Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Sky is the Sky Wherever You Go

Is the sky the sky wherever you go? One can make the argument that it is physically. But, since we live our lives in the social imagination - the only reality there is as it contains information we need and the meaning in that information that sustains us, it is not so certain that the sky is the sky.

Hence, after we examine the many different geographies on the face of the earth and the people that occupy them, it is not certain that the sky is the sky. Native American Indians look at the sky differently, there are many words for its color and behavior. Many western minded people, busy people, working people barely look up at the sky and contemplate it's nature, its importance. There sky is just there for them.

I heard a native man use the word phrase "before the contact". They mean before white man, western man, came and brought their ways of thinking, their religion, their business. The native man said before the contact our life was good. Mmm before medicine, before religion, before money. Yes. How is that they who have nothing fear nothing. How is that they who have only themselves to communion with and only their Creator to rely on live better? This native man also said he and his people don't want 'their' oil company or stick houses or medicine. We want to live and die our way. Imposing your sky on someone else is wrong.

In this instance, the sky cannot be the sky wherever you go. Was Livingstone wrong then to go to Africa? Are missionaries wrong for going into the jungles to reach indigenous peoples so that they hear the Good News of the one true God? We may wonder what drives missionaries? Is it the same God that the native man worships? Is it wrong for anyone to share in their beliefs? No, whenever we wish to share our life with someone we embrace our humanity.

However, in that we cannot judge, for then we lose our humanity, our social imagination which depends on going beyond this fallen world...what we experience as temporal. In not judging one does not deny the one true God. The wise missionary is driven to share his/her testimony of the one true God as did Livingstone being like Paul the apostle we sense Livingstone being born again, awake to being a new creation in Christ and driven to share that with others in far away places.

In that new creation, he was motivated to share that experience of being a new kind of man here in this social imagination. There is nothing wrong with that. What missionaries can be criticized for is staying to long and introducing through the giving of gifts a false testimony of the awakening to the one true God Jesus Christ causing a new or another form idolatry to take shape as a practice. The Kingdom is within that is the gift ... and in this way, the sky is the sky wherever you go.

Livingstone like Paul mixed as in joined in with people to share his testimony and then he moved on. In this way, the sky was still the sky; no one was made to feel wrong or bad but perhaps somehow different...if a missionary leaves with having shared only the Good News ~ eternal life is for all who believe in Him whom He has sent ~ John 6:29.

Paul did not go using superiority of speech or of wisdom, he went proclaiming only to them his testimony ... he told them that (I Paul) know only of Jesus Christ and Him crucified ~ 1 COR 2... on man's behalf. Believe in Him and be Saved! "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" ~ Romans 10:9.

Yes, the sky is the sky and God knows it, He made it. God made all the nations of mean, he put them in their place in hopes that they would reach out to Him from there place Acts 17:24. There are no works in that ... this is what Paul ministry was about. Anything else would have become a new or another idolatry, a worship of false Gods and a worship that requires works, ritual, sacrifices, and priests.

If Livingstone and certainly if Paul went about saying that his ways, his priests, his statues were better then he would not have brought the Good News! The sky would be another 'man' made sky. The sky is the sky for everyone, it has to be their choice to view it as to how it could be. The Good News is what drove both Livingstone to Africa and Paul to Greece... ... freely given, freely accepted. The only way the sky can be the sky wherever you go!

*The Good News ~ Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent "~ John 6:27-29.

Monday, March 28, 2016

One man's Social Imagination ~ Dr. David Livingstone

To begin, this post, it is necessary to mention Dr. Hugh Ross who wrote "Beyond the Cosmos" almost twenty years ago. In the chapter titled - Dimensional Capacities of Created Beings, Ross informs us of humans capacities. Reading page 118, we learn that humans are soulish creatures endowed with self-awareness and God awareness, innate moral and ethical standards and a proclivity for religious expression and exploration. Humans exist in God's given (to/for man) space and time dimension of the universe and yet He also gave man the capacity to venture beyond that given through an additional dimension - a spiritual reality (established in man's awareness of God) which allows man to go beyond the given temporal dimensions of  his temporal existence. Yes, men are subject to natural laws, social laws, and spiritual laws but the later only if he answers God's calling to that higher dimension (Ross: pg. 118).

