Exploring the Social Imagination

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Social Imagination Revisited ~ The Framework for a Social Quantum Program



Man is all information ... applied in imagination.   

The study of social imagination is the study of the collective mentality - the social imagination.
Essentially, there two functions of the social imagination. The first function has three main fundamental aspects: a definite original source (of information), components and limits. This first function directly enables the second which is the filtering process of the concept creative. This second function has no need of its own fundamental aspects as it is grounded by the first. The first function is ‘basic’ everyday routine whereby bodily movement in time and space are observed and serves an elementary plane of attention to life, paramount reality. 

The first function is for simple performance as in simple bodily movement that enables getting from here to there without, let us say, much thought. It could be seen as the default mode program; whereas, the second function is the concept/ creative is for the purpose of escaping that routine, beginning with bodily movement incorporating gesture that has meaning other than just getting from one point in space to another. 

The second function, the concept/ creative is enabled by the first function. It is where language and communication are occupied. The second function is relies on language in a specific way, it does not need to repeat generalities; it needs to articulate greater expectation, and creative performance, it is the place in human consciousness where social imagination exists and in saying that the two expressions are one and the same. 

There is an interconnected participatory feature of the first function and second function, experienced through bodily moments which cause tensions of consciousness between the first function and the second function.  The second function reacts to such tensions from the first function and is able to respond in a concept/ creative mode so that that relation with the first function acting as a background, a default program and the second function create social imagination. 

In some respect, the second function allows the collective conscious, the collective mentality, the group as having shared interest, to imagine and focus on the things that it creates out of its shared imagining. Through tensions between the first function and second function social imagination as having a concept / creative function transcends what is and is able to postulate what ought to be; thus, social consciousness moves onto another plane of accent to reality, another attention to life, a higher order of human consciousness.

In theory, social imagination can be conceived as the collective mentality of a group of people. For some social scientists this presents an observational and testable as sociology generally looks at human actions to explain society. Thus, they are measured and quantified and thus predictable.
However, what is left of an observation but an image or residue of what was real. The collective mentality of a group is the forerunner to an observable action. Those on the inside have inside information and or knowledge as to why they did this or that and for what reasons. Anyone on the outside of that group will only see the residues of that information... traces left over. 

The meaning of human action directly stems from or out of the collective mentality. The residues of that action has little meaning for outside observers and even for those inside all that is left is meaning and that alone is retained in the collective mentality - the social imagination. 

You see, action alone does not contain meaning but is the vehicle of it, only the drivers know the direction and what for.  Action is only a pattern of physical movement; this is the purpose of the first function of social imagination. 

As stated above, essentially the social imagination exists has three aspects and two functions. The three aspects (composing the first function) are: source of information (presuming that all social reality is information that has a source), components which are social actors as Durkheim might call them... all minds or 'singular' imaginations that compose a definable group 'collective mentality' and perimeters/boundaries as in limitations due to the source and combined components. 

The two functions are: action/ physical, and the second function also has aspects. The first aspect is  also physical 'mechanical' as we might think of a processor which processes of information shared through the first function - which is the only means as in way for 'human' processors to interact. The meaning that arises from that interaction which we can call social action is the direct activity or interaction of those functions. From the point of view of phenomenology, social imagination is that which gives meaning to action - shared information in a place over a period of time. 

The second aspect of the second function is the concept/ creative function of the collective mentality, of social imagination, uses imagining and imagery in its creative mode of function. And, it is there that the social imagination can expand but not necessarily for it is still linked in to its first function with its source of information which though enables also grounds. It keeps human beings 'human' and it keeps us intact, in place and fully functioning in the place where we are. In a nutshell, we are only what we imagine within the framework of a 'social' quantum program!



*Source - PhD dissertation on the Social Imagination - "Imagining Ideal Society: Exploring the concept/Creative Function in the Occident Social Imagination".... Dr. E.F. Gallion

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