This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
The word telic comes from the Greek, telos, meaning end, or goal. Each institution needs to have a clear conception of its goal, the purpose for which it exists, its function in the world, just as each person can have a satisfactory life only by having some end for which to strive that seems supremely worth while.
Is there such a goal for all institutions in the aggregate, for humanity as a whole? If there is it must be, for the present, at least, a metaphysical one. How is it then with a country, a race, a community? There again, except for the state (of which more later), there is no organization which is competent to set up a definite goal. Doubtless every people or community which maintains internal communication at all close has some sort of vague sentiment as to what its place in the world is. Take our own country, the United States, for example. Ask a dozen people what the goal or mission of this country is, and you will get a dozen different answers, though there will be similarity between some of them. Just as each community, in so far as it has a goal at all, has a different kind of goal from what any other community has, so also each generation, in so far as it comes to any agreement at all about the chief end toward which to strive, makes its end different from that of any other generation. But for humanity as a whole, and for all time, statements of the "chief end of man" range widely, and the more widely, the farther we depart from the physical basis of biology and psychology. Ethics is the study which deals specifically with this subject. Every student should dip into it to help him to a clearer vision of his own place in the world, and then he can more easily decide with what social movements or organizations he will wish to become affiliated, and toward what ends these organizations should work.
The social goal of the democracy is the advancement and improvement of the people through a democratization of the advantages and opportunities of life. This goal is to be attained through a conservation of life and health, a democratization of education, a socialization of consumption, a raising of the lowest elements of the population to the level of the mass. ... - Weyl, The New Democracy, p. 320.
... At least along four lines Western peoples have been failing to conserve their higher ideals, namely, along the lines of the family, of government, of religion, and of morality. - Ellwood, The Social Problem, p. 196.
I labor for the coming of a happy day to the human race.
I see children, joyous and free, their souls no longer stifled by want, their little bodies no longer ground into dividends.
I see a human race, released from its economic servitude, develop spiritually and intellectually, beyond the dream of the most hopeful idealist.
I see a world, freed from the sordid misery that brings endless mourning to thousands, become a place of peace and happiness;
A world without potentates and titles, without war and destruction, without degradation and abasement;
A world wherein love has supplanted hate, tenderness has displaced greed, and light has dissipated darkness. - The Survey, Vol. 32, p. 620, Everhart.
Social Hygiene ... is no longer merely an attempt to deal with the conditions ... as they occur, without going to their source, but it aims at prevention. It ceases to be simply a reforming of forms, and approaches in a comprehensive manner not only the conditions of life, but life itself. In the second place, its method is no longer haphazard, but organized and systematic, being based on a growing knowledge of those biological sciences which were scarcely in their infancy when the era of social reform began. ... It is the inevitable method by which at a certain stage civilization is compelled to continue its own course, and to preserve, perhaps to elevate, the race. - Ellis, The Task of Social Hygiene, pp. 1, 2.
The solution proposed is the development in society, to the greatest extent possible, of the two somewhat opposite and yet complementary social forces, education and organization: education in order to secure for the individual the largest degree of development; organization in order to secure for the community the results of all individual progress. Neither force alone is sufficient. Each is necessary to modify and supplement the other. ... - American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 13, p. 546, Elkin.
. . . But as nearly as I can state what to me is the end of human progress, it would be somewhat in this form: that the final goal of all things, if they have or can be made to have a goal, is not some merely static perfection for God, society, or the individual; it is the identification of personal interest with social interest to an increasing degree. You may paraphrase this as consecrated intelligence, or as reconciling freedom of individual will with evolution of society, or as the identification of man individualized and man socialized. ... - Todd, Theories of Social Progress, p. 547.
Social technology must start with an anlysis of desirable ends of concerted volition analyzed by psychology, revealed in history, widely presented in art and literature, and justified by social philosophy. Human purpose directed to desirable ends is an objective fact, like a star or crystal. . . . - American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 18, p. 217, C. R. Henderson, "Applied Sociology."
But what is this best life? We cannot define it, we cannot formulate it, in any one word or phrase. It will be differently conceived of according to the measure in which it is realized. The ideal determines the actual, but is also determined by it. As humanity advances, as man comes to understand himself and his aims more and more, these aims appear to him in new forms. They change as he changes. Each generation has its own ideal of what is best and highest. ... - Ritchie, Principles of State Interference, p. 103.