Exploring the Social Imagination

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Expectations Are Good, Bad and Ugly in The Social Imagination!

When we expect too much we become disappointed. This can happen between people that know each other very well and between people that don't know each other at all.

We live in our social imagination and that is where we will always be. It begins for us with mother for she imparts her social knowledge to her infant even before its born. Everything mother knows, trusts, and expects is transferred; including what she doesn't know, doesn't trust and doesn't expect.

In saying that, we can't imagine she could transfer what she doesn't know or trust or expect but lack of information or no information 'no data' as in blanks transfers as much as data bits filled with good, bad and ugly information does.

We come to expect certain things and behaviors from people firstly based on what mother expected or not and later as the socialization process continues, those expectations continue as well. We can expect more or less from people or nothing at all based on social encounters. When we expect less or nothing, we tend to move away from that person or group of people.

We like some and dislike others. This can appear as prejudice or discrimination. It does not mean we intentionally dislike to the point of hating someone or another group. It simply means that we like and don't like based on what we expect.  What we don't like is often due to not knowing what to expect given limited or lack of information; that along with our preferences for liking or not liking one thing or person over another is largely based on what we expect firstly from ourselves and then from those that we know which we expect will reciprocate in a like manner.

Sometimes, a person is not able to reciprocate in a like manner due to economic hardship, due to lack of cultural information or lack of social knowledge or lack of experience in a behavior that would give support for 'right' or expected amount of reciprocation.  The simplest example of this is when you are in a crowded place and overloaded with a burden of whatever kind. Someone you don't know at all bumps into you.

The first reaction is one of expectation - you look for an apology. As you do that, you instantly scan the individual in terms of obvious physical differences. When the apology does not come in the moment you expected it or even not all... judgement and discrimination kick in. You calculate in your social imagination all information on that 'type' of person, you place them in a group of information.

The next time you are in the same situation, you avoid all those 'types'; because, you know what not to expect and what to expect. Think about it. Consider all those seemingly 'innocent' from an outside observer's view that have caused you to expect more or less from someone or a group of people.

You don't ask them out to lunch or over to your house, you don't engage them in conversation, you don't deal fairly with them in the office or in public, you join in with others who mock them as you feel that they too have been disappointed and expectations are low.

Someone once told me not to expect anything from anyone and you will never be disappointed. But, what kind of society would that be, what kind of social imagination would that provide... gray! We live in a social imagination and in it there will be good, bad and ugly information and expectations or lack thereof but it is necessary for social reality, necessary for its existence. We can imagine because of those things which we know well, know a little about and don't know much about.

In that social imagination, we live, move and have our being. As Durkheim would have called it - sui generis. This is a fallen world and thus it is not perfect. And, in this imperfect 'world' this imperfect social imagination we rise and fall, we cry, and sing, we love and even hate but we live.

God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘- We are His offspring.’ Therefore, being offspring of God, we should not think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by man’s skill and imagination.…
Acts 17:27-29.

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...

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Evolution in the 'Illite/Elite' Social Imagination

An article about how a certain social imagination is wrong and another is right based on the 'politics' of evolution shows the lengths some will go to in order to gain social favor. Yes, the agenda of the article was clearly politically motivated and  the title was the key- "How to Slam Dunk Creationists". What it should have read was - "How to be on the right side of politics... in order to get ahead... a kind of social imagination evolution!"

Firstly, Darwinian evolution... if we are talking about how a blob became an living microbe which then became a kind of fish which suddenly left a suitable environment as in where a fish belongs... in the water, and thus decided or was inspired to climb of its near perfect environment in order to become something and so on, is the truth of all reality, is not the result of clear evidence. There are No transitional forms! 

All of that evolution is ... is just man's theory about life and theory lives in the social imagination... which means it is no more than an agreed upon perception of what is and is not by a group of people in a specified institution to which not all people are accepted at and or ever likely to be; and that has only to do with affluence and money not competency which would be evolutionary. 

But putting down those in higher education isn't my business; after all, I have a PhD in Sociology. But, I can tell you that as a sociologist, agreement reality is all science is and can ever be. Science is not outside of man's social imagination nor can it ever be. Secondly, we can observe a species adapting to an environment. 

We find similarities because of their living and being in a similar environment over time where certain attributes work well making adaptation to the surroundings more suitable, comfortable and sustainable. This is does not however indicate a complete and total evolution of a species into another kind. As for proof of that, there are a number of fish that were around 300 million years ago and they still are... unchanged. That means that they are the same now and then. 

How are those fish still possible (in the form there were and still are) if everything has been evolving for millions of years? For evolution to be even remotely a discussion about reality (which is only social), one has to first accept the idea that evolution moves as a whole since environment is certainly part of reality and its processes. 

