Exploring the Social Imagination

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Mental Eyeglasses We Cannot Remove from this Social Imagination

Any order out of chaos we think we are able to bring about with good intentions or not is an absurd idea. How is that possible? It is impossible because we all wear mental eyeglasses that we cannot remove. Really?

Immanuel Kant one of the greatest philosophers of all time. Yes of all time. Is that possible? Yes. Sorry millennials... there is little room at the top of true intellect, true insight, the elect of the Creators creation.
Read Kant, if you can or have access to his work not someone else's view of his work. In the history of Western philosophy, Kant holds a place comparable to Plato and Aristotle (M.Raspanti 1998: pg. 53) and if you don't know who they are, stop reading this post now only because what comes next will not be understood.  Yes, stop now because the key to Kant's philosophy is that the world of reality is unknown and unknowable. I have read Kant and he was incredibly insightful and because of him physicists were able to make huge contributions to understanding the social reality - the social imagination.

From a sociologist's point of view, there are good works out there that give an excellent view of Kant's philosophy. One that comes to mind is Matthew Raspanti. He saw and wrote that Kant's philosophy stems from  an attempt to explain what makes 'scientific' (man's observation) prediction possible. What puzzled him was the fact that the raw material of experience comes to us through our senses and yet nature is found to conform to general laws that scientists are able to formulate by rational mathematical means. Yet, Kant pointed that such scientists were not able to confirm whereby those rational mathematical means come from... other men - what would be their source? For Kant this compromised the observations made and therefore whatever was concluded was simply what the observers agreed upon not any real facts that could be absolutely knowable outside of men's mind - Raspanti 1998: pgs. 53-56.

Kant's solution was to deny that the raw material of experience is actually raw. In the Kantian view, we never experience nature as it is in itself. What we do experience is not raw material coming to us directly from external things, but something that has been shaped by our minds in the process of becoming our experience. Raspanti is right on about Kant as he posits that it is not surprising then that we find that our experience conforms to principles prescribed by our minds. Kant concluded thus that it is not the mind that conforms to things; it is things that conform to the mind - Raspanti 1998: pgs. 53-56.

In Kant's view  we never merely observe. What we do do... is contribute to what we observe by interpreting it, organizing it, correlating it with prior knowledge, and so on. In doing so, the mental tools we use are certain universal principles of thought. Rose colored glasses... when we wear tinted eyeglasses, everything we see inevitable appears tinted. In similar fashion, the mind is fitted with a number of mental eyeglasses which transform everything we experience, without our realizing it. For Kant, the world as it is, independently of our minds is called the world of noumena. The world of noumena, of "things in themselves", is and must remain unknown. Whatever attempts we make make to reach out to it are inevitably frustrated by our mental eyeglasses which we cannot remove - Raspanti 1998: pgs. 53-56.

One might argue that Kant could not be right because if the world outside the mind was unknowable, we would have never observed and or discovered it. Good point, however, Kant was right. Yes, there is something and or things out there that we through social interaction arrive at in terms of a definition; but is there any other way to know it outside the mind. No. Does that negate an absolute creator? No, it suggests that we are able to observe something and arrive an idea of it - based on the cosmological argument for a Creator as in intelligent designer. The fact that we can observe anything and exchange our observational experiences suggests that there is a world of noumena; though unknowable. The fact that we desire to peek under the curtain suggests that we already know that there is something greater than what we think we see.

Yes, we have rose colored glasses and we know why? Given by someone to control what we see when we peek under the curtain as that is our desire to. We know innately that this is a fallen world and we long to see what the real original design is. One might think that the glasses either allow us to really see or they keep us from really seeing. That is the question we should ask especially in this fallen world as both could be true.

It maybe that what we might see would be so great we could no know it from where we stand. The rose colored eyeglasses being  necessary, given to us to peek in our attempt to understand what has been created by the Creator. Yet, would that really be the way to see what God sees the way He sees it... the creation He made as He saw it? Rather not. I doubt God would give such glasses out. Yet, we do appear to be wearing them. Why? Well, Satan handed them out at the fall so that we can see the world his way.  Can we ever remove them? Yes, and they were by Jesus Christ.

*Source - The Virtual Universe: Philosophy, Physics and the Nature of Things, written by Matthew Raspanti - 1998.

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