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.

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