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7 Int'l Soc. Work 1 (1964)

handle is hein.journals/intsocwk7 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                                     Eugen  Pusic **


     Editorial Note: The major documents from the European Regional Symposium held at the
     invitation of the German National Committee of the ICSW in Stuttgart in September, 1963 are
     printed in this issue. These include: the keynote speech, the reports of eight Commissions and the
     concluding speech of synthesis. The Commission reports were presented at a plenary session but
     were not formally acted on. Complete proceedings of the Symposium are also being published in
     French and can be secured from the ICSW Regional Office in Paris.


E   UROPE, with its roughly eight million square
    kilometers, is one of  the places where  people,
by over 2,000 years of decisive thought  and  action
have  shaped a  view of the  human  condition every-
where,  a universal perspective on  the problems  of
man.   The  life of generations has been  spent pur-
posefully in working  out  solutions for these prob-
lems.  And  what is left to us and to generations that
follow  are new   questions for which  new   answers
must  be sought.

     It is, precisely, this tradition of questioning, of
 not taking things for granted, of probing beyond the
 established truths that is the deepest root of Euro-
 pean thinking and  of European  destiny.

     The  development  of an image of the world and of
 man's place in it is not continuous. It has a rhythm of
 its own resulting from the interplay of changing condi-
 tions of life and the action of reflecting, weighing, con-
 cluding, 'discarding by man-a-rhythm that provides the
 accents to the flow of history and leaves its impact on
 the structure of the individual personality. The point
 that divides one historical era from the next has been
 reached when  old problems  call for new formulations,
 when, first of all, new questions are needed to direct
 energies into new channels.

     How   we  see this development  depends  on  the
 point from  which we  look on  it. No  perspective is
 by  itself more valid than another. Its value lies in
 the  meaning  it gives to a  specific pattern, in the
 light it sheds on a chosen section of the field. From
 the point of view  of the relationship of man  to his
 society, European   history  can  be  understood  in
 terms  of  the  deep-set  opposing   drives  towards
 achievement  and  towards  security.  The  contradic-

tory, and simultaneous, tendencies towards  new  ex-
perience and towards the protection of acquired posi-
tion in the individual human  being  seem  to be the
ontogenetic reflection of the phylogenesis of society.
The  security of the original Pax Romana is shattered
by  the Great Migration introducing a  period of tur-
bulence  only to be replaced  by the relative stagna-
tion of the  Middle  Ages.  After  an era  of violent
action, people are seeking  security and finding it-
morally in a religious universe, politically in the idea
of a universal policy and in the practice of empires
and  of the church, and  socially in the stable struc-
ture of feudal society with its countervailing system
of  loyalties and  obligations.  Coinciding  roughly
with  the Renaissance, the will for achievement begins
once  more  to override considerations of security. In-
tellectually this will is embodied  in the rationalist
approach   and in a philosophy  of freedom  culminat-
ing  in the French Revolution, politically in the crea-
tion  of nation states, socially in the replacement of
former  rigidities by more  elastic structures with an
emphasis   on social mobility. The new  turning point
towards   security begins somewhere   in  the  second
half  of the XIXth   century with  the great criticism
of   laissez-faire economics, with  new   equalitarian
philosophies  and  with  political movements  towards
mass   co-operation.  Its land-marks are  the Russian
Revolution,  the  introduction of  planning  into the
economic   and  social sphere and  the advent  of the
Welfare State.     Security has  again  become pre-
eminent   as a social goal.

      At the same  time, achievement and  security are
 not  opposites but  mutually  interdependent  condi-
 tions. Achievement  is the basis of security-no social
 security, for instance, without  the achievement   of
 highest  productivity-just as security is the  source
 of  achievement.   The  relative security of life and
 property  in the medieval order was  one of the con-
 ditions for the Renaissance, and  the social security

*This   was the keynote paper for the European Regional Symposium.
**  Dr. Pusic, who is a professor of Public Administration at the University of Zagreb, is ICSW  Vice-President
    for Europe.

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