Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rights - Cultural Confusion, Cultural Collapse and Possible Reboot in the Social Imagination!

Previously, it was discussed that cultural confusion is the loss of identity - who you are and are not as an individual in a group. That loss of identity is both a loss for or about the one inasmuch as it is a loss for the many to which the one belongs. Its the loss of knowing who one is and is not that is both the cause of no longer knowing what is right and what is not right and result of cultural confusion regarding - Rights.

Identity comes from being in a place over time, experiencing social interaction in the framework of a social imagination that was born from being in a place over time with others. In that place over time, one and the many come to know themselves from social interaction in place over time and that crystallizes into what works for them, what is right for them and this creates a frame for who they are and are not and what is right and is not right in their social imagination in the place where they are.

From an outsider's view, such social imagination is both sustaining and limiting. Anyone on the outside of any group's social imagination other than their own will likely see limitations for that 'other' social imagination as a the lack of being able to go outside of that particular 'social imagination' to explore something 'new' or other kind of social imagination.

For the group itself which lives within its social imagination confines, limitations can be used as safety nets and comfort zones as borders for identity.  Limitations are after all, part of existing as one among many and in that there is both safety and comfort - sustainability. Even in the Lockean sense, I can only do so much as another person in my group as I exist within a social contract. I am not free to do whatever I want whenever I want. Most people learn this from parents and teachers.

Rights (what is right as in what is fair for one and many comes from ones ability to maintain right conduct within the social contract that one agrees with) are the result of social agreement reality. Rights in this sense are tied intimately to the culture - a group of people in a place who identity with each other in that place. Doing what is right in and for the group keeps you 'in the group'.

Cultural collapse begins as social decay in a place firstly, by the lack of new people being generated... a decrease in the local population; including diaspora to another place whereby other cultural aspects are embraced. Secondly, by influences being imposed from outside by another group and thirdly, by the group itself as it loses faith in who and or what it is and about as the world around it seems to be changing quicker than it is.  The later stems from doubt and questioning what is 'right' and who is 'right' and who deserves to be 'right'.

Let's look at the concept of 'right'. What is right and who is right largely depends on who is in control of the group, who is at the head of the social hierarchy. Who seems to know what to do that provides and or sustains the group. Whether we are talking about kings, religious leaders, political leaders, and even elders/parents this is how it all comes together for the group in the place where they are.

You may argue that what we think of as 'rights' today is not like the described above. But, they are. The description above is the foundation for the next idea to come along... 'right conduct'. You see, if you adopt the 'right conduct' you will get ahead and or recognition in the group and from the one or those that are at the top and have instructed what the right conduct is for the group. This keeps them in power and all others trying to be like them; which, works for and against the group. It works against the group when the adoption of 'right conduct' doesn't seem to pay off for those adopting it. Thus, they rebel. Which usually does not pay off but sometimes it does; i.e. the American colonies revolting against the Kind of England.

Revolt happens when the right conduct no longer pays off for either a few or the masses. For example, when a king or a government tells everyone that suddenly he/they needs more money to fight battles abroad or to support him/them. Or when the people in their past comfort zone fall out of favor with the king or the ruling elite who have a new passion/lust for things which the previous one/elites did not. If you fall out of what the top calls down, you can either lose your rights or gain rights to things you never dreamed of before. That does not mean 'fairness' for all. Only that you were willing to take on the new right.

In the Roman Empire, the strategy was to administer through set rules and regulations who was who and right conduct was expected. Strangers as in those who were not Roman citizens received different treatment compared to those who were not. You had 'rights' as a Roman citizen. This was a lure for many groups/cultures the Roman Empire conquered, to gain obedience ... right conduct got you in.

Rights exist only within social practice... in the social imagination. There are no 'rights' existing outside of that. There is an absolute truth but even in that truth there does not exist what we think of as 'rights' as in deserving of something just because 'I' exist. The only one with such right is the Creator.

So, you see... in the fallen world, when there is cultural confusion its due to a lack of identity tied to what is right conduct in a place by a group of people in that place. As this continues, there is likely cultural collapse on the horizon. Is there a reboot possibility in the social imagination? Yes, when someone establishes what is right conduct. In that, there is loss and gain and not by all in the same way at the same level.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Confused Culture ~ Really it's a Confused Social Imagination


There are discussions today among sociologists about culture transition - what they call 'confused culture'. It is more or less an observed period of transitional values and belief systems. Those values and beliefs that worked in the past, no longer work today and thus what no longer works passes away (or should) so that new ideas can replace the old. This obviously leads some to be confused as with any kind of transition; i.e. a company merger or acquisition.  At first, there are those they may not be willing to let go of the past as it seemed to work for them having been socialized in that value/belief in the past which is no longer useful for the current social climate and or social imagination.

