I’m thinking about all of this stuff, and I decided that I would share my framework of how I view the world. This may sound like babble, but there’s a reason for that.
Anyway, I was thinking about how I view the world. I realized how selfish I am, which I blame on consumerism, and thought about how I only care about what’s immediately around me. But then I thought about it a little bit more, and I realized, that is all that matters, on a myopic level. I mean, there’s nothing more for me to evaluate. Sure, my opinions are changed by knowledge I have of other things in the world, but if it weren’t for what was immediately around me at any given time, it would all literally mean nothing to me… and that really made me think.
I truly believe that everything that is “real” is determinant on my perception of those “realities”. I wouldn’t know about anyone else’s reality, unless it was somehow brought to my attention. Therefore, it still holds true that no other reality exists except for the perception I have of my own reality. This applies to everyone. Your perception determines your constitution. Through popularity, there are universal truths in these perceptions, and this is why I hold democratic ideals in such high regard; the more widely accepted perception about a concept or opinion, the more “truth” there is to it (I say this because if you’re judging everything with the knowledge that reality is determinant on your perception, then there are no objective truths).
This taught me two things about myself. First, that literally whatever my perception is of any given thing, whether I found out about it on the news or saw it right next to me, then and only then is it brought it into reality. Secondly, that if I wanted, I could make anything true if I deemed it true. If I like something, or think it is important, I’m probably going to consider that “reality”. If I share it with my friends, or force it upon the people immediately around me (and those of you who know me know that I love to force my opinions on people), I can affect their perception of that thing as either important or worthless, simultaneously bringing it into their own “reality”.
If I extrapolate this theory to everyone outside of that, then that also means everyone’s reality is however they perceive it to be, and they impact however many people they share this miscellaneous item with. To influence them, you must give them a perception of whatever impact you want to have on them (I learned all of this from television. Mostly through advertising. Which I despise, don’t ya just hate commercials?). So now, try to take that in. The good news is that this theory means as long as you are valued in the popular opinion, you can make a lasting impact on the general public. Through these interpersonal transactions, only then are societal “realities” constructed.
This framework begs the question, do you actually care about anything that’s around you, that doesn’t directly benefit you? If something more important came up in your life, would your priorities change? Say you were a person in Africa who was near death, and the local doctor told you he was leaving to go help the people in Japan affected by the earthquake(s) and tsunami (and nuclear disaster that the government is mishandling), how would your perception of the incident in Japan be? How you experience something is going to evoke an emotional reaction, on whatever the level. Those emotional reactions determine how you react. Say because the doctor left to Japan, you somehow found another doctor, you might be a little more sympathetic towards the people of Japan. Say you couldn’t find another doctor; would you care about Japan any more? Also, notice that I chose to look for another doctor right away. Basic survival instincts.
I only care about myself, and when it comes down to it, I am the most important person in any given environment. But if I acted on that basic understanding, I would wear Tap Out shirts and flex-fit hats. Regardless, the basic understanding, that I’m number one, reaffirms that I have a basic instinct for survival. So before anything, I must have that understanding, and so must everyone in the world; so when you think about any other person, you also know their most fundamental needs (and should give you some insight into their opinions). I’m putting this first, because as long as you realize that you only have to be selfish when you need something for your survival, determines your next basic understanding:
The next thing to evaluate is how to survive. Everything that affects my life is how I survive. By the goods, services, and transactions I have in my every day life, like food, water, etc., the next most important facet of life to assess is the system that makes all of that possible: economics. Therefore, right after your basic survival instincts comes your economic paradigm. Really, the only two pragmatic paradigms currently are between capitalism and socialism. Socialism, which is just now being instituted in it’s most democratic sense in the EU, versus the unchecked capitalism that is ruining our country :S.
After you determine how you evaluate economics, everything in the social realm can be evaluated. How we help, or ignore, our fellow members of society stems from our paradigm for the economy. Socialism clearly emphasizes societal progression, whereas capitalism emphasizes personal capital.
1. Realizing that reality only comes into existence from your immediate surroundings, and your opinions/perception of everything that has ever affected you, allows you to make moral decisions about everything thereafter. It serves more as a foundation for viewing everything else. After I realized exactly what I meant (I originally thought of dubbing it “perceptual reality”), I found out that this is actually called phenomenology.
2. Your view of economics, or your means of survival, precedes any social views you may implore. This is due to the fact that your basic instinct to survive, and help the people important to you (hopefully), is such a critical and fundamental instinct that is innate in every living creature.
3. Your political, social, and cultural views are a large reflection of the type of economy you agree with. I would argue that people who urge for capitalism are selfish people, mostly due to the quickness that capitalists are to implore that it is not anyone’s right to “take my money”. Capitalists, that care more about the individual, are less likely to be advocates of civil liberty issues, government regulation, and social programs, like welfare (because of taxes). Socialists emphasize holistic progression, and are probably more likely to advocate equality, taxation, and democracy.
You may be wondering if my foundation for this framework, “phenomenology”, contradicts my emphasis on social progression, because after all, your immediate surroundings should constitute your evaluation of the world (the thought that the only reality is based on your personal perception is seemingly selfish in itself). But I don’t believe “phenomenology” and altruism are mutually exclusive. In fact, I believe guilt and your conscious should be a check against selfishness, and should, at some level, affect your perception and stream of consciousness about your immediate surroundings.
This is all really hard to articulate in one post, so this will be a work in progress, and will probably be constantly evolving. I hope that I get some feedback on this.