One such person was called and responded in a way that most people would never imagine doing. Dr. David Livingstone... I presume. Even the name, 'Livingstone' suggests man being of the spiritual nature of God as in being His Creation.  I felt compelled to post about Livingstone because he was a man who fully embraced his God given human dimensional capacity.

David Livingstone was born at Blantyre, south of Glasgow on 19 March 1813. At 10 he began working in the local cotton mill, with school lessons in the evenings. In 1836, he began studying medicine and theology in Glasgow and decided to become a missionary doctor. In 1841, he was posted to the edge of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. In 1845, he married Mary Moffat, daughter of a fellow missionary.
Livingstone became convinced of his mission to reach new peoples in the interior of Africa and introduce them to Christianity, as well as freeing them from slavery. It was this which inspired his explorations. In 1849 and 1851, he traveled across the Kalahari, on the second trip sighting the upper Zambezi River. In 1852, he began a four year expedition to find a route from the upper Zambezi to the coast. This filled huge gaps in western knowledge of central and southern Africa. In 1855, Livingstone discovered a spectacular waterfall which he named 'Victoria Falls'. He reached the mouth of the Zambezi on the Indian Ocean in May 1856, becoming the first European to cross the width of southern Africa ~ bbc history.com 

The above except barely touches on his early begins as a child laborer, helping to support his family yet had a dream a huge imagination to become a missionary. It took him quite some time and struggle to become a missionary doctor. He went to Africa. He had many interesting encounters, successful ones and not so successful ones in his determination to convert native people to Christianity. Some might criticize him for being so determined to bring the Gospel to indigenous people as it would likely be disturbing the nature, shape and form of the encountered native peoples. And, he did.

It is a difficult discussion still today about the role of the missionary. Its says clearly in Acts 17 that God created all men and put them in their places in hopes of their reaching out to Him, to His call... One can question whether or not missionary pursue God's work or their own goals.

In our social imagination, a Christian social imagination, we know that God the Father our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the Creator of Heaven and Earth and of all things in it... and that this light in us causes a stirring in our imagination one that is emotional and passionate ....for such is 'agape love' it is a social imaging of a great love for mankind, in that love we find His love, and in that discover a human capacity in us to go beyond the given... .

 Dr. Livingstone, I presume...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Greater Good ~ Would you Die for it?

In The Wrath of Khan (1982), Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.” What did Kirk mean by that? He meant that his need (the one) for Spock was so great that Kirk would rather lose all to save Spock. That would be very selfish. Yet, this is what the ruling elite are all about and what they dictate. They want the whole world for themselves at the expensive of the many. So, they create false boundaries among the people and stir up trouble to make it look like there is an evil majority that clearly hates the minority; and thus, the minority should be credited with outweighing the majority. That takes care of the majority. Because, of course, it is much easier to control a minority.

Spock was about the greater good which lies in the greater majority. There only can only be a majority because a majority of people have agreed upon a common definition, a common goal, a greater good. Those that lie outside of that are considered a minority. Yet, that even seems odd to say given that mankind as a whole, a solidarity in itself is a greater good. Those that fall outside of mankind are less than what mankind is and offers to everyone - a social 'imagination' that dreams of a greater good.

Christ died for the majority, he died for mankind. Because, he saw in every man and woman a sinner. There is no one outside of that. "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" ~ John 8:7.  Jesus Christ took away the sins of mankind His dream was for mankind's greater good. All we have to do is accept his gift of eternal life. Spock was 'Christ' like in his action. Kirk accepted his gift. Its not all that often we see such a sacrifice in a Hollywood film. But, perhaps, of our imagining a greater good that goes beyond the here and now.

Jesus Christ came to tell us and deliver us. There is a greater reality for mankind, all, we have to do is accept His greater gift... offered to the greater good, for a greater good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Darwin a Social Darwinist in His Social Imagination!

Charles Darwin presumably thought as he taught that men are mere animals and he wanted to see them treated like animals in the matter of breeding.  
The eugenics movement, which has served as a great change agent in creating the modern culture of death, is Darwinian through and through.

Eugenics seeks to advance the human race through breeding. It was seen as a way for man to “take control of his own evolution and save himself from racial degeneration” (Horatio Hackett Newman, University of Chicago zoology professor, Evolution, Genetics, and Eugenics, 1932, p. 441).

“Not only did many leading Darwinists embrace eugenics, but also most eugenicists--certainly all the early leaders--considered eugenics a straightforward application of Darwinian principles to ethics and society” (Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler, p. 15).

