The New Direction — C. Wright Mills
Mills and ‘The new direction’ — the ‘questioning and controversial attitude’
The 1970 version of Tom Bottomore’s (1962) Sociology: A Guide to Problems & Literature (p24), states that within the decade it was revised sociology had taken a new direction, largely inspired at the outset by the work of C. Wright Mills. For Bottomore, Mills is valuable in terms of historically orientated studies and in terms of fundamental structural elements which drew upon (his own experience), and upon the sociological tradition of Marx and Weber. This approach went against prevailing trends in sociology and was more adventurous, more imaginative in its study of the momentous social and political problems of the postwar world. Bottomore, writing in the 1970s argued that the kind of sociology which Mills espoused was enjoying a revival, aided by a general upsurge of social criticism. Those days are gone—the upsurge is now a downturn and the new direction is lost or unwanted.
This ‘questioning and controversial attitude’ toward social analysis, is described as much more in the spirit of the early sociologists; it expresses a dissatisfaction with the received interpretations of modern societies, and contained a renewed interest in problems concerning the historical development of societies. Another important factor was its revival of Marxism, in an un-dogmatic and revised form, as a general theory of society. These developments are a desire for a wider diffusion of the sociological approach into political science to develop an area of sociological research, also deriving from the work of Weber (Michels and Pareto) and Marxist writing, which forms a study of political parties, elites, pressure groups, bureaucracy, social movements (particularly the new radical movements of the 1960s) and of political change and development.
The lack of interest in this type of work and the ignorance, disdain and hostility towards it form a return to the type of social enquiry that Mills thought to move away from. They are the subject of criticism in The Sociological Imagination, specifically in terms of the rejection of the classical sociologists aim to establish the scope and methods of the new discipline, and demonstrate its worth by the investigation and explanation of major social phenomena, and to associate it closely with other social sciences—in one sense this is what makes the book so relevant to the work of think tanks whose activities also hark back to this period.
Bottomore argued that the sociology of Mills’ era departed, in certain respects, from these aims. He specifically related this to the 1940s and 1950s when there developed, on one side, “a preoccupation with the construction of elaborate conceptual schemes”, exemplified in the work of Talcott Parsons “and his followers”; and on the other side, a fascination with the techniques of sociological enquiry, applied to “small scale, and sometimes trivial, problems”. I would say that Mill’s and Gerth’s (1946) translation of Weber, as opposed to Parson’s (1930) translation, could be made to stand as some sort of dividing juncture in this split. I would argue this in terms of what imbalances it perceived and the trajectory of social enquiry it tried to redress in its translation, although the work has many merits beyond that of a sign post. The critical relationship between Parsons (and others such as Bell) surrounding Mill’s The Power Elite will be discussed in these terms below as a basic starting point for this enquiry.
Some recent writers have tried to see the two writers are part of the same tradition: Daniel Geary in C. Wright Mills and American Social Science in Nelson Lichtenstein’s (2006) American Capitalism: Social Thought and Political Economy in the Twentieth Century, for instance which argues that they both concur on (to my mind overly generalised) “applying sociological theory to the understanding of contemporary modern structures” (p 143) only to contradict this in the following paragraph where Mill’s “stance” is set apart “from a postwar trend exemplified in Parson’s work toward constructing generalized theoretical frameworks applicable to all societies.” The purpose of this inclusion and exclusion seems to be to bring Mills into the fold only to be scolded and thrown out to the wolves. His argument is that Parson’s is optimistic and Mills’ pessimistic in terms of rationalization. The collection opens with:
At the opening of the twenty-first century, the power and persuasiveness of American capitalism and of the equation that links open markets to democratic institutions has become a large part of the common wisdom. Words like reform and liberalization now denote the process whereby a global market in labor capital, and ideas replaces the regulatory regimes, either authoritarian or social democratic, that were erected during and after the Great Depression. In 1960, when Daniel Bell famously announced as “end of ideology in the West,” he was noting that the debate about the viability of capitalism, which had consumed intellectuals and social theorists for two generations, had been transformed into a calculation that subordinated the market to a purposeful, yet well-constrained set of social and political compromises.
