Renewal: Inclusion of Integralism and Moral Values into the Social Sciences

 

(continued)

 Chapter 1. Colbert Rhodes lays out the major themes of Integralism and their influence on the thought of the contributors to this volume. He explains why an Integralist approach represents an adequate starting point for attempts to deal with society's problems and draws attention to Sorokin's Law of Religious and Moral Polarization, where an individual's responses to misfortunes and frustrations are seen to depend on his or her personality. For some this leads to an increase in creativity and altruistic transformation (positive polarization) but for others results in moral disorders, brutalization, an increase in selfishness, or suicide (negative polarization). The same applies at the societal level, the negatives responding with aggressive or brutal behavior, or by mental and moral derangement, whereas the positives show increased interest in religion and altruism. Sorokin added that the real struggle in contemporary society is between the forces of positive and negative polarization, and this situation calls for an altruistic transformation of humanity. Rhodes then summarizes each presentation by the other contributors in a well-balanced and comprehensive manner. [Inclusion of these summaries frees this reviewer to be selective in covering everything in the chapters and in a few places even to add a personal view without danger of misattribution to the essayist. Such passages appear in italics and enclosed between brackets.]

Chapter 2. In The Promise of Integralism, Rhodes provides the most comprehensive exposition of this theory in the book, beginning with the philosophical assumptions underlying it and the lessons learned from Sorokin's macro-sociological outlook and analytical focus on the different kinds of sociocultural 'super-systems' humanity has chosen live by. Through millennia of human history these super-systems have governed the lifestyles of people over large parts of the earth—Egypt, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, India, the Western World, and so on—although none of them have ever captured all of the world's population at the same time. Such super-systems are characterized by the values they support. At one extreme a Sensate super-system is associated with worldly values whereas at the other extreme, an Ideational super-system supports other-worldly values. One or the other of these have predominated for centuries in selected regions, although other sociocultural systems with intermediate but less well defined characteristics (so-called Mixed types of mentality and culture) have spelled them occasionally and for shorter periods. The best integrated of these intermediates, initially called the Idealistic super-system but later renamed Integral, qualifies as a bona fide third super-system. The values associated with it primarily emphasize reasoning and rational thought. These sociological super-systems are subject to cyclic change. A particular super-system will emerge, flourish for a time, and eventually decline; but while it predominates most of the people living under its influence willingly subscribe to the value system it fosters. Decline of a once-dominant sociocultural system may be influenced by external factors but mainly results from 'immanent change' or simply stated, by internal faults that eventually cause the super-system's 'messages' to falter against fresher ones coming in from its successor—this is more thoroughly discussed by Rhodes. Periods of transition from one super-system to another are unstable because during this interval the people then living increasingly question the old accepted values while being drawn by the allure of new ones. Typically an Ideational super-system passes through an Idealistic interval and eventually to a period under Sensate dominance, whereas historical records suggest that after its dissolution a Sensate super-system is more likely to be replaced by an Ideational one, perhaps because the transitional period between them tends to be especially turbulent, and people experiencing this become restless in their search for stability, as one can easily observe in our world today. The chapter then turns to Integralism proper, its relation to science and to religious ideas.

To minimize the effect of 'immanent change' experienced by all super sociocultural systems requires correction of the one-sided cognitions of truth and reality expressed by the senses, reason and faith. According to Rhodes, "Sorokin's solution is the Integral theory of truth that combines all three cognitions to approximate a new dominant sociocultural super system which is closer to absolute truth." (1) The imperfect 'truth' of the senses is the standard for our present-day Sensate culture: In his Social and Cultural Dynamics Sorokin says, "When one examines the contemporary dominant scientific and philosophical empiricism in all its variations... one cannot fail to see how they all together tend to obliterate the difference between truth and falsity, reality and fiction, validity and mere expediency... Scientific propositions are considered 'conventions,' and from several possible conventions that might fit the circumstance it will be the most convenient or most 'economical,' expedient, or more useful, or more 'operational,' one that will be considered true." (ref. 2) This kind of science can be used for any purpose whether socially useful or not, since the values it recognizes meet a 'relative' rather than 'absolute' standard; and without such an assured guarantee there is little to prevent powerful persons or cliques from dictating what is 'true' and best for humanity (cf. essay by Igor Sikorsky on this website.) (2) Supra-sensory or Ideational 'truth,' comprising intuition, the received truth of faith, the inspiration experienced by great creative artists, and certain mystical experiences are all poorly understood compared to the 'truths' of reason or of the senses. Nevertheless its effects on human beings are undoubted and include a role in leading up to discoveries in the natural sciences and mathematics, for many of these were activated by 'creative sparks' of intuition. Ideational rationalism admits that a degree of truth can be obtained through exercise of the mind (thought) but holds this subsidiary to the truth of faith. (3) The Idealistic (or Integral) 'truth' of reason frequently is used to bring coherence to masses of empirical data, but sometimes seems to have arisen out of pure cogitation; and intuition gone awry at other times has required the truths of reason and the senses to bring this back to earth. It relies more on reason and use of the intellect and gives more prominence to the truth of the senses than does Ideational truth. In sum, Sorokin considered that "in Idealistic rationalism all truths are harmoniously united into one and, factually, in spite of the declared supremacy of the truth of faith, the real power is the truth of reason." (ref. 3) This balance is less one-sided than the cognitions of truth obtainable from Sensate empiricism or from a strictly Ideational approach and so gives Integralism more conceptual space for social scientists to operate while attempting to improve their ability to respond to current debilitating problems of humanity. As Rhodes says, "While the founders of sociology, such as Durkheim and Weber, gave prominence to the spiritual dimensions of human experience, theorists in decades since have increasingly given primary emphasis to empirical and rational analyses. To rectify this neglect of the spiritual, Sorokin, while continuing to respect empirical and rational methods, turns his attention to the method of supra-conscious intuition which he asserts should be the central focus of research and theory. [For ages, the most successful cure for interpersonal and worldwide strife has seemed to be the 'Ideational gift' of benevolent love facilitated in its application by traditional wisdom derived from what is already known about altruistic techniques to facilitate it. (ref. 1) Surely concerted efforts to advance knowledge in this area could yield much information of benefit to mankind.]

