The Social Imagination

Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

When Society is Given Over to a Reprobate Mind - The Bad and the Ugly Social Imagination!

People often wonder why things seem to be getting out of hand and or falling apart concerning many aspects and areas of social life = society: faith, family, gender identity, racism, taxes, politics, cost of living, health care, as well as entertainment, recreation, and least of not all - education.

There are some that see it as change; it just has to happen because of the linear time frame we dwell in. Which means for those of that mind set, there has to be something next or new that was or is  different from the past or imagined as being a better social reality than the one before. And for that reason, there are more than some people who see this 'mindset' as a highway to hell or at least a flirting with disaster instead peaceful sustainability. 

The truth is human beings really don't change all that much. In fact, they seem to go in a vicious circle. Of course, technology appears to tidy that up, make life more livable 'different/better', and even more fun but all that technology comes with a cost for the social imagination. We see growing disconnect between people and families due to social media though it seems to put us in contact with more people, its phony compared to 'real life' encounters. So, we find our lives becoming more and more engulfed in the bad and the ugly social imagination rather than the good of it.

Technology takes jobs, it replaces people, it replaces wisdom, it replaces time and space with immediate gratification and provides only false foundations that grumble fast. You see, this world is still in a state of entropy - a state of decay. Technology is included in that. If people think that they can be saved by technology, they are mistaken. Not even the technology of super quantum computers can halt entropy.  They can make it appear as if they can because of the speed but sooner or later, all things come to an end as entropy affects all things and in fact it affects all things instantly.

From the moment you are born you are essentially growing older and the same goes for technology. Oh, some say that it doesn't matter as long as new minds are born and this is what keeps the human civilization at least in a state of animation. There is some truth to that. But, what happens when a society - a human group is given over to a reprobate mind.  What happens? There is an untamed and uncontrolled wickedness we can observe in society's lusts for the flesh and pride of life. That means they violently chase after the flesh in order to overcome the inevitable loss of it. Out of this, we see societal decay increase rather than remain stable and productive enough for the next generation.

Likewise, the men abandoned natural relations with women and burned with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, He gave them up to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and hatred. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. Romans 1:27-29!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Devaluing of Human Ingeniuty ~ Insults to the Social Imagination!

 the mind is a terrible thing to waste...

Years ago, many people were schooled by their surroundings and or by their 'tribe/local community'. Years ago, children were home schooled and some went on to do quite well even without college. And, years ago, the idea of education and or the idea of going to 'school' was considered a means to discipline the mind and body so that loftier thoughts were pursued in spite of fleshly desires. It was a kind of discipline that doesn't not exist today. Rather education today is to equalize and control the masses ... it is not about accepting the best of them and making them into disciplined godly thinkers.

Years ago, many children were given a Bible to read and encouraged to study the Bible. Some were taught to read by parents, grandparents or school teachers. And, sometimes, they were self taught driven by an inner mechanism to learn about the world around them. The human mind is an amazing instrument, a kind of Ai that either has good hard wiring or not so good as this is a fallen world. But, it is likely just different hard wiring through exchange of information in the place it is received and implemented. And, that is by design!

So the, what does that mean for in terms of being a 'genius' and given that can every child or human mind be a genius? What is genius? It is only that which is socially agreed upon as incredible and or out of the ordinary information having been generated, received and implemented in a place with success that benefits not only the one but the many. We know that the human mind in its social imagination exists in relation to other like minds and in its surroundings which means that the information exchanged in a place is received and shared intimately to ensure positive reception and implementation thereof for the good of the group in the place where they are.

There is a radical destructive devaluing of this which we have called - human ingenuity. It is by those that seek control over humanity. It is instigated by those who seek control over others and it is executed from the top down. It is not information for/by the people in the place they are.  It is other information brought in by those who seek to control - information that is generated, sent and received as if it is true for people in the place where they are. But, it is from places other than the place a person finds him or herself in. This means that information is coming from outside and is being imposed upon in order to control people in the place where they are.

