talkendo: (wuh oh)
[personal profile] talkendo
Well, this is new. We're in the introductory week to Philosophy of Religion; I was describing my academic focus on Human Identity, which has me looking a lot into how each of locates ourselves within and around a whole host of institutions, when someone responded to a comment about humans forming networks which become institutions by saying: "Or the big daddy [of] all -- peaceful societies."

Before I knew what I was doing, I replied:

"I tend to view societies as networks of institutions with the purpose of structuring daily existence and reproducing a given ordering of human existence through time. There is always resistance to any given order, particularly any order that presumes inequality. As such, the institutions charged with protecting that order will tend to violently suppress that resistance, until such time as it is either eradicated or a change to the institution itself takes place. Keeping all that in mind: I don't think humanity has ever constructed a society that could be deemed peaceful. Such a thing would require (at minimum) an ordering of society that truly privileged no one group over another, that made true room for individual autonomy and desire, and placed value in enriching humanity, individually and collectively rather than in economic activity.

My current work is in individuals (singly and in collective), institutions and the ways in which the struggle between these two entities affects how we view each."

Hmm, about that. I don't think I've ever intentionally, either publically or privately, admitted that I don't think of society as peaceful. I mean, there are social niceties we observe as a means of not always exercising violence on one another. There are systems and orders we follow because they make things easier. But a society is about imposing an order. There will always be those outside that order (individual motives for being outside that order are quite irrelevant here); the society, rather the institutions charged with protecting that social order, will react violently to re-establish that order.


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January 2015

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