We are in the situation where we are not in social reality – and by that I mean that our explanation of what is happening in social reality does not match the anthropological facts about what is happening in social reality. However, that’s not what bothers me right now. It has bothered me a great deal in the past but what bothers me now is that no one seems to know that.
You would think that out of all of the billions of people on earth there could at least have been enough to recognise that we’re not in social reality and then some, or one of those could have put pen to paper or keyboard to document to mention the simple and yet revolutionary fact that we’re not in social reality. Oh, and for such a memoir to find it’s way to my eyes.
The fact that it hasn’t is not due to lack of trying on my behalf. I have looked up many books on what might be the subject as well as tried numerous Google searches on keywords that might be relevant to such an enquiry. That’s all pretty much come to nothing.
Google is usually pretty good. Normally if you put something in you’re going to get what you’re looking for. Even if you don’t know what that thing is called. For instance if I put into Google “That pole that sticks out of a water tank” I can be at “Water tank level indicator” on the second result. That didn’t take long! It didn’t take a lifetime.
A good example of what it would be like is if we were in a completely theist society, and there was a person who one day wondered “What if god doesn’t exist?” So they looked for books, news articles, blogs and web sites that might say something about that question and drew a blank. Well you can try it. It certainly doesn’t draw a blank. It actually auto-fills it in for you before you can even finish typing.
And a whole lot of stuff comes up. Actually one of them is quite good:
“I have often wondered how a materialist philosopher sees his wife and family. Does he see his children as little opportunistic Darwinian parasites?
Does he see himself and his wife not as a loving human couple but as two organisms somehow enslaved to the biological program hard-wired into his brain, mediated by various hormones and reinforced by cultural norms?
Anyway, for all of its transparent absurdity, it appears that we live in a society that is in danger of succumbing to this view of life.”
Well don’t worry about it Tom, although you have correctly described reality, people, even “materialist philosophers” in fact don’t see things like that. I wish they would! That would be getting somewhere near the truth.
Now if I am to change my search to “What if social reality doesn’t exist?” Google just gives me some stuff about quantum physics. Worthy but irrelevant. It ignores the social as if to say ‘Of course social reality exists. It’s physical reality that doesn’t exist!’
(Actually I’m not trying to say that social reality doesn’t exist but rather that it’s typically rather different from what we consciously perceive.)
Those sorts of searches however have an downside as a comparison, in that to say something doesn’t exist you’ve got to have a concept of that thing. Yet even if people both have the same concept, if they don’t have a shared language they may not hit on the right words to try and describe the concept, which are then findable by someone else.
For instance, if someone didn’t have a concept of God and they independently thought of it, they might try and search under the words they would ascribe to their concept to see if someone else had the same concept.
So let’s think about that. If I didn’t know the word for ‘God’ and I had that concept, what words would I use to try and describe that concept? Let’s say I call it ‘big invisible being’ how does that go in Google? Actually I don’t get God with “big invisible being” in Google. That’s actually quite encouraging! I might try something else. How about: “a being that is everywhere at once”?
That gets me God on the first page:
See? So even if you don’t have the words, by describing the concept you can generally easily get to the concept as thought about by other people. So why no joy with social reality? That question will have to be continued on another day.