Exploring the Social Imagination

Monday, October 26, 2015

Average American Social Imagination ~ A Danger to the Ruling Class

That's right! The 'your' social imagination can appear dangerous to the ruling classes. Why? Because, it means that a group of people outside of their group the 'ruling class' can think for themselves and make decisions that the ruling classes do not like nor want to deal with. Many sociologists have noted this in their observations of social class structural phenomenon. What is the outcome of this dislike, denial or rejection of those who exist just beneath the ruling classes; and,... who are they? They are the aristocracy, the upper upper class, the lower upper class and the upper middle... and that one is stretching it a bit too far but nonetheless are engaged in the ruling class more so than what lies beyond them. In fact, what does lie beyond the upper middle class, are many people who as groups below the ruling classes, exist for the ruling classes as grunts put to work not for their own desires and benefits but the desires and benefits of the ruling classes.

Sounds like a Marxist outcry, doesn't it. Yes, but the solution to it is not socialism nor communism. It is the free market. However, in our higher institutions of education and even in the lower structures of public education, the free market is not offered as a solution. The social imagination is a great thing when it is given freedom or inasmuch liberty as possible to exercise its creativity. This is the danger. The ruling classes feel threatened by this kind of freedom and thus they close in on any and all creativity that threatens their status. Their means or strategy of control is through education and propaganda. They instill fear in the masses so that they are cowed into thinking that the only hope they have and their children have is through education .... and how conveniently offered by the institutional structures of the ruling classes.

They educate and control the masses through media as well as products and services. Max Weber told us that choices are what define us. He was right and hence, the ruling classes jumped on that band wagon. They make people think that it was their own choice that either brought them success or failure; but ironically it is they the ruling classes that control all choices including the good and the best choices. They use government, both federal and state and even local to attain their agenda which is to stay in power. They use products that keep people in the vicious loop of consumption and jobs that turn over, go away or have ridiculous criteria to meet ... the right 'fit' as it is being called. What is that anyway? It is their means of limiting  the best of what is out there to their own circle of friends.

The education now being fed to children to their young social imaginations is to accept this, to fit in... after all, "If you're not with us, your against us"...This saying is not for any party in particular... it is the saying of the ruling classes! Are you one of them... the 'ingroup'. You maybe if you are an aristocrat of find yourself in the upper upper lower upper and upper middle class. Or... You may find yourself 'with them and not against them'... not by your own choice, but by their choice. What a social imagination!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Imagining Ideal Society

Ideal society was the topic of my doctoral dissertation. I can only suppose that it has not yet been published by any major higher education publisher because it is based not on promoting nor moving toward a progressive global world order of sameness - top down engineered equality.

My dissertation was based on classical sociological theory. I chose a number of various paradigms from some of the best social thinkers using their works and insights as the basis for investigating 'human' group behavior. I looked at the very foundation of group thought as in collective conscious and where 'group' streams of thought originate and what allows them to continue in that same stream.

Respondents were of a Judeo-Christian socio-historical 'Western' background. They were educated, had wealth and traveled abroad at length to other countries. This criteria was absolutely necessary to understand the source and strength of their collective conscious and the depth of its roots.

As it went, outcomes from the key question "Can you describe your ideal society?" showed a strong propensity for limited government intrusion, free market, and private property. Respondents were casual about immigration, religion and health care. The majority of respondents felt that if people had the greatest opportunity to be self determined within a simple framework of law, they would compete and such competition would be essential to grow up the ideal society for the individual who has the last amount of 'friction' - the least amount of government intrusion. Competition would exist everywhere and when that happens in a minimal government structure, more opportunities in every industry or sector of enterprise including health care opens doors and reaches all people where they are.

As for managing with diversity, the respondents more often than not suggested that diversity would naturally transfer between people through competition.

This kind of collective conscious stems from great thinkers of the past, who originated from Judeo Christian mind set regardless of believing in God. It is the idea of the individual having freedom to be self determined, to have a personal relationship with his/her creator that arose out of the Judeo-Christian mind set and this kind of thinking exists no where else in the world.

The embeddedness of this kind of thought was so deep that not one of the respondents, having lived abroad in countries where this kind of thought did not exist, brought any other kind of collective thought into their ideal society.

Did having education and wealth have anything to do with their view of 'their' ideal society? Yes. Having both education and wealth revealed the importance of liberty in 'their' ideal society. Respondents stressed how education leads to wealth for the individual resulting in their ability to take apply what they learned and apply it as freely as possible within a limited government framework. Respondents did not lean toward a government structure that would do the choosing for them or provide for them based on what government considers reasonable merit.

What were the ages? Would that have some kind of effect on the outcomes as they were? Yes, one would think that. However, given that the criteria did not change: Judeo-Christian socio-historical background, education, wealth and travel abroad... all ages' answers (18-55) in the study were nearly identical.  Could someone think that such the study was skewed? Well if you consider that group behavior is governed by corrupted socio-historical backgrounds; then, I suppose yes. But, one must accept that groups do have specific socio-historical backgrounds (corrupt or not; if you inside that it looks normal) as part of their identity - who they are and are not. If you argue that people today are  more fluid and do not have such attachments, think again.

