The Social Imagination

Exploring the Social Imagination

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Post Christian Social Imagination in America???

Is there a post-Christian social imagination in America? That's a good question. Was there ever a Christian social imagination? That's also a good question. Yes, some like to think so and we can check to find out that many European people who came to the 'new world' came with their socio-cultural heritage that of a Judeo-Christian world view.

The earliest of them came seeking religious freedom and certainly they thought of themselves as Christians. If you check the religious affiliations of the signers of the either the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, you will see that quite a few of them were Christians or claimed to be.

I told my students that there is nothing new under the sun and man cannot imagine something to be true unless he/she has seen it already at work among others or in nature; especially with regards to migration and adaptation. We cannot imagine something from nothing... ideas just don't pop up out of the thin air... at least not in the social imagination in which we all live including all scientists of soft sciences and even math/physics.

We were not taught this tid bit of history but its historically correct which is that the framers of our Constitution took sound information regarding social contract from the Iroquois 'Six' Nations alliance. Ultimately, the United States Constitution came together, in one remarkable document, ideas from many people and several existing documents, including the Articles of Confederation and Declaration of Independence. Its commonly taught that those who made the most significant intellectual contributions to the Constitution are called the "Founding Fathers" of our country.

Many of the United States Founding Fathers were at the Constitutional Convention, where the Constitution was hammered out and ratified. George Washington, for example, presided over the Convention. James Madison, also present, wrote the document that formed the model for the Constitution. 

Prior to its formation, one can read how the colonists went from one meeting to another, looking for unions they should study, according to the executive director of the New York State Bicentennial Commission, Stephen L. Schechter.

''They contemplated examples from Europe, examples from Greco-Roman times, examples from the Bible,'' he said. ''And they also looked at Native American examples, particularly the Iroquois Confederacy.''

One forum to share ideas between the colonists and the Iroquois, in the years leading to the French and Indian War, was the the Albany Congress between June 19 and July 9, 1754. At the meeting, representatives of the six Indian nations and seven colonies heard Benjamin Franklin. champion the Iroquois example as he presented his Plan of Union.

Point being, there is nothing new under the sun. Ideas come from the social imagination which means they come from a pool of information that is shared over and over.  At the time of the founding of this country, there were plenty of people who considered themselves Christians, and we still use the Bible to 'swear' to tell the truth. We still pledge one nation under God and claim in God we Trust. But, we might think such 'slogans' are just that and tradition.

Many Americans might say that we are becoming a new kind of Christian nation with a new open kind of social imagination whereby the Bible is no longer considered the inerrant Word of God but a 'good' book written by men and in their 'cultural' context excluded women and people of race, and people of differing sexual orientation. And or that the Bible is for the reader's interpretation.

Should anyone be concerned about that? Well, not really. As far as the social imagination goes in a fallen world... there is nothing new under the sun. Yes, Solomon made that statement and he knew well of such things being a wise man. What Christians (past/present/post) should always agree on is that God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts. "You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns." ~ Mark 8:33. "God's voice is glorious in the thunder. We can't even imagine the greatness of his power" ~ Job 37:5.

Final judgement is His call... "For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God" ~ Isaiah 58:2. "He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them" ~ Job 12:23.

*Source ~

Monday, May 21, 2018

Facination with Royalty and the like.... in the Social Imagination!

First, what is the 'like'? The like refers to American's re-creation of royalty using Hollywood actors/actresses. That is why we accept pairing of a certain prince with a certain Hollywood princess. It seems like the right thing to do, right?  Well, in the American Social Imagination... yes!

In a 2014 article, found in the Observer, one can read a very interesting take on 'Royalty' in the American Social Imagination. It is interesting to read that Americans are fascinated with royalty and that is even strange when  you consider that America was founded on the premise that an individual's good idea and hard work will make them a success story in their own right.  Here are a few excerpts:

A few years ago I debated atheist Richard Dawkins at the University of Toronto at the Idea City convention. He went on about how religion is a lie. There was no proof for God. So why did people insist on perpetuating this lie? He insisted that he had nothing against religion, other than the fact it was not true.