What does this devaluing look like? It looks like ungodly experts, institutions, organizations, huge corporations and politics.  These entities are largely composed by the group we can call - elites. They do not trust others and nor do they want to as in doing so they could lose their positions of power and or prestige. So, they either impose information which they control as in condemn, demonize, reject or punish or ban other kinds of information. Thus, they devalue the human being in the place where he/she is and also devalue human ingenuity. They get people on board with their agenda in order to control them telling people that they have the wrong information and or they need to have better information - their information.

They being elites, control means to success and they want control of people's access to success, their success. They label all the so called 'wrong' information and provide people with 'new' information. They use fear tactics and sympathy also to lure people from trusting their own instincts so to speak and lamb onto theirs. They make it seems like most people are idiots, ignorant masses that need experts and laws to protect them, guided controlled education to make them equal to everyone else and they make it all sound too good to be true... cause it is.

People can and do know what is best for them in the place where they are and even if they suffer a bit or take risks, it is theirs to overcome and theirs to gain from. For sure, they are no worse for the wear of it, struggle for a better life that they create for themselves in the place where they are. You can say that they don't have resources, they don't this or that. Not everyone has everything in the place where they are but if they have the right to access human ingenuity, they will come up with incredible means to make a better place where they are rather than wait to be told or have what is theirs taken from them - the human mind in it social imagination!

Hope you're not one of those people that 'poo-poo' other people's ideas for life/living because you think your ideas and your university's / company's ideas and or ways are better for people in the place where they are...Or, you feel sorry for people as it seems they don't have any idea at all. That's not true! Take a look at these ideas... like most, they arose from ordinary people's ability to make simple observations and improve their life in the place where they are. They did not need an 'elite' or one of their experts, institutions or their corporations ...


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Threats to Constitutional Democracy ~ John Brigham

In 1984, John Brigham wrote a book called, "Civil Liberties and American Democracy." In chapter 7, Brigham writes about threats to American democracy. He states that threats to democracy in America appear to be from three sectors: the elites, the people and the experts. It is so worthwhile to read that instead of completely summarizing, short excerpts will be used.

The first threat is coming from the top - elites. Who are they? They are people who occupy the higher tiers of society because they have either money or power or prestige or they have all three.  Brigham points to them first as they are truly the ones who hold the balance of economic and military power. Among themselves they compete for more money, power and prestige which effect everyone else.

There is no open competition in this scenario and because of that there is an ever constant threat to democracy as they feel that their established order is under threat. Thus, Brigham asserts that we should always be alert to the usurpation of state power, whether it is by unaccountable private interest or under the justification of military emergency.

The second threat comes from the people. Really? Yes, really. Largely because, there is no truth in the masses as Kierkegaard noted. Such a threat comes from those who have no share in the top and what goes on up there. They lack information from the top and form groups of like mindedness because of that. Hence, no truth in the masses... The threat from the bottom should be taken seriously. It is out of alienation from the top, a feeling of hopeless and helplessness. This feeling creates the illusion (real or not) that there is something bigger and menacing that is out to get the little guy, something that wants to take his job, his family, his faith and his life.

The third threat comes from experts. Who are they? In America, Brigham firstly points out lawyers and even judges mostly influenced by elites and politicians and or including other kinds of experts: university administrators, think tank groups, foundation/association/org lobbyists, and even today- journalists that are paid to pull strings for the all the others just named.  Experts can be 'made people'; made by the elites who want to keep their position of power and thus create and control their 'experts' which can be anyone from the list above. Why would anyone allow themselves to be 'made'... to get and keep some kind of position of power and money for themselves.

We can observe these three threats underway, undermining American democracy. Yet, in order to 'really' observe that, one would have to ask was there ever any 'real/true' democracy in America to begin with - a democracy for the people and by the people? It can be doubted that there ever was but most believe that there was at some point a more real democracy having more freedom, more liberty and with that more risk. That can be agreed upon for there was a time when more freedom, more liberty and risk was necessary. It opened the West, it introduced industry, it made America great... didn't it?