I wrote not to long ago about the work of Cornelius Castoriadus. Essentially, Castoriadus observed  that human beings really don't change; in fact, they can't. But, it appears that they do as they just rearrange people/places and things to suit their current rationale in the social imagination based on the social dynamics of group positioning.

Are humans really so different from the past? No, and their ways of doing thinking and things are not that different from their past social imaginations either unless we are talking about the use of technology in every day life. Technology does modify certain behavior. But, it does not modify meaning in our life; at least, not the extent that we no longer know what it means to be human and have a human social imagination. You see, meaning is everything. What does it mean to be who you are and are not. This should not be confusing.

So, are we really culturally confused these days? Perhaps, we are confused about some things which are not really social but physical. We long for change but what we really want is solidarity and devotion to cause... a purpose for being one among many.  Knowing who we are and are not! And, if there is a confusion about or failure or even rejection to embrace who we are and are not, we look elsewhere to find it; until, we think we have found who we are. Yet, confusion is  a sign of social decay. You could think that sooner or later, we will all stop being confused or risk losing our social imagination all together! In the meaning, as all cultures will lose their social imagination in the place where they are and at the same time.

How could that be possible? In an every growing global community, 'human rights' will be the key to  cultural collapse and the ushering in of a new world order. First, comes the confusion. And, cultural confusion begins with the breakdown of tradition, custom and the idea of what is 'right' in the place where people find themselves.

*Just keep in mind... there is no truth in the masses!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In Light of Fake News ~ No Truth in the Masses!

Soren Kierkegaard understood the individual from a Christian standpoint.  For Kierkegaard, in relation to "the numeric masses", the individual person is of infinite importance. Why? Because, God deals with, saves and judges individuals. The masses have no real essence. In The Single Individual he repeatedly asserts that the "crowd is untruth". He begins with the subject of politics. This is especially significant because politics emphasizes the whole, while Christianity, emphasizes the individual before God.  

If know of and or are a reader of Kierkegaard, you know that he saw as a tendency in society the idea that where the crowd is, there is also the truth, and that in truth itself there is need of having the crowd on its side. For Kierkegaard, this was nonsensical. For him, there was/is another view of life which conceives that wherever there is a crowd there is untruth, so that (to consider for a moment the extreme case), even if every individual, each for himself in private, were to be in possession of the truth, yet in case they were all to get together in a crowd—a crowd to which any decisive significance is attributed, a voting, noisy, audible crowd—untruth would at once be in evident.

In America, we love to jump on the 'righteous' bandwagon. Why? Because, Americans like to be liked. Quite often, they will do and say whatever it takes to be one of the many/masses. In this, they forget themselves in favor of the masses. This is tragic. You see, as Kierkegaard realized, there is no truth in the masses. How could there be? Yes, how could there be...

Just because you have 'mass' agreement does not mean that what it is being agreed upon is the absolute truth. It may be just a shadow of truth or no truth at all. One the individual can know the truth for him/herself and must stand up for that... not jumping on the bandwagon of untruth.

Mass protests, manifestations, are a sign/symbol of the untruth. Yes, all you march in protest with the signs and slogans are participating in an untruth. Most people if asked what their personal view of an issue is, would react differently that the masses. They would expound on what they think is true. This kind of platform for individual reasoning is truer than the bandwagon reasoning. Didn't you mother ever tell you, "I suppose if everyone were jumping off the bridge, you would too". Or... if everyone was doing this/that, you would too just to be part of the 'ingroup'.

Yes, that is the essence of the problem. Americans, being an immigrant country, long to be what they left... the 'ingroup'. The truth of themselves left behind in the 'old country' where they knew intimately who they were and were not. They had the idea of themselves in a place and in that they were who they understood. Is that the same as being on the same bandwagon? No, not at all. It is the other way around. It is a different kind of platform all together.

It is a root system of a deep source not a 'en mass' collective which protests in order to find the 'truth'. The masses in this superficial country seek to put forward the truth but unknowingly it is but untruth born out of the desire to remember and or to know who one is and is not. Why? Because, in the mish mash of people 'en mass' in America there is still the deeper desire for a deeper identity; one that does not have to be rewritten in and for changing times.

But, unfortunately, that will never happen here. There was at one time a feeling of solidarity in terms of identity but even that fell short of what was left behind in the old country, the original source of the social imagination.  And, I am sure that is exactly what Kierkegaard considered.  Steven was stoned alone, all the disciples died alone as Christ did. At the time of the Roman persecutions, yes there were mass crucifixions, but each died in Christ and in Him alone. The 'mass' crucifixions were for the crowd to sneer at and enjoy that they were with the right crowd.




Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fake News in the Social Imagination...


What is fake news and what is real in the social imagination? That is a fair question. First, let's look at two interesting phenomenon that we experience daily: suggestion and choice. Why? Because, what is labeled fake news is dependent upon those experiences. We like to imagine that we are making a rational choice when we choose certain information over other incoming information. But, is that really the case? Charles H. Cooley made an excellent detailed explanation for what is really happening in our social imagination.

Before, telling you what he detailed, let me first say that for Cooley, all society was and ever will be takes place in the human mind. You can never know society or anything for that matter outside of creative social imagination - social collective thought which is constantly in the comparative elaborate process of mental organization or synthesis which for Cooley was rendered necessary by complexity in the elements of our thought. In its social aspect for all, or nearly all, our choices relate in one way or another to the social environment... it is an organization of comparatively complex social relations.

It does not matter if we are talking about rich people, poor people, local people or those at the top of society in government i.e. The process is the same. They know only what they agree upon through social interaction; as I have written before social reality is agreement reality. We agree that this is this and that is that not because it, as in anything even people, exist in some absolute form known to all immediately, no...certainly not. It is what it is because we agree it is something.

And, it can only be agreed to be something because whatever is going on in that comparative process  suggests meaning and as such brings us to choice. The decision to act 'choose' is not merely made by the individual; no he/she will and cannot act alone. The choice is made by the group and all else follows. Individuals in that group being parts of it feel as if they have made a choice. In this, group event 'process' of which individuals are part, they find the meaning of the group and their part in the group and this seemingly provides an advantage for them personally - what is personal among us.

So, what is fake news in the social imagination? According to Cooley, there is news that for some is fake and for others is real. If all agree it is fake, then it is fake but that does not mean it could never be real for some or even for all at some point in the future. People say "well, there are facts right"! And, I like Cooley would have to ask, "whose facts are you talking about?"

You can say to me that the sun is a star and I will agree and then you will say... you see that is a fact. I will say its only a 'fact' because we agreed. There was a time when the earth was the center of the universe and people agreed that was a fact until Copernicus came along.

When you surf the net or read the papers or listen to the nightly news, you immediately begin to sort what you will accept and what you won't accept whether or not it is true or not. I know people that will swear up and down that so and so said that and guess what... so and so never did. Or if I point that so and so did say that, those same people will say they never heard of it or can't remember ever hearing that.

There is a helpline being offered on some social media platforms which will guide you through how to detect fake news from real news. Can you imagine that? I can if we are talking about social engineering. What a great way to get people to think the way you want them to. Isn't that what news is about anyway. Of course, we want to see the news about our favorite sport teams doing well in the playoffs, and we want to see the news about our elected officials doing well or screwing up in the case we did not check the box by their name.

You will have to decide in the end? Which news you will base your life on and which news you won't because in the end that's all anyone can do. So, keep your ears open and your eyes on things that you think will get you where you want to go. Oh, as far as using other opinions or fact checkers... guess what? They are in agreement reality as well and can only go by what they can agree is real or not.

Facts are only what we agree they are as received in a certain order and who agrees upon that makes them a fact. You cannot know facts outside of social agreement - social reality. Why? Because, they don't exist outside of the social imagination. You can never know it... as you can never be outside of the framework of social imagination; what Cooley called = our choices which relate in one way or another to the social environment through the mechanism of suggestion... it is an organization of comparatively complex social relations. And, that much is a fact!







Friday, May 5, 2017

The Strangeness of Change in the American Social Imagination....


For a sociologist, it is very interesting to observe social change. In America, we can see change everywhere and it is not 'new'. Change is somehow purported as 'new' or what we need right here and now. The funny thing is that Americans think that they love change as they are always on the move, 'changing' or at least they think they are. Social change is not really change. One of my favorite classical social theorist is Cornelius Castoriadis. He wrote a book from his observations of society titled - The Imaginary Institution of Society: 1975.

One of Castoriadis' many important contributions to social theory was the idea that social change emerges through the social imaginary without strict determinations, but in order to be socially recognized it must be instituted as revolution.  Why? Because, the individual radical imagination and the social imagination can only be joined in a mass as in massive collective demonstration for change in order that it come to fruition for the one and for the group as both exist within the mass of social imagination. 