While some have tried to distance eugenics from Darwinism, Darwin himself laid out its basic principles, which is the improvement of humankind through controlled breeding.

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick: we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is a reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed (The Descent of Man, p. 873).

Darwin was bemoaning the fact that the “weak in body and mind” are not eliminated from the human gene pool. He taught that men are mere animals and he wanted to see them treated like animals in the matter of breeding.

Darwin told Alfred Wallace, co-discover of the doctrine of natural selection, that he was depressed about the future of mankind because modern civilization allowed the unfit to survive and reproduce.

“[Darwin] expressed himself very gloomily on the future of humanity, on the ground that in our modern civilization natural selection had no play, and the fittest did not survive. Those who succeed in the race for wealth are by no means the best or the most intelligent, and it is notorious that our population is more largely renewed in each generation from the lower than from the middle and upper classes” (“Human Selection,” in Wallace, An Anthology, p. 51).

Charles Darwin was not a brave man and he did not conduct a campaign for the control of human breeding, but he did call for voluntary restraint, saying that “both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if in any marked degree inferior in body or mind” (The Descent of Man). Since men do not typically think of themselves as inferior, it is not surprising that Darwin’s call went unheeded.
Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton (another grandson of Erasmus Darwin), founded the eugenics movement after reading On the Origin of Species. Galton invented the word “eugenics” (meaning “good breeding”) and defined it as “the study of all agencies under social control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations.” (Desmond, Darwin, p. 557).

Of course, men like Galton are elitists who consider themselves the cream of society and well capable of determining who is and is not fit. An elitist is willing to eliminate others (either actively through abortion, euthanasia, etc., or more passively through birth control), but the thought doesn’t seem to cross his mind that he should volunteer himself for elimination.

Darwin’s son Leonard was the president of the First International Congress of Eugenics. Leonard wanted to register the names of every “stupid” and otherwise “unfit” person in Britain. His plan envisioned that teachers would report “all children to be specially stupid.” To this would be added the names of “all juvenile offenders awaiting trial, all ins-and-outs at workhouses, and all convicted prisoners” (Black, p. 215). Those so registered would be prohibited from propagating. Also, “their near kin were to be shipped off to facilities, and marriages would be prohibited or annulled.”

The entire text above is copied and pasted from the source "Way of Life" org. The text is much longer and full of historical and ongoing current ideas and applications regarding the full implementation of eugenics. It is a suggested read and one to weep over. The sad irony is that many will read and not weep. For they like Darwin or Galton or Sanger or any other elite or one who thinks of him/herself as an elite in appearance or intellect/education/position/career will never think that they should be weeded out even as it is according to their own egotistical agenda.  

It would be interesting to know if such 'elites' including Darwin would have agreed with Sartre - 

and even more interesting is that Sartre changed his view ...

*Source for Way of Life article ~ http://www.wayoflife.org/index_files/eugenics_and_darwin.html

Monday, March 7, 2016

Give Us Our Daily Bread in the Social Imagination!

First, what is a sentient being? A sentient being is capable of perceiving through the senses. In that case, there are many sentient beings. But, is that all that man is? I read a profound article in - Mother Earth News on "Teaching Youth the Cycle of Life." According to that article, is that most people don't know is that animals are not the only reservoir of sentience on our planet. As you read further, we learn that all of nature is pulsing with observations, language and adaptation. When sunflowers turn with the sun's path across the sky, that's sentience. When leaves change their chemical compositions to become less enticing to munching herbivores and bugs, that's sentience ~ (Mother Earth News).

Even custodial bacteria communicate as they guard every human cell; that's sentience ~ (MENs). In this incredible complexity of sentient design we could imagine we are know different than anyone or anything else. But, there is a hierarchy in this grand design and consumption of sentient beings is part of that. There are those that are aware of this and try to live accordingly; but its not just about not eating meat then; vegans too would have to be careful that they don't consume a sentient as they pull a carrot from the garden patch.

Men just don't follow the sun. We follow our hearts desire our inner voice and that means our inner social imagination which is supported by our wider social imagination as members of a group. We are much more than 'sentient' beings as in mere animals or plants or bacteria. Given that, there are still many people who think that plants and animals are nearly equal on the sentient level. So, what can we eat then or should we eat anything? Good question.

