Exploring the Social Imagination

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fish out of Water ~ What's that in the Social Imagination

as if you didn't know...

 The phrase 'fish out of water', means someone or something out of place. Let's focus on someone. A person who is called a 'fish out of water' means that this person is not from here or from there or does not get fit in here or there or is odd or is not with it, not in with the group, not in the mainstream of things, not able to position him/herself in a specific location. Literally, a fish out of water cannot breathe. So, let's look again at what a person would be as a fish out of water in a literal sense.

They would be 'out of breath'. They would not be able to breathe as in be comfortable in a place that was not their own place, not their own people, not of their education level or income status, not of their race, their religion, their faith, their spiritual view on the world, their ethnicity, their country, their state, their circle of friends... Yes, the border of our comfort are as broad as they are narrow.

You cannot be everything to everybody! Have you ever heard that? Well, if you have then what is that it seems no one else has??? It seems that people think every person can be the 'right' person to anyone if we just make the right laws and bathroom labels.

Is it nice to be a fish out of water? No, but aren't we all at some point in some place on some issues? Yes, I think so. What to do? Should we through out the safety net and catch all those who can't breathe, well that would be everybody as we just agreed that we all are fish out of water at some point, in some place and on some issues.

Does that mean we should round up all those you can breathe that aren't fish out of water in order to make room for those who are fish out of water? No... since again that would be everybody; because, everybody can be fish in water at some point in their life, in some place and on some issues.

When and where were you a fish out of water? Does that mean there is something wrong with you? No, it just means when you had and have such an experience, you were not in the right water, the kind you like.

That is how our social imagination works. When we feel comfortable, we are in a social imagination that is the 'right' water for us, for our school of fish. Yes, one fish or a school can be starving for oxygen.

And, those of you who know what its like trying to live out of water... well, its like trying to live on dry land, beating your head against a dry dock... This is not good for anyone's social imagination.

Can we make people fit in? Can we make them like the water that is not 'their' water? It can take generations or at least the best and most submersible means of integration; either letting newbies get used to different water slowly or just throwing them in the deep end... sink or swim.

Even so, what is interesting for the sociologist is that by the third generation, the grandchildren fish will be asking where was our original water?  * Third Generation Principle ~ Marcus Hansen

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