Exploring the Social Imagination

Friday, August 11, 2017

Expectation and Maturity in the Social Imagination!

Expectation and Maturity go hand in hand in the social reality - the social imagination. And, well they should. Why? Because, we need to expect a certain amount of social input from social actors in order to be and remain a stable social reality. Now, expecting something from someone means that usually they are ready to be expected of and that something is expected from them; hence, their social input can be expected in the social imagination - social reality.

More and more these days, we don't know what to expect from people. Now either they are rejecting their role and expectations that come with a certain role/identity or they are not mature enough to accept it or they are not being instructed as to what that role is and what is expected.

So, what is it? I think it is a combination of things. And, that is not really a good thing. Yes, of course, it sounds so nice and kind and tolerant to someone because you want to be liked for who you are and they want to be liked for who they are, but who are they if we don't know what to expect? And, in saying that...  are you expected of and are you able to fulfill that expectation? Can anyone expect anything from you? And, shouldn't you expect something in return from them?

Those are reasonable questions if we want to understand what is happening in the social imagination and where it is going. We should at least take a careful and long look at social reality on all levels. Because, we might be headed for a social imagination - social reality train wreck. Strangely, some that may be ok as its all about transitioning or 'evolving' into another kind of social imagination - social reality.

If that is the case, we will still find ourselves back to the same question and or problem, what can we expect from that 'transition' and its outcome? The answer seems to be that no one knows for sure. Isn't that to be expected? Certainly, we cannot know everything that transitions from one thing to another be we can certainly have expectations. If we have no expectations, we really don't have a clue what the future may hold in terms of social reality let alone the current social reality in transition if that is the case.

I look around and try to see if there is anything observable in a state of transitions that suggest what I might expect. Yes, there are observable people/places and things.  They all seem to go hand in hand and I think the best observable place is Walmart; after all it is nationwide and serves a great majority. But, before I describe those observations, let's take a look at one man's view of individuals in society.

George Simmel, a first generation German sociologist, observed "all the forms of association by which a mere sum of separate individuals are made into a 'society,'" which he describes as a, "higher unity," composed of individuals. Which means that man only knows himself an individual 'form' because he first sees himself in a group form. Which I described in my dissertation as the functions of the social imagination.

We can observe this behavior in the public setting most as we notice forms of individuals who are identfying with 'their' group and yet part of an even wider group of which they belong to and may or may not agree 100% with all other groups but yet partake at the wider level because of the wider level's acceptance of 'diversity' as long as within that diversity the elite groups especially followed by other groups composing the wider level agree on at least a few perimeters that define the social reality - social imagination at its widest; i.e. human in a democratic free market.

Expectations can run both high and low in such a layered social reality where many groups compose the wider group - sui generis. Thinking about my observations at Walmart, we are starting to see that expectations are very low in most groups of average education and income which remains the biggest group in America.

I have a few of my favorite groups which I would like to introduce: the just got out of bed group, the just got out of the shower 'flipflop' wearing group, the just got off work group, the just don't care out of work group, the senior 'blue hair' group that don't care or have no one to care, the overweight and I don't care group, the teenage 'purple and or green hair' I don't care about the future group, the single mom with no makeup and screaming kids with no father group and lastly, the traveling with extended family from another country group. All of these groups represent Simmel's forms and at the same time represent lack of expectation and maturity by the individuals and the wider society - but there are those that would argue "Its one big wider social imagination".

The only problem with those groups is that its difficult to know what to expect and to see the maturity level and know what to expect from them if anything from them. And, that is a problem for society - the widest of the social imagination. Expectation and maturity do go hand in hand at the widest level. We need to expect a certain respect for citizenship, family, health and well being; all of which should display a good measure of maturity. All of which tells something of the social imagination/reality - society!

Not wanting to single out any group in particular but it is strange that even when warned that wearing flipflops are bad for health, some people still wear them. Where is the maturity in that kind of thinking?  From that group, guess we shouldn't expect much...

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