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make the fullest concession to specialized knowledge and other forms of technical proficiency as factors in the success of social workers. But this success has been achieved quite as much through personality.

I venture to suggest further that the personality of the successful social worker through his years of experience shows a progressive development. It is not only mellower, richer, and more persuasive, as any personality may become through maturing experience; it has also been adapted in quite specific ways which have been determined by the requirements of his professional tasks. Let me once more illustrate what I mean. We may assume two persons in their early twenties, each with personalities which would meet the most exacting requirements of professional positions where personality counts. Let us further assume that these two persons are as alike in their personal qualities as it is possible for two individuals to be. One enters the diplomatic service; one enters social work. Let us leave them for fifteen years and renew their acquaintance after a successful experience in their respective fields. As human beings, we should expect to find them more mature, mellower, ripened as personalities are through experience in life. We shall, of course, find differences in their development. Any two personalities would probably be less alike at middle age than in youth. I am inclined to think, however, that among the differences discernible after fifteen years we should find some significant ones that were products not merely of maturity, but of constant, and perhaps unconscious, adaptation to the respective requirements of diplomacy and social work.

I do not wish to overstress the differences between diplomacy and social work or to overstress the significance of the peculiar personality demands of any occupation. It seems clear, however, that some occupations require a greater degree of self-control, a different form of self-expression, a higher measure of patience, a more intimate, a more sympathetic, understanding of human need than others. Surely those who fill such positions, at least, would agree that the efficient dispenser of information at the information booth of a railroad station has a greater need of patience than, let us say, the driver of a team of mules. Indeed, I am told by those who know that for the latter occupation patience is a positive disqualification.

Suppose we grant all this; where does it lead us? I think it leads to the conclusion that part of the professional training of the social worker, part of his unceasing effort to increase his proficiency throughout his professional career, should be devoted to the study of the effective use of personality. Let me repeat that such study would not necessarily be a new factor in the development of social workers. It means only a more conscious and deliberate attention to a problem which they have been highly successful in solving. Thus far, however, our interest in the personality development of social workers has been undefined, unorganized, and casual. We have been satisfied with personality as is or with personality as developed through the natural maturing process of experience in life. We have not sufficiently realized that the task of leadership which social

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work imposes upon its practitioners requires not only a good personality, in the ordinary sense, but a good personality adapted to the specific requirements of that task.

At intervals throughout this paper I have distinguished between the personality qualifications of the social worker on the one hand and his special knowledge and technical proficiency on the other. At the risk of inconsistency I now suggest that in the practice of social work these aspects of proficiency can hardly be separated. In so far as the social worker succeeds by deliberate effort in improving his personality equipment he is, in my judgment, adding to his technical skill. In so far as he makes himself master of the technique of social work I believe he is schooling his personality to express itself in ways that make for sounder, more helpful professional relationships. Technique means nothing but a better organization of one's powers for a particular task. Those powers may be intellectual; they may be manual; they may be temperamental. The demands of social work call for all three.

The skilled social worker, the social worker who is master of his own technique, is one whose collective powers have been schooled for his specific tasks. We have seen that these tasks involve personal relationships of the most delicate and strategic kind. We have come to believe that they cannot be performed except by the trained social worker. Just what the training of the social worker should be can as yet be only tentatively stated; but I am convinced that in the future it must include study of the functioning of personality in human intercourse. Such study involves the risk of making artificial what should be spontaneous and natural. One of our problems seems to be that of devising educational experiences for social workers which will eliminate this risk while enabling them to achieve steadily and consistently a richer development of their personalities for the task of leadership.

Personality and civilization.—We have considered in this paper some of the ways in which personality is significant in the practice of social work. In conclusion, I suggest that if our professional development shows a steadily growing use of human personality, we may in the long run make an even more strategic contribution to our civilization. The accumulation of scientific knowledge and its application to the affairs of men by experts working through the medium of organization become constantly more intricate and widespread. These developments have greatly increased the scope of human life. It is, however, beyond question that they have at the same time tended to depersonalize it.

In certain ways, which formerly contributed powerfully to the sense of solidarity in our social groups, industry and trade have changed. Big business and mass production have contributed definite gains to our social life, but they are responsible also for some irreparable losses. Except in isolated instances, personal contact between merchant and patron, between employer and employee, is no longer possible. It is still possible for owner or manager of a business to take pride in his plant and his product, but it is a pride which he can

no longer, as once he could, share through face-to-face discussion with patron and employee. In education the standardized curriculum and the increased size of educational institutions have changed the character of the old education in which close contact between teacher and pupil was a leading factor. In the practice of medicine the development of medical institutions and medical specialists has limited the possibilities of a personal relationship between physician and patient. Even in the home the exigencies of modern urban life have restricted the area of vital personal relationships, and neighborliness, the first step in the extension of the personal interests of the home out into the community, has been almost eliminated.

These developments have taken place so gradually, they have been so covered with the revelation of new satisfactions which science and organization have made possible, that we have hardly appreciated their significance. To one who believes that the development of civilization has rested largely upon the cohesive power of human personality the steady contracting of the area within which this power is given scope is ominous. I do not see how it can ever regain its old significance in the world of business. It becomes, therefore, of critical importance that we retain it at its best in those fields in which it is indispensable to success. Social work is one of these. Without human personality as a guiding force, social work will be a sterile effort.

