This work remains a pioneer sociological treatise on American culture. By understanding the individual not as the product of society but as its mirror image, Cooley concludes that the social order cannot be imposed from outside human nature but that it arises from the self. Cooley stimulated pedagogical inquiry into the dynamics of society with the publication of Human Nature and the Social Order in 1902. Human Nature and the Social Order is something more than an admirable ethical treatise. It is also a classic work on the process of social communication as the "very stuff" of which the self is made.