Welcome to Alternative Ideas...

Providing a platform for new and different voices...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Initial Post: On questioning reality

If the world as a social entity as we see it today ‘ended’ and all that remained of our literary and philosophical tenets was a few scattered books of the Star Wars franchise, not even the whole story but pieces of it, what would the new belief system that arose from it look like? We can laugh at it now, but only because we ‘know’ better. Today’s society is just like this, fact today is tomorrow’s humor. The incomplete pieces to a new puzzle that we don’t even know exists yet. Today, our ‘reality’ is complete fact, until tomorrow we find out that world actually isn’t flat…

This is not a new line of thought, but it is an important one. Reality is what we see and accept today as that ‘fact’. But reality could just as easily be something completely different. We believe what we are taught and what see, but that does not mean that it must be reality or that it is set in stone. The story of life is often said to be through the eyes of the beholder – in many stories this is the victor. Obviously we should be challenging these notions, critiquing the world in front of us and working to create an alternative that we are more comfortable with.

Over time with this blog I hope to question this system, lay out some philosophical tenets, and work towards creating a future system that we can then strive to achieve.

I am not interested in taking a system from the past and trying to revisit it under a different name or place, but to look at systems throughout time and try to assess what has ‘worked’, what has not ‘worked’, and what may have worked well together. With this type of analysis it is possible to try to construct an alternative system that may be more conducive to all human – and other – life on earth. Obviously this is a monumental task and one for a lifetime/lifetimes. But the effort must be made as the world’s present focus rests on dressing its wounds rather than treating the causes of the wounds – systemic causes.

I subscribe to the basic principle that "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness." The basic premise to this is that we do not create ourselves, we do not make our foundational core, but rather that the social order that we grow up in, what we are taught in life, what we see and hear happen, etc, all shapes who we are and the decisions that we make. Yes of course, we then make our own make day-to-day choices, but these decisions are based on an upbringing that is not of our choice and do not allow us to decide where those decisions come from.

This bring us back to the systemic nature. The way we see the world today is based on the socio-cultural systems that we grow up in. Why do Americans, Russians, Chinese, others primarily believe that their country is the best? It certainly isn’t because of any concretely accepted ‘factual’ tenet; it is because a nationalistic fervor has slowly been ingrained into our world order since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648. This is not to say that competitive regional pride did not exist prior to this, but it is now global and national. On an individual level this of course can extend down to our own individual relationships, products, and beliefs. We all believe what we are ‘grown’ to believe.

There are always anomalies that extend their curiosities beyond simple learning, but for the most part, we are all products of the system we grow up in and confined to its parameters. If one grows up believing that competition between individuals is of paramount importance to society progressing, then it will be tough for you to go against years of indoctrination and the people that dot your social life, and believe something otherwise. It is an uphill battle to fight against this. But that is exactly where we find our selves in society today.

It does not take the most intelligent person to look at the world and see that we are not in a good place. War and conflict have been increasing in scope and practice over the last several centuries. But this still is not the point; war and conflict pervade human history. But this des not in-fact mean that it is inherent to human existence. If it is possible to socialize people and society, then it must be possible to create a ‘truly’ civilized society that is more beneficial to all and rewards individuals for looking and acting beyond their most basic individualistic animal tendencies.

The modern socio-economic system marks this ‘individual’ as primary and the community as something secondary that will ‘rise’ automatically with each individuals’ own success. This method has found success in mainstream culture, and via material reward. But is this the best longer term method for happiness amongst the masses? Communitarian methods such as communism have not shown the material results that ‘free’ systems have. But does there have to be one or the other? Individual versus community? Free versus dictatorial? What if ingrained within the motivations of humanity, equal importance was given to both the individual and the community. That a person was equally rewarded in the freedom of their choice for thinking communally – if communal thinking was in fact individually the most rewarding? What if it was a win-win situation, not me or the community?

Some people may say this exists, but it is very difficult to ignore the essence of a thing and what this means for most probable outcomes. Ultimately our society produces people that – at their core – will put themselves, their family, their country, and their situation above another’s. It is this individualistic, nature that does not foster cooperation, but competition and in-turn increases the likelihood of conflict. This competition may create growth, as one may want to ‘outdo their neighbor’, but that is not the world that I want to live in. I don’t want to be trying to be better than my neighbors; I want us both to be happy so as to bring a much more harmonious life to us both. Therefore decreasing the chances of conflict, minimizing stress, and most likely causing more happiness…

This blog is obviously not extensive or detailed, it is an opening word designed to set a broad agenda for its future. There aren’t cohesive and conclusive statements in this post, simply observations, incomplete thoughts, and questions. It is not about whether they are right or wrong, sourced or otherwise, but they are constructive thoughts to move forward with. Let each of us build upon them with more thoughts – for transition is impossible if you have nothing to transition too. We must create ‘B’, our ideal social setting first, and then we can worry about transitioning from ‘A’ to that idyllic ‘B’.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep all comments and queries cooperative, constructive, and supportive in nature... Attacking, biting, or non-constructive comments will be removed. We want to build upon ideas, not tear them down...