Especially, since  the social imaginary at large cannot be reduced or attributed to a subjective imagination, since the individual is informed through an internalization of social significations - subjected to and a product of socialization. The social imaginary of the one is as much his/hers as it is the groups'; necessarily, for the individual to even have a social imagination of him/herself. 
By that, we can sense that Castoriadis meant that societies, together with their laws and legalizations, are founded upon a basic conception of the world and man's place in it. Traditional societies had elaborate imaginaries, expressed through various creation myths, by which they explained how the world came to be and how it is sustained... for the one and the group.

Capitalism did away with this mythic imaginary by replacing it with what it claims to be pure reason. That same imaginary is, interestingly enough, the foundation of its opposing ideology, Communism.
Does that mean 'change' is what we think it is or just a matter of rolling over in the bed of social interaction tired from sleeping 'being' on one side for too long. I think the later. 

And, Castoriadis seem to conclude the same. It means that as much as the individual thinks of change for him/herself radically, it is not so from a bird's eye from of change within a group. Names and or positions can change and so one's thinking about a change ... which is really a need for something other than the same ole same ole after being in a place for a long time. But, the individual in the 'group' simply longs to assert their imagination in way that they gives them in their social reality/imagination only a new view on the same thing. 

We say we like change but rather we still prefer what is safe and familiar like our bed in which or where sleeping on the same side gets old. So, we just roll over and nothing more. Social change cannot and will never be more than that and quite often the individual in that experience can feel as if something happened when nothing happened... and well it did and it didn't.  

We ourselves as Americans are experiencing that now - 'change' and though it maybe called that it is change like any other so called change that we have experienced in the recent past and in the long ago past as well.  We read about change and either weep or rejoice that we/you are still who you are and are not. Why/how? The imaginary institution of society thus is understood... the individual thinks that change has finally come about and it has been somehow a radical change through their initiative toward change being a self- labeled 'social movement  warrior'.  Really?

What has actually happened in the end is only imagined. There is no radical change, only what was is somehow different but not really. One could call it transition from one arrangement to another of the same sort. And, not even a funny or somehow 'profound' beer commercial will ever fundamentally reconstruct society. Because, any society that sees itself as such a 'society' has only growing pains for  'change' ... better, what is simply the desire to roll over and sleep on the other side for awhile. And, as strange as it may sound, there is some kind of social justice in that kind of social change.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The American Kitchen ~ No More Chicken Soup at Home in the Social Imagination


Given years of observations made, it can be concluded that the American household kitchen is no longer the heart of the home in terms of acquiring sustenance there; it is more the place to meet up for conversation... if that. It more than often appears to be either a showcase of cabinetry, lacking in the appearance of any cooking as in having a 'brand new' appearance or a buffet of junk food on the counter, unwashed dishes in the sink and though the stove is dirty it is not from cooking but rather from accumulating dust from being unused.

Is the due to the fact, that American women are less and less opting to be 'housewives' as in being the CEO of home economics? If that is the case, is that due to a lack of appreciation for such a position? Perhaps, that is exactly the case. There has been sold a bill of goods to Americans, men and women, for some time now that what takes place in the home is secondary to ones life, work being primary.

Work provides things for the home to make home life less like 'work' but is caring for the family work? Depends on how you look at it or rather how 'they' want you to look at it. Who is they? The ruling elite, progressives and anyone who does not want the individual to be self-sustaining at home.
Why? Because, it is to their advantage to divide and conquer the individual in the place where they are. In that scenario, it is more easy to control them which to elites equals 'the masses'. To make them dependent upon the system is the ultimate goal.

Work does provide some with a 'better' home life if we think about bigger TV monitors, an extra car, an inground pool, a spotless kitchen as dining out is preferred and vacations to destination that can be bragged about. Let's return to the kitchen which used to be the center of home life. As just stated above, most American kitchens either don't get used or they get abused. There are so few that could be called homey or friendly in the sense or meaning that one clearly sees meals are made with love and eaten as a family.

Today, the idea is to eat fun stuff at breakfast, lunch and dinner and even breakfast foods are being sold as all three... top a carrot soup with fruit loops is touted as extraordinary gourmet home cooking.

It is sad to walk into a home... kitchen with junk food sprawled out on the counter and the stove unused... collecting dust. In general, it is been observed all too often that the American home and especially the kitchen is either or both unclean, unkept and unloved ... When college students were asked if their mom cooks at home or if they know how to cook at home, only a few raised their hands. And, out of every 30 (per classroom) only two or three could even say how to make chicken soup from scratch; let alone give a reason why they would want to cook soup at home.