Chapter 3. Barry Johnston's main contribution skillfully traces the progress in Sorokin's thought subsequent to publication of Social and Cultural Dynamics (1937-41) where distinct epochs of human history were shown to be characterized by the kinds of sociocultural values then held by most of the population—materialistic, worldly values in the Sensate periods and rather different ones during Ideational periods when they center about the concept of an otherworldly God. Over time, however, most of the world's human societies tended to drift away from strict adherence to either Sensate or Ideational ideals, adopting instead some intermediate balance of values to live by, and infrequently passing through a historical period where the chosen balance proved optimal for most of the people. One such period of equilibrium occurred in Ancient Greece during the lifetimes of Socrates ( B.C. 469-399), Plato ( B.C. 427-347), and Aristotle ( B.C. 384-322) around the 5th to 4th centuries B.C. For Sorokin, such a period was ideal. He called it Idealistic, and it became the model for his later formulations around the ideas of Integralism and what constitutes a well-balanced life. The catastrophic Second World War together with earlier memories of World War I, the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the rise of totalitarianism greatly influenced his wartime writing about mankind's response to calamity, and as the war approached its end, how to prepare for the reconstruction of humanity. About ten postwar years were spent pursuing studies on altruism and on refining his conception of Integralism. Thereafter he continued by writing critiques of his profession, completing his autobiography, and serving as public sociologist and antiwar activist by speaking out on social issues and vigorously opposing nuclear proliferation, the Cold War, and the 'police action' in Vietnam.

Chapter 4. Lawrence Nichols substantially deepens the overall perspective on Integralist sociology that this book provides. He cites Sorokin's own characterization of it as a creative variant on a school of thought as old as human experience, in many ways harmonious with a Christian outlook but tracing its roots farther back to the "powerful, perennial stream of philosophical thought" preserved in ancient religious texts from China, India, and the Middle East, as well as in commentaries by world-renowned thinkers of the past. Integralism recognizes three channels of cognition: (1) raw information from the senses, (2) ideas obtained after a process of reasoning, and (3) supra-conscious knowledge gained through intuition. Each of these channels produces a type of knowledge distinct from the other two. In some way not yet understood, the mind apparently processes these inputs, plays them against one another as needed, and comes up with solutions that frequently enable human beings to adapt to the universe they inhabit. [Sorokin was never an expert in neuroscience, but he knew neurophysiologist Ivan Pavlov well and collaborated with him in the first years after the 1917 October Revolution, notably during the Great Famine of 1922 while Pitirim was conducting field studies on the effects of hunger on starving people. Some 50 years after Sorokin's death neurophysiologists of today know a great deal more than during his lifetime about mechanisms for processing sensory signals, but they have discovered much less about circuits used during reasoning, and virtually nothing about how the brain handles the supra-sensory information it receives. For students of cognition the latter would be a challenging but very important problem to investigate. That a 'third channel' even exists has been doubted by many of today's mainstream social scientists, among them experimentalists trained in a Sensate manner of thinking who limit their investigations solely to information received through known sensory channels. At a pragmatic level, there is little doubt that the 'mysterious energy of love' is able to stimulate the brain and can be very effective in relieving many of the ills of mankind. (ref. 1) Integralism proposes that this power reaches the mind through the third, supra-conscious channel. Accordingly signals pertaining to benevolent love could not be recognized using protocols of the above experimentalists since these had been designed to detect only signals from the senses.]

