Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Getting Ahead as in Climbing the Social Status 'Career' Ladder in the Social Imagination!

When I taught English as a second language, I told my students that in introductory conversations, they would often encounter, in English speaking countries, especially in the United States, the question, "what do you do"?

Yes, what do you do is key to understanding the western social imagination. Again, especially when in America.  It is a means to understand a person's ambition, a person's individual self-determination, their will, their ego and the status that person desires.  This is not necessarily absent in other societies and or cultures but far less likely to be encountered in introductory conversations. In the US, we like to liked, we like to be recognized, like to be known for who we are as an individual. We like to stand out for our achievements and or accomplishments including our sphere of social networks.

We like to think we made the right choice when choices presented themselves. We like to think that we chose the right town to live in, the right place to raise our children, the right house to buy, the right car to drive, the right education and career path. We associate ourselves in terms of getting ahead = winning the race in this life. Who makes and or made out makes all the difference in this world of getting ahead.

That is why when we don't see the kind of behavior we expect (driven) we are surprised, shocked and even think that those people are missing out, missing and or lacking something and we feel sorry for them and can even despise them for their inability to at least 'want it'. Though in our wearing the politically correct facade, we would never say it to those people's face. Interestingly, our reaction to their lack of is based on how we see them racially, ethnically, religiously and in terms of gender and values has been shaped by elites already ahead and want to stay there.

That is why our sympathy is politically directed and thus we have or are applauded for having more empathy for minorities and greater disdain for the white privileged, the religious fundamentalists and those who just either neglect to take an interest in their education, and the advantages of corporate life and its ever so necessary top down structure just like big government which allows them to do what they want to get ahead while keeping everyone down for their own good which they make them believe is for their own good because according to them no one is able to think for themselves....those outside that mindset.

They only people that will get ahead will be those who want to get ahead, are willing to do what it takes to get ahead, and are allowed to. They will eventually shun those that don't (aren't driven) as in defriend or apply other social separation tactics/strategies as their mantra insists - "Want to run with the big dogs, better get off the porch". Its as much as saying, if you aren't with us, you are against us. The tragedy is that not everyone wants to get ahead, or can get ahead and or will be allowed to... the dog parks are nice and getting full.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Liberal Pluralism Project ~ Harming the Social Imagination!

Oh how sweet the sound....right? Wrong!

The plurality of religious traditions and cultures has come to characterize every part of the world today. But what is pluralism? Here are four points to begin our thinking:

First, pluralism is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity. Diversity can and has meant the creation of religious ghettos with little traffic between or among them. Today, religious diversity is a given, but pluralism is not a given; it is an achievement. Mere diversity without real encounter and relationship will yield increasing tensions in our societies.

Second, pluralism is not just tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference. Tolerance is a necessary public virtue, but it does not require Christians and Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and ardent secularists to know anything about one another. Tolerance is too thin a foundation for a world of religious difference and proximity. It does nothing to remove our ignorance of one another, and leaves in place the stereotype, the half-truth, the fears that underlie old patterns of division and violence. In the world in which we live today, our ignorance of one another will be increasingly costly.

Third, pluralism is not relativism, but the encounter of commitments. The new paradigm of pluralism does not require us to leave our identities and our commitments behind, for pluralism is the encounter of commitments. It means holding our deepest differences, even our religious differences, not in isolation, but in relationship to one another.

Fourth, pluralism is based on dialogue. The language of pluralism is that of dialogue and encounter, give and take, criticism and self-criticism. Dialogue means both speaking and listening, and that process reveals both common understandings and real differences. Dialogue does not mean everyone at the “table” will agree with one another. Pluralism involves the commitment to being at the table with one’s commitments. ~ Diana L. Eck http://pluralism.org/what-is-pluralism/ Harvard University.

How sweet, how bitter sweet in fact. Pluralism is harmful to all that participate in it. How? It fails to embrace true diversity which is differences, incredible differences. They, the handler/promoters, say its enough to be energetic about engagement with diversity - real encounters and relationships and about understanding across lines of difference. Really? When speak of real diversity, one has to understand that means 'real' as in rationale to the other group/culture differences in thinking, behavior and world views. Look what America did and continues to do to native Americans. Where are they?

People as in groups of them in a place have their identity set in stone literally. That stone imagined tablet to illustrate is what causes their identity, it gives them a 'real' understanding of who they are and are not. A program written one way has its default mode. Only the creator of the program can upgrade it if he/she wants or needs to... not just anyone or someone who thinks they know the program well enough to create a successful upgrade or 'compatible patch/link'.

There are cultures that have deeply embedded meaning which cannot be destroyed without destroying that culture. If we respect diversity, then we have to tolerate all differences and accept not being able to understand them or even tolerate them.  So, if tolerance is a necessary public virtue, they toleration has to be incredible tolerable. To the point of accepting not being able to accept differences. Does that mean conflict? Yes, does it mean engagement in conflict? It may happen. But, blurring cultural differences 'diversity' means certain annihilation of 'real' diversity/meaning.

