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.

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