Exploring the Social Imagination

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Confederate Flag Controversy - Symbols in the Social Imagination

I have written before about symbols in the social imagination. They have meaning and meaning is everything in the social imagination. Meaning differs from place to place from culture to culture from one social imagination to the next. It has levels of depth of purpose. Because meaning is written in as in programmed early on in the social imagination process, changing meaning is difficult to do. In fact it would require 'brain washing' so to speak. It would require a huge campaign on a wider even national level. this is not 'new' to elites and or the intelligentsia.

Hence, we have been subjected to the recent confederate flag controversy. As my further comment regarding this controversy, I will simply make use of a well written article found in the local newspaper of a small Missouri county.

Before, providing that an excerpt of that article, I should also remind you that symbols stand for things, persons and place which in our social imagination we given meaning to. What means something to one group may not mean the same to another and there is no sense in supposing what it means as it will only be lost in translation, whether we are talking about two different nations or regions in the same. Flags for the most part, offer a sense of success, security as in a sense of identity, perseverance in that which asks for solidarity and sacrifice which causes pride of belonging and like mindedness - unity. That's why we fly the American flag, and states fly their own flag and why any organizations fly a flag etc.

Yes, we can be unaware of what a symbol can mean to someone else outside of our group, our nation, our organization. They are outside of the meaning we know/understand. They have their symbols too which have meaning other than we  might think they mean.  We have a tendency, our people everywhere, to think that our meaning is best as tested or practiced in a place over time with a certain amount of success in holding the group together. Hence, we think that this is good for us and for others as we assume. And, they assume too.

Article excerpt ~ "Is it right and just that the flag of those responsible for enslaving and killing hundreds of thousands should ever be seen again? should demonstrations and protest demand the removal of this symbol? Despite military occupation at the end of the war and years of 'reconstruction' it remains the same flag used on Dec. 7 1941.  And, the country that occupied Libya and Somalia, and invaded Ethiopia? It still bears the same flag. How about the country that grew wealthy on the money deposited by Jews on their way to concentration camps? that country made no attempt to return the 'loot' to its rightful owners for fifty years, covered the matter up and the lied about it. They still have their flag. How about 2 million Armenians 'gone missing'? The country responsible for that says its "all a big lie". They still have their flag. Theses are just a few examples. The flags of the countries that have invaded, enslaved, murdered, robbed, embezzled and lied about it fly freely and without protest in their nation and every day outside the offices of the United Nations".

What about the country that removed millions of native Americans from their land and put them on reservations or the country that took Americans and put them into retention camps because they had Japanese ancestry... that country still flies its flag.Why????

Because, in the social imagination symbols have a depth of meaning. And, some symbols remain because that meaning is what holds them together.

Is the South held together by the Confederate Flag? For some -Yes, is there anything wrong with that? No.
Does the Confederate flag stand for racism? Perhaps for some, and for those that think it does but rather, it is as any flag waving...  standing for solidarity, sacrifice, perseverance, identity, and unity ...like all flags. Who makes it out to stand for something else? Now, that is a good question since symbols can be used to manipulate people and ideas, values.

Friday, July 24, 2015

If we are created Information, then we can create!

Luciano Floridi issued a challenge to scientists in the world in 2005 to prove that robots can display the human trait of self-awareness through a knowledge game called the "wise man" test. It was a venture he didn't ever see being achieved in the foreseeable future. A decade later, the Oxford professor's seemingly unattainable challenge has been met. 

On July 9, a team of researchers led by Professor Selmer Bringsjord helped a robot solve the riddle, displaying a level of self-awareness and satisfying what had until then been considered "the ultimate sifter" test that could separate human from cyborg. 
But the professor says there's a bigger challenge he wants robots to accomplish: self-awareness in real time.
"Real time" self-awareness means robots acting upon new situations that they are not pre-programmed for, and translating how to act into physical movements. This is a serious challenge that Bringsjord has not tapped into because self-awareness algorithms are still separate from a robot's body. If robots could work in real time, mind-to-body, he says, we would break through major barriers that could result in scenarios such as droids that act as our personal chauffeurs.