It then quotes another government-funded thinker, Francis Fukuyama and the other proponents of the drive to “deregulate business and dismantle the welfare state.” The collection is supposedly a rejection of this “overweening self-confidence” arguing that capitalism “almost vanishes from our consciousness”, what is alarming is that these are the academic critics of capitalism, who can write: “The United States has had its own share of corporate bankruptcies and stock market gyrations, but today few take such economic shocks as an indication that capitalism is in danger of a fundamental transformation” (p. 3). The introduction eventually makes its point that “Western capitalism did not make people like Talcott parsons, Daniel Bell or even Peter Drucker pro-capitalist ideologues. Rather, they came to see the hard substance of postwar capitalism as simply of far less consequence or danger than in earlier decades.” Following their analogy—but what of the “soft” substance of postwar capitalism? Subversion —in the form of the CIA and other covert intelligence agencies and how these impacted on a range of individuals and institutions and what academics like themselves were permitted to do. Previously the introduction mentions Walter Lipmann as a “liberal intellectual” comparable to G. K. Galbraith. Mention might have been made that he had a penchant for working covertly for the rich and powerful — would that not explain something of Lipmann’s belief that a “silent revolution was in progress”?
Lichtenstein notes that Parson’s was a founder of Harvard’s influential Russian Research Center as if this took place in a political vacuum, and introduces him as “the most important sociologist in the post war United States”, with no particular evidence of the import of his work; however we are told he “came to believe that the process of industrial modernity within the Soviet Union would eventually transform an authoritarian society into one of “democracy, pluralism, and rationalism.” This is linked with the notion of “transnational convergence” without mention of Rostow (the creator of ‘modernity theory” or what was going on in the US generally to stamp out any alternative. Mills, Alvin Gouldner and Herbert Marcuse are mentioned as the opponents of this view. Mills’ The Sociological Imagination, (p33) specifically ridicules Parsons’ The Social System and how he writes generally, and by implication those, like Lichtenstein, who regard him as important. After quoting from him at length he begs the reader not to turn to the next chapter. Parson’s “pronunciamentos” are described as not “readily understandable” with the suspicion that they may not be “altogether intelligible” and that this is a “protective advantage,” and here Mills explores how Parson’s ideas are received. This is categorised as
(a) To at least some of those who claim to understand it, and who like it, it is one of the greatest advances in the entire history of social science;
(b) To many of those who claim to understand it, but who do not like it, it is a clumsy piece of irrelevant pondorosity. (These are rare, if only because dislike and impatience prevent many from trying to puzzle it out.);
(c) To those who do not claim to understand it, but who like it very much — and there are many of these — it is a wondrous maze, fascinating precisely because of its often splendid lack of intelligibility;
(d) Those who do not claim to understand it and who do not like it — if they retain the courage of their convictions — will feel that indeed the emperor has no clothes.
Mills offers other positions, hesitant neutrality etc. but proceeds to translate “the contents of The Social System into English,” adding a playful “I shall attempt to sort out statements about something from definitions of words and of their wordy relations.” We will return to the The Sociological Imagination in due course, to close on Lichtenstein we should note his introduction tries to elide Mills’ translation into Parsons:’ that “Mills was just as much a student of Max Weber as Talcott Parsons”, to downplay his influence: “Mills like so many left-wing social scientists of his generation, ignored issues of race and religion” and to argue that Mills (“and the radicals”) was in thrall to the “Marxisant element within Weber’s social thought” by being pessimistic by pointing to the “compulsive character of large-scale economic, military, and political institutions” whereas Parsons (“and other liberals”) highlighted those Weberian arguments stressing social cohesion. This would seem to be unaware of Weber’s statement that:
The Puritan wanted to work in calling; we are forced to do so. For when asceticism was carried out of monastic cells into everyday life, and began to dominate worldly morality, it did its part in building the tremendous cosmos of the modern economic order. This order is now bound to the technical and economic conditions of machine production which today determine the lives of all the individuals who are born into this mechanism, not only those directly concerned with economic acquisition, with irresistible force. Perhaps it will so determine them until the last ton of fossilized coal is burnt. (emphasis added)
(Max Weber The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism)
One reviewer noted that the collection’s essay on Mills argued that “Mills drew on and expanded the discussions of modernization theory.” (see: Hoeveler, J., David (2006) Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Reviewed for EH.NET) The book tries to immerse writers such as Friedrich von Hayek into the same liberal morass. Our purpose is not to extract Mills from society—Geary’s essay concedes that ‘sociology remained an especially open field of study in the late 1930s’ and adds that ‘sociology was divided and confused’, it presents this contradiction as an inspiration for Mills, but how then can we talk of an orthodoxy — this would seem to come about only under the aegis of the cold war, which itself, steered by an elite National Security Council was part of the inexorable trend towards rational-legal authority and bureaucratic organisation (something Parsons would welcome as ‘more efficient’). Geary’s article which includes many useful observations, still seems to draw a picture of Mills as a galley slave who managed to escape in a lifeboat who owes a debt to his previous position for his sailing ability.