In support of my study, there was another study I participated, titled "Your place on earth". Respondents in that study were living comfortably in one country and asked where their place on earth was. All answered that their place on earth was where they were born and raised or where their ancestors came from. Why? Because, this shows the depth of 'being from/in a place'; such intimacy to an original source defines them a person and group. People can integrate other kinds of cultural data; for example, Japaneses can celebrate Halloween or Christmas but its not the same in meaning. It may appear similar on the surface, but in meaning it is not the same effect and purpose for group identity management and sustainability.

All too often, we think that if something looks like what we think it is then everyone knows what it means and that is not true. Hence, we have the expression "lost in translation".

Ideal society is only a better version of what one group already knows to be good for them in their place, the place where they were born.

Now, does that mean people should not migrate? Yes and no, depending on expectations. When children are born in a place... that becomes their place. Therefore, something is lost (original place) and also gained (new place).

*Acts 17: 24-27 ~ The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit their whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him though he is not far from each one of us.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Creationsim vs Evolution

Yes, fire ants can put together a raft in about 100 seconds, using claws, jaws and adhesive pads on their legs to stick together, and releasing an oily fluid that allows them to stick to a smooth surface. The ant’s hard covering is water repelling. Prof. David Ferris, University of South Carolina declares that this isn’t all that unusual.
Prof. Ferris ~ “What you’re seeing is a normal response (built in) of the fire ants to the flood,” Ferris said. “Just like people want to get out of the way, the fire ants want to get out of the way...They’ve adapted to a flood zone in South America. So when water would flood along the rivers there, they’d put their queen on top of what is basically a floating raft of ants with all the young."

Is that because of evolution? Well, we would have to find out how many times they all drowned before they all made a step in the direction not to, especially since ants work together. If it is an instant response, then it is rather built in. Anything built into a computer program was done by the creator of that program. 

Oh, excuse me someone might say. What are you suggesting, they were created that way? Well let me tell you, they did evolve. How? Well its obvious this person would say to me. Ants like any other creature evolving had to go through many attempts to survive floods and they learned from past experiences that water would flood them out if they did not prepare to flee at the right moment. They 'naturally' decide when the water comes that they all better get to high ground. 

Really??? I would say then that means that all ants must be able to react instantly and for the same reason. As a sociologist, I could argue that 'real' evolution is learning over time what works and work does not through experience which could also suggest a kind of natural selection. Those that don't work for/contribute to the good of the whole could be considered useless eaters and would have to eventually fall by the wayside of natural selection social process, a kind of survival of the fittest. That usually does not go down well with most people who have themselves a disability or child with one. This was the hidden agenda of Soviet communism. After all... all workers had to work hard and enthusiastically for the good of the whole.

In order for evolution to be in the least bit logical, you would have to argue that through natural selection, only those ants that evolved through natural selection would and could react at just the right moment when water threatened. They became over time better immediate reactors through the same selective process; but that suggests that in the long time past, there weren't any such reactors at all and thus in a flood event all ants must have drowned. But, let's say that one or two survived and were thus witness to those that did not react and now they having such experience have graduated to being at least early sign reactors. 

Therefore, over time, these now simple reactors breed and their reaction to 'intervene' at just the right moment when the threat of flood comes is passed on. That is evolution, right?  Little by little, they deal with floods and evolve in their reactions, losing fewer and fewer to floods. But, because fire ants build rafts to save everybody 'all fire ants' (likely because they are already in their perfectly evolved state) at once, they must have had the idea for the raft before the next flood came as the best idea and though they may not get everyone on board with the idea or on board at all; thus, they would still evolve in raft building. Right?

Its nonsense to think that over time, fire ants have evolved to become better reactors so that they could evolve to devise a plan (build a rafter for the entire group) and save everyone 'all ants' not just some and certainly not just the better bred or more useful, quicker reactors. 

What an incredible social imagination some people have. Isn't it easier and wiser to say that ants and all creation were programmed from the beginning to react in just the right moment to situations.  But, then I am sure you would argue that people don't seem to learn from their mistakes immediately and over time they get better. Good point. What does that mean? For one thing, man making mistakes is not an argument for evolution. Rather, it is an argument for transgression. After all, man has been pointed as not using all his brain capacity. Guess he is turning into or evolving toward a lower species, right?

However, to explain man making mistakes and not evolving, one can take a creationists' perspective? Well, there a glitch in our 'evolution' program.... and it is called original sin. What to hope for or what kind of evolution can we expect? Resurrection through Jesus Christ, our Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth of all things seen and unseen! 

* Do fire ants make mistakes in this fallen world, the world with a 'glitch'??? Sure they do, we just can't recognize it 'an ant mistake'.