Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A culture is sustained within its cultural parameters!

There is much naive discussion about multiculturalism and or pluralism. It seems to be an ideal situation, at least it appears to be working here in the United States. Americans do not realize that when immigrants come here, they bring their cultural baggage 'data' with them which makes integration for them and for the hosts difficult. Culture and or cultural data defines people in terms of who they are and who they are not. We are social creatures as we live out our lives in our social imagination.

In that imagination, there exists parameters or what we can call specific data that helps to define and sustain the social imagination in a place. It maintains the social imagination so that it does not have 'rethink' its condition its being in a place every single day. Having parameter or borders allows individuals to exist in a place, it provides a sense of security and belonging. No one exists as an island, nor does anyone desire to as there would be a loss of identity, loss of social imagination.

We can see and appreciate different cultures for this. Can they exist side by side? Yes, they do essentially in their place and we in ours. Can they mix up? Yes, they can but in the transference of cultural data or shared beliefs and values, there is a blending and melting. Which means that either or are and never will be the same.  That is why we have groups that 'protect' culture and cultural data. We enjoy seeing culture and the many interpretations of being in a place.

The art of Flamenco is a great example. Such music both instrumental and vocal along with dance reflect the experience of a particular social imagination in a place. Without those specific parameters being respected, adhered to and used over and over to draw a deep rich identity from the true art would be diluted and perhaps even lost.

Diversity is good, it means differences and its ok that we don't all agree, don't all believe the same and don't all conform to the same mold... does that mean conflict will exist. Yes, it may; but, let us hope that we respect culture(s) enough to overcome conflict peaceably ... which does not intend to overcome differences but overcome conflict. Because, differences is what makes diversity.

We should remind ourselves that conflict comes about most often when cultural parameters and cultural practices are threatened by outsider social imaginations which intrude or negatively penetrate physically, traditionally and emotionally another social imagination without invitation.

We must remind ourselves that culture(s) need their parameters, those things which make them different without applying rights/wrongs. It is the art of Flamenco that can be nothing less as that which we find fascinating because it is Flamenco. Of course, we can have impersonators, we ourselves can try to dance the Flamenco, but our pretending is just that no matter how good we get at it. The true art belongs to the true artist. Cultural data belongs to the culture from which it originated.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mohandas Gandhi ~ Not Imagining Socialism

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi  was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

Born and raised in a Hindu merchant caste family. Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organizing peasants, farmers, and urban laborers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchablity, but above all for achieving self-rule.

Gandhi worked before dawn every day. He spun his own garments at his spinning wheel which for him symbolized his belief in rural industry and self-reliance...  not Government.

"Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves." 

Of course, how can an individual remake him/herself if the government controls the individual. Yes, Gandhi was about communal life, but as an individual who had a sense of duty and respect for his/her responsibility in a community, one not mandated from the top down as in orchestrated and directed by a government.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." 

Gandhi was a provocatuer... His view on the caste system was not popular among the higher up Hindus who shunned what they considered to be polluted members of the lowest caste. Gandhi believed in the dignity of work, no matter what it was. Gandhi studied the Bible and the Koran and the writings of Leo Tolstoy and Henry David Thoreau.

"Religions are not for separating men from one another; they are meant to bind them." 

~ Gandhi

How would Gandhi justify a separation of church and state? What would bind people together? He might view what we have in the US - civil religion. Yes, it grows stronger every day and not through commonalities shared but through executed top down mandates.

Gandhi wrote about the ideal state and he argued that increasing State interference is immoral and opens up ever increasing possibilities of violence and corruption. Gandhi described self rule as the ideal State. This would imply not only self-rule as is commonly understood but it implied governance of one’s self, self-control and self regulation a situation where each individual is able to govern and control himself or herself thus making the State redundant.

~ Quotes are from numerous published materials documenting the life of Gandhi

*additional sources ~ National Geographic "Gandhi's Living Legacy" July 2015 and Online history sources on the Life of Mahatma Gandhi.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Death in the Social Imagination?

What really drives the social imagination in this fallen world? The fear of death does.This is a fallen world due to the state of entropy and thus we can expect to experience death in the social imagination. How really real is that? In all reality, if you care to delve so far is that death does not exist for the social imagination but imagined in it. The social imagination of people is under the condition of the state of entropy and thus is guided by fear. Do we imagine it? Essentially, we do because of the condition of entropy. This condition is imagined. That is why we can only experience it through observations in the social imagination. Thus, death exists in the social imagination as others in our social imaginations leave us. They do so through various means: accidents, illness, murder, genocide, war, persecution and execution.

These events exist in our social imagination. But, what of it? Why don't we just get rid of those events in our social imagination that lead to the experience as observation of 'death' in our social imagination. I think that for some, the endeavor to do so is already happening. Doctors and scientists seem to be hard at work trying to ward it off or erase it from the social imagination - both through technology. Is that really possible? In some instances, we see people being saved from death by medical technology and others not. We can read about new technological advances that may make people immortal. Doesn't that seem more normal than not living at all?

Why does death exist in our social imagination? That's is a good question. This universe we live in has come under or into a condition called the state of entropy all because we imagined it all began at the beginning. If there was one. What I mean is that we cannot know the beginning, we can only imagine it. When man does that, he falls into a condition of doubt. Hence, perhaps, by our own efforts of trying to imagine a beginning, we have imagined an end. Perhaps, we can overcome this world by rebooting by believing in eternal life. We can see this as a possibility when prayer saves us or others we pray for from death's door. Does that mean eternally saved from death? Why not? If we believe it is possible to die why not imagine it is possible to live eternally; as its our true state of being. We can imagine eternal life, a life which was imaged for us and made known to us along time ago...

So, stop imagining the beginning and the end....and imagine eternal life!

*Live and declare the works of God... Psalm 118:17

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Happiness in the Social Imagination

We all want to be happy because it makes us feel good. But happiness is based on fickle conditions, like how our body feels, how people treat us today and yesterday and how we think they will tomorrow, the weather, etc. We can never achieve perfect happiness because it is not possible and no laws or regulations promulgated in the social imagination can achieve such a state of being. In fact, to pursue it, is foolishness and most often leads to depravity and a reprobate mind. 

Of course, people with money, power and or position will tell you otherwise. But, ask them how they got what they have and likely the made a lot of people miserable doing it. They may think that they are happy but true happiness is when everyone is at the same level of happiness and that is not possible. Why, because again anyone's happiness is based on fickle conditions.

What we can expect to have are good days and bad days, to be somewhat happy and sad depending on our circumstances. We should remember the good and somewhat happy whenever we are sad or fearful because those emotions lead to depraved and dangerous activities in the social imagination; like: the use of recreational drugs or engaging in sexual promiscuity or even the drive to acquire wealth, prestige and property for example, to recover feelings of lost happiness.

So what in the social imagination did the founding fathers write into our Declaration of Independence the clause which says we have the right to pursue happiness? That's a good question. I suppose it seemed then like a decent aspiration.

Today, its anything but. People in America today want their own happiness right now and thus cannot wait for it nor do they want to aspire to it as in go through difficulties in order to achieve something greater. They would rather just have it given to them or just pay for it.