Exploring the Social Imagination

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Expectation in the Social Imagination!

All to often you hear people say... "Don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed." Sure, we cannot expect anything, and guess what... we won't receive anything either. We won't even be able to engage in social interaction because it is there that we experience social reality with its social dynamics - subordination and domination largely discharged by and governed by expectation. It may not seem fair because many people think of those words as being harsh. But, they are not. They only illustrate as in describe what is going on when we are socially engaged which is all the time.

Such words express the 'real' social interaction between social actors in which they sometimes 'you' win and or sometimes lose and sometimes gain indirectly by tolerating as in letting go or giving in to keep the peace. And, sometimes one has to take a stand, one has to be brave and or courageous when  something has to be done so that peace is won and prevails.

One can read in the book of Job exactly this "For all their expectations, they are doomed to disappointment; even though they have come and searched this far". So many people (Christians too) think that this message applies to every instance in their life. It does and it does not. It does NOT when expecting is hoping, trusting and believing in something greater than oneself (God the Creator who is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ) and it does when expectation, hope, trust and belief is in man for it is in men that we will always find disappointment and be disappointed. Because, man exists in an entropic world whereas the Creator exists outside of that, outside of what we call time.

Yet, being a sociologist and a Christian, one has to agree that expectations among men are necessary even though we may be disappointed. We need to expect something from every man and woman in society. Why? Because, expectations help to serve, guide and regulate behavior so that as many people as possible can live with some sense of security, well being/happiness and peace.

Don't you expect a policeman to do his job when you call for their intervention? Don't you expect a doctor to prescribe the right medicine and a dentist to pull the right tooth? Don't you expect that the food in the grocery store is safe to eat? Don't you expect your child to do well in school or at least be polite to the teacher and to neighbors and to all others they encounter and or engage in that are of a different race, ethnicity and creed? Don't you expect your spouse to care about you and to love you?

Yes, we expect these things and we also expect that we deserve to expect them in our society. The problem however lies in the weight that we give to such expectations. We all to often to put our full weight of trust in people that cannot fulfill an ideal expectation. We expect our doctor to heal every disease. We expect our children to excel in certain things. We expect our food to always be fresh and tasty. We expect the sun to shine on our parade always.

But, people often lay too much weight on their expectations. Do you put your spouse and children on a pedestal? What kinds of expectations do you have? Are they unrealistic?... in that you fail to fully understand that this is a fallen world, a corrupt world in which people are not perfect. Tame down your expectations and you won't be so disappointed in this fallen world. There is nothing wrong about expecting as in awaiting as in anticipating something wonderful, that is what keeps us human and engaged socially.

But know this - Only from the Lord God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth can we expect much and much will be given! "Shouldn't we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life?" 2 COR 3:8.

My hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ and in Him I will never be disappointed because only He can fulfill all my expectations! Psalm (s) 71:5, 38:15, 39:7 and 130:5.

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