Nichols continues his analysis of Integralism by comparing its propositions with those offered by Positive Psychology as this has been conceived, notably by Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson. Most importantly both systems regard the study of a positive personality more valid for understanding normal human beings than approaches that focus on the abnormal personality. The latter has characterized psychological research for a very long time and for some years it has been trending that way in sociology as well. Nichols closely compares Integralism and Positive Psychology. The latter casts its ideas in fairly straightforward language emphasizing character strength as positive—a "virtue" by their reckoning— opposing helplessness as a negative, and comparing optimists and pessimists at individual and societal levels. As individuals, pessimists tend to view setbacks as their fault, whereas the optimists are unfazed: the setbacks might be someone else's fault but not theirs, and they can be overcome. At a societal level pessimism seems boosted by the perhaps obsessive individualism that people display so extensively these days. It can be suppressed by self-sacrifice, engagement with the community, and other positive collective actions—one notices flashes of altruistic behavior there. From Nichols's account it is not clear to what extent research in this discipline has been founded on laboratory experiments or some other rigorous methodologies, although he mentions that results are regularly quantified. Positive Psychology recognizes nothing mystical—no Ideational intervention—and if virtue, ethics, and morality enter into consideration these could have emerged because our forefathers, having learned from their mistakes, remembered how they managed to recover from them. And over eons of time and a Darwinian process of 'survival of the fittest,' the successful attributes for survival might have become codified within the genome as the several virtues, standards for moral and ethical behavior, and so on. [In postnatal life such gene products would need to be perpetually on call, perhaps made available within the neural circuitry.] This would be a tall order to prove. Nichols includes a tabular summary comparing similarities and differences between the two theories and ends by stating, "Both Sorokin and the positive psychologists have set an example by pushing social science beyond the 'comfort zone' of modern secular humanism. In so doing they have pointed toward a much grander vision of the universe, of human nature, and of the possibilities of a future human social life rooted in peace, justice, love, humility, and other traditional virtues."

Chapter 5. Among the papers making up this anthology, those by Vincent Jeffries focus most closely on the Ideational concepts of religion, faith, ethics, morality, and more specifically, how thoroughly these ideas occupied Sorokin's mind as he worked over development of his Integralist philosophy. More extensively than the other essayists, Jeffries draws on his knowledge of Roman Catholic theology and the writings of Scholastic philosophers who contributed to its rich heritage. Indeed in this essay he states that "several foundational ideas in this Integralist perspective are in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas" (ca. 1225-1274). (1) Truth is derived from three sources: faith, reason, and the senses. (2) The aim of humanity is to achieve happiness at the end of life. [This is a difficult point because-Aquinas says happiness is possible only if no unfulfilled desires remain to cloud it. In relation to earthly life, Integralism may presuppose that mankind strives toward happiness, but it does not go as far as to comment on the mystical issue that comes up at the point of death.] (3) Virtue and vice are recognized as well as (4) free will that enables persons to make uncoerced choices. About the important concept of original sin advanced by Catholic theologians, however, Sorokin had little to say.

Chapter 6. There is a great need to overhaul contemporary American political science, according to Ryan J. Barilleaux, because during the early years following World War II, many of its academicians were persuaded to sign on to the so-called Behavioral Creed (ref. 4) for investigative work and to abandon many of the traditional approaches that scholars and researchers had been using since the time of Aristotle's Politics. The newer approach was to focus on 'pure' rather than applied research, to be based on theories that could be tested experimentally and directed primarily to observable phenomena that could yield quantifiable data—to construct precise mathematical models of politics. The investigators were to be scrupulous about their methodology, to become more interdisciplinary, and above all, to avoid assessments of the truth or falsity of value-involved issues—Barilleaux adds,"like democracy. equality, freedom, etc."—because these "cannot be established scientifically and are beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry." During the ascendency of this new research agenda in the 1950s-1960s, there were many arguments between traditionalists and behavioralists, and some faculty and graduate students in political science departments may have suffered from a little arm-twisting before the behavioralist party finally prevailed.

Barilleaux grants that the behavioralist approach has provided much useful information showing how the three branches of the American government are organized , how they work together, and what their separate operations are, often dealing with technical or operational problems; but they have been less successful when attempting to address questions about presidential performance or the outcomes of governmental policies, because in these cases the questions about means and ends and motivations come up which the stated Creed considered to be beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry.