Environment has to be conducive to cause change or accept changes made by the species as they pertain to the species in that given environment. Now, one can make the argument that some stay and some go... but those that stay and go also can dramatically change the environment so once again, evolution has to move a solid whole and not 'spotty' examples which are by the way hypothetical at best!

And, who was Charles Darwin anyway?  He was the son of a high society doctor. He is described by Britannica as an affable country gentleman. Darwin at first shocked religious Victorian society by suggesting (SUGGESTING is the word used by Britannica /NOT PROVING) that animals and humans shared a common ancestry. 

However, his nonreligious biology APPEALED TO THE RISING CLASS of professional scientists, and by the time of his death evolutionary imagery had spread through all of science, literature, and politics. Wow, there it is people. And, it was called evolutionary imagery! Just as I said above. Agreement reality through social imagination of elites who gain from this kind of agenda on the political platform.

Again, Darwin was the son of a high society doctor and considered a 'wastrel' by his own father! How despicably duped we have been all these years. Darwin was as suggested above, the product of a certain group of people and so was his so-called theory. A desperate attempt to win socio-politcal favor.

What about Darwin's beliefs... he claimed to be an agnostic. Its likely that he would take such a stand given what is now known about his social circles; such a position regarding faith in a creator would allow him to remain comfortable in that circle and gain 'safe' attention with his illogical perception  acquired in an ill (illite/elite) social imagination.

Archaeopteryx is Not a transitional form! It is the fossil of an extinct bird. It simply could not be a transitional form. The design of a bird is one for flight. It has to be in its complete form to lift off and soar. The fossil of the bird found in Europe was pieced together and put forward as such by elite professionals who wanted to simply maintain their institutional positions and promote their illite/elite world view.  

In short, the thesis of bird evolution is not consistent with biological or paleontological evidence, but is a fictitious, unrealistic claim stemming from Darwinist (elitist) preconceptions. The subject of bird evolution, which some experts speak of as if it were scientific fact, is a myth kept alive for vain elitist political reasons.

* Source of article ~ https://www.yahoo.com/news/slam-dunk-creationists-comes-theory-134405757.html

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What about Bob? Expectation and Reciprocation in the Social Imagination!

The film - What about Bob...has been called a 'black' comedy. Why? Because, the humor has an underlying social comment about the darker side of people in society. There are some people that are only takers and some that are givers.

As one can read any online summary of the film, we learn (or are reminded for those that have seen this film 10 times) that in this comedy about a doctor-patient relationship pushed way beyond the office. Well known comedic actor Bill Murray plays Bob Wiley, a neurotic New Yorker struggling with a whirlwind of paralyzing phobias. When an exasperated colleague pawns the handful off on Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss), the psychologist has no idea his last appointment will follow him north to New Hampshire on a month's vacation.

Bob takes to Dr. Marvin's latest book like no therapy before it, so the well-meaning pest tracks Marvin down at his lakeside summer home to further discuss his problems. But Marvin, preparing for an interview on Good Morning America and a few weeks of R and R, views Bob's stalking as highly inappropriate, and demands he return to New York.

But Bob can't take even the strongest hint, and sets up camp with a neighbor to indulge in his own "vacation" -- from his problems. Meanwhile, Marvin's son Sigmund (Charlie Korsmo), daughter Anna (Catherine Erbe), and wife Fay (Julie Hagerty) take to Bob's loopy charm, which Marvin views as an irritating threat.

Marvin's temperature rises as Bob insinuates his way into the family, helping Sigmund learn to dive and counseling the previously ignored Anna. As Bob's stock continues to rise, and his to plummet, Marvin becomes increasingly unhinged as the minutes tick down to the interview.

I have talked to a number of people that see the character Bob as either a taker or giver and Dr. Marvin most often as a taker. Let's look first Dr. Leo Marvin who is obviously portrayed as a taker, an egotistical self absorbed intellectual.  Dr. Marvin does seem to genuinely love his wife and kids but at the same time he treats them as 'his' intellectual property. Really, yes really.

Dr. Marvin we are led to believe is where he is 'successful' because of the 'right' choices he has made in his life and his family (for him) is also testimony to that. So, when one of the family is not up to par in his book, he sees it as his own failure. But, that is like many people in and or in men/women especially as heads of families. His book, "Baby Steps" is also a testimony that if you just start out even gradual... baby steps, you too can learn to master the world, make the right choices.

As for Bob, for some people he is just an innocent giver with some weird quirks and its is sad that people just can't appreciate him for who he is... Dr. Marvin's family however do see Bob that way and fall in love with him. Dr. Marvin sees Bob first as a patient in need of his expertise and then later as a monstrous taker who has inappropriately invaded Dr. Marvin's life.

