The Social Imagination

Exploring the Social Imagination

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Founder ~ Ray Kroc Used Virtue Signalling in the Social Imagination!

Ray Kroc... what a blow to the leftist liberal minimalist mindset, right?

Ray Kroc saw something in a symbol, a name, in simplicity and ran with it. He saw the virtue in it as any American did in those times and still does see it  ~ Promotion of the individual's purpose in his/her own Pursuit of Happiness in the Social Imagination. That is 'McDonalds'.  Its not the 'socialist' virtue. Its never was.

And so, it never was about collective service for the good of society. It was always about the service to the individual that was the brainchild of the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc just gave it to everyone. And, that is why it went nationwide, worldwide and will likely be universe wide at some point in the future. Unless, you can argue logically that the promotion of the individual in their pursuit of happiness is wrong. 

So, yes... I might have to agree that virtue signalling is 'an American virtue' in light of the the above. But, why is it today being used to promote socialism which is anti-individual and pro-service to the sui generis?  In view of the Hollywood movie - The Founder, we are given a fair view of Ray Kroc and how he grew up a symbol and name to serve the individual which ironically serves both the individual and the good of all society.

The left thinks of Ray Kroc as an evil capitalist and the right thinks of him as a man with a vision - all for one and one for all ~ You didn't do it 'alone' or was that the left's mantra? Well, Ray Kroc didn't do it alone either, right? So, I guess he was a leftist. But, some will and do have a problem with that, with his kind of virtue signalling.

They will say that Kroc did not do anything like that. Really? He made a social observation of America, looking at where their virtue lies and he ran with it. Was that wrong? Only if you are not the right person doing it for not right reasons... which are?

Well, let's look at what are the wrong reasons in the eyes of the left. They would be: taking advantage of someone else's idea and in this case, the McDonald brothers. But they in fact borrowed from Henry Ford. The left seems to be anti- corporation but they love Starbucks and bailing out corporate banks and car companies. They liked the slogan that Obama claimed and used "You didn't do it". Unless, it doesn't work for their agenda which is to promote a global world order of socialism. They should get on board with Ray Kroc's dream... it did start the very global world order they want.

All there is left to say... is that we/you should beware of what we/you virtue signal these days, we/you might just get what we/you want and find out that we/you really don't want it. In all seriousness, you could end up being creator/promoter of something that goes worldwide without you and leaves you behind on just a simple swing with a view. But, if you can claim to be the Founder, you won't be alone... who doesn't want to be part of something really big!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Finding and Applying Wisdom in the Social Imagination!

Solomon wrote that there is nothing new under the sun... that's true in a fallen world. We go in cycles, winding down... the universe is not winding up.

All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, "See this, it is new "? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us.… Ecclesiastes 1:8-10.

Finding and applying wisdom in this kind of social reality - imagination is especially difficult if we do not accept the basic premise - the universe is winding down. As it winds down, we can accept the past as it was and use it as a platform for acquiring and applying wisdom. If the universe is winding up, then there is no call for wisdom, there would be no need as there would always be new everything, so new we would not recognize what came before it and no need to. But, that is not the case inasmuch as many like to think otherwise, deceiving themselves by doing so.

If the universe were winding up, the wisdom would not exist because it would not be necessary to have. We wouldn't even know what it was or what it meant. So, what is wisdom in a universe that is winding down? It is the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. It is accumulated over time: insight and discernment. It comes from the teachings of ancient wise men.

1- She has gained a lot of wisdom over the years. 2- From that experience, he has become a person of great wisdom. 3- They shared their valuable wisdom to the audience. 4- These stories offer plenty of wisdom to readers. 5- Given my expertise, I fail to see the wisdom in doing that. You see, in this kind of logic, a 3rd grader cannot have wisdom. They might mimic the wisdom of a parent or grandparent but they themselves have no wisdom ... not at that age. They have not acquired wisdom and thus cannot apply it. 