From the Christian perspective, we can argue that "Its not what you put into your mouth that matters, but what comes out of it" (Matthew 15:11)... this is more important in the social imagination. What I like the most in this article is that it recognizes and applauds people who are aware of the fact that man is a sentient being who consumes sentient beings. They recognize that man has been given dominion as in given  responsibility for his actions with regard to other sentient creatures. They express their awe regarding the depth and breadth of the mystery and majesty of life's grand choreography. For them, as we read, the harvesting of our food shapes our minds 'social imagination' and humbles it.

The article points that as long as the chain store is able to create a distance between us and our food source, we can never experience the true nature of sentient consumption and adding to that the true experience of the 'human' social imagination. Yes, sentient beings do consume. Its the way in which we 'human sentient beings' consume that is different from other sentient beings; we are to cherish what we consume and  give thanks.

Thus, is raising animals for mass processing ethical? Is it compassionate and are we really able to be grateful or just pleased that we bought it on sale? No, it is not ethical nor is it moral nor is it God's design as in plan.
Of course, one could retort that it does not matter what does into your mouth, but what comes out of it. Yes, that is an argument. However, we forget that we leave off the end part... what comes out of our mouth. Are we truly thankful that a sentient life gave its life for ours? Or again, are we just pleased to have bought that piece of steak on sale or at a popular restaurant? Even the vegan who munches on the carrot or treasures the full flavor of the organic rustic rye, do they realize that they should thanks? Are they careful about what comes out of their mouth that shows compassion and gratefulness to the Creator for their daily 'bread'?

Maybe... you do give thanks and you truly eat! Making man much more than a 'sentient' being.

And, know that man is not just a 'sentient' being... he is more than that. If we are sentients at all. Given that we are actually the biggest consumers of information, selected on the basis of what it means to us, not by our senses...though a smaller aspect of our being, we are information. Charles H. Cooley an American sociologist wrote that reality exists in the locus of the mind. 

One of the most amazing aspect of the social imagination that Cooley wrote about is that man's inner reality is just as real to him/her as anything outside of it. Man contemplates himself in the group and in the cosmos. He is not just a 'responder' to elements. As we contemplate the cosmos which is too built of information, we exchange that information which gives us meaning about who we are and our position in the universe. 

We are information and we exchange information, freely. This is the full understanding of the 'social imagination'. The exchange of information and what it means to us has a greater impact on our senses as it shapes and changes what/ how we see, smell and taste!  

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Future of Social Imagination!

A Planet for Well Kept Humans?

What will the social imagination being like in 10-15 years? Will it be allowed to be creative or will it be made to just follow orders, as in well trained robots. Rather, we the components of social imagination, will be made redundant after the last job is taken and then eliminated. Yes, jobs as in work is an important aspect of the social imagination. Working in our field of expertise provides much positive worth for the social imagination which is both the individual and the group. The benefit is for our social health and well being regarding the individual and group neither actually existing without the other.

So, why would that aspect of social imagination our social reality disappear? It won't entirely but it will be squeezed down by men with good intentions. There are fewer and fewer jobs and not all jobs require that much intention and or effort as machines take over. We have been on the downward spiral of the leisure class since Veblen wrote it. Because, leisure is a lie. Only fulfilling work with its intentional engagement to serve others satisfies man in this social reality. Even communists recognize that, the difference is that they wanted/want to control the work as they thought/think they knew/know better than most. They like all socialists do want everyone to work as long as their work does not take away from their elite work and their power over it. Hence, free market is out of the question.

Can't we all be productive? We could if we were freely allowed to but freedom is on the decline. Why? Fear, and the most fearful are the ruling elite. They can't imagine a future with 300 million people having the freedom they need to be socially engaged and satisfied with their engagement.

What kind of future will there be? A very limited one. Yes, we will be lured into at first. It will sound so paradise-like, lead by socialist idealists. The false promise is that everybody will be equal, everybody will be right and everybody would be able to do what they want but only if they are extraordinary in the eyes of the higher levels of society which is orchestrated by them and their machines which will be given control social life. After all, with little work to be done, how can so many people take up the same leisure as those at the top?