"Scholars found that their research often raised questions that their sophisticated methods could not even begin to answer: questions about the ends to which political power is employed, about what kinds of political action are justified and under what conditions, and how to evaluate individual political actors, groups and political systems. With an explicit separation of 'facts' from 'values,' such questions were technically off-limits.... Many scholars thus ended their studies by pointing out that the most important questions were beyond the scope of their research; others editorialized about the answers on the basis of their own preferences," perhaps reflecting "a kind of radical individualism in morals...in which each researcher creates his own definition of good and bad policy, right and wrong action"—and so decreases the 'objectivity' of his or her study.

Accordingly, there is a need to restore value assessments for studies in political science to make them more complete and meaningful, and for Barilleaux this means reintroducing some practices of traditional political science as well. For example, before beginning a study the investigator should (1) know or become familiar with the historical, geographic, and cultural background of the general region of interest and about its inhabitants "to avoid efforts to fit all human institutions on a Procrustean bed of 'race, gender and sexual orientation';" (2) should understand the political character of different kinds of existing regimes and the factors that support or undermine them; and then (3) winnowing down to the specific regime of interest, integrating the general information acquired from (1) and (2) with whatever more can be learned of local conditions to obtain a clear inference about the political science at the chosen place. With all this restored, political science can once again be seen as rather more an application of human reasoning than as something to be explained through construction of mathematical models.

Although contemporary political science has tended to eulogize self-interest (now popular with a great many of us), the great political commentators from the past chose rather to extol the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. Politicians and free governments are the better for being seen to practice them. And for enabling political analysts to form judgments over issues that the behavioral approach does not allow. Perhaps over-optimistically, Barilleaux sees some 'think tanks' around Washington beginning to include a few value judgments in their assessments of public policies even though a cost-benefit analyst may still be lurking in the shadows, punching numbers down the hall.

In sum, all this leads to a proposal to abandon behavioralism and restore political science using a new paradigm for social science that admits of virtue. Three contending theories are considered: (1) Leo Strauss's idea of an ideal human community sharing a kind of civil religion as a binding factor; (2) Eric Voegelin's ideas as expressed in his book, The New Science of Politics (1987), and (3) Pitirim Sorokin's Integralism. Regarding Strauss (1899-1973), Barilleaux comments that he was well grounded in classical political philosophy, its thinkers and statesmen and understood the importance of virtue, but "many of its practitioners seem to think that only in a polis can humanity meet true happiness." For Catholics this would not do as there is a sense of a shared religion in such a "thick political community," much like the generically-Protestant shared religion that once dominated American public life. Barilleaux admires Voegelin (1901-1985) but concedes that Voegelin's writing is somewhat inaccessible even to scholars and that it leaves many elements of politics unexplored. On the other hand, the work of Sorokin (1889-1968), though little known to political scientists, might interest the behavioralists because his work is interdisciplinary—as much empirical as philosophical— and should please traditionalists because it takes virtue seriously. "Political scientists need to become better acquainted with Integralism, and students of Sorokin need to explain his work to political scientists."

Chapter 7. In his second, somewhat experimental essay, Barry Johnston considers how a new theory of social science might be developed out of the Integralist idea that 'total reality' always includes an Ideational component. Accordingly, because it includes a suspiciously 'religious' element, the provisional theory could best be left to incubate within a religiously-affiliated university where faith, the virtues, and ethics are familiar topics supported by long-preserved intellectual traditions, and so promising it a sympathetic environment. In the case of today's Roman Catholic schools, Johnston remarks, "Catholic social science and sociology have long struggled with the challenges of institutionalizing themselves in the profession and in higher education," with the practical consequence that a majority of their students in the social sciences, called priestly ones (ref. 5) decide to follow contemporary mainstream dictates. "They remain committed to value neutrality, and [are] very cautious about the use or worth of methods other than those of empirical social science." In their professional careers they continue to trust only two of the three components making up 'true reality.' But in the present climate of perpetual tension and disruption "a new hierarchy of values and view of the world" is needed for relief. Likely this will not come from the above empiricists but rather from a more prophetic group who for service to humankind place greater trust in moral values than on empiricism.

Regarding the possible restoration of a Catholic social science, Johnston is confident that "a Catholic and Integral social science which promotes pro-social behavior at the individual and institutional levels would be a major contribution." The first step in achieving this would be to obtain an exemplar or else a group of knowledgable scholars to formulate a theoretical basis for the new theory. As described by Edward Tiryakian (ref.6), such an emerging new Theory school should be founded by a charismatic leader supported initially by a small number of disciples. It must offer novel ideas or methodologies that stand out from the social science commonly taught in mainstream institutions. Integralism does not shy away from religion, nor is it mainstream, and so it may well qualify as exemplar for such a school. Johnston, however, sees a challenge in that the most successful Catholic institutions are undergraduate colleges, whereas successful intellectual traditions are established at the graduate level. At these schools graduate programs in the social sciences should be made sufficiently strong to recruit a charismatic leader to found a research program based on Integralist ideas and to inspire cohorts of talented students, so that after they begin to teach at other institutions, they would spread the word to a new generation of converts and inspire them to enroll as Ph.D. candidates in the founder's research program. But this will take awhile.