For sure, Bob does step over the line in many instances regarding the patient/doctor relationship and his 'taker' side is full blown but when he is with the family and the kids especially he is a great giver of friendship and innocent fun.

The point of looking and using this film is to illustrate 'expectation and reciprocation' in the social imagination. Some of us are both a little of each, giver and taker. Some are takers and don't even know it. Others are conscious 'knowingly' takers and some are too good to be true - conscious givers.

We expect a certain behavior from people in public. We expect a certain amount of reciprocation when we do something nice/kind or generous. Even a thank you and we teach our children to say- thank you as it is expected. We fail most often to be good givers at the right moment right time and in the expected amount. We can never really know how much is really enough when it comes to reciprocation. Some people expect a lot in return and others nothing. But those social dynamics keep us alive as in keep us going... at least somewhere rather than nowhere.

By the end of the film, that is exactly what we learn. Life is kept going as Bob marries Dr. Marvin's sister and out of his 'coma' he pipes up only to realize that its too late but is it really? We can only imagine what happens next. The givers will say Dr. Marvin learns how to take what he can from Bob and enjoy it. Some will say that Bob learns how to give and take what is only his to take.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

When Society is Given Over to a Reprobate Mind - The Bad and the Ugly Social Imagination!

People often wonder why things seem to be getting out of hand and or falling apart concerning many aspects and areas of social life = society: faith, family, gender identity, racism, taxes, politics, cost of living, health care, as well as entertainment, recreation, and least of not all - education.

There are some that see it as change; it just has to happen because of the linear time frame we dwell in. Which means for those of that mind set, there has to be something next or new that was or is  different from the past or imagined as being a better social reality than the one before. And for that reason, there are more than some people who see this 'mindset' as a highway to hell or at least a flirting with disaster instead peaceful sustainability. 

The truth is human beings really don't change all that much. In fact, they seem to go in a vicious circle. Of course, technology appears to tidy that up, make life more livable 'different/better', and even more fun but all that technology comes with a cost for the social imagination. We see growing disconnect between people and families due to social media though it seems to put us in contact with more people, its phony compared to 'real life' encounters. So, we find our lives becoming more and more engulfed in the bad and the ugly social imagination rather than the good of it.

Technology takes jobs, it replaces people, it replaces wisdom, it replaces time and space with immediate gratification and provides only false foundations that grumble fast. You see, this world is still in a state of entropy - a state of decay. Technology is included in that. If people think that they can be saved by technology, they are mistaken. Not even the technology of super quantum computers can halt entropy.  They can make it appear as if they can because of the speed but sooner or later, all things come to an end as entropy affects all things and in fact it affects all things instantly.

From the moment you are born you are essentially growing older and the same goes for technology. Oh, some say that it doesn't matter as long as new minds are born and this is what keeps the human civilization at least in a state of animation. There is some truth to that. But, what happens when a society - a human group is given over to a reprobate mind.  What happens? There is an untamed and uncontrolled wickedness we can observe in society's lusts for the flesh and pride of life. That means they violently chase after the flesh in order to overcome the inevitable loss of it. Out of this, we see societal decay increase rather than remain stable and productive enough for the next generation.

Likewise, the men abandoned natural relations with women and burned with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, He gave them up to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and hatred. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. Romans 1:27-29!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Devaluing of Human Ingeniuty ~ Insults to the Social Imagination!

 the mind is a terrible thing to waste...

Years ago, many people were schooled by their surroundings and or by their 'tribe/local community'. Years ago, children were home schooled and some went on to do quite well even without college. And, years ago, the idea of education and or the idea of going to 'school' was considered a means to discipline the mind and body so that loftier thoughts were pursued in spite of fleshly desires. It was a kind of discipline that doesn't not exist today. Rather education today is to equalize and control the masses ... it is not about accepting the best of them and making them into disciplined godly thinkers.

Years ago, many children were given a Bible to read and encouraged to study the Bible. Some were taught to read by parents, grandparents or school teachers. And, sometimes, they were self taught driven by an inner mechanism to learn about the world around them. The human mind is an amazing instrument, a kind of Ai that either has good hard wiring or not so good as this is a fallen world. But, it is likely just different hard wiring through exchange of information in the place it is received and implemented. And, that is by design!

So the, what does that mean for in terms of being a 'genius' and given that can every child or human mind be a genius? What is genius? It is only that which is socially agreed upon as incredible and or out of the ordinary information having been generated, received and implemented in a place with success that benefits not only the one but the many. We know that the human mind in its social imagination exists in relation to other like minds and in its surroundings which means that the information exchanged in a place is received and shared intimately to ensure positive reception and implementation thereof for the good of the group in the place where they are.