When it was my turn I asked, “Since you’re a British subject, did you ever find scientific evidence that some people are born with blue blood? That royalty is born with a different DNA structure to us mortals? And if not, why do you perpetuate it? Why does the “lie” of religion bother you but not the lie of royalty? Why haven’t you devoted your life and your books to refuting that lie?” There was no response.

Which begs the question: Why are we Americans—for all our history—so fascinated with this stuff? Why did the royal visit dominate the headlines in New York where the American revolution was felt so deeply and which spent much of the war under royalist occupation. Americans back then hated their king and did everything to get rid of him. Now, we go gaga over a royal visit?

Is it a human need to deify humanity? Is it that in an increasingly godless age we all require objects of worship? Or perhaps it has something to do merely with celebrity. The royal family is famous.
Or perhaps in an age of flimsy and ephemeral novelty we have nostalgia for something old, and yet unbroken, and ancient. If I had to guess I would say it’s something different entirely.

The underlying attraction to royalty is the human desire for an effortless life, where all things are magical and where all beauty is innate. A meritocracy has its own rewards. It allows ordinary people to become extraordinary, but it always involves hard work: the entrepreneur who must burn the midnight oil to build his business. The rising politician who must travel around the country begging rich people for money to make his candidacy viable. They are people who are all those things—rich, beautiful, wonderful—without any effort at all. They are angels who live among us.

And royalty is fantasy in the flesh. An impossible, effortless, wealthy, magical existence that seemingly requires no effort or struggle. I get it. And I’m drawn to that world as well. Would it were that all men were princes and all women princesses... a social phenomenon existing in all cultures.

And, how ironic that given the height of our so called humanity in a post modern social imagination whereby we condone the rich... we yet continue to imagine the life of royalty to be a place of absolute heaven. Which suggests that we long for a place called heaven. And, such a heaven is absolute. We long to be back in it. You see, heaven is real as we do imagine it. It is the place where we long to be and find ourselves outside of. It is a place that we yearn to be in rather than this fallen world. So, we try to build it here and now and hand it over to those we think deserve it.

Yes, we put people into the 'heaven' of the social imagination. But, its only a heaven that we have created out of our own feelings of hopelessness in this fallen world. Why do we do that? Because, inside of us, even in this fallen world, is the Truth and the Truth is that we all belong to His 'heavenly' Kingdom where all who believe in the Truth who is Jesus Christ... born, lived and died for our sins  was buried and rose again... and will come again to judge the living and the dead and His Kingdom will have no end!

But, sadly rather tragically, there is one who continues to condemn us to this place...Our battle is against him and perhaps in our desperation to get back to the Truth we try to show him that we do believe in heaven and so we create it here. Rather, its he (Satan) who is trying to create in us a false heaven (devouring the Truth that is within) leading us to believe that this place is our only hope for heaven on earth.

*Source ~

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Walking Away from Truth in the Social Imagination...

We live in a culture that is defiant of any notion of truth. "What is truth?" Pilate asked ~ John 18:38.

What is your truth is not my truth... that is pretty much what Pilate meant.  Jesus said, "Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice" and Pilate said, "What is truth"? Sadly that is where are today in this country and other nations that follow our lead. The Spirit of Pilate is alive today in our universities and governments and churches. We live in a culture that is defiant of truth. We are anti-truth. If that is true, we must ask ... what is truth?

People say there is truth in all kinds of ism (s); for instance, culturalism where in we find 'truth' in the cultural data crystallized by traditions and customs.

Surveys show that 36 and older state that there are no moral absolutes. Why is that? Is it really because there is no truth today? Those at the other end of the surveys tell us that morality and truth depend upon individual preference and circumstances. Here is a list of truth ism (s) being applied today.

Humanism says that man is the truth.
Mysticism says that intuition is the truth.
Skepticism says that no one can know the truth.
Hedonism says whatever feels good is the truth.
Secularism says that the present world is the truth.
Relativism says that in each situation there is truth.
Pluralism says that everyone has a piece of the truth.
Existentialism says that self determination is the truth.
Positivism says that whatever man confesses is the truth.
Pragmatism says that whatever works for you is the truth.