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Senses a False 'Sense' of Reality in the Social Imagination

Sense-perception has long been a preoccupation of philosophers. One pervasive and traditional problem, sometimes called “the Problem of Perception”, is created by the phenomena of perceptual illusion and hallucination: if these kinds of error are possible, how can perception be what we ordinarily understand it to be, an openness to and awareness of the world? 

Over the years, thinkers have tackled the problem of the senses as being the determining logic for reality. They argue that we can only know what is real through the senses. But, then one has to ask real to whom. The answer would be only to those that perceive it, right? Yes, and if you ask a number of people to describe what they 'think' they see, each one will describe it differently. The same goes for touching something, smelling something, and hearing.

As a sociologist of classical thought, reality does not exist unless there is 'social' agreement in that we as social creatures/entities know only what/who we are through social interaction and thus come to coexist in a place through agreement of information experienced in a place. Information is as 'data' taken in and exchanged; received through social interaction, accepted or chosen or rejected to be right but only in these of what is agreed on as beneficial information in social context in the moment it is received and passed on... like the game of telephone.

Thus, it is not our senses that provide reality. They are but conduits for receiving information but even in just that act there is no meaning. Meaning happens within the social imagination of social interaction (controlled by social dynamics in the social imagination). What information means is dependent upon what is agreed as important or not and in this activity in the social imagination there is generated a social reality. But even in saying that, there is no one social reality as illustrated in the game of telephone, so it is with in the social imagination in a place.

That is why, information agreed upon in any place is not 100 percent accurate... no, not at all.  It is only accurate as it means something (positive or negative) to a group of people in a place having received information through social interaction and in that have come to agree through social interaction (the experience of social dynamics 'subordination/domination' in the social imagination in a place) that there is something to be agreed on (bad/good).

Whether positive or negative, that something agreed on has meaning for each participating member in the social dynamic of the social imagination in the moment each perceive it.  Whatever it means, is greater than whether it actually exists or not.  Because, whatever that something actually is, we can never really know it outside of 'agreement' reality - in the social imagination.

Therefore, our senses can fool us, they can trick us or rather they can deceive us- deceive our true self because we live in a social imagination. That means we will agree on something only as it has meaning for us in that condition - social imagination. We cannot know what it may or may not mean for us outside of that condition/situation - social imagination.

That is why in any society, when meaning changes, you have 'real' change. But, that does not mean such change is really real or that what has been agreed on as having 'real' meaning is 'really' good for society. Unless, of course, we first agree that the only real meaning lies is an absolute truth for a given society; an absolute truth that is over and above a given society and is accepted by all as the absolute truth in their social imagination; thus guaranteeing that no one in that social imagination can ever be deceived.

 That absolute truth is the Creator - Jesus Christ! He is outside of our perception, our fleshly senses and that means He cannot be corrupted or lead us into a false sense of reality.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rights - Cultural Confusion, Cultural Collapse and Possible Reboot in the Social Imagination!

Previously, it was discussed that cultural confusion is the loss of identity - who you are and are not as an individual in a group. That loss of identity is both a loss for or about the one inasmuch as it is a loss for the many to which the one belongs. Its the loss of knowing who one is and is not that is both the cause of no longer knowing what is right and what is not right and result of cultural confusion regarding - Rights.

Identity comes from being in a place over time, experiencing social interaction in the framework of a social imagination that was born from being in a place over time with others. In that place over time, one and the many come to know themselves from social interaction in place over time and that crystallizes into what works for them, what is right for them and this creates a frame for who they are and are not and what is right and is not right in their social imagination in the place where they are.

From an outsider's view, such social imagination is both sustaining and limiting. Anyone on the outside of any group's social imagination other than their own will likely see limitations for that 'other' social imagination as a the lack of being able to go outside of that particular 'social imagination' to explore something 'new' or other kind of social imagination.