There does appear in some instances, a concern for better food cooked at home or 'eaten' at home. In these kitchens, one can see in fridges or on counters: a variety of fruits, berries, spinach leaves, carrots, avocados, whole wheat crackers, nuts, yogurt and the blender... for smoothies of course. But, again... where is the pot of chicken soup, or at least the crockpot of meat and potatoes?  From time to time, there is but not on a daily basis as it should be.

And, why should it be that way you ask/argue? Because, for a stable society, human beings as human individuals must be loved, encouraged and have a solid point of departure to come and go from in this world which was in times past the home. It was recognized that the family was the heart of society and relied on the heart of the home -  the kitchen with someone in it, someone to be there as the source of all quality of life, nutrition and well being.

Could robots become that 'someone'? Likely, as we have been informed the robots are coming. Will chicken soup be made by them? Who knows... the social imagination has surely been captivated by them among other things. Perhaps, a 'good' robot as the 'head' of the household and kitchen may insist that they come home, going only to and from. A controlled family is better than no family and or an uncontrolled one...

You see, in the social imagination society remains solidly based on the family. And, perhaps a controlled family run by a robot will be like old times, and be able to guarantee a 'chicken in every pot' or certainly, sold as the idea of that being the ideal 'family life' and certainly the ideal method of control.

Could one ascertain that was the method before... only mom and dad were at the helm? Yes one could. You decide or we can imagine society will now decide which is best for the family.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lack or Willingness to engage in the Social Imagination!


The reason we have a growing federal government is because the local communities are too unwilling to manage their political social imaginations. Einstein was an original thinker. And, one can imagine that means he did not fall into place when it was simply comfortable for him like the masses tend to do. When the local people no longer perform their civic duty that is when the corruption digs in. Then when the federal government steps in to do what they did not do, people complain.  Its all because of greed, pride and laziness when it comes to taking the initiative to stand up to corruption and laziness when it comes to watching out for your fellow man.

That is an opinion one can hear these days as well as the opinion that the federal government should do everything for its people... likely because people don't know what they are doing or are too busy working to do anything else is the justification. One can wonder then who is in government, aren't they people too. Silicon based life forms are on the way but not just yet.  And, if people are too busy with their own vain life, then likely the communities will never be anything more than a bunch of vain posies vying for sunlight.

Perhaps, people as in the masses are just that lazy vain posies. Useless, expanders of corrupted social imagination. They want to stay in one place, get all the sun they can and fence off their territory....yet, they themselves won't do the work necessary for any of that to be accomplished. Its another case of the little red hen. You know the story... The little red hen asked the other farm animals "who will help me plant the wheat?" "Oh, no not I said the duck, not I said the pig, not I said the cow, the goat, the horse etc. So, she planted the wheat herself. Then she asked who would help to weed through the young plants and again the same answer. She asked who would help her harvest, who would help her mill and who would help her bake the bread from the milled wheat. The answer was always the same.

But, when the bread was baked and the smell rose up... everyone wanted some bread and considered it their right to have a slice. Really? Yes, of course that is a children's story. We can learn a lot from such a story and from what we expect as users of information and what that information is expected to produce for us and for others. Like the farm animals that were too comfortable to engage in generating new information, people too behave the same way.

Somehow, someway, people have gotten too comfortable in the place where they are using the same corrupted comfortable information over an over. They have given up their duty to their fellow citizen, they have become distant in a political correct way led by  corporation elites who divide and conquer to protect their interests ... who seek out and destroy towns with pollution, with unpredictable job conditions, pitting people against people and using  outsiders...

Is it the result of laziness? Essentially, yes! And in that laziness =lack of will or unwillingness to go beyond the masses where there is no truth!



Friday, April 28, 2017

The Robots are coming... but until then



Jobs... everyone wants to work, right? And why? Because, people want to eat. The better job you have or the more work you do... the harder you work the better food you can afford. That's the way this world works or used to; and, that is why the robots are coming. Why? Because, robots don't have to eat just work. Yes, the robots are coming according to Princeton U and until then, we should consider what can we do in our social imagination that will at least sustain us in the place where we are?

Since, most don't know the bread of life (Jesus Christ); sadly, they will have to rely on their own self-determination and in a system where elites take care of their own and will employ robots to do that and more like control most of life and our imagination... what will they 'the masses' do?

Be brainy about life choices is of the utmost importance and that actually begins in your own home (house/apartment) regarding education. Not only education of general things and beyond but the truly necessary education of common sense. Since, we already understand that in order to eat one must work... education of food consumption is the wisest thing to work on for now.

First, don't live in a food desert which can very well be any community or neighborhood or town that though it may seem safe, secure and reflecting ones wealth, it can also be a place of limited food resources; especially, in the case of having to drive or travel long distances to food as part of a daily routine. Situation yourself in a place where you can walk a reasonable distance to a grocery store.