In applying wisdom, we first reflect on the past as in past experiences or knowledge acquired over the years, we seek to find what is really worthwhile in terms of what can bring about the most positive outcome in the current situation of winding down.  We seek wisdom to lesson the burden and pain of winding down and or perhaps we seek to just get through it expediently. 
Wisdom as such, is very valuable ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Culture and Change in the Social Imagination...

When it comes to culture, any kind of change is actually an absorption or integration or adaptation of another culture's information. Why? Because, it seems wise or suitable or the right thing to do at the time. Another culture may appear to be doing well or better than or it appears to be better off because of a certain practice that it has adopted and or adapted to.

Some cultures are more open books than others and it can be to their benefit or not... in either case. Those that seem to be more closed are taking a risk in the eyes of some and yet they may think that melting into the global network is the real risk.

Change does not come easy and it is not always welcome. But what is real change and if it were real, by whose standards or expertise claims it to be real change? You know what comes around goes around and that there is nothing new under the sun ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9.

There is in fact no 'real' change. There is only mankind and mankind is flawed. Man is greedy by nature. Man is only willing to stick his/her neck out when it seems like there is an advantage in doing so or forced to; the altruistic man is an ideal type that anyone would like to be or thinks they measure up to be. Therefore, any change whether on the individual level or cultural level is likely following that order. As within culture 'groups/societies' this applies as much as it does to wider scenarios - culture to culture.

Is there appropriation? Most certainly. Is that bad? No. In fact, such exchanges of cultural data and its absorption benefits any culture that choose to do so based on the above commentary. Yet, you are still thinking that change does exist... what about technology? Isn't it changing everything? Yes and No!

Yes, because as it was when we gave up hunting and gathering, or the car for the horse, or the telegraph for the telephone or the light bulb for the candle. It would seem that culture changed; but what really changed was only how a given culture experienced such technology in a place and shared it in a place.

Culture did not really change; because the meaning of it did not change - what it means to be this or that and not that or this in a place.  Oh, but you insist yet that cultures change and that certainly what it means to be an American has changed. Has it?

Doesn't it still mean to have certain liberties: such as the freedom of speech, and the right to assemble and to be represented? Yes, it does. Just because the actors change or new 'sets/props' come on stage doesn't mean things have changed or that such 'change' is equal to 'real' change. But, then again... does 'real' change exist? There is no thing new under the sun said a wise man named Solomon!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cultural Decay ~ A Waste of Time in the Social Imagination...

In the past blog, we explored cultural appropriation, cultural data and capital as well as cultural deprivation and cultural lag in the social imagination... Now, we look at its state of decay. 

Edward  Gibbon was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788. He is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organized religion. Gibbon observed five marks of the decay of Roman culture. They were: concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth, obsession with sex and perversions of sex, the production of art that is freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original, a widening disparity between very rich and very poor and lastly, an increased demand to live off the state.

“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage . . . . Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elite, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.” ~  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn...
 “If we do not live where we work and when we work we are wasting our lives and our work too.” ~ Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture...
 Although the natural rights inherent in our( Constitutional) regime are adequate to the solution of this ( minority) problem...the equal protection of the law did not protect a man from contempt and hatred as a Jew, an Italian or a Black"..." 'Openness' was designed to provide a respectable place for those groups or minorities--to wrest respect from those who were disposed to give it--This breaks the delicate balance between majority and minority in Constitutional thought. In such a perspective where there is no common good, minorities are no longer problematic and the protection of them emerges as THE central function of government.” ~ Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind...
The quotes above are certainly illustrations of our times. The summary from Gibbon was concerning the Roman Empire; but essentially, it applies to America today which seems to have a death wish to either be destroyed or taken over by someone or something. Is America losing its cultural data and or capital and thus lagging behind other cultures? Perhaps, it is. How does that happen? The comments by Gibbon and other quotes above give us a pretty good idea... don't they?

As a sociologist, I would add that once a culture loses its identity as in loses its cultural data its cultural capital, it becomes lost in a kind of socio-schzophernic mood that can bring down any society. Take time to reread the above and reflect on America today and you too may observe this kind of loss; especially in the last quote. Why is that? Because, it shows that in America there are other minorities and many not even mentioned. As a melting pot, we were able to wrestle with our differences and in many cases, it was not pretty; but in this world there is the good, bad and the ugly. 