There is a radical destructive devaluing of this which we have called - human ingenuity. It is by those that seek control over humanity. It is instigated by those who seek control over others and it is executed from the top down. It is not information for/by the people in the place they are.  It is other information brought in by those who seek to control - information that is generated, sent and received as if it is true for people in the place where they are. But, it is from places other than the place a person finds him or herself in. This means that information is coming from outside and is being imposed upon in order to control people in the place where they are.

What does this devaluing look like? It looks like ungodly experts, institutions, organizations, huge corporations and politics.  These entities are largely composed by the group we can call - elites. They do not trust others and nor do they want to as in doing so they could lose their positions of power and or prestige. So, they either impose information which they control as in condemn, demonize, reject or punish or ban other kinds of information. Thus, they devalue the human being in the place where he/she is and also devalue human ingenuity. They get people on board with their agenda in order to control them telling people that they have the wrong information and or they need to have better information - their information.

They being elites, control means to success and they want control of people's access to success, their success. They label all the so called 'wrong' information and provide people with 'new' information. They use fear tactics and sympathy also to lure people from trusting their own instincts so to speak and lamb onto theirs. They make it seems like most people are idiots, ignorant masses that need experts and laws to protect them, guided controlled education to make them equal to everyone else and they make it all sound too good to be true... cause it is.

People can and do know what is best for them in the place where they are and even if they suffer a bit or take risks, it is theirs to overcome and theirs to gain from. For sure, they are no worse for the wear of it, struggle for a better life that they create for themselves in the place where they are. You can say that they don't have resources, they don't this or that. Not everyone has everything in the place where they are but if they have the right to access human ingenuity, they will come up with incredible means to make a better place where they are rather than wait to be told or have what is theirs taken from them - the human mind in it social imagination!

Hope you're not one of those people that 'poo-poo' other people's ideas for life/living because you think your ideas and your university's / company's ideas and or ways are better for people in the place where they are...Or, you feel sorry for people as it seems they don't have any idea at all. That's not true! Take a look at these ideas... like most, they arose from ordinary people's ability to make simple observations and improve their life in the place where they are. They did not need an 'elite' or one of their experts, institutions or their corporations ...


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Threats to Constitutional Democracy ~ John Brigham

In 1984, John Brigham wrote a book called, "Civil Liberties and American Democracy." In chapter 7, Brigham writes about threats to American democracy. He states that threats to democracy in America appear to be from three sectors: the elites, the people and the experts. It is so worthwhile to read that instead of completely summarizing, short excerpts will be used.

The first threat is coming from the top - elites. Who are they? They are people who occupy the higher tiers of society because they have either money or power or prestige or they have all three.  Brigham points to them first as they are truly the ones who hold the balance of economic and military power. Among themselves they compete for more money, power and prestige which effect everyone else.

There is no open competition in this scenario and because of that there is an ever constant threat to democracy as they feel that their established order is under threat. Thus, Brigham asserts that we should always be alert to the usurpation of state power, whether it is by unaccountable private interest or under the justification of military emergency.

The second threat comes from the people. Really? Yes, really. Largely because, there is no truth in the masses as Kierkegaard noted. Such a threat comes from those who have no share in the top and what goes on up there. They lack information from the top and form groups of like mindedness because of that. Hence, no truth in the masses... The threat from the bottom should be taken seriously. It is out of alienation from the top, a feeling of hopeless and helplessness. This feeling creates the illusion (real or not) that there is something bigger and menacing that is out to get the little guy, something that wants to take his job, his family, his faith and his life.

The third threat comes from experts. Who are they? In America, Brigham firstly points out lawyers and even judges mostly influenced by elites and politicians and or including other kinds of experts: university administrators, think tank groups, foundation/association/org lobbyists, and even today- journalists that are paid to pull strings for the all the others just named.  Experts can be 'made people'; made by the elites who want to keep their position of power and thus create and control their 'experts' which can be anyone from the list above. Why would anyone allow themselves to be 'made'... to get and keep some kind of position of power and money for themselves.

We can observe these three threats underway, undermining American democracy. Yet, in order to 'really' observe that, one would have to ask was there ever any 'real/true' democracy in America to begin with - a democracy for the people and by the people? It can be doubted that there ever was but most believe that there was at some point a more real democracy having more freedom, more liberty and with that more risk. That can be agreed upon for there was a time when more freedom, more liberty and risk was necessary. It opened the West, it introduced industry, it made America great... didn't it?

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Senses a False 'Sense' of Reality in the Social Imagination

Sense-perception has long been a preoccupation of philosophers. One pervasive and traditional problem, sometimes called “the Problem of Perception”, is created by the phenomena of perceptual illusion and hallucination: if these kinds of error are possible, how can perception be what we ordinarily understand it to be, an openness to and awareness of the world? 

