Saturday, September 23, 2006

welcome to hell

i think it is noble to consider new ways of assisting people; I have been trying this for years. Recently, though, I have to admit, I have been asking towards what purpose? Having new resources implies alleviation, not eradication; and if all we are doing is alleviating (not a bad thing in itself), then aren't we really colluding in the process of keeping the organizational constraints going? Again, not a new thought.

I am not convinced that people will act any differently just because they have more or new resources. There are many resources that are available today. I would further that thought by noting that many people may not know about them, may not see a reason to access them, etc., and so they never use them.

I think that this latter points speaks to social control; we are all under its' effects whether we acknowledge it or not. Social control serves to maintain the organization. It is irrelevant what the organization is, who it benefits, what the purpose is, social control(s) continue to maintain it. Ironically, social control lies in us, not in the ether somewhere. Seemingly, since it lies within us, it should be easy to change; but that's the rub, isn't it? It's not.

Certainly there are insitutional arrangements that work overtly toward its maintenance, but there are those other, covert mechanisms that are far more pervasive, subtle, and insidous. Those mechanisms are utlized each day, buy us, but how many of us recognize the part we play in the maintenance of the existing social order? The same order that requires new and innovative resources to counter its effects? How many of us pay attention to our own efforts to exert social control?

I do a lecture in my Intro class on propaganda; I reference "Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion." Note the following quote:

"Propaganda is the communication of a point of view with the ultimate goal of having the recipient of the appeal come to volunatarily accept this position as if it were his or her own."

Sound familiar? Internalization of cultural ideas, beliefs, norms, etc., that we "accept as if [they] were [our] own" — hmmm, we call that socialization, don't we? And once those ideas are "ours," we can become willing to die for them; pretty powerful stuff.

If we essentially, participate in our own collective restraint, and we are completely unaware that we are doing it, how is anything supposed to change? I don't see any practical way of accomplishing the structural changes that are needed to eradicate the need for alleviation.

No comments: