Exploring the Social Imagination

Monday, March 23, 2015

There is No Being in the Strange World of Doing ~ Doing vs. Being

To begin this discussion, we must start at the fundamental foundation of society - family. Because, when we are with family, we are in the mode of being. We cannot be otherwise. A person alone is not truly 'being'. They are, but not in the true sense of 'human being'. Family is the first and ultimately truest experience of being human and even the very idea of what it means - being.  When we are in the mode of 'being' we feel a true sense of what we are, who we are and the sense of the completion of self as we find ourself in the context of others. 

Doing is the opposite. We are not in the mode of being so the next best experience is doing. Doing is a means or way to cope with the absence of the experience of being. It is a kind of bumping around hoping to experience 'being'.  There have been other thinkers besides myself who have talked and written about being. However, it is my opinion that they failed to see what it is to be. How? Because they were too involved with doing. Doing gives us a false sense of being, because it is lacking in any depth of social context. 

When we look to ourselves to be, there is no true sense of being because there cannot be... if one is alone. Sure, you can tell me that people are beings so all activity is being even being alone. Essentially, yes. People are beings because they have experienced being as I explained above. And, thus all activity is being since people carry their 'being' in their social imagination as a memory and it continues there. Yes, it does even when we are alone. But, as social engagement starts to disappears or is less than any previous experience of being, the memory of being also lessens. We are social creations. Heaven will be filled with wonderful beings all engaged in being! We will never be alone, so we will never be lacking in being. 

For illustrative sake, imagine a man on a deserted island. At first, he/she will be able to cope as the memory of being is strong. But, as time goes by and there are no people, being becomes just doing. There was such a Hollywood film a few years back with Tom Hanks called - Castaway. The main character played by Hanks created a friend or saw a friend in a beach volleyball. In this way, he was able to continue being. 

Here in this world we are more in the mode of doing and try to do what we can to be. Sometimes, it is not easy to experience the kind of being we need or want. Doing takes over. Family breaks down because fathers/mothers stay away working through dinner time, dads/moms don't come home when children get off school and children are alone and start doing things in order to experience what they miss - being.  Family is the first and best experience that society has in terms of being in this dominated by doing world.

Sadly, there are social theoretical discussions out there that say the social 'being' phenomenon 'family' as I describe which allows the best experience of 'being' is outmoded. Some think that a 21st century global society does not need nor should it desire that kind of 'family' as it breeds information that is not in line with a more singular 'doing' fast paced high tech global social reality. I don't deny that. I just don't think it is wise to socially engineer what we have come to value as 'family' into a loosely associated flexible as in not strongly cohesive identifiable entity that has lost the experience of being so that people better fit a fast paced singular high tech global social reality.

Can we return to being, in this world as in here and now? Perhaps, maybe technology will give billions of people all the being time they want through virtual reality. How will that be made possible? Through transhumanism???? Not sure how that will be a substitute for the kind of being I am talking about.

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