A top down government cannot nor is it able to make this world, this life pretty for everybody. In the social imagination of any culture, it is better to accept the good, bad and ugly and deal with it in the place where you are... As Wendell Berry said, "If we do not live where we work and when we work... we are just wasting our lives and our work too". To say it another way, if we do not live and work at the grass roots level, in the place where we are, we are wasting our time, our culture and our social imagination.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cultural Appropriation in the Social Imagination!

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. Now, in sociological terms, this has been happening for thousands of years. In fact, even encouraged as it can even be argued that its all part of social evolution. Ironically, this is an aspect of the globalist agenda... after all, you did not make it (create a business/product) alone. We all affect each other, we all participate in the exchange of culture/ideas and or social thought.

Today, there is the argument or discussion that it is wrong to use especially to capitalize on cultural aspects that don't belong to you. They belong to someone else. So, is it wrong to use another group's  cultural traits/traditions/symbols in order to gain social status advantage and or economic advantage?

It maybe wrong only in that it may not be considered a 'fair' exchange of culture. But, since when is anything in this world truly fair for everyone everywhere at the same time and for all the right reasons? Is it wrong for people to paint pictures or take photographs of places or people that they have no shared cultural data with? Doesn't National Geographic do that and for money?

Is it wrong to use other societies/people's cultural data as a means to advance those people in the sense of bringing awareness to their location or situation and or to enlighten people outside of that group with extraordinary beauty and insight that they may never experience first hand.  Isn't that the intention of and doesn't National Geographic do that?

In Sociology, there are many words already in place that describe cultural exchanges, fair or not. Cultural capital is such a word which means that within our 'group' we have specific data that has worth and value for our group as it was acquired in a place over time (traditions/customs i.e).

This is opposite to social capital in which we can acquire worth/value through social networking which means acquisition of social data that has no specific boundaries or is promoted as universally good - democracy i.e. Cultural deprivation is recognized as being without cultural capital or not being able to access it.

Cultural lag is when within a group there are those that just don't jump on the band wagon of changing cultural capital and they lag behind. This is also applied to wider situations as in global. One group lags behind in terms of technology that their group cannot afford or resists as the rest of the world passes by making leaps and bounds.  Lastly, is cultural relativism which the United States is quite guilty of... we think that our country is the greatest country on the face of the earth.

So... cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. Take information whether it is food, music, dance, insight... and make it your own! Is that good or bad, right or wrong? Certainly, it could be argued that its natural in the scope of social evolution. And, certainly it can be argued that many cultures 'people' have benefited from it.

Now, is it really wrong to make money off of other people's culture and to gain social status from doing so? Well, someone should get paid for bringing awareness to others outside of a particular group/culture, right? And, certainly someone should be the voice for them while at the same time appreciating what others have to offer and selling/passing it along, right?

We may want to consider that it may be more right than wrong in the wider social imagination... especially if we are imagining a one world order that certainly requires it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Virtue Signalling in the Social Imagination!

From the article about "Virtue Signalling" by: Mark Judge

British author James Bartholomew has secured his place in history as he has recently invented the perfect phrase for our times: “virtue signalling.” Now, sociologists before him were calling such public behavior a factor of or perhaps result of ANT behavior = actor-network theory and we still do (*actors as in all human social entities).

This theory allows social scientists, like myself, to be able to describe what is happening around us and to us because of the wide reaching public genre of social media; we observe and can articulate a new kind of dynamic entering the social stage of the presentation of the self in everyday life ... to borrow from Erving Goffman.

Virtue signalling as defined by Bartholomew is the popular modern habit of indicating that one has virtue merely by expressing disgust or favor for certain political ideas, cultural happenings, or even the weather.

So...when a liberal goes on a tirade about how dumb and dangerous Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is—a tirade devoid of specific examples of Cruz’s mendacity—that person is actually signaling to others that he or she is virtuous. It has very little to do with Cruz’s actually personality or record.

