Excerpt from Human Nature in Politics: The Dynamics of Political Behavior
As the mind relates to politics, this book is an attempt to consider what can and cannot be imprinted on the tabula non rasa. To me it seems necessary to do this to understand the origins of political action in the non-western world. Indeed it seems necessary to do this to understand with more depth why people have developed the sorts of political institutions that prevail in Europe and America. But this book can be no definitive statement. Rather, it redirects attention to neglected lines of thought that were most explicitly related to politics by Thomas Hobbes three hundred, and by Graham Wallas almost threescore, years ago. Since these men wrote, psychology has advanced from a largely intuitive to a vigorously empirical science that can shed light on previously dark origins of political behavior.
Numerous people have in various ways helped me write this book. Five ladies: Mary Ellis Amett, Lucille Lozoya, and Barbara Wilhite, who typed successive versions of it; and my wife Eleanor and my daughter Sarah, who jointly survived the writing from start to finish. Three onetime students: Peter J. Bickel, Robert M. Cadwell, and Alan P. Carlin, who spoke for the intelligent skepticism of scores of their contemporaries. One half-time research assistant, David M. Olson, whose intelligent persistence was not half-hearted. And the following critics and mentors.
In his reading of the completed manuscript, John H. Schaar was most sensitive and intelligent and stubborn, and generous of time and argument.
My major intellectual debt is to three psychologists, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow, and David Krech. Each of them opened many doors and invited me in-in the first two cases without knowing me from Procrustes or Prometheus and in the third case without wanting me to become a follower. Any errors of fact and judgment contained herein are attributable not to Freud or Maslow or me but to Krech. When I asked him to read the manuscript, he said I should not now need to have him do it. If he had, this book would be free of fault.
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