Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Change is an illusion in the Social Imagination...

People say they want change and or criticize those that don't want to get on board with change. Sorry, there is nothing new under the sun. Change is an illusion. It is easy to say "Let's Change this/that" and even think you have; but in the end or from a bird's eye view ... nothing is or has changed that much.
What has happened is a rotation of persons/places and things. Yes, there only a rotation and who gets to be first depends on who is on first to begin with and what it takes to roust them out. Sometimes, it depends on who's the loudest, and strongest or the one with all the answers. 

We like to think it's all brand new on the world but it's just a different band of people, singing their song and it seems different as if it is a new kind of music, a new song, a new idea but it's just reproduced, reconstructed, reconsidered, regurgitated, rehabbed and or redecorated of what was ...
Oh, you say there is change that I must have a problem with change. No, I don't. I am just saying that there is no change. It may look like it but there it's an illusion. 

The problem is that as much as one can say they like or don't like change, It is much harder to retain exactly what is it that we don't want changed in the first place. That goes for philosophy, or politics, religion, economics, or fashion, customs, traditions or even laws. But, was there ever anything new? After all, there is nothing new under the sun.

Let's look at change from the standpoint of information. Its like the game of telephone, I tell you something and you pass it on. By the time it gets to the end of the line, its 'different' information, right? Or is it? One could say it's the same just scrambled. But, what if I told the person at the end of the line that they have the right information and I told the person who sent it that it was received. Then all is good and it's a go.  Who could really be right or wrong in this moment?

It may be that it just seems harder as in more difficult to hang on to any 'original' information given in a certain time and space, than it really is. Maybe and maybe not. What one may argue is that the sequence of information given must be the same in order that the information retains its originality. Like a song, a symphony... it's all there but if the sheets fall to the floor and are not arranged in the right order, the song just won't sound the same. Is the song changed? Yes and no. But one thing is that it will always be a 'real' song as in real information. It thus depends on the listener, right? 

Difficult to say. If an alien landed and heard a symphony by Mozart, he would expect to hear it just that way the next time he visited. But if an alien from another galaxy landed and heard the song after the sheets fell to the floor it would not be the same song, right? Yes and no. Yes, because it has the same title and name on it; and no, because it is not what the other alien heard. But, does it matter? No.  At least not to either alien; unless they meet up sometime and claim that they heard it right.

In computer programming, quantum programming, the discussion of whether or not exact original information matters or not and whether or not it has to be true at all times at the same time, is ongoing. For the most part, the open conclusion is that if there is agreement among them, then it does not matter because they are like and not like the aliens and they know out of all possibles, there is nothing new under the sun. 

A quantum computer follows that kind of logic. It knows all options instantly and knows every single scramble and reorganization that could possibly happen. It knows all rationales, it knows all possibilities. The only thing that matters is which of those is the best in terms of getting the job done and it knows that too. But, like the aliens if any two of them meet up they may or may not have the same execution of the song/melody. So, they have to agree on the same execution of information and well if they are quantum computers they will always agree and or certainly agree never to meet up.

Why say that? You see, what any Ai or let's say 'sentient' being's imagination will always confront in the world of possibles is the fear of being wrong 'in error' which is an illusion of course; but, what is real about that experience is what caused it... doubt. And, that's what really causes error even though error is really an illusion. Its doubt that is the destructive force at the forefront of error and or possible error. 

In that case, getting the job done, may even include the use of error as well as the means to get around doubt which would be by means of overcoming error by use of error already in the program. The only pitfall could be if this kind of application causes error to grow as a result of its implementation.  And, it often does which is how we get or arrive at the spread of wrong or let us say misinformation, which is real nonetheless; but not the best information to get the job done because error forced by doubt entered into that equation.

When you program against error you have to replace doubt with a program or information that cannot be doubted or subjecting to doubt and that default is Jesus Christ. For He alone, Jesus Christ, is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; once that is the set default, you realize that original information is always there... sometimes covered by use (not so easy to see) or covered up by sin 'doubt/error' but yet it's there...retractable as it always active though 'behind the scenes' and always without a doubt.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Intentional Communities in the Social Imagination...

Anyone can go online and read what today's well intended liberal progressive considers to be an intentional community. And, one might even be in awe of their (what they think) brave new world social constructs. Before doing that, take time to recall what human beings like doing - congregating as in interacting in place for the purpose of identity and security. Then, read their 'brave' definition, keeping in mind that such constructs 'intentional communities' are and always have existed among men and women that are like minded and physically similar. It is not new. 

People have always lived intentionally; and in fact, it is a good idea to do so for the sake of individual mental and wider social group stability. One should ask, how do intentional communities build and spread? A fair example is 'chain immigration' and even that is not new. Or, just look at the spread of vast empires throughout history and see their implementation as intentional communities - i.e. the Mongol and the Roman Empire are on a massive scale perfect examples. And, let's not forget communism. One can and should also look at micro scale intentional communities (tribes) first because they are micro examples macro structures. 

We have always known is that intentional communities are human constructs where often people are forced to find themselves in a place by various outside influences including natural phenomenon. One could say that its been a more natural process in which people have just gravitated toward each other over time; but, that would be too slow a process.

