It's All About Character Poster

It's All About Character


It's All About Character Poster
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Character is not a mechanical way of doing things imposed by society upon individuals. Neither is it a sort of super-social will which an individual imposes upon society. It is rather a deliberate responsiveness to social need, a responsiveness which looks toward a social ideal that has been consciously adopted by the individual as his own. Such responsiveness is not original in man's nature. Neither can it be forced upon a man by law or custom. Law and custom alone would tend to make the individual mechanically responsive, not deliberately and freely responsive, to the needs of society. One who is trained merely to obey orders has no character at all. He is only a tool, a machine. Democracy is a theory of character as well as a theory of social organization. The two things go together. The individual is the sort of person the state allows him to become. The state is the kind of state that its individual members make it. Autocratic forms of social organization cannot allow individual freedom, or character, among subjects. A state whose members possessed "character" would not be an autocracy. Democracy is character in terms of social organization. Character is democracy in terms of its individual components. They are two aspects of the identical thing. Democracy, except as an ideal, is not something which exists in the world independently of the character of its individual members. Nor is character something which exists in individuals independently of their life in social groups. Men achieve character only by living together, and by exactly the same process and at the same time they are a society or social group. If the individuals in the group live together by exploiting one another, or by submitting to some external authority, or by training some members to obey and others to rule, we have neither character nor democracy. But if they live together by deliberately co-operating for the common good, submitting to the common will, and training all to serve, each according to his ability, we have both character and democracy.

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