Exploring the Social Imagination

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How Far is the Social Imagiantion Willing to Go?

John Gallion's photo.
"Image of the Beast" mentioned by John the Revelations is exactly related to the article posted below talking about futurist Ray Kurzweil's thesis ~ The Law of Accelerating Returns. You see, Artificial Intelligence and DNA chimeras are basically mankind creating life in our own image - rather than God's. Right now as I right this things like this photo are being created in labs worldwide. The "beast" is "animal". And as far as AI goes, even Steven Hawking has warned us about the incredible dangers of it.

To make a stronger case for such dangers, I use this article by Drake Baer; presented here without much change given its well written content.

In this recent article, we read about the predictions of Futurist Ray Kurzweil. He relates what is happening by retelling the tale of the inventor of chess and his patron, the Emperor of China.  As it goes in the tale, we read in response to the emperor’s offer of a reward for his new beloved game, the inventor asked for a single grain of rice on the first square, two on the second square, four on the third, and so on. The Emperor quickly granted this seemingly benign and humble request. One version of the story has the emperor going bankrupt as the 63 doublings ultimately totaled 18 million trillion grains of rice. At ten grains of rice per square inch, this requires rice fields covering twice the surface area of the Earth, oceans included. Another version of the story has the inventor losing his head. 
Therein lies the most terrifying, exciting, and mystifying aspect of Futurist Ray Kurzweil's thesis ~ The Law of Accelerating Returns which states that "fundamental measures of information technology follow predictable and exponential trajectories." 

For Kurzweil, we're somewhere in the middle of that chessboard.

"It should be pointed out that as the emperor and the inventor went through the first half of the chess board, things were fairly uneventful," Kurzweil continues. "The inventor was given spoonfuls of rice, then bowls of rice, then barrels. By the end of the first half of the chess board, the inventor had accumulated one large field’s worth (4 billion grains), and the emperor did start to take notice." And it's only when a technology like a smartphone comes in and suddenly shifts our entire culture that we start to realize how quickly things are accelerating.

That's because, Kurzweil says, humans are linear by nature — and technology is exponential. 
Technology's relentless, predictable, and exponential growth will, according to the law of accelerating returns, bring humans into the era that Kurzweil is most closely associated with, the singularity. 

"As exponential growth continues to accelerate into the first half of the twenty-first century," he writes. "It will appear to explode into infinity, at least from the limited and linear perspective of contemporary humans."
The singularity (or Singularity) is used to describe the era when artificial intelligence supplants human intelligence as the most-capable processing power around. 

But some of the world's other great innovative minds are less excited about the whole singularity thing.
CEO of SpaceX, product architect of Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity Elon Musk has repeatedly said that we should be afraid of these high technologies. He's said that that "with artificial intelligence we're summoning the demon," and that it poses the biggest existential threat to humans". But for the rest of us, the issue isn't whether Futurist Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns is good or bad. Simply that it exists. 

How far is the social imagination willing to go?

*Source of Kurzweil article -  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/google-genius-futurist-one-theory-183400084.html

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Is Society over and Above the Social Imagination?

That is a good question. Society is the sui generis as Durkheim called it. He saw individual 'social' actors as having different assignments as in roles to fulfill... necessary and necessarily different and designed that way in order to contribute to the whole. Designed by whom? Surely, there is something over and above society? The designer? I suppose some we would say by nature, observing what we see as survival of the fittest because nature appears to give and take without asking, its design has a purpose and that is to continue with the fewest possible problems, right and wrong does not matter ... just winning in a sense as the presumed goal of nature is to escape entropy as in decay but ironically decay is necessarily built in. So, maybe nature has some kind of consciousness which seeks to ultimately overcome this world as in control its own 'nature' what we think we see and call randomness.  Is that Society?