This is vital. As what can be observed today regardless of wealth are food choices made by people. Many people just don't or can't cook for themselves and worse is that they don't understand good food choices regardless of not knowing or wanting to cook for themselves, bottom line is that they can't even make good food choices in restaurants.

A hamburger with fries, or a salad with diet coke are not good food choices any day of the week on a regular basis. Neither is consuming a bag of chips or a box of sugared up cereal. These items cost nearly as much as a pound of ground beef. Yet, no one is telling people not to buy the chips. No there are still telling people not to eat fat or carbs because those are terrible and make you fat. Well, it behooves people  medical expert or not to ... not know that sugar is the culprit in the American diet and largely because people are just nutritionally ignorant.

There was a local study done a few years ago concerning a group of peoples' access to food... titled - The Situation of a Food Desert. The group from a local university wanted to supposedly look at food access in a poorer neighborhood to compare access in a richer neighborhood.

Yet, that very neighborhood under 'study' did have a quality known grocery store located there. The problem with the study was that it did not study a 'food desert' but ignorance regarding food choices. Out of the many people interviewed, it was obvious that they were simply making bad food choices. They were choosing foods that were pre-cooked and or pre-packaged needing only to be heated up. Those kinds of prepared food items are more expensive than foods in their raw or uncooked state.


Ironically, the conclusion made by those who conducted this 'study' stated that these people were deprived of access to good nutritional food.... pointing that a box of frozen battered chicken was all that was available. That was not true. They just did not know what was available and what could be done with basic food stuffs. Being ignorant was not the conclusion they were after. It should have been pointed that the better food choice was a package of fresh chicken thighs or legs/ wings with which a simple soup could have been made to feed an army.


It could be concluded that those conducting the study were also of that mindset-uninformed and or uneducated. The message is this... until the robots get here, learn how cook with basics, store up some basic supplies and get ready for a brand new world; one in which most people will want to have their cake and eat it too.

One can argue that living in the rural countryside where one could grow food or getting into a city garden to grow food is an alternative and they are. But, in a world controlled by elites and robots, will they even allow that since they will want their food source secure before anyone else's. What does that mean? It means that all resources will be controlled. So, will the masses be allowed to grow their own food? Not likely, since it requires the use of water and other natural resources to grow food.

Could food be produced vertically and without a significant impact on the environment? Yes, and vertical gardening or vertical agriculture will be robotically engineered.  Until then... get as much common sense as possible. Learn how to not only cook but garden for yourself in case the robots won't or in case you don't want the robots to do it for you...




*We are free indeed in Jesus Christ - Accept the Bread of Life today! John 8:36, John 6:32-33.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Changes in Work 'career' in the Social Imagination of an Ai World!


"I am working til I am least 70", a middle aged woman boasted. Really, who told you that?

Unless, you are really special as in being a super specialist in some area that a robot will never be, a kind of expert in giving facials I suppose (as the human touch can never be replaced and the desire for it), then your job will be either replaced by robots/quantum computers.

And, even if you are the expert facial provider, you will have to retire early in order to make way for the new and younger specialist/expert. Stanislaw Lem, a Polish science fiction writer, wrote about such a scenario... the future of work.  In his novel, he saw men (including women) as living their life in a cubicle, studying online and getting a job, the job of their dream as it was the one they studied for their entire young life. The job was for only one day as I recall but it satisfied them in that their dream came true. What happened to them after that? I don't remember the end but I am not sure I want to remember the end. 

Of course, that was 'science fiction'. However, recent articles/publications have told us that such science fiction is becoming a reality in the nearest future. We can see it already as technology grows, jobs disappear. As computers become Ai, they will take over decision making at the local and even at the national level.


We will be told that quantum computers will give us more time for ourselves as they free up our time and make our lives safer, as they will address health problems, traffic, global conflict, parenting, business, the environment and just about everything else that man used to do. 

But, even if they aren't allowed to go that far or we agree that such computers benefit mankind the bottom line is...

The American workplace is rapidly changing. Many low-skilled jobs have already been replaced by technology, and continued automation and artificial intelligence might put more people out of work. Higher-skilled careers in areas such as finance and medicine might also be at risk. These workers often struggle to find new employment. In response, policymakers are debating the necessary educational paths to give the current and future workforce the skills they will need to secure meaningful employment.