The point is that human beings out of necessity form intentional communities. One important necessity for being human is identity... knowing that you are someone and not someone else. Identity is a necessity as without it one would not know who they are as a single person let alone who they are and are not as a group and group identity is essential for the one as it is for the many who congregate in a place. 

They come together by People of the same language and or very similar language, beliefs, ethnicity, traditions/ customs, geography, faith, including religious practices, eating habits, child rearing tactics, work ethic, labor force, housing strategies and so on; and sharing responsibility and resources in the place where they are. By doing so over a period of time, such people living intentionally come to feel safe, secure and that they have been successful in that place and that the place where they are is somehow - theirs!

Now, here is the 'modern idea' or version which some seem to think is brand new on the face of the earth. According to reliable sources, an intentional community is a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle. Mmm, sounds like what has been intention all along.

Moreover, they typically share responsibilities and resources. Intentional communities include collective households, cohousing communities, coliving, ecovillages, monasteries, communes, survivalist retreats, kibbutzim, ashrams, and housing cooperatives. New members of an intentional community are generally selected by the community's existing membership, rather than by real-estate agents or land owners (if the land is not owned collectively by the community).

So, those kinds of places described above in italics do have a bounded character just like the ones of 'old' which by the way are today called racist, intolerant and socially exclusive communities.  Yet, liberal progressives define themselves in the same way and if you are not on board with their kind of intentional living, you are not welcome. Which, sounds racist, intolerant and exclusive and it is. But, its not because its theirs and they have forthrightly laid out from the get go what is to be expected. They have rationalized it and framed what people have been doing since the beginning of time. 

Now, if you are or find yourself left out of that... their kind of intentional community, its because you are the racist, the intolerant hater and or in the very least bigot; and they can't help you. Because, its your problem you fail to embrace their diversity. Which is no diversity at all. So, to make you feel even worse, even more socially excluded, they will mob (crowd around and harass) you to make sure that you feel even more excluded for not liking their intentional community; after all, its their social imagination! 

We may well socially imagine that such intentional 'organized' (from the top down) communities are the way of the future (they were the way of the past) and at least you will be in yours and I ... in mine. The question would be and should be before you jump on board is... could you ever get outta there? 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Identity Lost in the One World Social Imagination...

Society at large takes for granted its identity and the individual identities within it.  Identity is a deeply complex construct that should never be taken for granted or assumed to be easily referred to and or transferred, replicated, duplicated, or extricated - freed from entanglement or disengaged.

There can never be one label "citizen of the world".  Such a label has no real depth of meaning or identity. One certainly can say that they are but that does not say much.  Because, being a citizen of the world is a wide and broad general term; it is the same as saying one is a citizen of the universe.

As a citizen of the world, one is actually an undetermined entity.  Being such is not the same as identifying as someone specific in the world from a certain place on a certain map as either one being among many or as many beings as one group in a certain place. Given that, and in the light of past discussions on globalism, being a citizen of the world is likely the agenda of the day and for exactly what was just pointed.

Within such a bland construct, at first one might feel liberated as in not tied to a place or to certain expectations often felt as imposed on from above or from around oneself in a given place. Then, as one steps fully into the construct embracing the label, losing oneself in it... one realizes that there is no sense of time or space or place. One has no face, no sense of who is who. One has no sense of being with others as they have no means to identify with anyone around them.

Yes, you can argue that one is a citizen of the world and identify with that. But, what would that look like? You say it can look like whatever you want it to look like. Really? If my view of or symbol for being a citizen of the world is different from yours, then there isn't any 'real' citizenship 'citizen of the world' as in belonging to the same country, state, town, or local community. Ironically, in saying that there is or there can be a citizen of the world (I am my own citizen and you are yours), we find an  isolated figure, nameless, faceless and placeless.

Yes, but 'so what' you say. Look at where we are now... conflicts and disparity world wide. You argue that being a citizen of the world would put a halt to all that and everyone would be the same and be happy or living in a harmonic symbiotic paradise. Well, to that all I can say is that we are back to nameless, faceless and placeless.

We deceive ourselves thinking that just because we are connected to the world, we are a citizen of the world as if that defines who we are. It does not. Identity is deeply profound and complex... the social imagination cannot exist as a nameless, faceless and placeless entity.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Globalism as in One World Order ~ How it Begins in the Social Imagination...

How does a one world order begin? It begins like anything that has a beginning in the social imagination. It is born in the social imagination. Such an event is largely born of the fundamental anxiety. In such state of anxiety, those that usually panic first are the social elites because they objectively and relatively have the most to lose. Hence, comes the desire to control every social imagination - the social reality/situation at hand which thus imagines the necessity to create a state of worldly security and unity since whatever was the prior norm for social security/unity appears to be slipping away to imposing or competing social imaginations.

What follows is a deconstruction of everything that was normal for anyone and everyone not only here but everywhere. Followed by a reconstruction of a new 'norm' which is put forward by the elites and they stress that it must be embraced by all in order to provide security and unity for all. Really? No, not really. That is the social pitfall. There can be no absolute or certainty for everyone's security and unity. This only works for them - the elites, at least for a short time or until the next panic attack.