Over the years, thinkers have tackled the problem of the senses as being the determining logic for reality. They argue that we can only know what is real through the senses. But, then one has to ask real to whom. The answer would be only to those that perceive it, right? Yes, and if you ask a number of people to describe what they 'think' they see, each one will describe it differently. The same goes for touching something, smelling something, and hearing.

As a sociologist of classical thought, reality does not exist unless there is 'social' agreement in that we as social creatures/entities know only what/who we are through social interaction and thus come to coexist in a place through agreement of information experienced in a place. Information is as 'data' taken in and exchanged; received through social interaction, accepted or chosen or rejected to be right but only in these of what is agreed on as beneficial information in social context in the moment it is received and passed on... like the game of telephone.

Thus, it is not our senses that provide reality. They are but conduits for receiving information but even in just that act there is no meaning. Meaning happens within the social imagination of social interaction (controlled by social dynamics in the social imagination). What information means is dependent upon what is agreed as important or not and in this activity in the social imagination there is generated a social reality. But even in saying that, there is no one social reality as illustrated in the game of telephone, so it is with in the social imagination in a place.

That is why, information agreed upon in any place is not 100 percent accurate... no, not at all.  It is only accurate as it means something (positive or negative) to a group of people in a place having received information through social interaction and in that have come to agree through social interaction (the experience of social dynamics 'subordination/domination' in the social imagination in a place) that there is something to be agreed on (bad/good).

Whether positive or negative, that something agreed on has meaning for each participating member in the social dynamic of the social imagination in the moment each perceive it.  Whatever it means, is greater than whether it actually exists or not.  Because, whatever that something actually is, we can never really know it outside of 'agreement' reality - in the social imagination.

Therefore, our senses can fool us, they can trick us or rather they can deceive us- deceive our true self because we live in a social imagination. That means we will agree on something only as it has meaning for us in that condition - social imagination. We cannot know what it may or may not mean for us outside of that condition/situation - social imagination.

That is why in any society, when meaning changes, you have 'real' change. But, that does not mean such change is really real or that what has been agreed on as having 'real' meaning is 'really' good for society. Unless, of course, we first agree that the only real meaning lies is an absolute truth for a given society; an absolute truth that is over and above a given society and is accepted by all as the absolute truth in their social imagination; thus guaranteeing that no one in that social imagination can ever be deceived.

 That absolute truth is the Creator - Jesus Christ! He is outside of our perception, our fleshly senses and that means He cannot be corrupted or lead us into a false sense of reality.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rights - Cultural Confusion, Cultural Collapse and Possible Reboot in the Social Imagination!

Previously, it was discussed that cultural confusion is the loss of identity - who you are and are not as an individual in a group. That loss of identity is both a loss for or about the one inasmuch as it is a loss for the many to which the one belongs. Its the loss of knowing who one is and is not that is both the cause of no longer knowing what is right and what is not right and result of cultural confusion regarding - Rights.

Identity comes from being in a place over time, experiencing social interaction in the framework of a social imagination that was born from being in a place over time with others. In that place over time, one and the many come to know themselves from social interaction in place over time and that crystallizes into what works for them, what is right for them and this creates a frame for who they are and are not and what is right and is not right in their social imagination in the place where they are.

From an outsider's view, such social imagination is both sustaining and limiting. Anyone on the outside of any group's social imagination other than their own will likely see limitations for that 'other' social imagination as a the lack of being able to go outside of that particular 'social imagination' to explore something 'new' or other kind of social imagination.

For the group itself which lives within its social imagination confines, limitations can be used as safety nets and comfort zones as borders for identity.  Limitations are after all, part of existing as one among many and in that there is both safety and comfort - sustainability. Even in the Lockean sense, I can only do so much as another person in my group as I exist within a social contract. I am not free to do whatever I want whenever I want. Most people learn this from parents and teachers.

Rights (what is right as in what is fair for one and many comes from ones ability to maintain right conduct within the social contract that one agrees with) are the result of social agreement reality. Rights in this sense are tied intimately to the culture - a group of people in a place who identity with each other in that place. Doing what is right in and for the group keeps you 'in the group'.

Cultural collapse begins as social decay in a place firstly, by the lack of new people being generated... a decrease in the local population; including diaspora to another place whereby other cultural aspects are embraced. Secondly, by influences being imposed from outside by another group and thirdly, by the group itself as it loses faith in who and or what it is and about as the world around it seems to be changing quicker than it is.  The later stems from doubt and questioning what is 'right' and who is 'right' and who deserves to be 'right'.

Let's look at the concept of 'right'. What is right and who is right largely depends on who is in control of the group, who is at the head of the social hierarchy. Who seems to know what to do that provides and or sustains the group. Whether we are talking about kings, religious leaders, political leaders, and even elders/parents this is how it all comes together for the group in the place where they are.