Chapter 8. Johnston also finds a role for Integral sociology in the study of sin. He discusses the question, what is 'sin' and how does it differs from 'deviance,' finding little difference and a better answer elusive. "It has been transformed into a variety of psychological and sociological facts." Sin is frequently associated with crime, and prosecutable, but the greatest sinners of our time are corporate figures, often very wealthy, sometimes involved in politics, and separated from their victims by social structures, class, and many intermediaries, so as to be beyond reach of the law. In our Sensate period, sociological investigations of deviance, if based only on empirical data and excluding Ideational concepts of virtue and sin, must be of limited value. In the light of Integral sociology, "virtue and sin can move to center stage in sociological discourse. It allows one to see with new eyes, methods, and concepts Durkheim's moral order and Sorokin's Integral society as viable and potent constructs for the description and analysis of social organization. In the process sin and virtue become explicit sociological concepts that guide the actions of humanity and become embedded in the conceptual content and theories of sociologists."

Chapter 9. Lawrence Nichols finds much to criticize in present-day ideas about the sociological sub-discipline on deviance. Modern-day textbooks on deviant behavior provide a long list of categories ranging from criminal acts, aberrant sexual behavior of all kinds, drug abuse and many other things familiar to anyone who frequently looks at movies or regularly tunes into the daily news [which, parenthetically, sometimes tend to promote the deviance.] With characteristic thoroughness Nichols traces how social scientists have confronted the issue during the last ~125 years, beginning with Emile Durkheim (1893). He looked on societies "as moral orders based on 'solidarity' that is defended through the rule of law," and accordingly had little tolerance for deviance. Along the way deviance, still taken to represent only a negative trait, became a problem of 'social disorganization' rather than a moral issue, and after the mid-1960s questions about what is 'deviant' and what 'normal' could be answered differently depending upon whom was being asked. Since then the topic has become still more controversial, with social scientists at variance with one another over the causes of deviance, who's to blame, and if remedial action is considered, how and to whom should it be applied? Critics have pointed to a current lack of theoretical underpinnings for this sociological sub-discipline as a root cause for the disarray. Nichols concurs and thinks adoption of a new paradigm is needed to revitalize it. He agrees with Johnston that Sorokin's philosophy of Integralism would be a good choice. [Notably this recognizes positive as well as negative deviance, the former elevated above the 'normal' and the latter lying beneath. Exceptionally creative individuals and altruists are examples of persons having positive deviance; this may be scalable according to the level of 'good' registered. Truly saintly behavior would scale higher than simple acts of kindness—and so the Ideational concept of 'virtue' becomes admissible to the discussion.] How virtue, morality, and ethics are accommodated by Integral sociology is considered more thoroughly in the chapters by Vincent Jeffries.

Using his initial essay in Chapter 5 to serve as historical background, Jeffries adds three more (Chapters 10, 11, 13) to suggest ways that adoption of an Integralist outlook can improve one's understanding of social problems, and from that knowledge alone to see enough intuitively to remedy the simpler ones through gestures of sympathy and benevolent love, while relying on this insight to plan additional approaches to learn what else is needed to solve more complicated ones. If used to supplement current empirical methods for studying social problems, ideas of an Ideational character may improve the quality of the analysis. The challenge is to demonstrate this to today's empiricist researchers well enough to arouse their interest if not their full conviction. All this will call for a great deal of imaginative thinking.

Chapter 10. Vincent Jeffries has for some time been focusing on questions asking how a faith-based perspective can be incorporated into methodologies intended for research in the various social sciences and their specialty areas, taking into account existing protocols and frames of reference, as he puts it, "from the empirical to the metaphysical." In this chapter he provides an example from the sub-field of family studies. Beginning with a generally accepted view of the family as a vital unit of society responsible for developing skills in interpersonal relationships and for learning how to give freely without expecting any reward, Jeffries continues by recognizing its role as a storehouse for the virtues and other desirable values that good family members share and pass on to the next generation. And from the success in such families, collective efforts by several family groups can lead to larger-group collaborations and eventually to formation of large societal systems. Conversely, when society at large is in turmoil the family breaks down and fails to provide the socializing influences that instill and help to maintain the general moral tone of a well-integrated social system. (ref. 7) That being so, the health of the family reflects that of society.