Celebrities who publicly express panic about the environment without knowing much about science are virtue signaling. So are those who seize on current events to publicize their supposedly virtuous feelings, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg did recently when he wrote on Facebook: “If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.” Well, that’s a relief—Facebook won’t be banning Muslims.

As Mark Judge continues... modern virtue signaling began in the 1960s, when cultural leftism overthrew not just the conservatism of the 1950s but also the vital center of liberalism. Conservatives and moderate liberals had done plenty of virtue signalling of their own, and a lot of it was based on racism and hatred of homosexuality. Not that some of such behavior didn't do some social good.

But... the New Left of the 1960s was more about rage than reason, and they passed their anger down to their Millennial offspring. Often the entire front page of left-leaning websites like Slate and Salon are nothing but virtue signalling, the headlines all variations of: Celebrity/Politician/Activist A Just Destroyed the Homophobic/Sexist/Racist Idiocy of Politician B. Usually the articles are jeremiads without much reporting. And, this is true!

What does this do for people? Well, we sociologists, using actor-network theory as a platform of departure, see it as a means for securing positions of status within social stratification. By aligning oneself with the 'current' virtues as in virtue trends, one makes him/herself appear relevant and even sympathetic. In this light, one can maneuver into higher social status positions by simply paying lip service to the right persons using the right wordage within the social actor-network. 

Does this actually help deal with the reality of social pitfalls? No, virtue signalling only makes those who do it comfortable in their position and most that virtue signal have very comfortable positions. Certainly, they are more comfortable than those that they claim to support or uplift by their finger pointing and knee bending.

*Source ~
*Note ~ only the bolded text belong to the author of this blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Woman with Two Skins ~ Nigerian Folktale for Children...

Eyamba I. of Calabar was a very powerful king. He fought and conquered all the surrounding countries, killing all the old men and women, but the able-bodied men and girls he caught and brought back as slaves, and they worked on the farms until they died.

This king had two hundred wives, but none of them had borne a son to him. His subjects, seeing that he was becoming an old man, begged him to marry one of the spider's daughters, as they always had plenty of children. But when the king saw the spider's daughter he did not like her, as she was ugly, and the people said it was because her mother had had so many children at the same time.

However, in order to please his people he married the ugly girl, and placed her among his other wives, but they all complained because she was so ugly, and said she could not live with them. The king, therefore, built her a separate house for herself, where she was given food and drink the same as the other wives. Every one jeered at her on account of her ugliness; but she was not really ugly, but beautiful, as she was born with two skins, and at her birth her mother was made to promise that she should never remove the ugly skin until a certain time arrived save only during the night, and that she must put it on again before dawn.

Now the king's head wife knew this, and was very fearful lest the king should find it out and fall in love with the spider's daughter; so she went to a Ju Ju man and offered him two hundred rods to make a potion that would make the king forget altogether that the spider's daughter was his wife. This the Ju Ju man finally consented to do, after much haggling over the price, for three hundred and fifty rods; and he made up some "medicine," which the head wife mixed with the king's food. For some months this had the effect of making the king forget the spider's daughter, and he used to pass quite close to her without recognising her in any way.

When four months had elapsed and the king had not once sent for Adiaha (for that was the name of the spider's daughter), she began to get tired, and went back to her parents. Her father, the spider, then took her to another Ju Ju man, who, by making spells and casting lots, very soon discovered that it was the king's head wife who had made the Ju Ju and had enchanted the king so that he would not look at Adiaha. He therefore told the spider that Adiaha should give the king some medicine which he would prepare, which would make the king remember her.

He prepared the medicine, for which the spider had to pay a large sum of money; and that very day Adiaha made a small dish of food, into which she had placed the medicine, and presented it to the king. Directly he had eaten the dish his eyes were opened and he recognised his wife, and told her to come to him that very evening. So in the afternoon, being very joyful, she went down to the river and washed, and when she returned she put on her best cloth and went to the king's palace.