Oh, no they cry out. Not in that instance. Then, in what instance?  Our diversity project guarantees non-violence. Of course, it does because their means for diversity is their kind of diversity. They use the word 'pluralism' but what they actually mean to have is a global 'melting pot'. It is difficult to understand let alone accept that a 'Harvard' thinking person is in such darkness.

A real sociologist knows that true differences have embedded meaning. Deep meaning is acquired from being in a place with others in that place over time. In that experience, people/culture arises and in that group develops a sense of belonging, who one is and is not. They acquire a world view in that place, they learn how to deal with the geography in that place, how to live, eat and breathe in 'their place'. Meaning is given to those experiences. And such meaning is acquired in no other way. Even impossible to translate and never to be fully understood by anyone outside of that experience, outside of the meaning in that group's social imagination.

So, pluralism's true aim is to destroy that kind of meaning because it cannot understand it and by not being able to understand or even appreciate never being able to understand it, it comes to destroy, to take over and to make that which it does not and cannot understand its own. This is how they 'liberals' embrace diversity, share it and use up what they are comfortable with.

Pluralism is harmful to the social imagination of a group/culture as that group is being 'pluralized' and or undergoing pluralization. You see, in forced social interaction, softened by political correctness and money, people lose their true identity, their true social imagination and diversity as it loses its true color and blends in. There is no longer any diversity then, its just different styles for doing and thinking about the same thing.  Take an Eskimo out of his 50 kinds of snow with its 50 different meanings and put him/her in 'our' snow... the liberal pluralist thinks its still snow but its just their kind - pluralized.

Of course, the rebuttal is that the Eskimo doesn't lose his/her kind of snow, he/she shares it. No, they can't share it and you 'the outsider' can't understand 50 kinds as they do...that is the point. They have 50 different kinds and each means something different which an outsider will never understand. Never! And, because of that not being able to understand or accept never being able to understand (some things are untranslatable) the outsider is in conflict and if that outsider is stronger, they will impose their way and call it diversification. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Rejection of Social Reality by Some Women in the Occident Social Imagination!

Now the group behind (organized by elites in order to disrupt societies to create the society they want) the march is looking to showcase women’s workplace and purchasing power through their absence. Today's "A Day Without a Woman" action involves a retreat from engagement with the world as a way of highlighting women’s central roles within it. Which are? Exactly, that is the question they (whoever the organizers) circumvent. The central roles in a stable society are for women to be what they were designed to be which is the social workplace as: a mother, a wife/partner, a care giver, a nurse, a teacher.  This march does not spell out any 'central roles' other than wanting the social workplace of men while at the same time shopping as women do.

According to the article, the 'central roles' they advocate are really a rejection of the workplace they have. But its not entirely clear what they reject. As the march calls for women - Not going to work. Not spending money or shopping, except at small and women-owned businesses and no unpaid work. But, maybe they are calling for recognition of their designed 'central' roles but that is not as highly visible as the rejection of them. Even if it were the case, given that they do mention unpaid work, as as part of their nobility, one could be supportive but they don't and they also don't seem to realize that unpaid work is a sacrifice made for the good of society and that is noble. And, yet they reject that.

Its the spending of money that they highlight the most... how ironic. Spending their own money or their husband's? I suppose they would say and some do say that its their own money. Really, because the icon they still love Barack Obama said that "you did not do that". So, given that men are still in the world and doing some really amazing and positive things, whose money are they spending.

Whatever and whoever 'owns' the money, they still protest...“Protesting itself is not enough, which is why we stepped to the next level of asking people to sacrifice, you know, being a part of the strike,” Tamika Mallory, co-chair of the Women’s March organization, said in a video posted to Facebook. “All of these things work together. We can’t do one thing and expect that the walls are going to come tumbling down. It’s going to take multiple levels of action, activism and resistance in order to insure that democracy is preserved in this country.”

What is wrong with that, right? Well, protesting as in demonstrating a social pitfall is a good thing but they are part of that social pitfall by rejecting their central roles in society. Sacrifice as called for by the 'co-chair' is something that is a key aspect of their central role and yet they reject that. So, how could they call for sacrifice and know what it means?

The best thing about today's strike is that there are some people criticizing it as an action available only to privileged women who have enough workplace flexibility to take time off without risking their finances or their jobs.  Yes, the privileged women who have husbands footing the bill for their business or time off from their job. Where is the appreciation for that?

This person says, “The idea behind the strike is a noble one. Who doesn’t want economic equality for everyone? But in practice, most American women cannot afford to opt out of either paid or unpaid labor,” wrote Maureen Shaw.

What is wrong with that, right? Well a strike can be a noble action like the one Lech Walsea did in Poland in 1981. But to strike as in take time off to show 'whose the boss' as a form of rejection of social reality then its not noble. As for the question posed, "Who doesn't want economic equality for everyone"?... that is impossible simple because in a functioning economy there will be better products and services. That means some things won't be as good quality as others. This applies to people too; and believe me, women know the difference between a good shampoo/conditioner or lipstick or any other cosmetic bra, hairdresser, handbag...etc. They know that some are just not as good or as competent or as skilled or as savvy as the next person. So, why pay more for crap?

