Exploring the Social Imagination

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Meaning is Everything in the Social Imagination!

The biggest short comings that people have of others is this - what someone/something means to you does not mean the same to me and this is the root/heart of all social/cultural conflict. Does this mean that social reality is totally subjective? In the liberal/progressive imagination, I would say definitely yes. However, in many cultures/societies, social reality is based on objective truth even absolutes. Which means essentially, that we all know what this or that means implicitly, intrinsically, inside and out. With that knowledge, that everyone here knows this or that in the same way, the depth of meaning is equal/mutual, trust is locked in, confidence in the system rises and expectations are high knowing that we can expect this or that kind of behavior, things run more smoothly in that kind of environment, there is no second guessing "what will they think of me, will they like me, will they bully me for who I am, will I be able to fit in, etc. The United States is on the border of social schizophrenia (a mental state marked by disorganized behavior).  Meaning is the very fabric that holds together culture, society or a community. We have to agree on what this or that means for us and to us. Even simple gestures can mean different things to different people. Look what Putin did in China, he gave the first lady of China his coat and a international scandal is on the front page.


Here is the US, this might be seen not as gallant but as sexual harassment or a national embarrassment given that everyone knows in the USA that every feminist in America is responsible for her own warmth and coat. 

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