For the group itself which lives within its social imagination confines, limitations can be used as safety nets and comfort zones as borders for identity.  Limitations are after all, part of existing as one among many and in that there is both safety and comfort - sustainability. Even in the Lockean sense, I can only do so much as another person in my group as I exist within a social contract. I am not free to do whatever I want whenever I want. Most people learn this from parents and teachers.

Rights (what is right as in what is fair for one and many comes from ones ability to maintain right conduct within the social contract that one agrees with) are the result of social agreement reality. Rights in this sense are tied intimately to the culture - a group of people in a place who identity with each other in that place. Doing what is right in and for the group keeps you 'in the group'.

Cultural collapse begins as social decay in a place firstly, by the lack of new people being generated... a decrease in the local population; including diaspora to another place whereby other cultural aspects are embraced. Secondly, by influences being imposed from outside by another group and thirdly, by the group itself as it loses faith in who and or what it is and about as the world around it seems to be changing quicker than it is.  The later stems from doubt and questioning what is 'right' and who is 'right' and who deserves to be 'right'.

Let's look at the concept of 'right'. What is right and who is right largely depends on who is in control of the group, who is at the head of the social hierarchy. Who seems to know what to do that provides and or sustains the group. Whether we are talking about kings, religious leaders, political leaders, and even elders/parents this is how it all comes together for the group in the place where they are.

You may argue that what we think of as 'rights' today is not like the described above. But, they are. The description above is the foundation for the next idea to come along... 'right conduct'. You see, if you adopt the 'right conduct' you will get ahead and or recognition in the group and from the one or those that are at the top and have instructed what the right conduct is for the group. This keeps them in power and all others trying to be like them; which, works for and against the group. It works against the group when the adoption of 'right conduct' doesn't seem to pay off for those adopting it. Thus, they rebel. Which usually does not pay off but sometimes it does; i.e. the American colonies revolting against the Kind of England.

Revolt happens when the right conduct no longer pays off for either a few or the masses. For example, when a king or a government tells everyone that suddenly he/they needs more money to fight battles abroad or to support him/them. Or when the people in their past comfort zone fall out of favor with the king or the ruling elite who have a new passion/lust for things which the previous one/elites did not. If you fall out of what the top calls down, you can either lose your rights or gain rights to things you never dreamed of before. That does not mean 'fairness' for all. Only that you were willing to take on the new right.

In the Roman Empire, the strategy was to administer through set rules and regulations who was who and right conduct was expected. Strangers as in those who were not Roman citizens received different treatment compared to those who were not. You had 'rights' as a Roman citizen. This was a lure for many groups/cultures the Roman Empire conquered, to gain obedience ... right conduct got you in.

Rights exist only within social practice... in the social imagination. There are no 'rights' existing outside of that. There is an absolute truth but even in that truth there does not exist what we think of as 'rights' as in deserving of something just because 'I' exist. The only one with such right is the Creator.

So, you see... in the fallen world, when there is cultural confusion its due to a lack of identity tied to what is right conduct in a place by a group of people in that place. As this continues, there is likely cultural collapse on the horizon. Is there a reboot possibility in the social imagination? Yes, when someone establishes what is right conduct. In that, there is loss and gain and not by all in the same way at the same level.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Confused Culture ~ Really it's a Confused Social Imagination

There are discussions today among sociologists about culture transition - what they call 'confused culture'. It is more or less an observed period of transitional values and belief systems. Those values and beliefs that worked in the past, no longer work today and thus what no longer works passes away (or should) so that new ideas can replace the old. This obviously leads some to be confused as with any kind of transition; i.e. a company merger or acquisition.  At first, there are those they may not be willing to let go of the past as it seemed to work for them having been socialized in that value/belief in the past which is no longer useful for the current social climate and or social imagination.

I wrote not to long ago about the work of Cornelius Castoriadus. Essentially, Castoriadus observed  that human beings really don't change; in fact, they can't. But, it appears that they do as they just rearrange people/places and things to suit their current rationale in the social imagination based on the social dynamics of group positioning.