At the same time, interest in the concept of a guaranteed minimum income is growing domestically and globally. Under this policy, a government guarantees that people earning below a certain amount have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions.
What many people don’t realize is that the United States was a pioneer of this concept, known here as a negative income tax (NIT). Mathematica Research Policy - Princeton NJ

And, what will 'meaningful employment be? What conditions will have to be met to be granted as in given a guaranteed income by the government? No one is talking about either... To be on the safe side, get your children into 'human' services, ones that the elite and computers won't mind them doing and even appreciate. I am sure that a good facial or foot massage would be welcomed by either kind of intelligence.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Cost of True Love in the Christian Social Imagination!


The Cost of Discipleship

Large crowds were now traveling with Jesus, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.… Luke 14:25-27.

The word 'hate' is pretty strong isn't it. And, we know that this word in today's politically correct social imagination is seen quite negatively. As you check and you should check, in every translation whether NIV, NAS, NLT or KJB, hate is the word we find.

Many like to interpret the word hate in Luke to mean abandon. Essentially, though not a synonym it can be used to better understand the kind of commitment we must make to be disciple. We can also use the definition found in Webster's as an intense dislike or detest. If we accept that all are sinners before God and all who are not born again are children of Satan, then yes we should dislike and detest those who are not born again in Jesus Christ even if they are members of our own family.

There is another use of the word hate which we can often find used when we want to express a kind of great regret. For example, when we cannot help someone out when they need us. I hate to tell you but I am stuck in the office that day. Or, I hate to say it but that is a difficult situation he/she is in. I hate to be the one to tell you, I hate to have to do this but in the end you will thank me.

And, here perhaps in the last version of 'hate' used as a phrasal verb or even idiomatically, we may find the best answer.  We hate it when we have to take a position that we don't want to take which usually means standing alone. It is when we get to a point of 'tough' love that we find true love. That is the cost of discipleship... getting to the point of truly being in love with God, Jesus Christ!

It does not require us to purge people from our lives, or to abandon them or to hate them but to show them who we love the most; first and foremost! Show them the true source of your social imagination. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" ~ Mark 12:30.

Have a Blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Passing the Buck ~ Laying Blame in the Social Imagination!


Passing the buck could be a wise thing to do if it justifies the end... Right? 

Speaking as a sociologist, passing the buck or laying blame as in finding a scapegoat to take on the 'sin' or guilt/fault is not new to society. In order to save ourselves (you/me  - the individual) from blame we begin by taking sides based on who is who among us and who has been slacking off or not doing their part so that if any blame comes our way it appears to have been a result of some other person's action. But even before that, we as individuals members of society establish ourselves in a group. 

We as social creatures like to get into groups so that when the blame falls it does not directly fall on us but onto the group and in that group we can thus feel more secure about the future our future. At our very heart, our deep down inner being, which was formed through social interaction, we know that people say and do things which protect their position/status and security and can even guarantee our prosperity.  

And, in that we find our justification for being in a group and siding with others in the group. Now, there is a social dynamic to passing the buck within the group that can be worth it or not. Its easier to pass the buck to someone outside of our group who casually stepped in and out. Thus, passing the buck is largely justified by all in the group in that respect/situation. 

A recent study if you can call it that regarding passing the buck attempted to show that when the group of respondents who knew each other as they were all 'co-workers' in an office were shown as in demonstrated positive ways to not blame as in pass the buck. So, when they were given situations as exercises the did not pass the buck so to speak but applied what they learned in the demonstration. 

Yes, they were less likely to pass the buck Why? Because, they were in a familiar group and aware of the group dynamics. They within their own group applied the laws of governing dynamics and contemplated best ways to get advantages out of not passing the buck and also they were less likely to simply because they were within their own group and given the safety of the controlled 'pass the buck' scenario felt no threat of being blamed and had no real reason to feel at fault of  guilty at the time of the exercise of passing the buck.

What is observed more often in studies is that when any group is under threat they will pass the buck to another group. Now, if someone in the group is failing in one way or another, or not on board with the common dynamic of the group then the group will feel under threat by one of their own and in agreement will mob that one who is causing the threat. An issue will be made against that one and he or she will be blamed for something and ostracized from the group in order to protect the group.  

Justified that its not passing the buck for any reason but for purpose of pointing out that someone is not willing to get along or conform and thus is not really part of the group. Passing the buck is not taking the blame for one's action in order to maintain self image in the group; and therefore, even in the process of routing out the one undesirable in the group another maybe used to do it since the top must remain clean as in unmarred and again the passing of the buck is justified as the end result is what was desired, right?


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fake News ~ Real or Not in the Social Imagination?