Nonetheless, they move forward in their campaign "let the ends justify the means". Deconstruction usually starts with identity (who is who, why and what it means); why? Because, in any social imagination, identity of an individual member is as vital as his/her group identity membership. Both are fundamental constructs for the existence of social imagination - social reality. And, necessarily, from there deconstruction proceeds to deconstruct identity even further - the family.  Why? Because, this is the basic unit of individual identity and group identity.

After deconstruction, reconstruction follows and it begins with new imagery, and new jargon/phrases to label everyone with including new symbols/images all of which are necessary in the reconstruction of identity and those 'things' were certainly necessary in past identity constructions. Slowly, a new social imagination begins to emerge, a new social reality is constructed. Will this task be as easy as making and baking a cake or pie?

Certainly not. There will be rebels, rebellions, protests, and dissidents. Slowly and surely, they get weeded out by those who go along to get along; especially those that are open to new constructs. What about you?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Globalism and the One World Order in the Western Social Imagination...

What a hot topic today, globalism and world order. Now, that is a hot topic in western countries with largely free market economies and democracy under the socio-historical influence of Judeo-Christ thought. Yes, it does stem from that kind of background whether you think so or not, agree or not.

It is the presentation of the individual in society in western civilization that is unique to the Judeo-Christ 'social imagination' mentality. Such mentality was a virtuous application by people for people. It was an active mental exercise rather than an ideology. But, not anymore. Now, it is turned upside to benefit a few and they know what moved it - virtue of the individual, the little man in the place where he/she finds themselves. Now, the elite have taken that and they virtue signal to get what they want which is more power and sustained power positions.

Virtue in the hands of the individual was for some time a common practice; but as some say, perhaps it had its time in the sun since it was a loosely practiced from the bottom up social exercise: found in townships, counties, small towns and even in small cities all composing the larger body of the state and so on.

Today, that once common practice has been declared an ideology and the only way to make it real and fair for everyone is to make every individual the same from the top down. That begins with the destruction of the individual or in the very least deliberately retards him/her in the place where they are. It makes all those in local places feel helpless, inadequate, unable to do anything for themselves keeping them just plain ignorant. It is the agenda of the ruling elite at the top and ironically they are the most ignorant. They are ignorant of the fact that people in the place where they are already know what to do for themselves, how to get along and just basically how to live their life in the place where they are - at home in their community, township, county, town/city and state. And to add - country!

One might ask, how could such thinking by the elites become such a problem in the west where the individual was vitally important? That's a good question. How does any corrupt information get in. Through pockets/packets, through venues, through holes in the very fabric that was thought to hold things together. And, because it comes from the top down the elites rather than from those at the bottom, one can only point to institutions of higher learning as they are controlled by the elite and now worldwide.

The long term agenda is to make everyone the same world wide. To make them think that they are important, elites are capitalizing on the Judeo-Christian thought with the intention to imprison it for their purposes. Yes, those at the top in universities, in government and corporate entities are the real villains. All such persons, want power and position and they want it for them and to last forever as they move into transhuman form.

How can they but better to say - how do they pull it off? They have tapped the very essence of western social imagination - the individual. They see themselves as the deserving group of individuals. And, thus, they cannot allow others the same freedom. Their agenda comes with virtuous wrappings and slogans. It makes people wary of others who don't want it. Those who don't accept the package will be persecuted... and it seems to be starting already.

Out of the social imagination that lifted up the individual will come the demise of it, the hatred of the one in favor of the many which can be controlled a the few.

Dare to take your head out of the sand????

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Globalization, Ai and the Promise of Tomorrow in the Social Imagination!

Globalization has been an agenda and has been discussed for a very long time; its not a brand new idea. It was feared by the Founding Fathers. It was a practice of the Roman Empire if you really think about it. Globalization is when any group is driven to conquer and control ~ The British and even Mongols did it too. What for you may ask? A good question with an obvious answer I would add ~ money, power and prestige.

Ironically, today globalization is being sold as 'global harmony', as it promises no disparity, no war, no poverty... etc. If we just make everyone the same, on the same page in terms of economics and politics and even race, we will have created a utopia. I like that use of grammar ~ future perfect. Will have done something. When I taught English as a second language, my students would always ask, what is that tense for and will I ever use it. I said it has its purpose in the English language and though you may not use it, you better be ready when someone else does.

Oh really, a utopia? What about a dystopia? Right, a dystopia is a society/world that is undesirable and even frightening! It would be such because in order to have 'real globalization' one would have to erase socio-histories, erase identity and language and the meaning that people have and find in them.

That would be a huge undertaking but guess what. It is at hand. How you ask? Via social media. It is now a tool for the process just mentioned. Once we get everyone on the right page, (facebook i.e) we will be able to do the rest. But you say, how can being on that page erase socio-histories, identity, language and meaning that belong to a group of people in a place? Good, in fact very good question.