Unfortunately for a disturbing amount of social scientists in the USA at the time (and this also seems to have occurred in the UK) this liberal interpretation of denial of a break with (an imaginary) orthodoxy was not shared by the forces who controlled and policed thought.
It might also be pointed out that for Mills told Sartre that the Kennedy Administration was “a Liberal obfuscation…the Liberals have nothing to offer their ideology is no longer ideology properly termed, but a confusing and contradictory rhetoric. There policies based on the popular myths of freedom and democracy are unreal and dangerous and there is no opposition, except from he right”. Sartre asked what is the significance of the Kennedy administration, how did he explain it in terms of his ‘Power Elite’? Mills went on: “It represents, I believe, the triumph of the political elite, during the Eisenhower administration there was a coalition of the economic and military groups, they made foreign policy, and internally they catered to the short-run needs of businessmen.” This he explained was just a schematic formulation, “but I think it is useful—with the victory of Kennedy and his Liberal intellectuals, the military and the economic were subordinated. The intellectual advisors that surrounded Kennedy developed an elaborate rhetoric, and perhaps a vague long-range policy. There will be various tests for power. The businessmen do not have much confidence in intellectuals and may very well fight on certain issues. You might see this reflected before long on the stock market, and those businessmen and generals who cannot take orders from Liberal academicians, might very well join the crackpot Right, which is where they emotionally belong. But basically Kennedy’s policy will not differ noticeably from the Eisenhower/Dulles policy. The names will change, the rhetoric will be more elaborate but there will be no loosening, if anything defence spending will increase; at the same time the Liberal intellectuals will try to challenge the military. But you see I do not believe the three elites will have a basic falling-out: there will be minor contests over minor issues, but on foreign policy the intellectuals are if anything more fanatic and more doctrinaire and anti-communist than the businessmen and generals. Eventually they will reach an agreement, probably after certain tests of political strength. So you see I do not have much hope that Kennedy will, or can or wants to alter fundamentally the Cold War policy.” (Elsa Knight Thompson and Saul Landau (narr.) (2007) From the Vault: C. Wright Mills, The Causes of C. Wright Mills)
Liberal obfuscators was to be the subject of the book he planned to write before he died. This cloak of darkness, in another sense, is the subject of Mike F. Keen in Stalking the Sociological Imagination, who stated:
The picture which has emerged is a startling one. It would seem that throughout the history of American sociology, many of its prominent contributors have been under the surveillance of the FBI for suspected “radical” or otherwise “un-American” activities, such as disturbing accepted ideas or being critical of the policies of the Bureau and its director. Thousands of man hours and millions of dollars have been dedicated to this project. Faculty members of the ASA, were recruited to inform on the activities of their colleagues. (Keen, Mike Forrest (1999) Stalking the Sociological Imagination: J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI Surveillance of American Sociology, Greenwood.)
Some writers thrived in this environment, others did not—it is hard to imagine the work of Daniel Bell or Francis Francis Fukuyama out with this habitat. Drawing on a survey of American sociology in 1953-54 Bottomore finds that the conservative tendencies in Sociology were encouraged by a desire to establish the autonomy, the ‘professional’ standing, and the scientific character of sociology as an academic discipline. But that the practical outworking of this (in spite of some real advances) was rather to “sow doubts about the value of the contribution which sociology might make either to social thought, or to the solution of practical social problems.” For Bottomore sociologists gave the impression of ‘lecturing on navigation while the ship is going down’, and of course these metaphors hark back to Plato’s navigator. Mills explained the promise of social science as offering the individual the prospect of understanding the large and yet hidden social forces that shape their lives—the drift of history.
