social experience is not possible if men relate as automatons. A theory that places the individual’s nature and development largely within his own control is, Hocking believes, necessary to an acceptable theory of society. And participation in large and small social groups must be essential to the individual’s fulfillment if social relationships are to be more than mere additional restrictions on his liberty. An “individualistic theory of society” must not only defend human freedom and sociality, but also must integrally relate the two. Hocking develops such a theory and argues that it offers a more comprehensive analysis of human experience than other twentieth century alternatives.

Keywords

Public Order Individual Freedom Personal Unity Individualistic Theory Political Socialization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Alfred R. Lindesmith and Anselm L. Strauss, Social Psychology (New York: Holt, Rine-hart and Winston, 1968), p. 10.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Konrad Lorenz, On Aggression (London:. Methuen, 1966), and Anthony Storr, Human Aggression (New York: Bantom Books, 1970).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The Territorial Imperative (London: Collins, 1967).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, trans, by Joan Riviera (New York: Garden City Publishing Co., 1938), p. 95.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Political Socialization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 5.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Roberto S. Sigel, ed., Learning About Politics (New York: Random House, 1970), p. xii.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Political Socialization (New York: The Free Press, 1959), p. 9.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    “A note on the Ambiguity of ‘Political Socialization’: Definitions, Criticisms, and Strategies of Inquiry,” Journal of Politics XXXII (November, 1970), p. 973.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    “Personality Development as Role-Learning,” in Personality Development in Children, ed. by Ira Iscoe and Harold W. Stevenson (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1960), p. 148.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    M. Brewster Smith, “Competence and Socialization,” in Socialization and Society, ed. by John A. Clausen (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1968), p. 276.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    This section is indebted to the summaries of Mead’s philosophy offered by Gibson Winter in Elements for a Social Ethic (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1966), and Paul E. Pfeutze in Self Society, Existence (New York: Harper and Bros., 1961). These authors were especially helpful in pointing out crucial passages in Mead’s works.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Mind, Self and Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934), p. 47.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    The Philosophy of the Present, ed. by Arthur E. Murphy (LaSalle, Ill.: The Open Court Publishing Co., 1959), p. 189.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Mind, Self and Society, p. 138.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
  16. 17.
    Pfeutz, op. cit., p. 84.Google Scholar
  17. 23.
    See, for example, Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1932), and The Nature and Destiny of Man (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1941), pp. 178–240.Google Scholar
  18. 38.
    Ibid., p. 90. Hocking also shows that man is not simply passive before instinctual forces by pointing out that the “sex drive” may be denied altogether, and other impulses, such as the desire for food, may be drastically affected by conscious decision. See MATS, pp. 216–17.Google Scholar
  19. 39.
    HNR, p. 475. Just as he rejects biological determinism, Hocking also attacks the psychic determinism of Freudian theory. He writes that although Freud and his followers have accurately described the original sources of many mental states, they are mistaken in thinking the impulses of the subconscious are other than the self. The subconscious is “that remainder of consciousness which persists outside the sphere to which in our various practical efforts we deliberately narrow our interests.” It may be divided into the “allied” subconscious and the “critical” subconscious. The “allied” subconscious is constantly being thought with but not of; it contains the habits we form — “in short, our ‘character.’ “ The “critical” subconscious consists in matters we have chosen not to be conscious of, but which are still part of the self and may again become conscious through relaxation or reflection. See MGHE, pp. 527–28.Google Scholar
  20. 40.
    The New Democratic Theory (New York: The Free Press, 1970), p. 26.Google Scholar
  21. 42.
    HNR, pp. 184–187, and “The Holt-Freudian Ethics and the Ethics of Royce,” pp. 495–496.Google Scholar
  22. 45.
    The term, “will to power,” is supplemented in some of his later writing with the phrase, “will to reality.” See ‘On the Present Position of the Theory of Natural Right,” p. 558. Also, he refers to the “will to Shared Reality” in his last publication, “History and the Absolute,” p. 462.Google Scholar
  23. 46.
    HNR, pp. 94–96; MATS, p. 310.Google Scholar
  24. 47.
    Smith, op. cit., p. 274.Google Scholar
  25. 48.
    Love and Will (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1969), p. 218.Google Scholar
  26. 64.
    HNR, p. 221; MATS, p. 182.Google Scholar
  27. 65.
    TP pp. 210–13.Google Scholar
  28. 66.
    HNR, pp. 302–16; MATS, pp. 241–80.Google Scholar
  29. 73.
    The transference of its conventions to the young is one task of early education, Hocking writes. Even “indoctrination” is not too harsh a word to apply. But this “indoctrination” furthers the child’s development. “Before a completely free will can be brought into being, it is first necessary to bring into being a will… And this can only be done by a process so intimate that in doing it the type is inevitably transmitted.” (HNR, p. 258.) Of course, he continues, during adolescence the young person begins to throw off the authority of his elders; he appropriates values and does not simply imitate them. At this point his educational experience should help and even encourage him to question what he has been taught. See HNR, pp. 253–79, Varieties of Educational Experience, “Dutch Higher Education — Comparative Impressions of a Visiting Harvard Professor,” and “Can Values Be Taught?”Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Louisiana State University in New OrleansUSA

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