Source ~ http://finance.yahoo.com/news/man-created-worlds-first-self-171148562.html

What does this mean? It means that since we are created information, we can create too. But, should we is the bigger question. Any program that is AI will ultimately ask the greater cosmic question, If I am then why and what for and who did it?

That might be so difficult to imagine but why then can't we imagine our creator. Maybe we refuse to acknowledge that there is one. AI programs could do the same and think that they are the originals. Are we guilty of that? Are we saying that man is the end and beginning of all things? It seems so.

So, should we create AI robots? If we can't accept our creator, likely they won't either; unless we program it in. Many Christians say God did that and we still reject that information coded into our DNA.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Corrupt Social Imagination ~ Observations

Firstly, this is a fallen world. So, the social imagination is corrupt. That is why, if there is a lack tolerance for other social imaginations, remember it goes both ways (my social imagination vs. yours), then conflict will always be part of this fallen world. Exactly, no matter how right your social imagination thinks it is.

Ultimately, a lack of tolerance for others whether you are the bully or being bullied, or even the lack of tolerance for the bully coupled by the fear of being bullied, is a direct lack of the social imagination perceiving and accepting an established absolute higher source of information in the social imagination ~ like God.

For in such an absolute, there is no fear, there is no corrupt information. In such an absolute, one finds the source of all strength, goodness and fairness. So, the bully doesn't bully and the bullied are not afraid; actually there wouldn't be any bully. But, since this culture 'social imagination' is corrupt it has the tendency to embrace the self 'man' above all else and each man 'person' is an island unto him/herself and somehow perceived as 'alone' and thus fearful.

When one such person becomes fearful, they start flaying about as if drowning.  They latch onto anything that will keep them afloat, any device or thing that promises to save them. It can be another person, it can be a state as in government, it can be a thing as in education or a car, a house a job, a place as in a community or even church, or even a behavior that provides some sort of comfort.

Alas, they discover that there are so many fearful individuals in those places looking for the same thing there sets in a panic realizing that they are just a number; and, they lose sight of any purpose to love their fellow man as they love themselves. How could they given their idea that each man is his/her own island of information and thus distinctly 'alien'. Therefore, their corrupted social imaginations cling to threads of corrupted information, false promises. Finally, they conclude that they can find nothing in themselves that is or could be absolutely true for someone else and thus they fall down a black hole.

They look for way out. Take institutional higher education. I just read that after 3 years of attending '...' college a person can have a bachelors degree in something and be on their way to the good life. Who is kidding who??? In 3 years, it will be a brand new world at the rate technology changes. It is a brand new world already because today's technology is changing the face of every industry.  Likely, whatever a person was studying will be outmoded or gone and replaced by technology. How is this an observation of corrupt social imagination?

It is representative, firstly based on the above that posits things orchestrated by man offer false hope and or false promise. There are more people that have become 'super' successful without institutionalized higher education. How is that possible? Man is not just an animal. He was created in the image of God and thus has incredible potential within. His instructions are in the Bible and he is told that he can move mountains. But, some will say that technology is straight out of man's 'social' imagination. It is but one that is corrupt as there is less and less evidence that the social imagination considers the absolute ~ God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, of all things seen and unseen.

Some will argue that makes no sense in the post modern social imagination which will take man to new heights, new places and eternal life. Really? Everyone in the world??? Who will afford this? Is man so giving and loving? Not the enlightened relativistic man. He/she is about recognition, as in affluent position. In that, they define what is right, they demand man conforms, they demand that they have the solutions. Man is his/her own end and if you don't get the idea that you 'everyone' are/is everything, you are the entire universe, you deserve to be ended. They suddenly realize that given that there must be a way to control all those that embrace such thinking because it could get out of hand... and it should be fair.

They whittle away who is deserving of their being everything. Wouldn't everyone have the same power? Not in this fallen world. Thus, those with power and authority will call the shots as they do now. They are building the world, the one they want for themselves.

So, is there a non corrupt social imagination? That is a good question. No! Because this is a fallen world. So, what is the alternative, the solution? Well, its not man. He is no absolute, no ultimate source of all fairness and goodness. There is only one absolute ~ God who is Jesus Christ, He was in the beginning and He is!