It is most unlikely that J. Edgar Hoover was particularly interested in the critique of Marx and the Marxists of his time offered by Weber or interpretations of it. Yet here was an assault on and a rejection of the ‘materialist conception of history, as a Weltanschauung’ and as ‘a formula for the causal explanation of historical reality.’ Yet, as Bottomore notes, the advancement of the economic interpretation of history was one of the most important aims of Weber’s journal.
Here Weber contends for ‘interpretation’ against causal explanation as an all sufficing method, and opposes the Marxist pretension to explain the whole course of social evolution. His own historical approach is exemplified especially in his studies of the origins of capitalism, the development of modern bureaucracy, and the economic influence of the world religions. The main methodological features of these studies are that particular historical changes of social structures and types of society are investigated (and these are compared in certain respects with other types of change and of society); and that both causal explanation and historical interpretation find a place.
Bottomore argues that the implications in Weber’s work were that ‘general sociological propositions refer only to trends’, while their application to ‘particular societies and situations involves historical study in detail’, and that, this historical approach had directed the work of both Mills (and Raymond Aron), with the then expanding interest in social change in industrial societies, and in the industralization of underdeveloped societies, encouraging a wider acceptance of Weber’s method and formulations.
In Mills and Gerth’s ‘Character and Social Structure’, they outline a model, in terms of six major questions which can be asked about social changes:
(i) what is it that changes?
(ii) how does it change?
(iii) what is the direction of change?
(iv) what is the rate of change ?
(v) why did change occur or why was it possible?
(vi) what are the principal factors in social change?
Bottomore defines social change as a change in social structure (including changes in the size of a society), or in particular social institutions, or in the relationships between institutions. He makes a distinction between social structure and culture, offering the term ‘cultural change’ to refer to variations in cultural phenomena such as knowledge and ideas, art, religious and moral doctrines, etc., while noting that social and cultural changes are closely linked in many cases. So this type of questioning should underpin our enquiry into think tanks, soft power and public diplomacy. What would have disturbed Hoover would also have been Mills’ equation of US and Soviet societies, and this point is picked up in the introduction of Bottomore’s work (emphasis added):
A more radical intellectual temper and new radical movements emerged during the 1960s —in the advanced industrial countries, whether their economic and political regimes are capitalist or socialist in character, and in the countries which are making the transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy.
This finds an echo in much of Mills’ work, particular attention could be drawn to his observation in the Power Elite that society in the USA had “moved a considerable distance along the road to the mass society. At the end of that road there is totalitarianism, as in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia.” Mills distinguishes a mass society from a ‘society of publics’ by:
(i) far fewer people express opinions than receive them.
(ii) the communications are so organised that it is difficult or impossible for the individual to answer back immediately or with any effect.
(iii) the realization of opinion in action is controlled by authorities
(iv) the mass has no autonomy from the official institutions of society, but is permeated by agents of these institutions.
Again these criteria will guide our investigation together with basic questions such as:
(i) what is the ontology, the descriptive model of the world?
(ii) what is the explanation of the world?
(iii) what is the futurology, answering the question “where is society heading?”
(iv) what are the values and answers to ethical questions: “What should we do?”
(v) what is the methodology and theory of action.: “How should goals be attained?”
(vi) what is the epistemology, or ethics. “What is true and false?”
(vii) what is their account of their own origins and how they are constructed.
Mills and Gerth were in favour of closer association between the two disciplines of sociology and social psychology, saying:
The social psychologist attempts to describe and explain the conduct and motivations of men and women in various types of societies. He asks how the external conduct and inner life of one individual interplay with those of others. He seeks to describe the types of persons usually found in different types of societies, and then to explain them by tracing their inter-relations with their societies.
The interplay between individual character and social structure, and as Gerth and Mills put it can be approached either from the side of biology or from the side of sociology. Gerth and Mills attempt to bridge the gap with their use of the concept of ‘role’ in their definition of the person and in their definition of institutions:
Social role represents the meeting point of the individual organism and the social structure, and it is used as the central concept in a scheme which makes possible an analysis of character and social structure in the same terms.
