Exploring the Social Imagination

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What Drives the American Social Imagination?

What drives the American social imagination, winning of course; and usually no matter what the cost. They look at it like this... whatever it takes to achieve as in 'win' as in get the goal which is considered to be the 'greater good' is why the game is played at all and it is certainly played to be won. Doesn't it stem from our exceptionalism and manifest destiny? Of course it does. Winning at all costs is what made America what it is today and will be tomorrow.

In philosophy, the term 'means to an end' refers to any action  as in 'means' carried out for the sole purpose of achieving something else 'an end'. It can be thought of as a highly abstract distinction, as no empirical 'hard' information differentiates actions that are means to ends from those that are not—that are ends in themselves. Well, that's philosophy for you...

Sociologically, we could put forward the argument that people like to fit in as in be part of a group/gang/tribe/ party and people being cognitive creatures that want to survive, its good or rather better to be on the winning side of an argument, or any other social situation.

In American society, we like people and teams who win. We like those who come out on top. No-one wants to come in second. Americans want to be on or part of / to the winning party or have the winning agenda 'way forward' or at least say that they stand with the winning side/team. Americans want to be on the winning team or at least be proud in their support of the winning team. 

It shows up everywhere in business in our daily lives (shoppers feel like winners when they get discounts for shopping and making the right brand choice) and in our religious institutions (my church does this, we had that missionary, we built that, we saved those people) and in our politics. Americans are about being the winner and winning. We want to win and everyone to win. We will jump on any band wagon that has a drive to be a winner in something.  Just look at our social movements. If you aren't on board, you are intolerant and certainly not a winner.

We want to be on the winning side of everything...So, we put our trust and our money on those who promise us that win: bosses, managers, leaders, associates, colleagues, teachers, coaches, and politicians.  And, that is a sign of/for 'pride of life'.

Our country was built on winning as in overcoming all obstacles at all costs. Above, I mentioned American exceptionalism and manifest destiny which is pretty much how the West was Won... Yes, we won the war on expansion, we went west and conquered. And, because that incredible feat was accomplished by shear determination, Americans whatever ethnicity, race or religion, have become Winners by their own right as least in their 'right' minds. 

Is such group think wrong, bad or even dangerous? Some might think so and some might not. It would be wise to imagine that most who think its dangerous would be those on the outside of such a mindset and certainly those outside its physical borders. 

If anyone was shocked by the election outcome, just keep in mind that Americans like to win and why those who weren't on the winning side were so so bummed out about it. Because their person did not get in and they were so sure they would win. If Americans weren't so into winning, then there wouldn't be so much to do about who won and who didn't' win this time around. Some might think or imagine that there person was better and in their mind they are still right and still the winners of their cause. And, they will continue to fight for their cause come rain or come shine... because they feel that they deserve to win. And, for those that did win, it means that they can be proud for being on the winning team, the winning side this time. But, as it is with winning it means being able to keep the title of Winner! And, it goes for anyone and or anybody that wins at winning ....whatever it may be! 

They think winning makes them better, they can be proud of themselves and they trust that they can keep the title of Winner every round, every turn, every day.

~ Look at the proud! They trust in themselves and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. Wealth is treacherous, and the arrogant are never at rest. They open their mouths as wide as the grave, and like death, they are never satisfied. In their greed the have gathered up many nations and swallowed many people. But, soon their captives will taunt them. They will mock them, saying, What sorrow awaits you thieves! You've become rich by extortion, but how much longer can this go on? ~ Habakkuk 2:4-6.

 "For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the world" ~1 John 2:16.

1 comment :

  1. Its why Americans are always about being 'nice'. It reflects their desire to be 'winners'. If you are just nice about it... everyone wins.