You may argue that what we think of as 'rights' today is not like the described above. But, they are. The description above is the foundation for the next idea to come along... 'right conduct'. You see, if you adopt the 'right conduct' you will get ahead and or recognition in the group and from the one or those that are at the top and have instructed what the right conduct is for the group. This keeps them in power and all others trying to be like them; which, works for and against the group. It works against the group when the adoption of 'right conduct' doesn't seem to pay off for those adopting it. Thus, they rebel. Which usually does not pay off but sometimes it does; i.e. the American colonies revolting against the Kind of England.

Revolt happens when the right conduct no longer pays off for either a few or the masses. For example, when a king or a government tells everyone that suddenly he/they needs more money to fight battles abroad or to support him/them. Or when the people in their past comfort zone fall out of favor with the king or the ruling elite who have a new passion/lust for things which the previous one/elites did not. If you fall out of what the top calls down, you can either lose your rights or gain rights to things you never dreamed of before. That does not mean 'fairness' for all. Only that you were willing to take on the new right.

In the Roman Empire, the strategy was to administer through set rules and regulations who was who and right conduct was expected. Strangers as in those who were not Roman citizens received different treatment compared to those who were not. You had 'rights' as a Roman citizen. This was a lure for many groups/cultures the Roman Empire conquered, to gain obedience ... right conduct got you in.

Rights exist only within social practice... in the social imagination. There are no 'rights' existing outside of that. There is an absolute truth but even in that truth there does not exist what we think of as 'rights' as in deserving of something just because 'I' exist. The only one with such right is the Creator.

So, you see... in the fallen world, when there is cultural confusion its due to a lack of identity tied to what is right conduct in a place by a group of people in that place. As this continues, there is likely cultural collapse on the horizon. Is there a reboot possibility in the social imagination? Yes, when someone establishes what is right conduct. In that, there is loss and gain and not by all in the same way at the same level.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Confused Culture ~ Really it's a Confused Social Imagination

There are discussions today among sociologists about culture transition - what they call 'confused culture'. It is more or less an observed period of transitional values and belief systems. Those values and beliefs that worked in the past, no longer work today and thus what no longer works passes away (or should) so that new ideas can replace the old. This obviously leads some to be confused as with any kind of transition; i.e. a company merger or acquisition.  At first, there are those they may not be willing to let go of the past as it seemed to work for them having been socialized in that value/belief in the past which is no longer useful for the current social climate and or social imagination.

I wrote not to long ago about the work of Cornelius Castoriadus. Essentially, Castoriadus observed  that human beings really don't change; in fact, they can't. But, it appears that they do as they just rearrange people/places and things to suit their current rationale in the social imagination based on the social dynamics of group positioning.

Are humans really so different from the past? No, and their ways of doing thinking and things are not that different from their past social imaginations either unless we are talking about the use of technology in every day life. Technology does modify certain behavior. But, it does not modify meaning in our life; at least, not the extent that we no longer know what it means to be human and have a human social imagination. You see, meaning is everything. What does it mean to be who you are and are not. This should not be confusing.

So, are we really culturally confused these days? Perhaps, we are confused about some things which are not really social but physical. We long for change but what we really want is solidarity and devotion to cause... a purpose for being one among many.  Knowing who we are and are not! And, if there is a confusion about or failure or even rejection to embrace who we are and are not, we look elsewhere to find it; until, we think we have found who we are. Yet, confusion is  a sign of social decay. You could think that sooner or later, we will all stop being confused or risk losing our social imagination all together! In the meaning, as all cultures will lose their social imagination in the place where they are and at the same time.

How could that be possible? In an every growing global community, 'human rights' will be the key to  cultural collapse and the ushering in of a new world order. First, comes the confusion. And, cultural confusion begins with the breakdown of tradition, custom and the idea of what is 'right' in the place where people find themselves.

*Just keep in mind... there is no truth in the masses!

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.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fake News in the Social Imagination...

What is fake news and what is real in the social imagination? That is a fair question. First, let's look at two interesting phenomenon that we experience daily: suggestion and choice. Why? Because, what is labeled fake news is dependent upon those experiences. We like to imagine that we are making a rational choice when we choose certain information over other incoming information. But, is that really the case? Charles H. Cooley made an excellent detailed explanation for what is really happening in our social imagination.

Before, telling you what he detailed, let me first say that for Cooley, all society was and ever will be takes place in the human mind. You can never know society or anything for that matter outside of creative social imagination - social collective thought which is constantly in the comparative elaborate process of mental organization or synthesis which for Cooley was rendered necessary by complexity in the elements of our thought. In its social aspect for all, or nearly all, our choices relate in one way or another to the social environment... it is an organization of comparatively complex social relations.

