Skip to main content

Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

See other formats


well as between one type of individual and another; and the doctrinal
ritual and institutional forms in which it expresses itself are even more
protean. We have witnessed the rise of two movements to which we
. must give at least the title of pseudo-religions—the Nazi and the Com-
munist systems. It would appear of real importance that the existing
democratic countries should evolve their own characteristic and power-
ful brand of religious impulse and means for its expression. This will
not be achieved by a return to the traditional past. The Christian
ethic and Christian doctrine, though they have left an indelible mark
on our Western civilization in their insistence on the overriding value
of the individual personality, on the necessity for sacrifice, and in
many other ways, are no longer either a primary or an essential part
of its framework. New attitudes, new values, new needs have come
into being.

It is incumbent upon the Churches to recast their theologies in
forms acceptable to the new phase of the Western world, and to re-
adjust their social and ethical policies in relation to the needs of the
new type of society which is in process of being born. If they attempt
this with sincerity, it is incumbent upon society to meet them half-
way. If this should be accomplished, organized religion in some new
and at present unguessable form will come alive again as a social
function, and could then rightly claim to have an important place
in that other social function that we call education.

The approach to education from the individual end must also be
considered. What has science to say on this? One cannot, of course,
consider the individual in the abstract, but only as a member of a
particular society. The question then is a double one: how can
individuality be developed to the fullest pitch in our type of society,
and how can the development of the individual be made to serve
social ends to the fullest extent?
Recent developments in psychology and their educational applica-
tions have radically altered our approach. I am not referring only to
psycho-analysis and the theory of repression and of the unconscious;
we must also take account of the modern swing away from the over-
emphasis on reason and the intellectual functions of the mind, to a
system in which emotional factors and creative activity are given their
due weight. There are also the numerous studies, anthropological
and other, in social psychology, which have demonstrated the
strength of social conditioning.
The concepts of repression and of the unconscious, which we owe