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But, as I have pointed out in the Introduction to my Social Psychology, those who approached these problems were generally stimulated to do so by their interest in questions of right and wrong, in questions of norms and standards of conduct, the urgency of which demanded immediate answers for the practical guidance of human life in all its spheres of activity, for the shaping of laws, institutions, governments, and associations of every kind; or, as frequently perhaps, for the justification and defence of standards of conduct, modes of belief, and forms of institution, which men had learnt to esteem as supremely good. ...Then it at once became apparent that both these processes are essentially social; that they involve, and at every step are determined by, interactions between the individual and his social environment; that, while the growth of the individual mind is Pg 6 moulded by the mental forces of the society in which it grows up, those forces are in turn the products of the interplay of the minds composing the society; that, therefore, we can only understand the life of individuals and the life of societies, if we consider them always in relation to one another. ...To this I replymy point is that the individual minds which enter into the structure of the group mind at any moment of its life do not construct it; rather, as they Pg 11 come to reflective self-consciousness, they find themselves already members of the system, moulded by it, sharing in its activities, influenced by it at every moment in every thought and feeling and action in ways which they can neither fully understand nor escape from, struggle as they may to free themselves from its infinitely subtle and multitudinous forces.
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