It does not matter if we are talking about rich people, poor people, local people or those at the top of society in government i.e. The process is the same. They know only what they agree upon through social interaction; as I have written before social reality is agreement reality. We agree that this is this and that is that not because it, as in anything even people, exist in some absolute form known to all immediately, no...certainly not. It is what it is because we agree it is something.

And, it can only be agreed to be something because whatever is going on in that comparative process  suggests meaning and as such brings us to choice. The decision to act 'choose' is not merely made by the individual; no he/she will and cannot act alone. The choice is made by the group and all else follows. Individuals in that group being parts of it feel as if they have made a choice. In this, group event 'process' of which individuals are part, they find the meaning of the group and their part in the group and this seemingly provides an advantage for them personally - what is personal among us.

So, what is fake news in the social imagination? According to Cooley, there is news that for some is fake and for others is real. If all agree it is fake, then it is fake but that does not mean it could never be real for some or even for all at some point in the future. People say "well, there are facts right"! And, I like Cooley would have to ask, "whose facts are you talking about?"

You can say to me that the sun is a star and I will agree and then you will say... you see that is a fact. I will say its only a 'fact' because we agreed. There was a time when the earth was the center of the universe and people agreed that was a fact until Copernicus came along.

When you surf the net or read the papers or listen to the nightly news, you immediately begin to sort what you will accept and what you won't accept whether or not it is true or not. I know people that will swear up and down that so and so said that and guess what... so and so never did. Or if I point that so and so did say that, those same people will say they never heard of it or can't remember ever hearing that.

There is a helpline being offered on some social media platforms which will guide you through how to detect fake news from real news. Can you imagine that? I can if we are talking about social engineering. What a great way to get people to think the way you want them to. Isn't that what news is about anyway. Of course, we want to see the news about our favorite sport teams doing well in the playoffs, and we want to see the news about our elected officials doing well or screwing up in the case we did not check the box by their name.

You will have to decide in the end? Which news you will base your life on and which news you won't because in the end that's all anyone can do. So, keep your ears open and your eyes on things that you think will get you where you want to go. Oh, as far as using other opinions or fact checkers... guess what? They are in agreement reality as well and can only go by what they can agree is real or not.

Facts are only what we agree they are as received in a certain order and who agrees upon that makes them a fact. You cannot know facts outside of social agreement - social reality. Why? Because, they don't exist outside of the social imagination. You can never know it... as you can never be outside of the framework of social imagination; what Cooley called = our choices which relate in one way or another to the social environment through the mechanism of suggestion... it is an organization of comparatively complex social relations. And, that much is a fact!

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Strangeness of Change in the American Social Imagination....

For a sociologist, it is very interesting to observe social change. In America, we can see change everywhere and it is not 'new'. Change is somehow purported as 'new' or what we need right here and now. The funny thing is that Americans think that they love change as they are always on the move, 'changing' or at least they think they are. Social change is not really change. One of my favorite classical social theorist is Cornelius Castoriadis. He wrote a book from his observations of society titled - The Imaginary Institution of Society: 1975.

One of Castoriadis' many important contributions to social theory was the idea that social change emerges through the social imaginary without strict determinations, but in order to be socially recognized it must be instituted as revolution.  Why? Because, the individual radical imagination and the social imagination can only be joined in a mass as in massive collective demonstration for change in order that it come to fruition for the one and for the group as both exist within the mass of social imagination. 

Especially, since  the social imaginary at large cannot be reduced or attributed to a subjective imagination, since the individual is informed through an internalization of social significations - subjected to and a product of socialization. The social imaginary of the one is as much his/hers as it is the groups'; necessarily, for the individual to even have a social imagination of him/herself. 
By that, we can sense that Castoriadis meant that societies, together with their laws and legalizations, are founded upon a basic conception of the world and man's place in it. Traditional societies had elaborate imaginaries, expressed through various creation myths, by which they explained how the world came to be and how it is sustained... for the one and the group.

Capitalism did away with this mythic imaginary by replacing it with what it claims to be pure reason. That same imaginary is, interestingly enough, the foundation of its opposing ideology, Communism.
Does that mean 'change' is what we think it is or just a matter of rolling over in the bed of social interaction tired from sleeping 'being' on one side for too long. I think the later. 

And, Castoriadis seem to conclude the same. It means that as much as the individual thinks of change for him/herself radically, it is not so from a bird's eye from of change within a group. Names and or positions can change and so one's thinking about a change ... which is really a need for something other than the same ole same ole after being in a place for a long time. But, the individual in the 'group' simply longs to assert their imagination in way that they gives them in their social reality/imagination only a new view on the same thing. 

