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Transcending the complex social shuffle of mid-century America Rising Above the impersonal mobility of people. Overcoming even the leveling of the machine process. A search beyond satisfied in search of stability. Changing values in America at mid-century unlimited self-expression supplemented by the control of people values of the machine process in conflict with the values of rural America the America of stability the values of urban America born to supplement the values of rural America cooperation joints competition control joins freedom conformity Joines individual ism and consumption joins production. This document of major changes in the values of America at mid-century
was produced and recorded by the University of Southern California under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Values of the machine process values based upon technology and urban living demanding planning and control. Values of success. Power. Come. By steam. And change. And yet the. No user ever person to challenge the new. Values of stability. Hard work and more reality. The values of a rural America rising in the minds of men to give conflict and tension. To. You. And I rather imagine that
one of the greatest tensions that we have here is this is a caused by the desire to get ahead and just tired to treat our fellow beings. Well if you really get into a great deal of difficulty because in order to get ahead sometimes we have to be almost ruthless lazy aggressive. And you can hardly be ruthlessly aggressive and display a full spirit of nobility charge your fellow man on the other hand. To. People requiring teamwork and integration of interest.
To the rural or simpler environment he would necessarily have more provincial and general point of view that include there is areas just political and religious and ethical and so on and it would be a very fine grassroots kind of good always. But when he comes into the more complex environment he has to become more tolerant. The rural heritage of America man close to nature and urban centers man rooted to the traditions of the earlier time man living with his traditional needs independence and self-expression. Rural church society.
Is more content with following in the footsteps of their fathers doing the things that their fathers have done before them. They have a heritage and a culture or something of their own. They have standards and mores that are not essentially different from that of the urban society but they are more firmly grounded and a person grows up knowing these he grows up knowing which is right and which is wrong and there seems to be a pretty clear cut differentiation between the two. So that if a person grows up in a rural society he knows fairly well what he would do with his life in knows that he will be a farmer. That he will be a businessman in this small store that he will perhaps be a postman or some other public servant. But in the community he knows the people who will be related to and
this gives him a certain sense of stability and there's very little worry about this for the individual. If there is worry or concern about values it is simply that he finds it sometimes difficult to toe the line to the established values society tradition well established many things that he finds somewhat difficult to accept. But this is more or less kept on the below the surface. If he is able to accept these things well he is integrated quite well. But he is not able to accept them. He may continue to be fairly well integrated if you can hide them. You can keep them from being. Too overt. If he can disagree silently Well he can continue to disagree and be fairly well oriented.
The urban character of America man surrounded by people and machines far from the traditions of natural processes. Man overcome by the values that surround him. Man existing with the present demands of people and machines. Thank. In the urban society things to me that there's a little different problem in that there are so many different different shadings of that values are not so clear cut right is not always right. Sometimes it is just a little bit wrong and wrong is not always completely wrong it's sometimes a little bit right. And in this shading of values a person comes to an awareness that he has many different types of goals and purposes available to him.
Aware of the. Possibilities for occupation. Vocation and avocation. He may find that sometimes one set of standards is good for one type of vocation and bad for another type. And he may find that the people of one type are of one sort of person and of another type. Another sort and this gives it a tendency to be aware of differentiations to be aware of fine distinctions and values become very complex. And so there is a tendency on the part of the Urbanite it seems to me and particularly the church urbanite is to be somewhat more liberal writ with respect to things traditional but to be somewhat less
rounded or certain with respect to things spiritual. The THIS IS NOT mean that to Ed. has any particular value for the things of the Spirit. This does not mean that tradition alone is able to provide for the things of the Spirit. It probably does mean that tradition has value and that it gives an anchor or stability and for the person who is in a society in which he worries about his stability about which direction things are going. About what is worthwhile and what is not worthwhile and whether or not he is actually laying hold of the things that me most in life. Whether he has actually come to grips with the question of right and wrong and has come to an understanding of the meaning of an
abundant life. This person has to do considerable searching and studying and worrying and. Has to. This has to be constantly on the search for the things which will help him find this orientation. The speed of people moving rushing to work and to home to church and to school or to the market. Time and space compressing in the interrelationships of groups the complex nature of urban life more external facts
presented to the individual and many activities of every day life. Taking time away. But it is true that the average individual has to make rapid adjustments. He has to be either were almost a radar screen constantly says to do all of the permutations of the environment things that impinge directly upon him from many sources through the mass media who is many contacts and the average person will have a say. A great number of business contacts. If he is in a business he will have so many contacts during the day that he may never see again. They are persons that he has never seen before and there are people that he has to make instant judgments about in order to
sell his product in order to achieve. Relationship that he desires in order to accomplish his mission. So he has to become an artist in judging the reactions of people as a result of this he becomes very sensitive to the cues that they feed out the way they look the way they. Hold their mouth the way they move. The things they respond to the things they say the way they dress. All these things become cues to him so that he weathered it without thinking of it actually without even making a conscious effort to do so. He's very sensitive to these things. He has to do this in order to. Orient himself. And all these things converge in a person's day. So the day is a complicated thing he. Is aware too.
