Friday, February 10, 2017

Social Spheres

I wish I could remember the name of a thinker who made a big point out of how easy it was for social theorists, especially those in the grand theory tradition, to forget all about the day to day and its travails. And if the 'day to day' requires definition call it "everyday life and its practices." I think what happens is that the high flyers find that same solace many get from religion in building an idea around versions of the inevitable. It means they don't have to think too much and it turns something that makes no sense whatsoever into something that has to make sense because it's "just the way things are" and when it becomes increasingly apparent that things aren't quite what they're supposed to be according to the grand scheme, then obviously it's the product of an anomaly which has to be exorcised incase it prevents the inevitable which would be a disaster to those for whom the inevitable makes sense. Call it something like Maladies des Elites, to give it veritas, but probably easier just to think of it as an Old Man Having a Tantrum because the everyday no longer fits the story line.

Not certain, but I suspect this thinker was a German, might even have been an Austrian, and he could even be still alive. His other point as I understand it had to do with how to be empirical rather than being totally fantastic when it came to an understanding of us people. There used to be a school of thought that tried to place our many and erratic behaviors into categories so they could be rationally identified, explained and  everyone could relax. It fell out of fashion, primarily because it was very boring and depressing, and was replaced by a more neurological approach that experimented on people by essentially poking us with sticks and taking detailed notes of how we reacted. Oddly, and this is very shocking, all of us when put in pretty much the same circumstance, pretty much react the same way. Which is why understanding the value of grasping everyday life and its practices, and our reaction to it, is a central feature in any analysis of us people. Not so long ago the whole area had been massively simplified by asking one of our many and illustrious saviors whether or not they knew the price of a loaf of bread. These days, I suspect, everyone knows the answer they'll get and it still walks on water. I think it was Saint David of Wales who talked about the "little things" and that was a good few centuries ago. Habermas, that's his name.

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