I do not believe that the force of human personality in the affairs of men is spending itself. There is, however, a real danger that our faith in the possibilities of efficient organization may lessen its opportunities for service. Those forms of human effort in which experts deal with human beings, education, medicine, social work may be so influenced by the depersonalizing trend of modern civilization that they may fail in the achievement of their own purposes unless they bring into their conception of what constitutes fitness for service a recognition of the indispensable contribution of the developed personality. Science and organization may make life safer, more rational, more convenient, broader in its scope. Personality alone can use science and organization to make life richer. Social workers throughout their history have demonstrated this truth. We can, by taking thought, add to its influence in our changing civilization.


Rev. D.D., Samuel McChord Crothers, Pastor, First Unitarian Church,
Cambridge, Massachusetts

We have social work, plenty of it; social sciences, each with its own technique; social programs, formulated while you wait. What more do we need?

I think we need something that will bind them all together and give a sense of a common purpose. We need a more perfect understanding of our relations to the society of which we are a part, and which we are seeking to improve. Mil


ton declared that the great argument of Paradise Lost was "to vindicate Eternal Providence and justify the ways of God to Man." The great argument to which we must rise is to vindicate our faith in modern progress and to justify the ways of civilized man, unto himself. We need the kind of thought that shall justify and unify and vivify our various social activities. This is what I would call social philosophy.

It is the result of reflection on the work we are actually doing. At no time is it more desperately needed than when our knowledge is acquired more rapidly than our power to use it.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase) writes himself down as one who loves his fellow-man. His is an uncomplicated purpose. He loves his fellow-men and does something that is good for them. Between the will and the deed the connection is clear. There is no ambiguity.

But when the tribe of Abou Ben Adhem increases rapidly it begins to feel the force of the economic law of diminishing returns. A thousand philanthropists, each one following the dictate of his own kind heart, do not do a thousand times as much good as one philanthropist who has the field to himself. There is much duplication of effort and not a little cutthroat competition among welldoers. All kinds of complications arise, and Abou Ben Adhem wastes much time in trying to convince his fellow-philanthropists that they are wasting their time in unproductive activities.

He begins to realize the meaning of Shakespeare's warning that goodness, growing to a plurisy, dies in its own too much. When he is overwhelmed by the too-muchness of divers good causes he is really grappling with what the early Greek philosophers found to be the fundamental problem of the "one and the many." How can he find unity of purpose amid such amazing variety?

The social worker who has not learned to take his work philosophically may do many good things, but with much friction, so that those who watch him moving remorselessly along his all too narrow path of duty will murmur the refrain of the old revival hymn: "Doing is a deadly thing." A little thinking about the broader aspects of his work might take off the curse.

Said Confucius to his disciples: "When a man is not in the habit of saying, 'What shall I think of this? What shall I think of that?' I can do nothing for him."

Before a person can work effectively for the reorganization of society he must do a little tinkering with his own mental machinery. He must realize that the mind, even of the most intelligent person, is not fool-proof. It must be continually adjusted to ever changing realities. He must learn to focus his attention, but not always on one spot. He must know how to specialize and how to generalize, but he must know enough not to try to do both at the same time. He will not make the mistake of generalizing from a single personal experience, and thus treating his limitations as if they were cosmic laws, Nor, on the other hand, will he think that a wide generalization is the solution of a particular problem.

He needs the philosophy of Epictetus: "Take up everything by the right handle."

Or, if he prefers to put his philosophy into Scripture phrase, let him repeat the words of the Preacher: "To everything there is a season and time for every purpose under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together." To which the experienced social worker will add: "A time to help people solve their problems, and a time to let them alone." There is no one remedy to be presented at all times. The physician cannot throw the blame for his ill success on the patient: "I gave him the right medicine, but he had the wrong disease."

Said Touchstone to Corin, "Hast any philosophy in thee, shepherd?" So one might ask, "Hast any philosophy in thee, social worker?" Have you any power, after you have done your own work, to estimate the value of other people's work? Can you, now and then, take a disinterested view of various forces that are at work while you may be asleep? Have you ever meditated on the ancient text, "Thy saving health among all nations?" To appreciate the power of saving health you must yourself have a healthy mind.

The world-soul knows his own affair,
Fore-looking, when he would prepare
For the next age's men of mould
Well embodied, well ensouled.
He cools the present's fiery glow
Sets the life pulse strong but slow.

The best generalship requires that the reserves shall be carefully looked after. The time will come when they will be needed.

We sympathize with the small boy whose trials are pictured under the caption, "When a Feller Needs a Friend." There are times when the social worker feels that way. He comes up against stubborn facts which he wasn't prepared for. Altruism is not always appreciated by the other person. Jeremy Bentham's formula, "the greatest good to the greatest number," would be more agreeable if the greatest number didn't resent having the greatest good done to them in any unfamiliar manner. When they turn upon their benefactor to rend him he needs what Friar Laurence recommended to Juliet: "Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy."

One can hardly pick up a magazine in these days without finding the confessions of some disillusioned idealist. Unlike the penitent who whispers in the ear of the confessor, he seeks the confessional that has the widest publicity. For he is confessing, not his sins, but his disappointment over his job. It is really a confession of what he ought to have known at the beginning, that "Art is long [even the art of doing good] and Time is fleeting." The idealist was prepared to bring in a new social order, but before he had time to explain what his program was, his time was up and somebody else had the floor. He feels he has a

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