With a little help from their friends (including programmed Ai) it becomes an easy task. There is no doubt that it will take time but its becoming a no brainer with that kind of help. How? Well, once you set a program into action, with no holds barred/no questions asked, the end justifies the means ... and it just goes. You can of course use programs discreetly by programming in limits on what can be said, texted, twittered and or you encourage tolerance of some things over others which you label as intolerant, you make evil good and good evil and all in the name of peace and globalization.

This is a kind of or a form of politically correct bullying that has an ultimate goal which is to conquer and control. The beauty no one person can be pointed out as the villain. So, who is doing this kind of digital virtual reality bullying? The best guess - algorithms are.  Its all in good programming form, all in good taste, all in good 'global conscious' too. After all, its becoming a brave new world and we need to make it safer and nicer and just simpler for everyone and that makes it fair.

Now, the next question... the promise of tomorrow in the social imagination. What will that be? Who knows but one can make an educated guess, right?  There is no certainty of what it will be so there is no promise for anyone in particular, that's safe to say. But, there is hope for change and hope for change is always a promise for something, right?

The only thing to worry about is that without knowing what to hope for (since we are just hoping for change) people can actually become hopelessly hopeless for anything and that's the goal and journey of globalization. Such a condition is just right to make all the right changes, right?  Oh, maybe a bit of chaos thrown in to keep up moral about change. But, its coming for sure!

In that case, if your head is in the sand, maybe better keep it there...???

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Founder ~ Ray Kroc Used Virtue Signalling in the Social Imagination!

Ray Kroc... what a blow to the leftist liberal minimalist mindset, right?

Ray Kroc saw something in a symbol, a name, in simplicity and ran with it. He saw the virtue in it as any American did in those times and still does see it  ~ Promotion of the individual's purpose in his/her own Pursuit of Happiness in the Social Imagination. That is 'McDonalds'.  Its not the 'socialist' virtue. Its never was.

And so, it never was about collective service for the good of society. It was always about the service to the individual that was the brainchild of the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc just gave it to everyone. And, that is why it went nationwide, worldwide and will likely be universe wide at some point in the future. Unless, you can argue logically that the promotion of the individual in their pursuit of happiness is wrong. 

So, yes... I might have to agree that virtue signalling is 'an American virtue' in light of the the above. But, why is it today being used to promote socialism which is anti-individual and pro-service to the sui generis?  In view of the Hollywood movie - The Founder, we are given a fair view of Ray Kroc and how he grew up a symbol and name to serve the individual which ironically serves both the individual and the good of all society.

The left thinks of Ray Kroc as an evil capitalist and the right thinks of him as a man with a vision - all for one and one for all ~ You didn't do it 'alone' or was that the left's mantra? Well, Ray Kroc didn't do it alone either, right? So, I guess he was a leftist. But, some will and do have a problem with that, with his kind of virtue signalling.

They will say that Kroc did not do anything like that. Really? He made a social observation of America, looking at where their virtue lies and he ran with it. Was that wrong? Only if you are not the right person doing it for not right reasons... which are?

Well, let's look at what are the wrong reasons in the eyes of the left. They would be: taking advantage of someone else's idea and in this case, the McDonald brothers. But they in fact borrowed from Henry Ford. The left seems to be anti- corporation but they love Starbucks and bailing out corporate banks and car companies. They liked the slogan that Obama claimed and used "You didn't do it". Unless, it doesn't work for their agenda which is to promote a global world order of socialism. They should get on board with Ray Kroc's dream... it did start the very global world order they want.

All there is left to say... is that we/you should beware of what we/you virtue signal these days, we/you might just get what we/you want and find out that we/you really don't want it. In all seriousness, you could end up being creator/promoter of something that goes worldwide without you and leaves you behind on just a simple swing with a view. But, if you can claim to be the Founder, you won't be alone... who doesn't want to be part of something really big!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Finding and Applying Wisdom in the Social Imagination!

Solomon wrote that there is nothing new under the sun... that's true in a fallen world. We go in cycles, winding down... the universe is not winding up.

All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, "See this, it is new "? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us.… Ecclesiastes 1:8-10.

Finding and applying wisdom in this kind of social reality - imagination is especially difficult if we do not accept the basic premise - the universe is winding down. As it winds down, we can accept the past as it was and use it as a platform for acquiring and applying wisdom. If the universe is winding up, then there is no call for wisdom, there would be no need as there would always be new everything, so new we would not recognize what came before it and no need to. But, that is not the case inasmuch as many like to think otherwise, deceiving themselves by doing so.

If the universe were winding up, the wisdom would not exist because it would not be necessary to have. We wouldn't even know what it was or what it meant. So, what is wisdom in a universe that is winding down? It is the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. It is accumulated over time: insight and discernment. It comes from the teachings of ancient wise men.

1- She has gained a lot of wisdom over the years. 2- From that experience, he has become a person of great wisdom. 3- They shared their valuable wisdom to the audience. 4- These stories offer plenty of wisdom to readers. 5- Given my expertise, I fail to see the wisdom in doing that. You see, in this kind of logic, a 3rd grader cannot have wisdom. They might mimic the wisdom of a parent or grandparent but they themselves have no wisdom ... not at that age. They have not acquired wisdom and thus cannot apply it. 

