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