Exploring the Social Imagination

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.

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