Soren Kierkegaard said that there is no truth in the masses. What did he mean by that? It is exactly what Pilate meant. Kierkegaard wrote, "There is a view of life which conceives that where the crowd is, there is also the truth, and that in truth itself there is need of having the crowd on its side. There is another view of life which conceives that wherever there is a crowd there is untruth ...even if every individual, each for himself in private, were to be in possession of the truth, yet in case they were all to get together in a crowd—a crowd to which any decisive significance is attributed, a voting noisy audible crowd—untruth would at once be in evidence." ~ SK

What is truth? Is there any absolute truth that does not entangle us in lies? Yes, it is the way, the life and the truth ~ Jesus Christ. Those outside of the truth of Jesus Christ hold down the truth of God.... they exchange the truth of God for a lie. And, sadly, this is the hour in which we live. We have a culture and society that has exchanged the truth of God for a lie. It is the departure from or walking away from truth that is our demise and fall (as it was) into doubt, error and into the chaos of a very dark social imagination!

Monday, May 14, 2018

What is Lying in the Social Imagination?

Everybody lies.  It may only be “white” lies, but everyone tells lies or “omits the truth” sometimes.

We start lying at around age 4 to 5 when children gain an awareness of the use and power of language.  This first lying is not malicious, but rather to find out, or test, what can manipulated in a child’s environment.  Eventually children begin to use lying to get out of trouble or get something they want. 

White lies, those concocted to protect someone’s feelings, are not a big deal at all.  The person, however, who seems to feel compelled to lie about both the small and large stuff has a problem. Their problem is having a weak sense of identity within a group, within a larger social imagination. They may feel in a kind of limbo or misplaced within the social reality. They lie to protect themselves, look good, gain financially or socially and avoid punishment. 

Lying often gets worse with the passage of time. When you get away with a lie it often impels you to continue your deception especially if it wins you favor with others.

The other potentially more serious problem is that you can and will forget the real place you had in the social imagination as untruths blend and blur... confusing the old with the new fabricated place. You might imagine getting away with your lies (only if we/you the absolute truth) and we/you could if the social imagination did not have a memory bank of original information; as long as it remembers the absolute truth.

Yes, even in that kind of uncertainty, there could be lies about you that you never had anything to do with.  You see, we can give people the wrong impression of who we are and are not and not because we lie but because we don't have the information they want from us based on what they think we have regardless whether or not we have it. You see, everyone in this world wants something from someone 'information' - they want from us and we from them. This is what the social imagination (our social reality) is about giving and taking; its about exchanges of information that create and build a social construct that becomes a sustained social interaction in which we exist.

So, in a way, we seem to be caught up in vicious circle of exchanges of information which is both lies/truth. Its more often than not that we just often don't have the information that someone or some people want or expect from us.  So, we cannot share, we cannot give what others want from us and so they take from us what they want. We even allow it because we know that we cannot offer what they want even though at the same time we can be taking something from them. In that realization or position, if make something up or we don't make something up, we could lose out either way in the give/take of the social imagination - social reality.

What can and does happen frequently, is that those who want information from us will make up something for us on our behalf when we cannot or do not provide them with what they want.  In the example of, if you are seen with them then that must mean you exchanged information with them. But, as it turns out, you did not have what they wanted and so lies are constructed to make you look bad, or them look good. Or to make you look good just so that they can look good too.

Also, if you do make something up as it seems necessary to do so, and it is accepted as useful or good information then ties/relationships can be won but... based on lies. Can the social imagination be built on lies? Seems so. Its not that this happens rarely, it happens often and even on macro levels between countries. The victor gets to tell the history. The group/person that won the battle whether it was won based on lies or not doesn't matter in long run... only that something was won - information.

Is there any truth out there? For some, it is enough that we just agree on what is the truth of the moment. But, what is truth so that we can know it in the moment? One for sure, there is no truth in the who is under the mask, its anyone's call or is it what anyone wants him/her to be at a given moment? Perhaps, that is one's moment of truth! That's entanglement reality...! Is there any other?

