Using the system: post-idealist realism

Use the system

“Yes, I understand that my car won’t start, but you do not understand what I am saying. My car SHOULD start! That would just be so much more convenient for me….”

Computer Desk and Hutch

Computer Desk and Hutch (Photo credit: Scott Beamer)

I’m using a computer system right now. Which is more important: how it actually is operating or how I think that it should be operating, like based on some ideals or presumptions that are familiar to me from my past? Present or past: which is more important right now?

In our midst is a social system (including various social institutions). Which is more important: how the social social is actually functioning or how we think that it should be functioning? Realism or idealism: which is really more important?

Caricature of The Hon Sir Matthew Ingle Joyce ...

Caricature of The Hon Sir Matthew Ingle Joyce (1839-1930). Caption read “steady-going”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are a few ways to relate to a system: as a raging enemy trying to destroy it, as a frightened victim trying to avoid it, as a guilt-ridden revolutionary trying to correct it desperately to compensate for my guilt and to hopefully earn my way in to heaven, and so on. How about this: as a participant partnering with the system?

I am physically a physiological system, like an organism with a system of organs. Which is more important: how the organism is actually working or how anyone thinks that it might be working or claims that it should be working or asserts that it could not possibly be working? Which is more important: reality or ideals, ideology, presumptions, labels, declarations, claims?

The reality about ideals is that ideals in language do exist. Ideals exist in language. Maybe one ideal is that ideals should not exist, but they do. One extremely ironic ideal is the ideal that ideals should not exist. It is the climax of hypocrisy.

Ideals are a normal and predictable phenomenon in language and consciousness. We learn to labels various patterns and then we naturally presume that all labeling is accurate and even lasting.

Let’s say that the weather is a system. Which is more important: the reality of the weather system or my ideals (labels) relating to the weather system?

I know I am being repetitive so far. That is because I want to be clear about the issue of arrogance and vanity. When I relate to anything as if it should already be how I expect or prefer or wish, that is arrogant vanity.

“The weather should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “The weather is not how I expected it” is humble, with curiosity and learning possible.

“This computer system should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “This computer system is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

“My physiological functioning should be how I expected it” is delusion, sin, hysteria. “My physiological functioning is not exactly how I expected it to be” is innocent.

Judiciary Committee Hearing in Wilmington

Judiciary Committee Hearing in Wilmington (Photo credit: senatorchriscoons)

Now let’s consider the social system. That includes things like the economy, the court system, the media, and the education system.

“This economy should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “This economy is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

Caricature of Sir James Bacon (1798-1895). Cap...

Caricature of Sir James Bacon (1798-1895). Caption read “Contempt of Court”. Bacon was Commissioner of Bankruptcy for London and later Chief Judge in Bankruptcy, Vice Chancellor, Judge of the High Court, Member of the Privy Council. Obituary : http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/9361092?searchTerm=James+Bacon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“This court system should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity (AKA “contempt”). “This court system is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

“The media should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “The media is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

“The education system should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “The education system is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

Let’s try the same process with your parents, your neighbors, and your pets. “Your parents, your neighbors, and your pets should conform to my expectations about how it would be really convenient for me if they already were so that I do not need to pay attention or adapt or learn or think.” That is arrogant vanity. “Your parents, your neighbors, and your pets are not how I expected them to be” is humble and open.

Which one is the ideal we have been taught? “Be like little children: humble, innocent, and open.” “Be like frustrated, confused, exhausted, whining, resentful demons throwing a tantrum whenever they get scared.”

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
And he said, “Truly I say to you, unless you will be converted and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself like this child, he will be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Matthew 18:3-4

For to the pure everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving… nothing is pure, but their mind and conscience is defiled.

http://bible.cc/titus/1-15.htm

Romans 14:14 …. if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

English: Miniature from a French translation o...

English: Miniature from a French translation of William of Tyre’s Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum, (British Library, London) It depicts William’s discovery of leprosy in the future Baldwin IV Français : Miniature tirée d’une traduction française de lHistoria rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum de Guillaume de Tyr (British Library, Londres). Elle représente la façon dont Guillaume découvre que le futur Baudouin IV de Jérusalem est atteint de la lèpre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, any system can include protestors and reformers and defenders, right, and all of them compete with each other as they promote their conflicting ideals. There are always those who respectfully and curiously study any system. They may ask questions:

“How does it work? What methods produce what results? How can I use the system to the benefit of myself and my family or my clan? How do the people who benefit most from the system use it? How do the people who created the system use it?”

What is the reality of the economy? How can I use the reality of the economy to my advantage?

What is the reality of the court system? How can I use the reality of the court system to my advantage?

What is the reality of language? How can I use the reality of language to my advantage?

What is the reality of arrogant vanity? How can I use the reality of arrogant vanity to my advantage?

If these are questions that you would like to explore yourself, go ahead. If these are questions that you would like to explore with others like me, go ahead and let me know.

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One Response to “Using the system: post-idealist realism”

  1. mainbean Says:

    Great, great great. I loved the article, what we say and what we mean – ideals, values- it is a lot to think about.

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