What I can tell you is that society is not outside of the social imagination and neither is nature. If anything, the social imagination is both society, nature, the universe. All of what we see, think we see and experience as in interact with comes from the social imagination. Is there a source for it? Of course, there is the Creator of Heaven and Earth of all things seen and unseen. It is the one thing we cannot fully imagine as it is ultimately over and above us as in beyond our imagination. But truly the source of our social imagination, as we were created in His image. In His imagination, there is no randomness.

..the Kingdom is within... Luke 17:21

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What is Normal Behavior and Why is it Important?

What is normal social behavior? It is seen as behavior that does not deviate from the 'norm'. What is the norm? The 'norm' is considered to be what the majority of people are comfortable with, practice, value, and most importantly has sustained their group/society for a long long period of time successfully. That is why homosexuality can be considered as not normal behavior as in a deviation from the 'norm'.

Sociologists arrive at such conclusion through years of observation and not to dislike anyone. Observing normal behavior allows us to understand the mechanics of good society as in long term positive outcome. What normal behavior is decided upon by a group as such behavior has proved successful for the majority which is thus sustaining the group. Accordingly, what is normal is recognized as such largely because of the positive results long term results that it produces for the group.

Hence, stealing is not normal behavior. Premeditated murder is not normal behavior. Adultery is not normal behavior (grounds for divorce) and homosexuality is not normal behavior. In cultures around the world and for generations, and in nature, we observe that a male and female pair, designed naturally for sexual intercourse with the outcome being offspring which means more people which means a building up of society, has been considered normal behavior.

Why is it important for a sociologist to point what is normal and what is not in terms of social behavior? For all the reasons mentioned above.  Society's first priority is to remain stable and at the same time to continue being what it is. Abnormal behavior in society becomes a problem for society's priorities.  Knowing what is normal allows one to recognize what is not and thus repairs can be made in order for society to be able to resume its priorities. This means that people who are engaging what is not normal for society's priorities to be met can be either eliminated or temporarily in taken out of society and helped.

*The sign/mark of  'good' as in healthy society is how it helps its members get back to normalcy. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why Blackholes and Alternate Universes in The Social Imagiantion?

Why do we imagine blackholes,wormholes and alternate universes? Are running away from this world? We are trying to find something better? We are thinking that we have to save ourselves from ourselves and thus grow in our social imagination? 

The film, Interstellar suggests that man existing in another dimension can interact with himself and help himself to overcome the world. This is truly a ‘blackhole’ that we should never go down and or into. The Creator of Heaven and Earth is the only one who knows the optimum for us and that is yet to come.  There was a time when we were with God in the optimum situation. But, because we choose to doubt we are now in a corrupt program because of ‘choosing to have the knowledge that God was supposedly holding back.’
Participating in another ‘doubting event’ will through us deeper into that same or another ‘blackhole’; as a Russian doll inside another doll.  The first event caused the condition we now experience – a corrupt world where there is decay and entropy. There is only one way out and that is death of this entropic flesh. 

 Essentially, we have to let this corrupt program collapse so that it can be saved, translated and resurrected.
Man cannot be his own hero. Man alone cannot save himself.  There has to be something greater than the creation; only the programmer can save the program. Yes, of course you can argue that you as a superior program can save yourself. But how?  Through transhumanism? That is only denying the fact that this is a corrupt program. Changing the flesh in this corrupted program only continues the corruption. 

You can say that it is because you know what is good for you. I ask how? Every person can say that, so does that make every person good. If you say yes, then you would have to agree that if a person thinks that murder is good for them, then it is. If a person thinks it is bad, then they are right too.  The point is that what is truly good as in perfect goodness that is good for you and everyone else cannot come from any man.  Any man will only be good for himself and not good for anyone else.  What is good for me may or may not be good for you. If you say that a person who is good will not murder.... then think again. If murder is too strong, then perhaps just  little white lies can be considered good, not bad or taking something just left around is not stealing. If you think that is still ‘good’. Think again. 

We do have imprinted on us the knowledge of good, and that it is perfect and that it is a good that is good for you and everyone; a good that man alone cannot know in this fallen world.  Such knowledge can only come from something greater than man.