*Excerpts from online article ~

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Study: Atheists Find Meaning In Life By Inventing Fairy Tales...

Well, anything is possible in the 'fallen' social imagination...

One thing for sure, all things are permitted but not all things edify ~"Everything is permissible," but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible, but not everything is edifying" - 1 COR 10:23.

Find here below the complete and unchanged article by Richard Weikart responding to a study done and its findings as to why or how atheists find meaning for their lives in fairy tales.

Atheists often snidely dismiss religion as nothing but a fairy tale. Allegedly, religion is a self-created mythical crutch to comfort people who are unwilling to face the stark realities of the universe. As one famous atheist put it, religion “is the opiate of the people.” By this Karl Marx meant religion is a tool to anesthetize the masses so they can be oppressed.

Atheists portray themselves as arch-rationalists who embrace reality without flinching. As I explain in my recent book, “The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life,” many prominent atheist thinkers, such as Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, have insisted that because there is no God, there is also no cosmic purpose, no objective morality, and no transcendent meaning to life.

The atheistic Duke University philosophy professor Alex Rosenberg dismissed meaning and morality as an illusion in a 2003 article, “Darwin’s Nihilistic Idea: Evolution and the Meaninglessness of Life.”

But then many of them flinch. Just a few weeks ago the online magazine Real Clear Science announced that famous Christian pastor Rick Warren and Christian scholar William Lane Craig were mistaken to claim that without God, life has no meaning. This article claimed that a new empirical study verified that atheists do find meaning in life. The subtext seems to be: See? Atheism isn’t so bad after all.
This is not an isolated phenomenon. The prominent atheistic evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne has also expressed dismay that anyone would dare suggest that atheists don’t have any meaning in their lives. But if you dig deeper—for example, by actually reading the empirical study—you find that atheists who insist that non-religious people can find meaning in life have changed the meaning of the word “meaning.”

Life Does Have Meaning. I Just Invent It...

The 2018 study in question by David Speed, et al, “What Do You Mean, ‘What Does It All Mean?’ Atheism, Nonreligion, and Life Meaning,” used surveys to try to figure out if atheists find meaning in life or are nihilistic. This survey defined someone as nihilistic if he or she upheld the position: “In my opinion, life does not serve any purpose.”

This study found that atheists and non-religious people are not nihilistic, because they claimed that they did have a purpose in life. This is an interesting finding that seems to refute the oft-repeated charge (levied by religious folks) that atheists are nihilistic.

However, there is a problem with this finding. The survey admitted the meaning that atheists and non-religious people found in their lives is entirely self-invented. According to the survey, they embraced the position: “Life is only meaningful if you provide the meaning yourself.”

Thus, when religious people say non-religious people have no basis for finding meaning in life, and when non-religious people object, saying they do indeed find meaning in life, they are not talking about the same thing. If one can find meaning in life by creating one’s own meaning, then one is only “finding” the product of one’s own imagination. One has complete freedom to invent whatever meaning one wants. This makes “meaning” on par with myths and fairy tales. It may make the non-religious person feel good, but it has no objective existence.

I Find Meaning in Self-Contradiction...

There is a long history of atheists wrestling with the question of the meaning of life, and it usually ends the same way. In 2015 the online periodical BuzzFeed interviewed atheists about how they found meaning. While they uniformly denied that there was any overarching meaning to life or the universe, they insisted that they find meaning and significance in their own personal lives. Many also implied that certain moral positions are objectively better than others, even though they presumably do not believe in objective morality.

One example was the response of the atheistic scientist and journalist Kat Arney. She said her rejection of religion “was an incredibly liberating moment, and made me realise that the true meaning of life is what I make with the people around me – my family, friends, colleagues, and strangers. People tell religious fairy stories to create meaning, but I’d rather face up to what all the evidence suggests is the scientific truth – all we really have is our own humanity.

So let’s be gentle to each other and share the joy of simply being alive, here and now. Let’s give it our best shot.”Arney’s position powerfully illustrates the problem many atheists seem loathe to confront. The “scientific truth” does not tell us to be “gentle to each other.” It doesn’t tell us anything about how we should live (and obviously many people are not gentle to each other, so there is nothing empirical to suggest that being gentle to each other is the way of nature).