Directly it was dark and all the lights were out she pulled off her ugly skin, and the king saw how beautiful she was, and was very pleased with her; but when the cock crowed Adiaha pulled on her ugly skin again, and went back to her own house.

This she did for four nights running, always taking the ugly skin off in the dark, and leaving before daylight in the morning. In course of time, to the great surprise of all the people, and particularly of the king's two hundred wives, she gave birth to a son; but what surprised them most of all was that only one son was born, whereas her mother had always had a great many children at a time, generally about fifty.

The king's head wife became more jealous than ever when Adiaha had a son; so she went again to the Ju Ju man, and by giving him a large present induced him to give her some medicine which would make the king sick and forget his son. And the medicine would then make the king go to the Ju Ju man, who would tell him that it was his son who had made him sick, as he wanted to reign instead of his father. The Ju Ju man would also tell the king that if he wanted to recover he must throw his son away into the water.

And the king, when he had taken the medicine, went to the Ju Ju man, who told him everything as had been arranged with the head wife. But at first the king did not want to destroy his son. Then his chief subjects begged him to throw his son away, and said that perhaps in a year's time he might get another son. So the king at last agreed, and threw his son into the river, at which the mother grieved and cried bitterly.

Then the head wife went again to the Ju Ju man and got more medicine, which made the king forget Adiaha for three years, during which time she was in mourning for her son. She then returned to her father, and he got some more medicine from his Ju Ju man, which Adiaha gave to the king. And the king knew her and called her to him again, and she lived with him as before. Now the Ju Ju who had helped Adiaha's father, the spider, was a Water Ju Ju, and he was ready when the king threw his son into the water, and saved his life and took him home and kept him alive. And the boy grew up very strong.

After a time Adiaha gave birth to a daughter, and her the jealous wife also persuaded the king to throw away. It took a longer time to persuade him, but at last he agreed, and threw his daughter into the water too, and forgot Adiaha again. But the Water Ju Ju was ready again, and when he had saved the little girl, he thought the time had arrived to punish the action of the jealous wife; so he went about amongst the head young men and persuaded them to hold a wrestling match in the market-place every week.

This was done, and the Water Ju Ju told the king's son, who had become very strong, and was very like to his father in appearance, that he should go and wrestle, and that no one would be able to stand up before him. It was then arranged that there should be a grand wrestling match, to which all the strongest men in the country were invited, and the king promised to attend with his head wife.

On the day of the match the Water Ju Ju told the king's son that he need not be in the least afraid, and that his Ju Ju was so powerful, that even the strongest and best wrestlers in the country would not be able to stand up against him for even a few minutes. All the people of the country came to see the great contest, to the winner of which the king had promised to present prizes of cloth and money, and all the strongest men came.

When they saw the king's son, whom nobody knew, they laughed and said, "Who is this small boy? He can have no chance against us." But when they came to wrestle, they very soon found that they were no match for him. The boy was very strong indeed, beautifully made and good to look upon, and all the people were surprised to see how like he was to the king.

After wrestling for the greater part of the day the king's son was declared the winner, having thrown every one who had stood up against him; in fact, some of his opponents had been badly hurt, and had their arms or ribs broken owing to the tremendous strength of the boy. After the match was over the king presented him with cloth and money, and invited him to dine with him in the evening. The boy gladly accepted his father's invitation; and after he had had a good wash in the river, put on his cloth and went up to the palace, where he found the head chiefs of the country and some of the king's most favoured wives.

They then sat down to their meal, and the king had his own son, whom he did not know, sitting next to him. On the other side of the boy sat the jealous wife, who had been the cause of all the trouble. All through the dinner this woman did her best to make friends with the boy, with whom she had fallen violently in love on account of his beautiful appearance, his strength, and his being the best wrestler in the country.

The woman thought to herself, "I will have this boy as my husband, as my husband is now an old man and will surely soon die." The boy, however, who was as wise as he was strong, was quite aware of everything the jealous woman had done, and although he pretended to be very flattered at the advances of the king's head wife, he did not respond very readily, and went home as soon as he could.