If you say that such a man exists, coming from some higher dimension where this good is known and we are just discovering that we can interact with it, then think again.  Imagining such a man in this corrupted universe is impossible, it is a fallacy of this corrupted world.  If there were such a man, he/she would  not and could not communicate with us because we are less than he/she. We would not be able to understand the goodness that they know. 

 We can also imagine that such a man (who is us existing in some higher dimension) might have the same problem; that goodness cannot be known by just a man, even a ‘higher’ man. There must be someone or something higher.  This was Plato’s proposed dilemma – 3 man principle.  

You could say then it is a matter of being a strange loop in our social imagination and we have to risk it and that would allow us to grow in our social imagination. But, shouldn't we ask how it came to be that we are in a strange loop and how do we get out? We should not suppose that we can just jump through a blackhole as the way out.  It may be only  a rabbit hole in this corrupted world; after all, we know that in this corrupted world we have a corrupt social imagination.
Is there anything good in our social imagination? Yes. What we do experience in our social imagination is the remains of God’s original imprint on us. His eternal information from which we were created. We feel it and know intuitively that we have a Creator who left his mark, a divine spark. He is with us, His Kingdom is within. However, in this fallen 'corrupt', world we often confuse that spark thinking that we are god, we just forgot. What we have forgotten is that God created man. 

We are His creation. Man was created by God and because of His infinite love and omnipresence we exist.  Even if you were to argue that God is ultimately a 'good as in perfect man' which we are evolving into. That only suggests a need for the beginning of that god evolution and such an incredible phenomenon cannot come about from nothing.  Actually, it suggests that there was God first, He created man to become like Him. This I absolutely agree with you on. But, then what about this fallen world, what happened in Genesis?  We were with God evolving in the garden, the best situation we could be in but error entered and we doubted that situation. And, so now we exist in this fallen world, this corrupt program. God the Creator has a way out and He sent His Son to show us the way out by jumping on board so to speak with His Son ~

'Jesus Christ's' social imagination.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Second Part in the Series ~ Resurrection in the Social Imagination

It was not so much the cross that convicted followers of Jesus but His resurrection...
For many intellectuals and laymen, the man/god Jesus Christ and the New Testament Gospels are seen largely as a story created by Constantine. However, as anyone can research, the Roman Emperors since Augustus had had a relationship with the Messiah in one way or another, not spiritually but earthly as in recorded prophecy and or real contact with his followers briefly stated above. During the reign of Tiberius, certainly Sejanus was aware of Jesus as he directly communicated with Pontius Pilate about the socio-political climate in Jerusalem which was when Jesus was alive and in Jerusalem.  

Again, if anyone thinks that Constantine manufactured Jesus as the messiah through his death and resurrection then we could assume that to have such an idea would suggest Constantine himself had a revelation given the past knowledge of the Roman Gods and the prophecy of this new God/Man whom was now not just any man, but seen as much more than a man but a God/man because of his resurrection not because of his deeds. And, that alone can be considered the revelation of Constantine. 

Emperors though we not easily persuaded as in ready to jump on any new idea. I am sure that Constantine had heard of the teachings of Paul and Peter and their being beheaded by Nero. If any truth can be proclaimed it is that Jesus Christ was the Messiah in a revealed social imagination. In the social imagination, such revelation reminds us that the kingdom is within. All social reality is in the mind and who caused it to be there ~ God. He sent His son to deliver us from the sin of death which is a false reality within. 
Atheists and some Gnostics use this history of Constantine to prop up their notions that Jesus was not a god and that an ‘evil’ god created this world through error. They are right in both instances. Jesus was God and Man and the Holy Spirit. He came into this world to end ‘error' which entered this world through Satan – an evil god as in fallen angel. What is interesting is that Gnostic social imagination shows us how a computer scenario can described error and Jesus and even Constantine’s recognition of and accepting of Christianity.
God created heaven and earth, all things seen and unseen. He created man in His image and from man, He created woman – programs that run against the backdrop of a blackhole horizon acting as a blue screen for all cosmic events in God’s imagination. Corrupt information as in a virus as in error appeared and entered in on the screen thinking it was the ultimate source of and over God’s imagination. In this instance, error created the world we live in which is in a state of entropy, decay. 

