Exploring the Social Imagination

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. 

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