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.

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