When he returned to the Water Ju Ju's house he told him everything that had happened, and the Water Ju Ju said—"As you are now in high favour with the king, you must go to him tomorrow and beg a favour from him. The favour you will ask is that all the country shall be called together, and that a certain case shall be tried, and that when the case is finished, the man or woman who is found to be in the wrong shall be killed by the Egbos before all the people."

So the following morning the boy went to the king, who readily granted his request, and at once sent all round the country appointing a day for all the people to come in and hear the case tried. Then the boy went back to the Water Ju Ju, who told him to go to his mother and tell her who he was, and that when the day of the trial arrived, she was to take off her ugly skin and appear in all her beauty, for the time had come when she need no longer wear it. This the son did.

When the day of trial arrived, Adiaha sat in a corner of the square, and nobody recognised the beautiful stranger as the spider's daughter. Her son then sat down next to her, and brought his sister with him. Immediately his mother saw her she said— "This must be my daughter, whom I have long mourned as dead," and embraced her most affectionately.

The king and his head wife then arrived and sat on their stones in the middle of the square, all the people saluting them with the usual greetings. The king then addressed the people, and said that he had called them together to hear a strong palaver at the request of the young man who had been the victor of the wrestling, and who had promised that if the case went against him he would offer up his life to the Egbo.

The king also said that if, on the other hand, the case was decided in the boy's favour, then the other party would be killed, even though it were himself or one of his wives; whoever it was would have to take his or her place on the killing-stone and have their heads cut off by the Egbos. To this all the people agreed, and said they would like to hear what the young man had to say. The young man then walked round the square, and bowed to the king and the people, and asked the question, "Am I not worthy to be the son of any chief in the country?" And all the people answered "Yes!"

The boy then brought his sister out into the middle, leading her by the hand. She was a beautiful girl and well made. When every one had looked at her he said, "Is not my sister worthy to be any chief's daughter?" And the people replied that she was worthy of being any one's daughter, even the king's. Then he called his mother Adiaha, and she came out, looking very beautiful with her best cloth and beads on, and all the people cheered, as they had never seen a finer woman.

The boy then asked them, "Is this woman worthy of being the king's wife?" And a shout went up from every one present that she would be a proper wife for the king, and looked as if she would be the mother of plenty of fine healthy sons.

Then the boy pointed out the jealous woman who was sitting next to the king, and told the people his story, how that his mother, who had two skins, was the spider's daughter; how she had married the king, and how the head wife was jealous and had made a bad Ju Ju for the king, which made him forget his wife; how she had persuaded the king to throw himself and his sister into the river, which, as they all knew, had been done, but the Water Ju Ju had saved both of them, and had brought them up.

Then the boy said: "I leave the king and all of you people to judge my case. If I have done wrong, let me be killed on the stone by the Egbos; if, on the other hand, the woman has done evil, then let the Egbos deal with her as you may decide."

When the king knew that the wrestler was his son he was very glad, and told the Egbos to take the jealous woman away, and punish her in accordance with their laws. The Egbos decided that the woman was a witch; so they took her into the forest and tied her up to a stake, and gave her two hundred lashes with a whip made from hippopotamus hide, and then burnt her alive, so that she should not make any more trouble, and her ashes were thrown into the river. The king then embraced his wife and daughter, and told all the people that she, Adiaha, was his proper wife, and would be the queen for the future.

When the palaver was over, Adiaha was dressed in fine clothes and beads, and carried back in state to the palace by the king's servants.That night the king gave a big feast to all his subjects, and told them how glad he was to get back his beautiful wife whom he had never known properly before, also his son who was stronger than all men, and his fine daughter. The feast continued for a hundred and sixty-six days; and the king made a law that if any woman was found out getting medicine against her husband, she should be killed at once.

Then the king built three new compounds, and placed many slaves in them, both men and women. One compound he gave to his wife, another to his son, and the third he gave to his daughter. They all lived together quite happily for some years until the king died, when his son came to the throne and ruled in his stead.