You have to be aware I think of the sports situation in order to talk amiably and in a light manner in order to be abreast of things. Changing values in a changing nation dynamic shifts from the farm to the factory and to the service counter technology triumphant busy institutions springing forth people laboring under the confusion of cities. People hastily defining their relationship to machines and groups of people giving new definitions to the new situations. Traditional values giving way to the support of new values the need for stability in complex urban society and cooperation is born to supplement competition.
Well I think that. It's interesting that no conflict involved cooperation takes two to make a fight. You know. And then you you could think of hundred percent cooperation as being valuable as. The automated life. Complex precision machinery. The nature of specialized work and play demanding control. The American Heritage of unrestricted freedom interfering with the need to control life. The control of automated industry seeping into the social life of a changing nation. Freedom is an abstract term and that all freedom is really riled up to have that freedom as frequently Big Ben confused as license which means the absolute right to
step. In the vertebrae of anyone's make without regard to the consequences. Control was essential in every society. Since no society is static and therefore change involves disorganization many times without immediately after rushing in and reorganize. And thus you have to use control elements in there. It's interesting to note that even little children will use control elements in their play. One of the controllers that they most frequently use is the name calling. And so. On. People crowding in upon the individual demanding conformity the
need for peace or quiet for aloneness and heated by the demands of people of value of conformity interfering with the value of personal freedom. Well you just can't prescribe to individuals how they'll use their lives how they'll free themselves from all these attachments. If somehow or other we haven't taught people in the home and in the school to be emotionally balanced and to make choices and to make judgements we can't give formulas for doing it. There's no way of doing it. Most of us get caught up in this sort of thing. To such a degree that when will save summer vacation comes we're awfully glad to get away from the telephone get out on the road and have a get away from all these compulsion. If one took stock of all the groups we belong to which are demanding his time after he gets home and then measured the
well we'll say the frustration but the emotional tensions of people would probably be a high degree of correlation. There are too many Americans are joiners of everything. You can't you can't set up a formula. Actually it's a job of education to teach. People something more than subject matter to train them so they're emotionally and just to be people who can make their own judgements. You can't choose everybody in Los Angeles for friends you've got to make certain choices. Only the person can make the right choice. Can be done for. Same with the book. The same with the church. If he over chooses as he's apt to do it's the same way with buying we have by television radio newspaper. All this advertising brought to bear upon us by everything for practically nothing. Who sits down and plans how he buys according to what he's making. The result is most Americans get into debt far beyond what they should. They also don't buy their attachment any
more intelligently. I don't think there is a possible formula except preening the emotionally adjusted person. I know families where I see the children growing up who aren't swept away by all these things because the fathers and mothers both of them to make decisions and haven't made decisions for them seeking stability in confusion seeking to adjust personal needs and group demands striving for an orientation to complex urban life. The sun no longer rises and sets within each individual but personal needs must be satisfied. Personal needs and tolerance. The problem of tolerance is really is really a big one. I suppose it is really one of the main problems that we face. We have. We're brought so close to people.