We say we like change but rather we still prefer what is safe and familiar like our bed in which or where sleeping on the same side gets old. So, we just roll over and nothing more. Social change cannot and will never be more than that and quite often the individual in that experience can feel as if something happened when nothing happened... and well it did and it didn't.  

We ourselves as Americans are experiencing that now - 'change' and though it maybe called that it is change like any other so called change that we have experienced in the recent past and in the long ago past as well.  We read about change and either weep or rejoice that we/you are still who you are and are not. Why/how? The imaginary institution of society thus is understood... the individual thinks that change has finally come about and it has been somehow a radical change through their initiative toward change being a self- labeled 'social movement  warrior'.  Really?

What has actually happened in the end is only imagined. There is no radical change, only what was is somehow different but not really. One could call it transition from one arrangement to another of the same sort. And, not even a funny or somehow 'profound' beer commercial will ever fundamentally reconstruct society. Because, any society that sees itself as such a 'society' has only growing pains for  'change' ... better, what is simply the desire to roll over and sleep on the other side for awhile. And, as strange as it may sound, there is some kind of social justice in that kind of social change.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The American Kitchen ~ No More Chicken Soup at Home in the Social Imagination

Given years of observations made, it can be concluded that the American household kitchen is no longer the heart of the home in terms of acquiring sustenance there; it is more the place to meet up for conversation... if that. It more than often appears to be either a showcase of cabinetry, lacking in the appearance of any cooking as in having a 'brand new' appearance or a buffet of junk food on the counter, unwashed dishes in the sink and though the stove is dirty it is not from cooking but rather from accumulating dust from being unused.

Is the due to the fact, that American women are less and less opting to be 'housewives' as in being the CEO of home economics? If that is the case, is that due to a lack of appreciation for such a position? Perhaps, that is exactly the case. There has been sold a bill of goods to Americans, men and women, for some time now that what takes place in the home is secondary to ones life, work being primary.

Work provides things for the home to make home life less like 'work' but is caring for the family work? Depends on how you look at it or rather how 'they' want you to look at it. Who is they? The ruling elite, progressives and anyone who does not want the individual to be self-sustaining at home.
Why? Because, it is to their advantage to divide and conquer the individual in the place where they are. In that scenario, it is more easy to control them which to elites equals 'the masses'. To make them dependent upon the system is the ultimate goal.

Work does provide some with a 'better' home life if we think about bigger TV monitors, an extra car, an inground pool, a spotless kitchen as dining out is preferred and vacations to destination that can be bragged about. Let's return to the kitchen which used to be the center of home life. As just stated above, most American kitchens either don't get used or they get abused. There are so few that could be called homey or friendly in the sense or meaning that one clearly sees meals are made with love and eaten as a family.

Today, the idea is to eat fun stuff at breakfast, lunch and dinner and even breakfast foods are being sold as all three... top a carrot soup with fruit loops is touted as extraordinary gourmet home cooking.

It is sad to walk into a home... kitchen with junk food sprawled out on the counter and the stove unused... collecting dust. In general, it is been observed all too often that the American home and especially the kitchen is either or both unclean, unkept and unloved ... When college students were asked if their mom cooks at home or if they know how to cook at home, only a few raised their hands. And, out of every 30 (per classroom) only two or three could even say how to make chicken soup from scratch; let alone give a reason why they would want to cook soup at home.

There does appear in some instances, a concern for better food cooked at home or 'eaten' at home. In these kitchens, one can see in fridges or on counters: a variety of fruits, berries, spinach leaves, carrots, avocados, whole wheat crackers, nuts, yogurt and the blender... for smoothies of course. But, again... where is the pot of chicken soup, or at least the crockpot of meat and potatoes?  From time to time, there is but not on a daily basis as it should be.

And, why should it be that way you ask/argue? Because, for a stable society, human beings as human individuals must be loved, encouraged and have a solid point of departure to come and go from in this world which was in times past the home. It was recognized that the family was the heart of society and relied on the heart of the home -  the kitchen with someone in it, someone to be there as the source of all quality of life, nutrition and well being.

Could robots become that 'someone'? Likely, as we have been informed the robots are coming. Will chicken soup be made by them? Who knows... the social imagination has surely been captivated by them among other things. Perhaps, a 'good' robot as the 'head' of the household and kitchen may insist that they come home, going only to and from. A controlled family is better than no family and or an uncontrolled one...

You see, in the social imagination society remains solidly based on the family. And, perhaps a controlled family run by a robot will be like old times, and be able to guarantee a 'chicken in every pot' or certainly, sold as the idea of that being the ideal 'family life' and certainly the ideal method of control.

Could one ascertain that was the method before... only mom and dad were at the helm? Yes one could. You decide or we can imagine society will now decide which is best for the family.