Jesus as an aspect of God and sent by God His Father, the true Creator of heaven and earth, to dispel error and to inform of an upgrade in the program which depends on those that can follow the command which is to believe in it and accept it as truth. Even if all we can do is recognize that all social reality in this world is that of 'error', as the reality of here and now, then we have truly moved in our social imagination. In this way, we simultaneously recognize that this here and now is not all there is or was.  

Such information is correct information which cannot die as it wants to live forever but all false information dies as it has no purpose to live eternally and it can and will be permanently vaulted as in contained for it has no purpose. We then understand that death is the lie of this world which Jesus came to inform us of and remove error from within.
There is neither reason to speculate that Constantine used Jesus as a story of a man to ensure that men remain in control over women nor any reason to speculate that women should be in a higher position of power.  Resurrection that Jesus informed us of was to save. The only relevant information for us is the resurrection. “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.” Psalm 146:3  

From the point of view of an event horizon, we are information. All information born in this world was born in the state of "error" as in Fallen world. It was not in the beginning but entered in as we read in Genesis 3.  Constantine was information and like we born in this state of "error". Jesus was not born in this state. Jesus was God who became man, superimposed supernatural information, not in "error". He came to save us from "error" - the sin of death, the permanent containment of the system of "error"... in the social imagination.

Other information does not save; it is only dieing information that seeks to remain in the here and now as in the 'flesh' and in the flesh it has no other place to go!

*"I [Jesus] tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life".
John 5:24

One in aTwo Part Series ~ Resurrection in the Social Imagination

As most historians recognize, Constantine I was born circa 280 in Naissus, Moesia (now Serbia). His father became the Western Roman emperor in 305; after his father's death, Constantine fought to take power. He became the Western emperor in 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.
Let us go back to an earlier period in the Roman Empire. Jesus was born under Caesar Augustus and crucified under Caesar Tiberius. After Tiberius, Caligula became Emperor. It is highly unlikely that Tiberius had known anything about Jesus; though there was known prophecy in those times of a coming messiah. At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion / resurrection and just there after, believers were considered a sect of Judaism.  However, some Christians were killed during Caligula’s reign (37-41). As pointed, Christians were considered a sect of Judaism during that period. 

Because of that, under the next Emperor, Claudius (41-54) Judaism was a legal religion, and, so, the Christians were not singled out for general persecution until the time of Nero (54-68). During the reign of Claudius, who reigned after Caligula, from A.D. 41 to 54, the Apostle Paul made his missionary journeys throughout the empire, and Christianity grew rapidly. 

But by the time of Nero it had become clear that Christianity was a new religion, separate from Judaism. Both Paul and Peter were beheaded under the reign of Nero. From that time on it was illegal to become a Christian for three hundred years, until the time of Constantine, who ruled from 306-337. In 313 A.D. Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, granting all people the freedom to follow whichever religion they wished. Constantine was baptized a Christian on his deathbed; and, likely because of the idea of resurrection. 

We need to remind ourselves that Romans worshiped their Gods which we can read about in the Old Testament. There were the Nephelim; Genesis 6:4 “The Nephelim were on earth in those days and also afterward when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. There were the heroes of old, men of renown”. 

So, Roman Emperors and their religion were from the times before the Flood. They were fascinated with death and the idea of resurrection. As it was for them as it was for the apostles, it was not the cross so much that convicted followers of Jesus but His resurrection. This was the purpose of His coming, dying on the cross and resurrection, this information gave us direction. He gave us a way out of this world of error and transgression; a way to be born again.