Yes, the road to hell is paved by men with good intentions. Man would love to work at what he was created to do, and that is to be creative. However, man lives in a fallen world and since the fall, he has been running away from the destiny of this fleshly world. Why? Because, he has known for some time that work here and now is futile... it is run by men who too live in a fallen world. He too 'all men' run (s) from this fallen world as it is destined to death the result of original sin. But, in that there is hope and also blessing, as blessed is he who dies to their flesh ... to this fallen world.

Yes, yes yes...screaming people will say 'what about here and now'? Well, for the atheist, that is a problem. Because,  if one is stuck in the here and now of the flesh, their social imagination will be limited in that respect.

What will the future be? For those who live by faith, it will be a reboot into a greater social imagination. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Language Changes Social Imagination - Social Reality!

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness,but the darkness has not understood it ~ John 1

You would think with such a beginning, we would be perfect by now in our social imagination. Is it because, we don't recognize and use this language anymore on a regular basis? Yes, and because this is a fallen 'corrupted' world as in 'corrupted' program. Corrupted by a bad virus which seeded doubt in the mind of man/woman a long time ago.  This bad virus has been operating the program ever since. Yes, an upgrade or patch was provided but the virus is quite strong and necessarily has to run its course before the final reboot.

What markers are there that suggest this is a corrupt program? Language 'words' are continually used to create a 'corrupt version' of social reality. In the beginning, the language was pure and it was the light of men. But, since the time of corruption, darkness attempts to outshine the light also using words. Woe to those that call evil good and good evil ~ Isaiah 5:20. 

We try to understand how words make social reality in an attempt to reboot the original program on our own. As a Christian sociologist, I can tell you that is man's greatest desire. Sociologists know that social reality is a construction. If you have ever read Peter Berger's "Social Construction of Reality" then you understand that persons and groups interacting cause social reality. In fact, there is no other kind of reality that we can know of outside social interaction of which most is through language. One sees him/herself in a group and as we belong to a group, we are identified and understand who we are and are not.

As Berger observed and I agree, in a social system we create, over time, concepts or mental representations of each other's actions, and that these concepts eventually become habituated into reciprocal roles played by the actors in relation to each other. These roles are made available to other members of society through interaction and we choose to enter into and play out these roles because they provide identity of self and the group of which the self exists.  What is it that we exchange that generates all this? Words- language and body language. Over time, such activity becomes institutionalized forms of behavior which help us in that we do not have to restate, reword and recover information every occasion of interaction.

This is well known by the Creator of all things and hence by the social engineer and also by those corrupted by the virus. Now, they are those with power and position due to being at the top of the misinformation hierarchy who from their vantage point continually demand to retain that position using that misinformation in the form of words- language. One means of doing that ...retaining power is to stir up misinformation among the masses so that they have no use for correct or original information. This in fact was the strategy of one who seeded the virus... the one who did not understand the light of men. 

Once a virus takes over, it is difficult to extract and upload original information as the true information though existing in the default mode. That is why we can observe on the horizon the attempt at deeper embedding of misinformation through the treating it as the right information. This way, the right information becomes unrecognizable. This is the task of the virus. And, it is the task of spreading misinformation in the form of language - words which takes us deeper into misinformation - corrupted social imagination. This task is being propagated at all levels more now than ever before.. but in some instances equal to times in the past when such attempts were just as strong. 

Yes, words can hurt and words can heal. The pen is stronger than the sword. The Bible as our best and original stereo instructions. And, we understand or we used to that if you have a sound education (reading, writing and arithmetic) with expected good vocabulary with words that were written in the original program along with good social skills you can fend off any reprobate by debating intelligently and according to the Creator's Word. One does not need the government to introduce new laws for 'good' social interaction. If it does, they have an agenda to change the social reality and if they are not using the Creator's Words, then they are likely deeply corrupted, not having accepted the upgrade or patch -Jesus Christ.

Keep in mind, before social reality can change, the language has to change, speakers must adopt new words, sentence structures and sounds, spread them through the community and transmit them to the next generation. According to many linguists children serve as agents for language change when, in the process of learning the language of previous generations, they internalize it differently and propagate a different variation of that language ~ Hence = Common Core. Adolf Hilter understood this.

Words should not encourage and give power to the virus. Words should encourage the Creator's Words who was in the beginning the Word- the light of men!

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they (our weapons - the Word of God) have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" ~ 2 COR 10:3-5.

Man/woman in his/her pride thinks he/she knows more than God.

  *source reference ~ https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/linguistics/change.jsp