Mills’ work is similar to Castoriadis’ writing on the radical instituting imagination:
“The independent artist and intellectual are among the few remaining personalities equipped to resist and to fight the stereotyping and consequent death of genuinely lively things. Fresh perception now involves the capacity continually to unmask and to smash stereotypes of vision and intellect with which modern communications swamp us.” (Mills, C. Wright (1963) “The Social Role of the Intellectual” Power, Politics and People; The Collected Essays of C. Wright Mills, Irving Horowitz, Ed., New York: Oxford University Press.)
Even in some of Mills’ early writing one gets the feeling that he had looked about his peers and at the contents of libraries and thought that as far as sociology goes we need other types of people to do it. The life had gone out of the discipline, the corner stone had been rejected.
Doxa and tragedy are key aspects of Castoriadis’ understanding of democracy. The left developed in several different paths which seen freedom in being the opposite of the bureaucrat. But it is perhaps Gouldner’s work in both these social elements that have a more direct bearing,
Weber and the direction of sociology
Guy Oakes and Arthur J. Vidich’s (1999) Collaboration, Reputation, and Ethics in American Academic Life: Hans H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, quotes an unnamed American Weber scholar as suggesting that:
“whoever controlled the interpretation of Weber’s work would control the future of sociology.”
They find this anonymous person too enthusiastic but agree that “he had a point” and that Weber’s sociological preoccupations can still be viewed as those of sociology today. The credit for the translation, editing and dissemination of Weber’s writings was at the heart of the collaboration between Gerth and Mills in ‘Character and Social Structure’, which appropriated the Weberian tradition into a sociological legacy for American audiences and not only influenced their personal relationship and their professional intellectual creations:
but also molds many of their interactions with other leading sociologists, for example, Karl Mannheim, Louis Wirth, Edward Shils, Talcott Parsons, and others involved in the transit of Weber to these shores. The appropriation of the Weberian inheritance implicates yet wider issues, including the relationship of American to German scholarship, the fate of the German sociological tradition during Nazi rule, and the intellectual dilemmas faced by those involved in the subsequent migration.
One of the distinctive characteristics of bureaucracy is to conduct affairs by the means of regulation —moving towards a uniformity as the goal, together with the continuance of the organisation itself. One form of bureaucratic regulation is secrecy. Max Weber’s chapter “Bureaucracy,” in his work Economy and Society, states:
- Every bureaucracy seeks to increase the superiority of the professionally informed by keeping their knowledge and intentions secret. Bureaucratic administration always tends to be an administration of ‘secret sessions’ in so far as it can, it hides its knowledge and action from criticism.The pure interest of the bureaucracy in power, however, is efficacious far beyond those areas where purely functional interests make for secrecy. The concept of the ‘official secret’ is the specific invention of bureaucracy, and nothing is so fanatically defended by the bureaucracy as this attitude, which cannot be substantially justified beyond these specifically qualified areas. In facing a parliament, the bureaucracy, out of a sure power instinct, fights every attempt of the parliament to gain knowledge by means of its own experts or from interest groups. The so-called right of parliamentary investigation is one of the means by which parliament seeks such knowledge. Bureaucracy naturally welcomes a poorly informed and hence a powerless parliament—at least in so far as ignorance somehow agrees with the bureaucracy’s interests.
Weber describes an “ideal type” that generalises a setting in which government chooses or is forced to be concerned about the loyalty (bureacratic reliability) of sections of the population. Conceptualised thus, ‘loyalty’ implies that there was information within a bureaucracy which could be used to injure the Government or the “national interest” if revealed by the ‘disloyal’. This ‘anarchism’ threatens the necessary state “monopoly on violence.”
The (1997) Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy (the Moynihan Secrecy Commission) issued final (unanimous) report which included key findings:
(a) that secrecy is a form of government regulation
(b) that excessive secrecy has significant consequences for the national interest when policy makers are not fully informed
(c) the government is not held accountable for its actions
(d) the public cannot engage fully in informed debate
It has been argued that the major reason why Mills argued that the academic elite unwittingly serves the military industrial complex is the elite’s behavioral approach, its commitment to value-free social science. In the past, conservatives have attacked the academic intelligentsia on the same grounds, that it has been immoral not to inculcate moral values. The argument is that the so-called value-free commitment to analyze ‘what is’ that is, the existing system, automatically buttresses that system and since the system is wrong is thus immoral: it is the rationalisation of the real. The fetishisation of the commodity has a corrollary whereby eminence in one field can be transformed into political influence, especially in a democracy so based on ‘public opinion’.
