To be or not to be is the question. How is it possible to conclude the military offensive in North Waziristan without a final blow to terrorism and its continuing threats to civilians as well as to our valiant armed forces and other vital national institutions? If the Afghanistan-Taliban peace process fails what will Pakistan do about the safe heavens it is tolerating as a bargaining chip at the present? What logic and strategy shall help us out of the crisis that worries Afghanistan and Pakistan irrespective of politics of the opposition in the two countries? And what will be outcome of Pakistan request to the United Nations Security Council to find a political solution to the Afghanistan-Taliban negotiated peace process?

What we experience in various and specific milieu is often caused by structural changes. Accordingly, to understand the changes of many personal milieu we are required to look beyond them. And the number and variety of such structural changes increase as the institutions within which we live become more embracing and more intricately connected with one another. To be aware of the idea of social structure and to use it with sensibility is to be capable of tracing such linkages among a great variety of milieu. To be able to do that is to possess what C.Wright Mills calls “Sociological imagination”.

What are the major issues for publics and the key troubles of private individuals in our time? To formulate issues and troubles, we must ask what values are cherished yet threatened, and what values are cherished and supported, by the characterizing trends of our period. In the case both of threat and of support we must ask what salient contradictions of structure may be involved. When people cherish some set of values and do not feel any threat to them, they experience well-being. When they cherish values but do feel them to be threatened, they experience a crisis either as a personal trouble or as public issue. And if all their values seem involved, they feel the total threat of panic.

But suppose people are neither aware of any cherished values nor experience any threat? That is the experience of indifference, which, if it seems to involve all their values, becomes apathy. Suppose, finally, they are unaware of any cherished values, but still are very much aware of a threat? That is the experience of uneasiness, of anxiety, which, if it is total enough, becomes a deadly unspecified malaise.

It is a time of uneasiness and indifference-not yet formulated in such ways as to permit the work of reason and the play of sensibility.

Instead of troubles-defined in terms of values and threats-there is often the misery of vague uneasiness; instead of explicit issues there is often merely the beat feeling that all is somehow not right. Neither the values threatened nor whatever threatens them has been stated; in short, they have not been carried to the point of decision. Much less have they been formulated as problems of social science.

The liberating notion of progress by reason, the faith in science as an unmixed good, the demand for popular education and the faith in its political meaning for democracy-all these ideals of The Enlightenment have rested upon the happy assumption of the inherent relation of reason and freedom. Those thinkers who have done the most to shape our ways of thinking have proceeded under this assumption.

The role of reason in human affairs and the idea of the free individual as the seat of reason were the most important themes inherited by social scientists from the philosophers of the Enlightenment. If they were to remain the key values in terms of which troubles are specified and issues focused, then the ideals of reason and of freedom need to be restated as Problems in more precise and solvable ways than have been available to earlier thinkers and investigators.

Universal education may lead to technological idiocy and nationalist provinciality-rather than to the informed and independent intelligence.

The mass distribution of historic culture may not lift the level of cultural sensibility, but rather, merely banalize it-and compete mightily with the chance for creative innovation. A high level of bureaucratic rationality and of technology does not mean a high level of either individual or social intelligence.

The troubles and issues raised up by the crises of reason and freedom cannot of course be formulated as one grand problem, but neither can they be confronted, much less solved, by handling each of them microscopically as a series of small-scale issues, or of troubles confined to a scatter of milieu. They are structural problems, and to state them requires that we work in the classic terms of human biography and of history. Only in such terms can the connections of structure and milieu that effect these values today be traced and casual analysis be conducted. The crisis of individuality and the crisis of history-making; the role of reason in the free individual life and in the making of history-in the re-statement and clarification of these problems lies the promise of the social sciences.

The interest of the social scientist in social structure is not due to any view that the future is structurally determined. We study the structural limits of human decision in an attempt to find points of effective intervention, in order to know what can and what must be structurally changed if the role of explicit decision in history making is to be enlarged. Our interest in history is not owing to any view that the future is inevitable, that the future is bounded by the past. That men have lived in certain kinds of society in the past does not set exact or absolute limits to the kinds of society they may create in the future. We study history to discern the alternatives within which human reason and human freedom can now make history. We study historical social structures, in brief, in order to find within them the ways in which they are and can be controlled. For only in this way can we come to know the limits and the meaning of human freedom.

Freedom is not merely the chance to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them and then, the opportunity to choose. That is why freedom cannot exist without an enlarged role of human reason in human affairs. Within an individual’s biography and within a society’s history, the social task of reason is to formulate choices, to enlarge the scope of human decisions in the making of history. The future of human affairs is not merely some set of variables to be predicted. The future is what is to be decided within the limits, to be sure, of historical possibility.

But this possibility is not fixed; in our time the limits seem very broad indeed.

We do not know the answer to the question of political irresponsibility in our time or to the cultural and political questions. But is it not clear that no answers will be found unless these problems are at least confronted? Is it not obvious, that the ones to confront them, above all others, are the intellectuals and scholars conscious of the importance and implication of reason and freedom for a forward looking society with focus on constitutionality and good governance. That many of them do not now do so is surely the greatest human default.