Because we're brought so close to them we. Have to make an infinite number of adjustments to them. In order to adjust ourselves at the same time to these myriad and. Fast moving changes of our technical world. We have to be able to. Be sensitive. And sensitive to requires understanding. And understanding is impossible without love without a basic orientation toward things of love toward the acts of love toward the attitudes of love. Love is not something that a person can turn on or off as the occasion
may demand but it is a thing of deep inner integrity. A constant frame of reference. It's the. Point of stability. It's the point of creativity and the person who is faced with the problems of the day. And with the people. That help to constitute these problems. Must be aware of. The creative act. He must know how to take ahold of a situation and make of it something greater than it was. There's no how to. Well. He must feel how to. Fit into this thing. And to make it fit in to the society and the environment he must.
Sense this with a sense that is deeper than any any rational thought. And this is a part of this world rising and setting within the individual. The only world we know is the world that we experience and the only world that. We can deal with is the world. That we help to create or destroy. And if creating it has to be through love. Attempting to keep up with others trying to reconcile opposing value systems.
Judging from the pressures of conformity the reactions of people to the life above them reactions that reflect the tense tone of the urban centers. People needing assistance in fulfilling their roles in life. There is a a demand for conformity and standardization and part of that by the way is due to our educational system which. Lays out specific courses for great numbers of. People without regard always to their abilities. Perhaps in the reformation of education which will Family long in the future we will have some fundamentals that we want everybody to know. But we will also have in mind a community needs.
Perhaps some communities for instance may need mathematicians or always find out how many mathematicians a community will lead. It's very likely we may see to it that we through our educational laws are going to say should provide for the naive. Perhaps we'll need a few interpreters of foreign languages and we assume they are available. It might be you know we'll have to. Aid a good many people in our community to reach the. Goal that we want them to reach. Pressures of people and machines demanding a re-evaluation of value structures no problems are solved no personal needs are fulfilled if traditional values are cast aside or if
antagonists revolt. Nor will apathy and indifference reconcile the conflict. Person on the other hand who is apathetic or indifferent. This person I think to is is on the odd go especially in our metropolitan areas. He is a person who may have been so constantly bombarded by restorations that he has just given up the fight already may be a person who is and never has been very much concerned if he is of the latter sort. The chances are that he is from a. Highly traditional culture
one in which his environment says to him. You never can be anything more than you are. This is the supreme goal that you should always be as your parents have been and are as you are now. Don't try to fight it. Don't try to be anything more than you are this is the sum total of existence where you are in and what you are. A traditional sort of culture perhaps of an extremely rural isolated sort. This person is bar is really. These people are few and far between. You won't find very much of them in America. Searching. Searching for answers attempting to reconcile tradition with present demand
a complex incoherency of urbanized America. The suffocating pressures of people. The tensions anxieties and the social shuffle. The need for planning and control. Re-evaluate those values in conflict. What seems best. What seems reasonable. Cooperate for common acceptance. But do not sacrifice personal needs. And above all recognize each individual's right to make his own choices. Thank you. Transcending the social shuffle of mid-century America Rising Above the impersonal mobility of people
overcoming even the leveling of the machine process. I search the unsatisfied in search of stability. Lol cooperating in the production of this program where the faculty and administration of the University of Southern California and the university Methodist Church. This program was written by Donal price directed and rated by Edward de Rue and produced by Stuart Coney in search of stability was recorded by the University of Southern California
under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Emmy Radio Network.
Fifty years of growth
In search of stability
Producing Organization
University of Southern California
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Children's laughter and choir's song transcend the social shuffle of mid-century America. Urban tensions and rural heritage create re-evaluations and new patterns.
Series Description
A series of documentaries on industrial change in the U.S.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
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Director: Deroux, Edward
Narrator: Kuralt, Charles, 1934-1997
Producer: Cooney, Stuart
Producing Organization: University of Southern California
Writer: Price, Donald
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-54-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:45
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Chicago: “Fifty years of growth; In search of stability,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
MLA: “Fifty years of growth; In search of stability.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Fifty years of growth; In search of stability. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from