Exploring the 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.

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