Exploring the Social Imagination

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Competition in the Social Imagination Makes us Grow

All things grow and develop when competition exists. It is the catalyst and in our social imagination we need competition to grow it. Which means we need to expose our social imagination to different ways of perceiving the world. Largely that happens through cultural exchange; or to put it simply to be exposed to a different place with different people. The exchange of information not need be through language it can be through non verbal messages, gestures and behavioral practices in a place. Such exposure stirs the imagination and can cause conflict between groups and even among individuals in groups who ventured out and saw something different and tried to introduce it. Reactions can be aggressive at first but if the new information works, it will likely be absorbed and as the exchange cycle continues, social imagination grows.

New information when introduced by one or a few individuals or by a group encountering another group, can cause conflict in the form of aggressive competition for that information.

Imagine, if we were to make everyone the same as in having the same information. What would happen to people ~ to the social imagination?  Likely it would  disappear, as same info is low quality. Such information exchanged by all would have no diversity no differing substance and thus have no where to go. This a what we can call 'downing down' of education/social interaction and we are seeing it happen.

While at the same time, there are some that think diversity 'differences' are bad as they stir aggression. So, by 'saming' everyone's information could be good (creating a common core); that would be logical because we don't want competition which can stir aggression and conflict. While that can be expected, diversity 'differences' stir social imagination toward competition for a good purpose. This is how we can make new discoveries about our world. We need to recognize that differences are necessary motivators for the social imagination's growth and development.

Still, some say that differences and competition makes people too aggressive and conflict ensues. I read this past week that Stephen Hawkings would like to remove aggression or correct it. Not sure what he meant by that, but as a social scientist I can tell you that it would be a long time social engineering project starting with children and likely better results would ensue if they were taken from their parents. And, this is not far off in the future  One headline I read just this morning was how a daycare worker saw clearly aggression in a 9 month old.

In this world, competition and aggression exist in all living things. Even in plants. Put to two seeds in the same dish close together and both will germinate and compete growing faster ... competing for life. Eventually, the stronger will win out. The information it now has stored in its data bank will be passed on. Remove that competition 'conflict' and neither seed will be productive.

If man were to correct his urge to compete - aggression, I am sure he would correct it all other forms of life as aggression and competition exists in every living thing. In fact, man would be driven to do it having no tolerance for it in any other life form. He could not tolerate to watch it. After all, we watch football because we like the competition. I have to admit when looking out my window this morning, I was shocked by how birds, some being the same and some being different kinds, fought each other over the seed put out for them.

Am I suggesting that the old adage is best "survival of the fittest"? Well, I suppose a Darwinian thinker would say yes. But, I am not. I would say that we have to accept the choices we make no matter where our seed was planted and we need to compete in that place for our own growth and development. We have to deal with it in the best way we can and a little aggression can/will help us grow in our social imagination in the place where we are and where we want to go.

We would be better off to appreciate how differences and competition make and have made us better as human beings.

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