          Stopping the proliferation of fake news isn't just the responsibility of the platforms used to spread it. Those who consume news also need to find ways of determining if what they're reading is true. The idea is that people should have a fundamental sense of media literacy. Sam Wineburg, a professor of education and history at Stanford and the lead author of the study, said that a solution is for readers to read like fact checkers. Really?

Knowing that social reality is only information shared among individuals who collectively make up a group of people sharing that information gaining from it an identity - who they are and are not... should already tell you that reality is what we (as an individual in a group) socially agree is and is not real depending on our sphere of shared information.

You know, Charles H. Cooley said that even an 'imaginary' person in our life in our mind in our 'group' as Me, myself and I is as real as any 'person' can be.  After all, according to Cooley all reality exists in the mind. So, in that case what is really real and including what we consider news as in news worthy as in being important to our 'social imagined reality'. Imagined does not mean 'fake'. We imagine collectively and that imagination is what creates our social reality.

So, if you think that there are fact checkers who will check the news for you be mindful that the fact checkers you choose are those whom you accept in our social imagination that will concur with your social imagination. It always comes down to who you are and are not.. and that includes the facts or so called facts out there that you chose from or chose to justify your social imagination - your social reality!








 ~ Source:  http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/12/05/503581220/fake-or-real-how-to-self-check-the-news-and-get-the-facts

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Alice Paul and her ERA ~ A Problem for the Social Imagination?





Alice Paul announced at the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, July 1, 1923 that she planned on promoting and initiating an amendment to the United States Constitution that would give the same rights to men and women. 

She believed that the 19th Amendment would not be Enough to ensure that men and women were treated equally regardless of sex. Hence, she proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which states that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply equally to all persons regardless of their sex. The clarity that Paul demanded in the document was always there. She just couldn't see it. 

She did not believe that the Founding Fathers were educated and enlightened men who wrote an incredible masterpiece to act as a representative of mankind which included (s) women; in fact all people under its authority. It is obvious that they and the document included women as one can read the remarkable for those times reference to 'persons' repeated effectively throughout. The document stands to represent women as much as men. One may ask then why the need of the 19th or even the 15th Amendment which gives the right to vote to persons of race/color and or other condition of servitude. 

That is a good question and the answer is the same, the document 'The Constitution of the United States' does apply to all people and did. But, some people, mostly elites, failed and still fail to recognize its authority. The document stands, the society fails. It is society and or culture that dictate what is recognized and who gets advantages and who does not. Human beings are not inherently good. They naturally socially set themselves apart from each other and whether some disagree or not that is for purpose if we are to call any group of people a society. 

Humans did, they do and they will continue to socially set themselves apart. They do it first basing on obvious physical differences, skin color, gender, clothes, hair styles, makeup, jobs, education, houses, cars, hats, dogs and cats...etc. We do it to establish amongst ourselves who we are and are not.
Besides that, social interaction is dependent upon social dynamics of give and take. Join a club and learn about it... any club or group or org.  The problem between the haves and have nots or the who gets what or gets to do something and who does not is more about the give and take in social interaction than anything else.  Certainly, you can have more clout than others depending on your social status.  From a bird's eye view, we can see that the elites have the control. 

Looking at Alice Paul's background, I can say she most certainly never identified with impoverished or struggling women in her times. As she certainly accomplished much regarding her higher education. She went to Swarthmore College in 1901, an institution co-founded by her grandfather. While attending Swarthmore, Paul served as a member on the Executive Board of Student Government, one experience which may have sparked her eventual excitement for political activism. Alice graduated from Swarthmore College with a bachelor's degree in Biology in 1905.

Paul then earned her M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1907, after completing coursework in political science, sociology and economics.  She continued her studies at the in Birmingham, England, and took Economics classed from the University of Birmingham, while continuing to earn money doing social work. After returning from England in 1910, Paul continued her studies at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a Ph.D. in sociology years before the suffrage movement. Paul later received her law degree (LL.B) from the Washington College of Law at American University in 1922, after the suffrage fight was over. In 1927, she earned an L.L.M, and in 1928, a Doctorate in Civil Laws from American University.

For those times, it does not appear that Alice Paul met many set backs regarding her education. One can even notice a few of those degrees obtained even before the suffrage movement. Her endeavor in that regard noble.  However, regarding the Constitution, she had no clue what she was looking at.

As for freedom for women, there is no evidence that women were slaves anymore than many men who were not of the elite class. What's my gripe? Treat people fairly if you really want equality... not special treatment for one group over another; read the Constitution!

And, what about the ERA... that should've / should solve the problem for everyone right??? Especially, if we are talking about people as 'persons'...again, read the Constitution which already states the Freedom of the People very clearly. The document stands! Society fails!