But apparently many atheists and non-religious people have a hunger for meaning and a sense of moral rectitude that their worldview cannot satisfy. Sure, they are free to invent their own meaning and morality, but then they should be honest and admit that their meaning and morality has no advantage over the meaning or morality religious people put forward or for that matter, it has no advantage over the meaning and purpose evil people invent. Their self-created meanings are every bit as much “fairy stories” as the religious ones they like to lampoon.

Richard Weikart is professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, and author of "The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life" and "Hitler’s Religion."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Contrariness in the Social Imagination, really?

Contrary behavior means deliberately doing the opposite of what others routinely or conventionally do.  The question is why do that? Is it a form of deviant behavior? Is it a strategy to win favor for one's own agenda? Does it serve a social purpose? Yes and no. Before, we answer those questions, let us look at a society in which contrary behavior was a kind of 'norm' or served a purpose for the society.

Contrary was a member of a Native North American tribal group who adopted behavior that was deliberately the opposite of other tribal members. The Contraries were found among the historical Amerindian tribes of the Great Plains. They were a small number of individuals loosely organized into a cult that was devoted to the practice of contrary behavior.

The Contraries are related, in part, to the clown organizations of the Plains Indians, as well as to Plains military societies that contained reverse warriors. The Lakota word heyoka, which translates as clown or opposites, serves as a collective title for these institutionalized forms of contrary behavior of the Plains Indians. When Lakota Indians first saw European clowns, they identified them with their own term for clowns, heyoka.

The Contraries of the Plains Indians were individuals committed to an extraordinary life-style in which they did the opposite of what others normally do. They thus turned all social conventions into their opposites. This behavior was not just tolerated but we must imagine encouraged in some and not in others.
Maybe there were some who in the group/tribe who exhibited contrary behavior (deviated from the norm) and it was encouraged as a means of sustainability rather than to allow it to be destructive for the social group.

Especially, when we consider that the social role of the Plains Indian clowns was ceremonial since they performed primarily during rituals, dances and feasts. Unlike the clowns, the special role of the Contraries was not restricted to brief performances, rituals or the warpath. It was their everyday life. The Contraries of the Plains Indians were known to be not only unique but also historically unprecedented.

We can and should ask if we can observe this 'contrariness' in today's post-modern Judeo-Christian Roman/Greek political society? And, if we can observe it, why does it exist or is tolerated?  Aren't we here in the 21st century mostly critical thinkers, free of religion? If yes, who would be contrary to that and why? Likely, we leave that up to the psychologist or psyche-analyst.  Let's first consider what is critical thinking, as the kind of thinking common among us.

The critical habit of thought, if usual in society, will pervade all its mores, because it is a way of taking up the problems of life. Men educated in it cannot be stampeded by stump orators; hence they are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain. They can wait for evidence and weigh evidence, uninfluenced by the emphasis or confidence with which assertions are made on one side or the other. They can resist appeals to their dearest prejudices and all kinds of cajolery. Education in the critical faculty is the only education of which it can be truly said that it makes good citizens. ~ William Graham Sumner 1906                                                                                                                                                                 
We can probably agree that critical society is a community of people who value critical thinking and value those who practice it.  It is a society continually improving and its most distinguishing feature or characteristic is its emphasis on thinking as the key to the emancipation of the mind, to the creation of just practices, to the preservation and development of the species.

Unfortunately there are no critical societies in the world.  Nor have there ever been.  The idea represents an ideal not yet achieved, a possibility not yet actualized.  There is no culture on earth where critical thought is characteristic of everyday personal and social life.

On the contrary, the world is filled with superficiality, prejudice, bias, distortions, lies, deception, manipulation, short sightedness, close-mindedness, righteousness, hypocrisy, on and on, in every culture in every country throughout the world.  These problems in thinking lead to untold negative implications - fear, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, pain, suffering, injustices of every imaginable kind.