The truth that this woman and those marching protestors (and the organizers) reject the fact that there is economic equality and it is applied fairly with regard for for those that do the job their boss/corporate head office demands and do it they way their want it done... regardless of gender.

So, why do they march? There is a global agenda which the left has jumped on board with. That agenda is to create a one world order. So, they stage events to disrupt societies in order that they can recreate it. 

A day without these kinds of women might just be what the social imagination doctor prescribed; and they would go back to their central roles as was the 'real' agenda, right ??? (if organized by villainous men). But, then did the organizers (again the bad guys) fully consider is that the economy might just collapse without their purchasing power!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Education Radicalized in the Occident Social Imagination

Education in America has to be viewed on a timeline of social thought. Firstly, there was the Prussian education system which worked up until it was attacked by the Frankfurt school - literally, a neo-facist movement bent on restructuring education in America in order to build a more socialist progressive liberal society rather than the already in place - capitalist economy united as a Republican Democracy. You can argue all you like, but many people in The United States, like the idea of self determinism afforded by capitalism and the liberty enjoyed in a representative 'Republic'.

One might ask, "Isn't the Republican party a neo-facist organization as it is framed to be....a radical nationalistic authoritarianism?" Well, if we are talking about the original idea of Republicanism being conservative government operationalized by the will of the people and not by a top down run State, then No, the Republican party is not a neo-facist party. Rather today's liberal democrats are. But to be fair, its a combination of members of those two parties who have taken a liking to a certain ideology.

The ideological roots of fascism can be traced back to the 1880s in Europe based on a revolt against materialism, rationalism, positivism, and against democracy. It was born of the fin-de-siècle generation which supported emotionalism, irrationalism, subjectivism and  vitalism. The fin-de-siècle mindset saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution.
The fin-de-siècle intellectual school considered the individual only one part of the larger collectivity, which should not be viewed as an atomized numerical sum of individuals.They condemned the rationalistic individualism of traditional as in classic liberal society and the dissolution of social links in what they considered bourgeois society.

That intellectual school of thought was the foundation for the Frankfurt school 'movement' in Europe. Now, in the United States, that kind of thinking was not prevalent but perhaps discussed in dark coffee houses on a couple of elite university campuses. In the early days and up until the 20th century, America was let's say an old fashioned kind of pro-liberty believing in the Republic which was a representative democracy (with regards to its simple and solid Constitution); largely, grass roots organized in many respects. People were encouraged to take risks necessary to pave the way for future Americans. Perhaps, that is why the educational system that first took hold was the Prussian educational system and not one based on fin-de-siècle which begot the Frankfurt school of thought. 

America as a relatively young nation found the Prussian educational system to be attractive. This system of education was established in Prussia (a German state) as a result of educational reforms put forward directly after Prussia's defeat in 1806 the early stages of the Napolenonic Wars. Not long thereafter, compulsory education of the Prussian example was mirrored in Scandinavia, and the United States. Early American adopters included: Daniel Coit Gilman, who set up The General Education Board, later renamed The Rockefeller Foundation, and first president of Johns Hopkins, John Dewey at the University of Chicago, James McKeen Cattell at The University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.

The Prussian system had by the 1830s attained the following characteristics:

• Free primary schooling, at least for poor citizens
• Professional teachers trained in specialized colleges
• A basic salary for teachers and recognition of teaching as a profession
• An extended school year to better involve children of farmers
• Funding to build schools
• Supervision at national and classroom level to ensure quality instruction
• Curriculum inculcating a strong national identity, involvement of science and technology
• Secular instruction (but with religion as a topic included in the curriculum)

The Frankfurt School was an ideology formed during the interwar period, and came against the Prussian system firstly in Europe and then in the United States. Why? Because, it was thought to be the answer to what appeared to be growing crony capitalism and fascism. How could that be? The Prussian system, encouraged solidarity but that was all. It got people thinking and building up their life in their local community a micro version of the nation. So, it could easily be used for any kind of indoctrination.

The Frankfurt School theorists also like solidarity, and they spoke with a common paradigm in mind; they shared the Marxist Hegelian premises which were radically anti-capitalist, seeking idealistic equality through controlled social justice. As mentioned above, it was birthed by
fin-de-siècle. Such ideology did not take into consideration that the Prussian system simply a regime application as in daily discipline and structure that was meant to serve the majority creating a strong well-adjusted 'integrated' and educated society of like mindedness. Or, perhaps, that is exactly what they saw as attractive about and could easily use it toward their agenda. 

Yet, there was a real difference between the Prussian system and the Frankfurt school of thought. The Prussian system was not about control of the masses as much as it was about preparedness of the masses. It came out of the experience of defeat. In preparedness, it is best to have as many men able to think like each other and thus also for themselves than not. It was not about ensuring that all men had their fair share but that all men were prepared to take part in building up their right to share.

You see, as much as man tries to engineer a 'fair' society, the real experience of fairness is not that all are rich or living the good life, but all suffer living to serve the State, an abyss that can never be satisfied. One could say, 'but isn't that they Prussian system'? Yes, in a way. But the Prussian system was not to serve the State but to prepare the people in the state to protect what they have - liberty!