Charles Gattone’s (2003) C. Wright Mills on Power, Social Science, and Intellectuals in Contemporary Society notes that after the end of the war the academic community were optimistic that scholarly research would play a key role in the effort to building the foundations of the postwar society. Research funding was plentiful and grew as the rapid pace of change seemed to yield more questions than it did answers. Business leaders and federal policy makers sought to develop new ways to achieve their goals and they appealed to the universities to assist them in this effort.
In the years immediately following the war, the centralized configuration of the U.S. political economy placed the power elite in a uniquely advantageous position. The network of institutions that had coalesced during the war now served a means through which their goals could be more effectively realized.
Georgios Skemperis (2003) Strategic Culture in Post-War Europe presents the concept of ‘Strategic Culture’ as an internalised amalgam of beliefs, images, and symbols carried by the the individual – including elites – which in broader terms of the relationship between their country and the rest of the world, conditions the response to foreign policy and national security.
Strategic culture is created or modified either by the ruling elites through propaganda, or by the effects of vivid events and shocks, or both. The major feature of strategic culture is the fact that it becomes dogmatic. It encourages and enhances the tendency of people to abstain from the time- and effort-consuming procedure of searching for incoming information, analyzing and reaching rational suppositions or conclusions. It does that by offering them a “pre-cooked” and broadly acceptable position on foreign policy and security. Furthermore, the high political costs of practicing foreign policies that oppose the existing culture, or even trying to do so, put constraints on the decision makers, and prevent – otherwise reasonable – shifts in foreign policy. It is also possible that strategic culture influences directly the decision-makers affecting their objectivity.
Other definitions include Jack Snyder’s (1977) The Soviet Strategic Culture: Implications for Limited Nuclear Operations, (p.8) who defines strategic culture as:
“the sum total of ideas, conditioned emotional responses, and patterns of habitual behavior that members of a national strategic community have acquired through instruction or imitation or share with each other with regard to … strategy.”
And Ken Booth’s, taken from an essay ‘The Concept of Strategic Culture Affirmed’ in Carl Jacobsen’s (1990) Strategic Power: USA/USSR:
“Strategic culture refers to a nation’s traditions, values, attitudes, patterns of behavior, habits, symbols, achievements and particular ways of adapting to the environment and solving problems with respect to the threat or use of force.”
Peter Katzenstein’s (1996) “The Culture of National Security,” collection provides Thomas Berger’s, definition a response to political-military culture as a subset of the broader political culture – as the cultural beliefs and values:
“that influences how members of a given society view national security, the military as an institution, and the use of force in international relations.”
And Charles Kupchan’s (1994) “The Vulnerability of Empire”, defines the concept of strategic culture as:
“images [and symbols] that shape how the nation as a collective entity defines its well-being and conceives of its security.”
Mills basic sociological questions set out in the (1959) The Sociological Imagination (p. 6-7) were :
(1) What is the structure of this particular society as a whole? What are its essential components, and how are they related to one another? How does it differ from other varieties of social order? Within it, what is the meaning of any particular feature for its continuance and for its change?
(2) Where does this society stand in human history? What are the mechanics by which it is changing? What is its place within and its meaning for the development of humanity as a whole? How does any particular feature we are examining affect, and how is it affected by, the historical period in which it moves? And this period—what are its essential features? How does it differ from other periods? What are its characteristic ways of history making?
(3) What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? And what varieties are coming to prevail? In what ways are they selected and formed, liberated and repressed, made sensitive and blunted? What kinds of ‘human nature’ are revealed in the conduct and character we observe in this society in this period? And what is the meaning for ‘human nature’ of each and every feature of the society we are examining.”
So if we condense this further our examination concerns society:
(1) Structure and varietal order in terms of relating components in terms of contrast and difference. To find the meaning in terms of continuance and change.
(2) History in terms of the characteristics and mechanics of change in terms of the affects on and by the essential features of the historical period in terms of contrast. To find the ways of history making and meaning for the development of humanity.
(3) Prevalent varieties in terms of selection and formation, liberation and repression, sensitiisation and desensitisation. To find the meaning for ‘human nature’ in terms of conduct and character.