From the foregoing it may appear that 'benevolent' (or 'altruistic') love is a fundamental factor responsible for the healthy development and maintenance of the family. In theological terms this can be considered a primary virtue supporting the qualities of (1) temperance, (2) fortitude, (3) justice, (4) charity, and (5) prudence. And in their daily lives the family frequently draws on all of these aspects. Hence, "a comprehensive concept of the nature of benevolent love as virtue is the foundation of the integral approach to family studies." Jeffries concludes that this "would link the study of the structure and dynamics of the family directly to more general concerns such as societal patterns of interaction and institutional and cultural characteristics."

Chapter 11. As a stand-alone essay, The Nature of Integralism as a Scientific System of Thought, would serve very well; however, with substantial introductory material already provided by Rhodes and by Johnston in Chapters 1-3, a third introduction may seem redundant, although differences in emphasis can be found among them. Subsequently, Jeffries discusses the idea of 'paradigm' and why Integralism could serve as the one for all social sciences by showing that "social science can be informed by faith as well as by reason and the senses." Although all of its disciplines exhibit features in common, each one nevertheless has distinct concerns and traditions, and evidently some adaptation will be required before all can be brought into this paradigm. "Therefore an analysis of what is necessary for the reconstruction of each of the social science disciplines is an important project in the development of Integralism." He refers to Nichols's essay on deviance (Chapter 9) as an example of this project applied to that sociological subspecialty. Jeffries makes it plain that the present chapter was intended to serve as introduction and summarizing commentary for an earlier symposium on Integralism. (ref. 8) That commentary refers to some articles reprinted here as well as to others that were not. One project mentioned is (1) "to explore how the truth of faith will influence the subject matter and practice of social science;" (2) another on how to introduce to it "concepts that include faith-based assumptions." The references cited to support the first project do not include any of the articles appearing in this book. In relation to the second project, those by Johnston on sin (Chapter 8) and Nichols on deviance (Chapter 9) receive attention.

Chapter 12. In this engaging essay Stephen Starkey invites us into the college classroom to see how freshmen taking an introductory course in sociology initially respond to the course material so that when a question of taking some value position on a social issue enters the discussion, someone will shrug and say, "Well, like whatever." This reflects their pre-college cultural experience of growing up in a non-hierarchical or 'horizontal' social system, where the cultural space has been extended geographically by expansion of the suburbs, and where what New Yorker columnist David Brooks has characterized as the achievatron mentality holds sway. The children are started very early on a planned path to achieve 'success.' This means striving for a high 'grade point average' (GPA) at school and being conveyed by parents to a tightly scheduled set of enriching after school events that leave little time for unorganized play. They must not become too committed to one subject lest it distract them from doing well in all their subjects, and they should be pleasant, non-committal on most issues, and essentially apolitical. If some minority students in the class do not fit this pattern, having been raised in a more hierarchical 'vertical' social system of top down racism, many of them, Sarkey says, "are willing to play the game to overcome this victimhood through upward mobility and personal achievement."

At school they are met by an academic sociology somewhat distanced from its strictly positivist/behaviorist stance of the mid-20th century, where nothing 'prerational,' 'unscientific,' or 'religious' could be allowed.

(1) It is still influenced by ideas in The Sociological Imagination as advocated by sociologist C. Wright Mills. This encourages critical thinking based on materialism, remains suspicious of any 'received' truths, and supports an often angry political engagement with issues. As a pedagogical method especially useful for beginning students in sociology it has considerable merit: Starkey explains, "The core approach is to invite students to imagine, identify, articulate, think through, develop and explore, connections between personal history and social context: between 'biography' and 'history' as Mills expressed it." Another salient characteristic of Mills's work is that he believed that one's sociological imagination should be used to help people by revealing causes of social problems and trying to remedy these in a professional way. Today Mills's own views could be considered New Leftist. He derived his moral outrage based on reflection over his studies of class and capitalism rather than from any Ideational source.

(2) A contemporary adaptation of 'sociological imagination' now included in current textbooks adds to this a measure of cultural relativism. This decreases the student's tendency to be judgmental. Taking advantage of the open-mindedness gained, educators in mainstream sociology use it to urge on a particular political agenda and use 'relativistic qualifiers' couched in sociological jargon to deflect criticism for so doing. This must lead to some spirited debates in class! And so, many freshmen are turned off from becoming sociology majors. Some adopt a Millsian politically-righteous suspicion and join the secular sociological fold. Others respond to the political relativism of the field with a peculiar relativism of their own based on personal experience that Starkey considers "a justification for maximizing personal self-interest and safety in a highly competitive and confusing environment, and a deep search for meaning." He concludes, "There is simply a collision between mainstream sociological ideology, expressed in its pedagogical model, and the experiences of our students in this society.