Are humans really so different from the past? No, and their ways of doing thinking and things are not that different from their past social imaginations either unless we are talking about the use of technology in every day life. Technology does modify certain behavior. But, it does not modify meaning in our life; at least, not the extent that we no longer know what it means to be human and have a human social imagination. You see, meaning is everything. What does it mean to be who you are and are not. This should not be confusing.

So, are we really culturally confused these days? Perhaps, we are confused about some things which are not really social but physical. We long for change but what we really want is solidarity and devotion to cause... a purpose for being one among many.  Knowing who we are and are not! And, if there is a confusion about or failure or even rejection to embrace who we are and are not, we look elsewhere to find it; until, we think we have found who we are. Yet, confusion is  a sign of social decay. You could think that sooner or later, we will all stop being confused or risk losing our social imagination all together! In the meaning, as all cultures will lose their social imagination in the place where they are and at the same time.

How could that be possible? In an every growing global community, 'human rights' will be the key to  cultural collapse and the ushering in of a new world order. First, comes the confusion. And, cultural confusion begins with the breakdown of tradition, custom and the idea of what is 'right' in the place where people find themselves.

*Just keep in mind... there is no truth in the masses!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In Light of Fake News ~ No Truth in the Masses!

Soren Kierkegaard understood the individual from a Christian standpoint.  For Kierkegaard, in relation to "the numeric masses", the individual person is of infinite importance. Why? Because, God deals with, saves and judges individuals. The masses have no real essence. In The Single Individual he repeatedly asserts that the "crowd is untruth". He begins with the subject of politics. This is especially significant because politics emphasizes the whole, while Christianity, emphasizes the individual before God.  

If know of and or are a reader of Kierkegaard, you know that he saw as a tendency in society the idea 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. For Kierkegaard, this was nonsensical. For him, there was/is another view of life which conceives that wherever there is a crowd there is untruth, so that (to consider for a moment the extreme case), 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 evident.

In America, we love to jump on the 'righteous' bandwagon. Why? Because, Americans like to be liked. Quite often, they will do and say whatever it takes to be one of the many/masses. In this, they forget themselves in favor of the masses. This is tragic. You see, as Kierkegaard realized, there is no truth in the masses. How could there be? Yes, how could there be...

Just because you have 'mass' agreement does not mean that what it is being agreed upon is the absolute truth. It may be just a shadow of truth or no truth at all. One the individual can know the truth for him/herself and must stand up for that... not jumping on the bandwagon of untruth.

Mass protests, manifestations, are a sign/symbol of the untruth. Yes, all you march in protest with the signs and slogans are participating in an untruth. Most people if asked what their personal view of an issue is, would react differently that the masses. They would expound on what they think is true. This kind of platform for individual reasoning is truer than the bandwagon reasoning. Didn't you mother ever tell you, "I suppose if everyone were jumping off the bridge, you would too". Or... if everyone was doing this/that, you would too just to be part of the 'ingroup'.

Yes, that is the essence of the problem. Americans, being an immigrant country, long to be what they left... the 'ingroup'. The truth of themselves left behind in the 'old country' where they knew intimately who they were and were not. They had the idea of themselves in a place and in that they were who they understood. Is that the same as being on the same bandwagon? No, not at all. It is the other way around. It is a different kind of platform all together.

It is a root system of a deep source not a 'en mass' collective which protests in order to find the 'truth'. The masses in this superficial country seek to put forward the truth but unknowingly it is but untruth born out of the desire to remember and or to know who one is and is not. Why? Because, in the mish mash of people 'en mass' in America there is still the deeper desire for a deeper identity; one that does not have to be rewritten in and for changing times.

But, unfortunately, that will never happen here. There was at one time a feeling of solidarity in terms of identity but even that fell short of what was left behind in the old country, the original source of the social imagination.  And, I am sure that is exactly what Kierkegaard considered.  Steven was stoned alone, all the disciples died alone as Christ did. At the time of the Roman persecutions, yes there were mass crucifixions, but each died in Christ and in Him alone. The 'mass' crucifixions were for the crowd to sneer at and enjoy that they were with the right crowd.