In applying wisdom, we first reflect on the past as in past experiences or knowledge acquired over the years, we seek to find what is really worthwhile in terms of what can bring about the most positive outcome in the current situation of winding down.  We seek wisdom to lesson the burden and pain of winding down and or perhaps we seek to just get through it expediently. 
Wisdom as such, is very valuable ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Culture and Change in the Social Imagination...

When it comes to culture, any kind of change is actually an absorption or integration or adaptation of another culture's information. Why? Because, it seems wise or suitable or the right thing to do at the time. Another culture may appear to be doing well or better than or it appears to be better off because of a certain practice that it has adopted and or adapted to.

Some cultures are more open books than others and it can be to their benefit or not... in either case. Those that seem to be more closed are taking a risk in the eyes of some and yet they may think that melting into the global network is the real risk.

Change does not come easy and it is not always welcome. But what is real change and if it were real, by whose standards or expertise claims it to be real change? You know what comes around goes around and that there is nothing new under the sun ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9.

There is in fact no 'real' change. There is only mankind and mankind is flawed. Man is greedy by nature. Man is only willing to stick his/her neck out when it seems like there is an advantage in doing so or forced to; the altruistic man is an ideal type that anyone would like to be or thinks they measure up to be. Therefore, any change whether on the individual level or cultural level is likely following that order. As within culture 'groups/societies' this applies as much as it does to wider scenarios - culture to culture.

Is there appropriation? Most certainly. Is that bad? No. In fact, such exchanges of cultural data and its absorption benefits any culture that choose to do so based on the above commentary. Yet, you are still thinking that change does exist... what about technology? Isn't it changing everything? Yes and No!

Yes, because as it was when we gave up hunting and gathering, or the car for the horse, or the telegraph for the telephone or the light bulb for the candle. It would seem that culture changed; but what really changed was only how a given culture experienced such technology in a place and shared it in a place.

Culture did not really change; because the meaning of it did not change - what it means to be this or that and not that or this in a place.  Oh, but you insist yet that cultures change and that certainly what it means to be an American has changed. Has it?

Doesn't it still mean to have certain liberties: such as the freedom of speech, and the right to assemble and to be represented? Yes, it does. Just because the actors change or new 'sets/props' come on stage doesn't mean things have changed or that such 'change' is equal to 'real' change. But, then again... does 'real' change exist? There is no thing new under the sun said a wise man named Solomon!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cultural Decay ~ A Waste of Time in the Social Imagination...

In the past blog, we explored cultural appropriation, cultural data and capital as well as cultural deprivation and cultural lag in the social imagination... Now, we look at its state of decay. 

Edward  Gibbon was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788. He is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organized religion. Gibbon observed five marks of the decay of Roman culture. They were: concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth, obsession with sex and perversions of sex, the production of art that is freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original, a widening disparity between very rich and very poor and lastly, an increased demand to live off the state.

“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage . . . . Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elite, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.” ~  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn...
 “If we do not live where we work and when we work we are wasting our lives and our work too.” ~ Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture...
 Although the natural rights inherent in our( Constitutional) regime are adequate to the solution of this ( minority) problem...the equal protection of the law did not protect a man from contempt and hatred as a Jew, an Italian or a Black"..." 'Openness' was designed to provide a respectable place for those groups or minorities--to wrest respect from those who were disposed to give it--This breaks the delicate balance between majority and minority in Constitutional thought. In such a perspective where there is no common good, minorities are no longer problematic and the protection of them emerges as THE central function of government.” ~ Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind...
The quotes above are certainly illustrations of our times. The summary from Gibbon was concerning the Roman Empire; but essentially, it applies to America today which seems to have a death wish to either be destroyed or taken over by someone or something. Is America losing its cultural data and or capital and thus lagging behind other cultures? Perhaps, it is. How does that happen? The comments by Gibbon and other quotes above give us a pretty good idea... don't they?

As a sociologist, I would add that once a culture loses its identity as in loses its cultural data its cultural capital, it becomes lost in a kind of socio-schzophernic mood that can bring down any society. Take time to reread the above and reflect on America today and you too may observe this kind of loss; especially in the last quote. Why is that? Because, it shows that in America there are other minorities and many not even mentioned. As a melting pot, we were able to wrestle with our differences and in many cases, it was not pretty; but in this world there is the good, bad and the ugly. 

A top down government cannot nor is it able to make this world, this life pretty for everybody. In the social imagination of any culture, it is better to accept the good, bad and ugly and deal with it in the place where you are... As Wendell Berry said, "If we do not live where we work and when we work... we are just wasting our lives and our work too". To say it another way, if we do not live and work at the grass roots level, in the place where we are, we are wasting our time, our culture and our social imagination.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cultural Appropriation in the Social Imagination!

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. Now, in sociological terms, this has been happening for thousands of years. In fact, even encouraged as it can even be argued that its all part of social evolution. Ironically, this is an aspect of the globalist agenda... after all, you did not make it (create a business/product) alone. We all affect each other, we all participate in the exchange of culture/ideas and or social thought.