Accordingly something more substantial is needed to challenge the whatever mentality. Sorokin's Integralist theory is well qualified to furnish this, supported as it is by massive empirical data recovered from historical records and artifacts preserved from millennia of human history and objectively examined by this scholar over many years. Starkey is attracted by its recognition of the three systems of truth ( sensory, rational, and supra-sensory) discussed extensively in this book. He also notes Sorokin's criticism of contemporary sociology "for its overwhelming, explicit antagonism to any but the most vapid and vague truths from 'spirituality,' and its overemphasis on materialist, sensate assumptions about what constitutes both valid data for analysis and valid frameworks for theory construction." In the classroom an Integral insight can help widen the students' sociological horizons. Some preliminary matters mentioned have to be addressed first, viz.:

(1) The cultural or analytic 'relativism' that is part of the sociological imagination as contrasted with a moral 'relativism.' Traditionally morals are considered 'absolute,' but they have begun to slip into near-meaninglessness as 'sociological imagination' is updated. A curious feature of our sensate culture is that while secular sociology generally regards empirical facts as the only basis for making judgments, a few exceptions still survive, notably the right of freedom of choice for individuals. "In a relativist, sensate culture, what people believe to be their freedom has moral standing, and the only substantive principle for judgment about social norms and values becomes the defense or expansion of choices."

(2) How whatever-ism the students see around them is in fact part of a particular historical era's and culture's vision of truth. Sorokin's answer would show that a little examination of history makes clear that the definition of truth and how to find it have changed over time. Starkey adds that anyone comparing the cultures of the hunter/gatherer, the agricultural, the industrial, and post-industrial societies will also gain an appreciation of cultural mutability over time. The social world that allows these college students comparative freedom from responsibility will not be here forever, nor may their views on truth, and they must plan for it.

(3) How our culture does or does not promote what theologians call an 'order of love.' This could be thought over after reading material from Sorokin's extensive sociological examination of unconditional love (agape), its meaning, and social conditions that favor its acquisition. "Concretely, Sorokin's work on love and altruistic behavior and his clear commitment to that as a deep, guiding moral principle, applicable universally to the human individual and social condition, is very hard to argue with or be clever about."

This essay is filled with ideas, many more than mentioned here, on how to raise the interest, perhaps a commitment to sociology, and even more to a meaningful life, of today's entering college students enrolled in an introductory course in the field. It provides ample openings for discussion as it moves along, at times digressing here and there to elaborate on important points raised in the discourse. It endorses Integralism for redefining critical thinking "in a truly holistic manner" that can challenge the political spin this term has acquired within the discipline

Chapter 13. Vincent Jeffries extends his exploration to see if Integralism can be relied on to facilitate a 'scientific' study of morality. The underlying basis of morality is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This ethical principle is fundamental for the major world religions; there is consensus about this, though the actual wording of the principle may differ. But then Jeffries states that "an adequate scientific study of morality requires the incorporation of religious ideas." [This might give pause to lay persons, for why do religious ideas have to be invoked in order to study morality? That is, since morality is intuitively understood by the great mass of humanity to be a religious trait. But we must recall that for contemporary experimental social science moral issues are out of bounds. And that experimental results from investigations in social science rarely can meet the rigorous standard expected from experiments in the natural sciences. No matter, for nothing here is being linked to specific neuroanatomical structures.] The concept Jeffries describes is rather complex: To confirm his postulate, scientific inquiry has to be conducted at several levels along a hypothetical continuum extending from the empirical to the metaphysical—at an empirical level, to investigate several specific aspects of morality, and at the metaphysical level, aspects of the more general propositions, religious or ethical, that can serve as value premises (or judgments). For the science of morality these begin with The Golden Rule, comprising its positive charge to do good to others (to practice virtue) as well as its negative aspect (to avoid sin), and as further enjoined by the Ten Commandments. "In this manner they provide direction to theory and research." At an intermediate level, concepts from religious ethics can be incorporated in theoretical propositions which Jeffries says can be formulated to fit within the compass of existing sociological theories. He is hard pressed to find ideas from ethical precepts of the major world religions to furnish adequate concepts for use in formulating these propositions; however, three examples within the purview of the Ten Commandments are given: the first "to consider the social and cultural conditions which influence conformity to or violation of each of the Commandments;" the second, a variant pertaining to "the effect of individual conformity or violation of the Commandments upon society and culture." And a third for the socio-psychological field, "the influence that conformity or violation of the Commandments has on the happiness, creativity, and life history of the individual." Jeffries thinks the virtues and the vices can each be converted into similar generalized entities, perhaps one responsive to positive impulses and the other to negative ones. Such a study might help to clarify social and cultural conditions conducive to high levels of virtue on one hand, and to vice on the other. Finally, at the empirical level, operational definitions derived from religion-based concepts can be used either as dependent or independent variables. A conceptual framework for inquiry has been sketched; but without more specific formulation for the examples given, one can scarcely proceed further until these are more precisely drawn and protocols written to show which social science methodologies would be enlisted and how the actual studies would be carried out. As for topographic localizations to specific neuronal entities, it's too early for that. Jeffries goes on to discuss basic perspectives of religious ideas, and on these pages a little more attention is given to non-Christian world religions than anywhere else in the book, but the focus remains decidedly Christian and sectarian. The Golden Rule is also seen as a link between religious ideas and the concepts of social science. As to how thinking based on Integralist theory may serve to facilitate this kind of research, it is better covered by Jeffries and the other authors elsewhere in the book. General confidence remains, in that (1) Sorokin's writings have a macro-sociological sweep that shows he took in much more about humanity, its history and human behavior than more conventional social scientists have achieved, especially those whose work usually was circumscribed to smaller scale projects dealing with fewer issues. (2) In later years Sorokin's immersion in studies of altruistic individuals and the precepts of altruism brought his attention close to the interface between a person's religious and secular identities.