Perhaps, social media and news media, can be thought of as the implementation of the contrarian social weapon. When you hear/read the news no matter what your preferred source is... isn't it a kind of coping mechanism in that you hope that whatever you hear and read is contrary to your feelings and or opinions and this helps you to cope when they are and especially are not.

Perhaps, the Plains Indians Contrarians were used to combat: fear, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, pain, suffering, and injustices of every imaginable kind within their society. But, you should ask where is the agreement reality in that? Well, if you agree I can be contrary, and I agree you can be... there it is; I suppose. Maybe the purpose of being contrary is served in the vast landscape of the social imagination simply because 'critical thought' does not exist in the social imagination. And, thus everyone appears to be contrary. How could we be critical of the social imagination? Especially, in a fallen state as this social reality is since the Fall... exactly.

However, in agreement we can be and must be about only one thing - the Creator; and, in that there is no criticism. Among those who have such foundation, it is understood that people can agree only because there is an absolute point of departure (being) in the social imagination. Now, whether we agree on it or not does not matter as much as the fact that there is such even without having to agree. For sure, there are two different endings for those in that agreement reality and those who are not.

*Sources ~ Wikipedia [search Contrary]

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Problem of Imagining a Multiverse in the Social Imagination...

Professor Paul Davies logic against the multiverse...“If you take seriously the theory of all possible universes, including all possible variations,” Davies said, “at least some of them must have intelligent civilizations with enough computing power to simulate entire fake worlds. Simulated universes are much cheaper to make than the real thing, and so the number of fake universes would proliferate and vastly outnumber the real ones. And assuming we’re just typical observers, then we’re overwhelmingly likely to find ourselves in a fake universe, not a real one.”

So far it’s the normal argument. 

Then Davies makes his move. He claims that because the theoretical existence of multiple universes is based on the laws of physics in our universe, if this universe is simulated, then its laws of physics are also simulated, which would mean that this universe’s physics is a fake.

Therefore, Davies reasoned, "We cannot use the argument that the physics in our universe lead to multiple universes, because it would also lead to fake universes with fake physics" That undermines the whole argument that fundamental physicals generates multiple universes, because the reasoning collapses in circularity. Davies concluded, “While multiple universes seem almost inevitable given our understanding of the Big Bang, using them to explain all existence is a dangerous, slippery slope, leading to apparently absurd conclusions.”

Davies’ reductio ad absurdum is a devastating one: the multiverse undercuts the basis of physics itself. And Davies is not alone. Physicist Paul Steinhardt, who helped create the theory of inflation but later came to reject it, declared last September: “Our universe has a simple, natural structure. The multiverse idea is baroque, unnatural, untestable and, in the end, dangerous to science and society.” Steinhardt believes that the multiverse hypothesis leads science away from its task of providing a unique explanation for the properties of nature.

The problem I see with the multiverse is akin to Prof. Davies. There has to be an absolute fixed truth about our own before we could imagine there are many others. In a universe of ordered randomness, it is still ordered and ordered by someone or something. Which means that there has to be an original absolute truth or 'pattern/model'. So which is it?  There has to be an original, an absolute truth for the source of our agreement reality.

This stands true even for the atheist because why would a person who does not believe in a creator want to spend the rest of his/her life wondering if they are in the real 'world/universe' or not.  Even if they answered yes to that. They would be led down a slippery slope because how would they ever know the truth of someone else's universe if they don't know the truth of their own. 

To imagine the multiverse or let's say 'believe it' is destructive to the stability of any society. It would lead to a chaotic state of mind- collective mind. We would find ourselves in a society that constantly doubts what it is and why it is and which universe it really is in. Or assuming it is the fake one and if only we could get out of it and get to the real one. 

You see, we are back to the basis for social reality which is agreement reality. If we doubt that we are living in the absolute truth which is our universe, an absolutely created universe, we fall... and enter into a corrupted social imagination 'universe/world'.

"For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." COL 1:16-17. 

People who like the idea of the multiverse are really searching for the truth of their own which is (even has to be) the absolute truth.  In Him, we live, move and have our being! ~ Acts 17:28.