Today, there is the argument or discussion that it is wrong to use especially to capitalize on cultural aspects that don't belong to you. They belong to someone else. So, is it wrong to use another group's  cultural traits/traditions/symbols in order to gain social status advantage and or economic advantage?

It maybe wrong only in that it may not be considered a 'fair' exchange of culture. But, since when is anything in this world truly fair for everyone everywhere at the same time and for all the right reasons? Is it wrong for people to paint pictures or take photographs of places or people that they have no shared cultural data with? Doesn't National Geographic do that and for money?

Is it wrong to use other societies/people's cultural data as a means to advance those people in the sense of bringing awareness to their location or situation and or to enlighten people outside of that group with extraordinary beauty and insight that they may never experience first hand.  Isn't that the intention of and doesn't National Geographic do that?

In Sociology, there are many words already in place that describe cultural exchanges, fair or not. Cultural capital is such a word which means that within our 'group' we have specific data that has worth and value for our group as it was acquired in a place over time (traditions/customs i.e).

This is opposite to social capital in which we can acquire worth/value through social networking which means acquisition of social data that has no specific boundaries or is promoted as universally good - democracy i.e. Cultural deprivation is recognized as being without cultural capital or not being able to access it.

Cultural lag is when within a group there are those that just don't jump on the band wagon of changing cultural capital and they lag behind. This is also applied to wider situations as in global. One group lags behind in terms of technology that their group cannot afford or resists as the rest of the world passes by making leaps and bounds.  Lastly, is cultural relativism which the United States is quite guilty of... we think that our country is the greatest country on the face of the earth.

So... cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. Take information whether it is food, music, dance, insight... and make it your own! Is that good or bad, right or wrong? Certainly, it could be argued that its natural in the scope of social evolution. And, certainly it can be argued that many cultures 'people' have benefited from it.

Now, is it really wrong to make money off of other people's culture and to gain social status from doing so? Well, someone should get paid for bringing awareness to others outside of a particular group/culture, right? And, certainly someone should be the voice for them while at the same time appreciating what others have to offer and selling/passing it along, right?

We may want to consider that it may be more right than wrong in the wider social imagination... especially if we are imagining a one world order that certainly requires it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Virtue Signalling in the Social Imagination!

From the article about "Virtue Signalling" by: Mark Judge

British author James Bartholomew has secured his place in history as he has recently invented the perfect phrase for our times: “virtue signalling.” Now, sociologists before him were calling such public behavior a factor of or perhaps result of ANT behavior = actor-network theory and we still do (*actors as in all human social entities).

This theory allows social scientists, like myself, to be able to describe what is happening around us and to us because of the wide reaching public genre of social media; we observe and can articulate a new kind of dynamic entering the social stage of the presentation of the self in everyday life ... to borrow from Erving Goffman.

Virtue signalling as defined by Bartholomew is the popular modern habit of indicating that one has virtue merely by expressing disgust or favor for certain political ideas, cultural happenings, or even the weather.

So...when a liberal goes on a tirade about how dumb and dangerous Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is—a tirade devoid of specific examples of Cruz’s mendacity—that person is actually signaling to others that he or she is virtuous. It has very little to do with Cruz’s actually personality or record.

Celebrities who publicly express panic about the environment without knowing much about science are virtue signaling. So are those who seize on current events to publicize their supposedly virtuous feelings, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg did recently when he wrote on Facebook: “If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.” Well, that’s a relief—Facebook won’t be banning Muslims.

As Mark Judge continues... modern virtue signaling began in the 1960s, when cultural leftism overthrew not just the conservatism of the 1950s but also the vital center of liberalism. Conservatives and moderate liberals had done plenty of virtue signalling of their own, and a lot of it was based on racism and hatred of homosexuality. Not that some of such behavior didn't do some social good.

But... the New Left of the 1960s was more about rage than reason, and they passed their anger down to their Millennial offspring. Often the entire front page of left-leaning websites like Slate and Salon are nothing but virtue signalling, the headlines all variations of: Celebrity/Politician/Activist A Just Destroyed the Homophobic/Sexist/Racist Idiocy of Politician B. Usually the articles are jeremiads without much reporting. And, this is true!

What does this do for people? Well, we sociologists, using actor-network theory as a platform of departure, see it as a means for securing positions of status within social stratification. By aligning oneself with the 'current' virtues as in virtue trends, one makes him/herself appear relevant and even sympathetic. In this light, one can maneuver into higher social status positions by simply paying lip service to the right persons using the right wordage within the social actor-network. 

Does this actually help deal with the reality of social pitfalls? No, virtue signalling only makes those who do it comfortable in their position and most that virtue signal have very comfortable positions. Certainly, they are more comfortable than those that they claim to support or uplift by their finger pointing and knee bending.

*Source ~  https://acculturated.com/virtue-signaling/
*Note ~ only the bolded text belong to the author of this blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Woman with Two Skins ~ Nigerian Folktale for Children...

Eyamba I. of Calabar was a very powerful king. He fought and conquered all the surrounding countries, killing all the old men and women, but the able-bodied men and girls he caught and brought back as slaves, and they worked on the farms until they died.