Comment: The purpose of this anthology is to help spread ideas about Integralism to a wider audience of mainstream professional social scientists, most of whom still know little about it. Over the past ~15 years, similar collections of essays centered about this theory have been published as proceedings from conferences by small groups of professional social scientists as well as by certain contemporary theologians, both critical of contemporary social science, and especially the field of sociology. They are restive over declining interest in social theory as shown by participants at recent annual meetings of the American Sociological Association (ASA) compared to its meetings in earlier times when more attention was given to theory as well as to other presentations of worthy academic research. Today's meetings have been characterized as more of a trade fair for job-seekers; and although sections are provided for papers in the many sub-fields of this discipline, the originality and intellectual rigor shown by many presentations is debatable, and certainly sessions in theory do not draw crowds. Three groups of academic social scientists are particularly dissatisfied: (1) those who recognize that too many studies by contemporary 'mainstream' scientists tend to downrate or deny any significance of ethics, morality with its virtues and vices, and religious beliefs generally, in determining human behavior, (2) those particularly interested to learn how such factors actually operate to affect human behavior, and (3) those who intuitively recognize the powerful force of altruism for redeeming humankind and look for serious attention to be given research in the particular field. Many are grateful for selfless, concerted efforts in recent years led by Professor Vincent Jeffries to establish an official section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity for the annual meetings.

This book offers insight and more closely formulated suggestions on how to introduce Ideational concepts into experimental social science, but it does not offer hard experimental methodology to carry this out. In consequence, much remains for creative thinking by imaginative young investigators to bring this convincingly to life.

Sergei P. Sorokin Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017.

References and Note.

1. Sorokin, P. A., The Ways and Power of Love. Philadelphia PA, 2002, Templeton Foundation Press

2. Sorokin, P. A., Social and Cultural Dynamics (1-vol. ed.), p. 693, Boston, MA, 1957, Porter Sargent Publisher

3. Ibid, p. 237.

4. As a cell and developmental biologist during the 1970s I encountered a similar kind of arrogance after a group of prominent hematologists issued an ukase proclaiming that the sole source of all 'macrophage' leukocytes was the bone marrow, from which in partially-suppressed form (as monocytes) they were sent through the blood vessels to seed all regions of the body. Once there they differentiated into immunologically active phagocytes. According to these hematologists such tissue macrophages were unable to reproduce there and had to be continuously renewed through the blood stream in order to maintain the local population. This 'word' was passed on to study sections reviewing federal research grants, where it was treated as received knowledge. From my own studies in cultured fetal organs it became obvious that in the tissues these macrophages could divide and greatly increase in number, and a few clever physiological experiments by others showed as much. But some 20 years passed before the hematologists' assertion was rescinded.  In his autobiography, Coming to My Senses (New Brunswick, N.J. Transaction Books, 1985, pp. 302-303), sociologist George Homans recalls an episode during a meeting of Harvard's Department of Social Relations after Chairman Talcott Parsons attempted to have Toward a General Theory of Action, a collaboration with a group of departmental colleagues, accepted as the official doctrine of the department. Homans rose up and delivered a strong dissent. A "dreadful silence" followed this attack, and the matter was dropped.  The controversy over the Behavioral Creed, the dogma about macrophage replication, and the upset at Harvard all illustrate undesirable consequences from overzealous advocacy by Theory schools (see Chapter 7).

5. Friedrichs, R. W., A Sociology of Sociology. New York, 1970, The Free Press.
6. Tiryakian, E. A., The Significance of Schools in the Development of Sociology, pp. 211-234, in Contemporary Issues in Theory and Research, William E. Snizek et al., eds., Westport CT, 1979, Greenwood Press.
7. Zimmerman, C. C., Family and Civilization. New York, 1947, Harper and Brothers.
8. Symposium articles in The Catholic Social Science Review, 8: 9-25, 49-61, 71-88, 2003.