Re: Durkheim redux

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sat 07 May 2005 - 22:17:57 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "body dysmorphic disorder ("bigorexia" or the "Adonis complex"?)"

    --- Kenneth Van Oost <> wrote:

    > From: Scott Chase <>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Saturday, April 16, 2005 8:09 PM
    > > Maybe not so much across cultures, but more so
    > within
    > > a culture (or a nation). We could each perceive
    > the
    > > world through lenses similar to others in our
    > > respective countries when it comes to matters of
    > > patritotism and national pride. Taking it down a
    > few
    > > notches, we might perceive sports similarly to
    > fellow
    > > fans of a certain team. The sports franchise is a
    > > social institution and we identify with it and get
    > > pulled in by emblems, mascots and songs and share
    > > these socifacts with fellow fans, just as we share
    > a
    > > comon flag and national anthem with other
    > citizens.
    > Maybe overdue, but...
    > Hm, I doubt the sense of collectiviness within your
    > explanation, Scott !
    > Like you know, I ain 't that keen on what is called
    > " being
    > obedient as part of a collective project or as part
    > of the common
    > will. "
    > I like more what Rousseau stands for, " I obey
    > myself and only
    > myself in those parts that any collective project '
    > wants ' me to or
    > in those parts that the common will ' asks ' me
    > to."
    > That does ask a lot more from myself... self-
    > responsibility, tole-
    > rance and an open mind, but I do think there is more
    > to say about
    > being in harmony with a collective project (
    > society) than simply
    > follow the rules. My self- building scheme via
    > Memes- concept
    > just fits right in.
    > On the other hand, thus in my mind there is no '
    > collective Self '
    > like C. Taylor argued.
    > That people are moved by disasters or over the death
    > of a Princess
    > is no point, but the notion that just a thing like a
    > collective self ' exist
    > '
    > is too much_ each of us individual is and has been
    > conditioned by past
    > informative input and is cascaded forward, and thus
    > responds accordingly,
    > due to those past info.
    > Collectively, we see a people mourn, but we look at
    > the wrong marker,
    > again !
    > We could even say, that the mourning is a by-
    > product of evolutionary
    > genetic and memetic lineages to get people ( who in
    > other circumstances
    > were alone on their tiny island) together.
    > Your sports example just shows that.
    > To get people in the mood for freaks like Hitler/
    > Jones or Pol Pot,
    > people must IMO deny who they are, or forced
    > it all up,
    > and neither in cases of sport or by the tsunami or
    > by the death of
    > Diana that is what happened.
    > In the specific case of < 30 Germany, that is what
    > people did, they
    > finally denied who they really were, and one and
    > only fragment of
    > what Germany stood for ( the heritage of the Weimar
    > Replublik),
    > nationalism and patriotism were blown up beyond
    > comprehension
    > ( Deutsche Kündigkeit and Deutschland über alles
    > came instead)
    > by Hitlers propaganda machine ( although Germany
    > past history
    > played its role too and people ' believed' that they
    > were more human
    > ( übermensch) than men himself.
    > We all know the result....
    I agree that individualism could be an antidote to some of the uglier sides of collectivism. And we act in many cases as individuals distinct from others, but at some point when do we plug into the Borg cube and assimilate into the collective mass? I wish I was more familiar with the sociologists' collective behavior theories at the present time. What happens in a big group of people to the sense of individuality?

    And even as individuals we still share instititions and ideologies, stuff that one might be able to look at as collective representations. Maybe we act more autonomously from society than the overridding philosophy of sociology would give us credit for, but there are cases when we might forget who we are and go along with the flow (like the infamous wave at a sporting event or waving the "Terrible Towel" at a Steelers game or booing the umpire).

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