a. The existential fact of being born and reared among peasants and remaining in deep sympathy with rural people - with their way of life, culture, and values - largely accounts for my studying these problems and, in co-operation with C. C. Zimmerman and C. J. Galpin, publishing The Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology and three-volumes of the Systematic Source Rook in Rural Sociology. The same existential factors, processed, tested, and enriched by the existing scientific knowledge in this field, explain most of my theories and conclusions embodied in these volumes.
b. Since my life has been a sort of continuous "wayfaring" through most different occupational, social, economic, cultural, political, and ethnic positions and group-affiliations, this - vertical and horizontal - mobility possibly accounts for the concentration of my studies upon the dynamic aspects of personal, social, and cultural phenomena and for the comparatively less attention given to their static and structural aspects. My Social Mobility, Social and Cultural Dynamics, Sociology of Revolution, Man and Society in Calamity, American Sex Revolution, and Reconstruction of Humanity deal mainly with the how and why of the change and with the uniformities in the change of these phenomena. Their structural analysis is not neglected, but it is reduced to the minimum necessary for a detailed analysis of their dynamics.
c. Since I actively participated in and directly observed two world wars and two revolutions, with their disastrous results-great famines, devastating epidemics, and other calamities - it is comprehensible why these phenomena attracted my attention and became the topics of my investigations published in my Sociology of Revolution, Man and Society in Calamity, in the third volume of my Dynamics, in a number of chapters of my Society, Culture and Personality, and in a substantial volume, Influence of Hunger upon Human Behavior and Sociocultural Processes (destroyed by the Soviet government in the process of printing).
d. Having been imprisoned three times by the Tsarist government and three times by the Communist government, and having come in contact inside prisons, not only with political prisoners but also with non-political criminals, I naturally became interested in the phenomena of crime, criminals, and punishment. This existential condition explains the topic of my first substantial volume, Crime and Punishment, Heroic Service and Reward. The same condition accounts also for my first professorial specialization in criminology and penology. I would have preferred to specialize in sociology, but before the revolution, sociology was not taught in Russian universities and could not, therefore, be chosen as a field of professorial specialization.
e. Since my early boyhood, being incessantly confronted with a multitude of human problems, beginning with the problem of procuring means of subsistence and ending with those of "peaceful co-existence" with the ever-changing persons and groups whom I met in my wayfaring life - and experiencing and observing in this mobile life most different situations, persons, groups, values, and events - I could not help becoming interested in human beings and in social and cultural problems, as well as in the how and why of their emergence. My "wayfaring" life itself incessantly challenged and demanded from me some intelligent answers to questions concerning these problems. This sort of continuous "challenge and response" (in the terms of A. J. Toynbee) stimulated my interest in the social, psychological, and humanistic disciplines and was tangibly responsible for my choice of sociology as the main field of my study and professorship.
f. During the two world wars and two revolutions, I lived amidst and observed a gigantic explosion of human bestiality and hateful destructiveness of demoralized individuals and groups. Exploding in their raw, unembellished form or being masked by highfalutin - "Patriotic," "Socialist," "Communist," "Conservative," "Liberal," "Democratic," "Religious," and other - beautifying ideologies, these forces uprooted anything and destroyed anybody that stood in their way. Their catastrophic effects induced me to undertake a systematic study, on the one hand, of the role of a selfish, individual and collective "struggle for existence," violence, hatred, and cruelty and, on the other hand, of the role of the opposite forces of unselfish love, sympathy, mutual aid, and heroic sacrifice in human behavior and in sociocultural processes. As a result of my personal encounters with these "hate-powered" forces and of my study of their nature, sources, and effects, I became a convinced opponent of these forces in all their destructive manifestations in the forms of wars, bloody revolutions, and violent strife, and a firm proponent of the opposite forces of sympathy, mutual aid, and unselfish love. These circumstances prepared a general ground for the subsequent establishment of the Harvard Research Center in Creative Altruism and for continuation of my studies published in the volumes: The Reconstruction of Humanity, The Ways and Power of Love, Forms and Techniques of Altruistic and Spiritual Growth, Altruistic Love, and Explorations in Altruistic Love and Behavior.
g. However, this general ground alone might not have been sufficient for realization of these tasks. A decisive role in these matters was played by another unexpected factor - by the generous offer of some $120,000 by Eli Lilly and the Lilly Endowment for financial assistance in my studies in this field. This offer was made entirely on their own initiative, without any request or even any previous meeting with Eli Lilly and the members of the Lilly Endowment on my part. This totally unexpected grant, initiated by an eminent industrialist, civic, and cultural leader, and scholar-archeologist, has played the role of the Aristotelian "effective" cause in the establishment of the Center and publication of some twelve volumes of its research.
h. Since I came out of the lowest peasant-labor stratum and had a full share of hardships and disenfranchisement common to such strata, I naturally identified myself with these classes and eventually became disrespectful toward the incapable privileged, rich, and ruling groups. This attitude engendered my opposition to their arrogant domination and to many injustices perpetrated by such persons and groups. This opposition, in its turn, led me to several collisions with the Tsarist government, and to ensuing imprisonments and other penalties imposed upon me. These circumstances are tangibly responsible for my "revolutionism" and eventually for my political position of a "conservative, Christian anarchist" (in Henry Adams' term). This critical attitude toward all uncreative and irresponsible ruling groups has been reinforced by my subsequent studies of these groups. It has remained such, up to the present time, toward all pseudo-aristocracies and all incapable and demoralized governments - autocratic and democratic, monarchic and republican, communistic and capitalistic. Besides many pages devoted to this topic in my volumes, these attitudes and views find their clear expression in my and W. Lunden's recent volume, Power and Morality.