Commentary Magazine

Article Preview

The Study of Man: Whither Civilization?

- Abstract

Although in its quiet way England has staged a social revolution, he would be a courageous man who would assert that any conscious process of thought accompanied it. The English people have an almost innate reluctance to formulating social ideas in words. Their own, time-honored semantics have taught them that words more often divide than unite. Thus, there is no English school of sociology. But there is an English method of social action, which subordinates thought to life, and seeks to find solutions in life itself. If one only tries long enough, questions may spontaneously resolve themselves, the English seem to say—and in any case one avoids the mistake of making them insoluble by attempting to force a solution where none is yet possible.

This method reigns at those summer meetings which combine the stimulus of a holiday in the countryside with the contemplative seclusion of ashram. It could be seen at its best at the first postwar Conference of the Institute of Sociology held at Reading University, July 26 to August 2.

About the Author