This king had two hundred wives, but none of them had borne a son to him. His subjects, seeing that he was becoming an old man, begged him to marry one of the spider's daughters, as they always had plenty of children. But when the king saw the spider's daughter he did not like her, as she was ugly, and the people said it was because her mother had had so many children at the same time.

However, in order to please his people he married the ugly girl, and placed her among his other wives, but they all complained because she was so ugly, and said she could not live with them. The king, therefore, built her a separate house for herself, where she was given food and drink the same as the other wives. Every one jeered at her on account of her ugliness; but she was not really ugly, but beautiful, as she was born with two skins, and at her birth her mother was made to promise that she should never remove the ugly skin until a certain time arrived save only during the night, and that she must put it on again before dawn.

Now the king's head wife knew this, and was very fearful lest the king should find it out and fall in love with the spider's daughter; so she went to a Ju Ju man and offered him two hundred rods to make a potion that would make the king forget altogether that the spider's daughter was his wife. This the Ju Ju man finally consented to do, after much haggling over the price, for three hundred and fifty rods; and he made up some "medicine," which the head wife mixed with the king's food. For some months this had the effect of making the king forget the spider's daughter, and he used to pass quite close to her without recognising her in any way.

When four months had elapsed and the king had not once sent for Adiaha (for that was the name of the spider's daughter), she began to get tired, and went back to her parents. Her father, the spider, then took her to another Ju Ju man, who, by making spells and casting lots, very soon discovered that it was the king's head wife who had made the Ju Ju and had enchanted the king so that he would not look at Adiaha. He therefore told the spider that Adiaha should give the king some medicine which he would prepare, which would make the king remember her.

He prepared the medicine, for which the spider had to pay a large sum of money; and that very day Adiaha made a small dish of food, into which she had placed the medicine, and presented it to the king. Directly he had eaten the dish his eyes were opened and he recognised his wife, and told her to come to him that very evening. So in the afternoon, being very joyful, she went down to the river and washed, and when she returned she put on her best cloth and went to the king's palace.

Directly it was dark and all the lights were out she pulled off her ugly skin, and the king saw how beautiful she was, and was very pleased with her; but when the cock crowed Adiaha pulled on her ugly skin again, and went back to her own house.

This she did for four nights running, always taking the ugly skin off in the dark, and leaving before daylight in the morning. In course of time, to the great surprise of all the people, and particularly of the king's two hundred wives, she gave birth to a son; but what surprised them most of all was that only one son was born, whereas her mother had always had a great many children at a time, generally about fifty.

The king's head wife became more jealous than ever when Adiaha had a son; so she went again to the Ju Ju man, and by giving him a large present induced him to give her some medicine which would make the king sick and forget his son. And the medicine would then make the king go to the Ju Ju man, who would tell him that it was his son who had made him sick, as he wanted to reign instead of his father. The Ju Ju man would also tell the king that if he wanted to recover he must throw his son away into the water.

And the king, when he had taken the medicine, went to the Ju Ju man, who told him everything as had been arranged with the head wife. But at first the king did not want to destroy his son. Then his chief subjects begged him to throw his son away, and said that perhaps in a year's time he might get another son. So the king at last agreed, and threw his son into the river, at which the mother grieved and cried bitterly.

Then the head wife went again to the Ju Ju man and got more medicine, which made the king forget Adiaha for three years, during which time she was in mourning for her son. She then returned to her father, and he got some more medicine from his Ju Ju man, which Adiaha gave to the king. And the king knew her and called her to him again, and she lived with him as before. Now the Ju Ju who had helped Adiaha's father, the spider, was a Water Ju Ju, and he was ready when the king threw his son into the water, and saved his life and took him home and kept him alive. And the boy grew up very strong.

After a time Adiaha gave birth to a daughter, and her the jealous wife also persuaded the king to throw away. It took a longer time to persuade him, but at last he agreed, and threw his daughter into the water too, and forgot Adiaha again. But the Water Ju Ju was ready again, and when he had saved the little girl, he thought the time had arrived to punish the action of the jealous wife; so he went about amongst the head young men and persuaded them to hold a wrestling match in the market-place every week.

This was done, and the Water Ju Ju told the king's son, who had become very strong, and was very like to his father in appearance, that he should go and wrestle, and that no one would be able to stand up before him. It was then arranged that there should be a grand wrestling match, to which all the strongest men in the country were invited, and the king promised to attend with his head wife.

On the day of the match the Water Ju Ju told the king's son that he need not be in the least afraid, and that his Ju Ju was so powerful, that even the strongest and best wrestlers in the country would not be able to stand up against him for even a few minutes. All the people of the country came to see the great contest, to the winner of which the king had promised to present prizes of cloth and money, and all the strongest men came.

When they saw the king's son, whom nobody knew, they laughed and said, "Who is this small boy? He can have no chance against us." But when they came to wrestle, they very soon found that they were no match for him. The boy was very strong indeed, beautifully made and good to look upon, and all the people were surprised to see how like he was to the king.

