Saturday, May 20, 2017

Social inclusion

It seems to me that the bar can be set very high to feel like you belong.  Nothing is given in at least our suburban and urban worlds.  You have to conform to mutable trends of fashion.  You have to dress a certain way, act a certain way, be familiar with various types of media, have goals that align with the dominant--but mutable--group consensus.

This is the Gesellschaft/Gemeinschaft distinction Ferdinand de Tonnies drew.

Many critics of what they call "Capitalism" point to the transactional nature of our social relatedness, how people are seen for their values of various sorts.  Perhaps they offer a means to social climbing, which is to say, a means of bolstering a fragile and highly contingent ego through the means of attaining the envy and admiration of others.

Perhaps the people you meet on the golf course provide a means to making money.

Perhaps you are just lonely, and need someone to fill the slot "friend", without really knowing what this could mean, or what could be built if you both only had more vision.

When one is "nested" in a Gemainschaft, you are to some extent unfree.  Belonging comes with commitments, with expectations of behavior which are NOT mutable, not negotiable.

But it does seem to me that in some respects stable, rooted social orders also provide more freedom.  Take as one example the treatment of "madness" in various societies.  Within many traditional societies behavioral forms which would get one imprisoned in a madhouse here, and heavily medicated, are treated as emergences of something qualitatively new, and potentially highly useful.  Most shamans go through periods of "madness" to earn their titles as wise men and women.

Where to go and what to do in a highly successful economic order are, or can be, very confusing questions.  There are so many possibilities.

I have things to say on this, and of course have said many things, but my introspection on our world continues.  I do believe a life philosophy built on first principles rooted in science is possible.

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