Diagnosis of Our Time: Wartime Essays of a Sociologist by Karl Mannheim

By Karl Mannheim

First released in 1943.

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7) This change is formidable, as in order to create a lawabiding citizen whose obedience is not solely based upon blind acceptance and habit, we ought to re-educate the whole man. People who are conditioned to accept values blindly either through obedience, imitation or emotional suggestion will hardly be able to cope with those values that appeal to reason and whose underlying principles can and must be argued. We have hardly realized yet, to its full extent, what a tremendous reform of education would be necessary to make a democratic society, based upon conscious value appreciation, function.

And What can Youth expect from us? Here I shall try to answer the first question only: What is the meaning of Youth in society? What can Youth contribute to the life of society? The framing of the questions shows sufficiently that the sociological approach to the problem of Youth is new in two respects. The sociologist no longer thinks of education and teaching as a super-temporal method only, but is very much concerned with the concrete nature of society, in which Youth finds itself and to which Youth will have to make its contribution.

30 DIAGNOSIS OF OUR TIME One of the lessons we can learn from the war is how many psychological and institutional forces can become operative in a society, if integration is really wanted. We ought to observe these mechanisms carefully, as the future of society depends upon whether we can devise a technique for coming to an agreement about basic valuations and the methods of social reform. Otherwise the only alternative is dictatorial planning. In this context there is much truth in the statement of the psychologist William James that the problem of modern society is to find a moral substitute for war.

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