After wrestling for the greater part of the day the king's son was declared the winner, having thrown every one who had stood up against him; in fact, some of his opponents had been badly hurt, and had their arms or ribs broken owing to the tremendous strength of the boy. After the match was over the king presented him with cloth and money, and invited him to dine with him in the evening. The boy gladly accepted his father's invitation; and after he had had a good wash in the river, put on his cloth and went up to the palace, where he found the head chiefs of the country and some of the king's most favoured wives.

They then sat down to their meal, and the king had his own son, whom he did not know, sitting next to him. On the other side of the boy sat the jealous wife, who had been the cause of all the trouble. All through the dinner this woman did her best to make friends with the boy, with whom she had fallen violently in love on account of his beautiful appearance, his strength, and his being the best wrestler in the country.

The woman thought to herself, "I will have this boy as my husband, as my husband is now an old man and will surely soon die." The boy, however, who was as wise as he was strong, was quite aware of everything the jealous woman had done, and although he pretended to be very flattered at the advances of the king's head wife, he did not respond very readily, and went home as soon as he could.

When he returned to the Water Ju Ju's house he told him everything that had happened, and the Water Ju Ju said—"As you are now in high favour with the king, you must go to him tomorrow and beg a favour from him. The favour you will ask is that all the country shall be called together, and that a certain case shall be tried, and that when the case is finished, the man or woman who is found to be in the wrong shall be killed by the Egbos before all the people."

So the following morning the boy went to the king, who readily granted his request, and at once sent all round the country appointing a day for all the people to come in and hear the case tried. Then the boy went back to the Water Ju Ju, who told him to go to his mother and tell her who he was, and that when the day of the trial arrived, she was to take off her ugly skin and appear in all her beauty, for the time had come when she need no longer wear it. This the son did.

When the day of trial arrived, Adiaha sat in a corner of the square, and nobody recognised the beautiful stranger as the spider's daughter. Her son then sat down next to her, and brought his sister with him. Immediately his mother saw her she said— "This must be my daughter, whom I have long mourned as dead," and embraced her most affectionately.

The king and his head wife then arrived and sat on their stones in the middle of the square, all the people saluting them with the usual greetings. The king then addressed the people, and said that he had called them together to hear a strong palaver at the request of the young man who had been the victor of the wrestling, and who had promised that if the case went against him he would offer up his life to the Egbo.

The king also said that if, on the other hand, the case was decided in the boy's favour, then the other party would be killed, even though it were himself or one of his wives; whoever it was would have to take his or her place on the killing-stone and have their heads cut off by the Egbos. To this all the people agreed, and said they would like to hear what the young man had to say. The young man then walked round the square, and bowed to the king and the people, and asked the question, "Am I not worthy to be the son of any chief in the country?" And all the people answered "Yes!"

The boy then brought his sister out into the middle, leading her by the hand. She was a beautiful girl and well made. When every one had looked at her he said, "Is not my sister worthy to be any chief's daughter?" And the people replied that she was worthy of being any one's daughter, even the king's. Then he called his mother Adiaha, and she came out, looking very beautiful with her best cloth and beads on, and all the people cheered, as they had never seen a finer woman.

The boy then asked them, "Is this woman worthy of being the king's wife?" And a shout went up from every one present that she would be a proper wife for the king, and looked as if she would be the mother of plenty of fine healthy sons.

Then the boy pointed out the jealous woman who was sitting next to the king, and told the people his story, how that his mother, who had two skins, was the spider's daughter; how she had married the king, and how the head wife was jealous and had made a bad Ju Ju for the king, which made him forget his wife; how she had persuaded the king to throw himself and his sister into the river, which, as they all knew, had been done, but the Water Ju Ju had saved both of them, and had brought them up.

Then the boy said: "I leave the king and all of you people to judge my case. If I have done wrong, let me be killed on the stone by the Egbos; if, on the other hand, the woman has done evil, then let the Egbos deal with her as you may decide."

When the king knew that the wrestler was his son he was very glad, and told the Egbos to take the jealous woman away, and punish her in accordance with their laws. The Egbos decided that the woman was a witch; so they took her into the forest and tied her up to a stake, and gave her two hundred lashes with a whip made from hippopotamus hide, and then burnt her alive, so that she should not make any more trouble, and her ashes were thrown into the river. The king then embraced his wife and daughter, and told all the people that she, Adiaha, was his proper wife, and would be the queen for the future.

When the palaver was over, Adiaha was dressed in fine clothes and beads, and carried back in state to the palace by the king's servants.That night the king gave a big feast to all his subjects, and told them how glad he was to get back his beautiful wife whom he had never known properly before, also his son who was stronger than all men, and his fine daughter. The feast continued for a hundred and sixty-six days; and the king made a law that if any woman was found out getting medicine against her husband, she should be killed at once.

Then the king built three new compounds, and placed many slaves in them, both men and women. One compound he gave to his wife, another to his son, and the third he gave to his daughter. They all lived together quite happily for some years until the king died, when his son came to the throne and ruled in his stead.

*SOURCE ~  https://www.worldoftales.com/African_folktales/Nigerian_folktale_3.html