On Popular and Real Concepts: Information in Society and Why We Must Discriminate Accordingly   2 comments


We live in a society that has more information presented to it at its fingertips then ever before. Yet we are also the most face-paced society as well, and the presence of these two facts creates a conflict in the psyche of individuals as well as our society today and something must be done to address it, sadly the solutions thus far have been responsible for causing misinformation and in effect more conflict and strife then anything else. On one hand you have the majority of people who *Think They Know* What They Are Talking About and on the the other hand you have the minority of people who know every detailed nook and cranny regarding a specific topic/subject, and there are those in between as well.

The Exoteric: The Popularized Concepts

The Word “Exoteric” derives its name from the Greek Words “Exo-” meaning Outter & “-Terikos” meaning “Of the Womb” or even “Rungs on a Ladder.” However, it should be fair to mention that “Womb” did not mean that which is part of the female reproductive organs, but rather something that was part of a Wisdom Tradition. So when you are looking from the outside-in, things look mysterious, strange, but at the root incomprehensible. In todays world, the Spiritual Wisdom Traditions exist alongside Scientific and Philosophical Pursuits.

In our world, we specialize in a particular field or two and can speak [somewhat] authoritatively on our field[s]. However, when we need to explain something to people who do not work in our particular field, that is when things need to be simplified. However, when things are simplified, the depth and understanding become watered-down, in exchange for quick bite sized information that more often then not turns into a gross oversimplification/sweeping generalization. This is a problem largely because, the only reason why this happens revolves around time pressures and constraints that force us to convey crucial, profound and important information in 15 to 30 seconds.

Popularized Concepts, then invite people to build entire philosophies and assumptions toward life, based on gross oversimplifications and perversions in the original understanding. It is essentially like playing The Telephone Game, where the message breaks down overtime, and by the time it reaches the person 3x to 5x removed from the whole situation it lost all original meaning, purpose, and understanding entirely. If people stay in the exoteric understanding of said subject and wish to take part in a fruitful discussion of that subject, then they need to be both open minded while learning more about the subject, otherwise it is simply presumptuous to talk.

The Mesoteric: The Grounded Concepts

This brings me into the sphere of beginnings of understanding and knowledge, the Mesoteric. The word derives from the Greek words “Meso-” meaning the middle or intermediate and “-Terikos” again meaning, “Of The Womb” or Rung on the Ladder. So now you are more enmeshed in the search to understand the subject at hand, you are not just passing by and getting a quick bite to consume only to move on to something else in short time. At this point we are no longer on the outside looking in, but we are not part with the in crowd either, we are being initiated into something, being taught the basic and some intermediate concepts in a more responsible way.

This is what I call the Grounded Concepts, the person who desires to know more is capable of giving an educated discussion on the subject. Grounded concepts are more capable of inviting people to build entire philosophies and assumptions toward life, largely because the presence of misunderstandings and sweeping generalizations are absent or have been exposed. At the Mesoteric Level, while not in the center you can certainly freely admit that you know only so much and need to learn more, if you really want to get a fuller understanding of the topic at hand. Those of us in Specialized positions are normally found in this rung of the ladder, unless we really do more to get more knowledge and understanding out of our particular field[s].

The Esoteric: The Deepest Concepts

That finally brings me to the highest level of understanding and knowledge, the Esoteric. By now the reader should see a patter developing, the Greek word “Eso-” means the advanced or hidden. So it is essentially the centerpiece of our understandings, meanings, purposes, and endeavors within the subject of interest. Without the esoteric, the rest loses all meaning and falls apart; without the exoteric though, there would be no one new to bring in, no future generation to seek out and uphold that which is hidden and advanced. We are no longer initiated into said subject, we have almost become it, insofar as we are capable of doing so. From this point forward we are on the inside looking out, seeing to it that we can attempt to interest people to the degree that they become interested in the esoteric aspects, but at the very least stay on the informed route of the Mesoteric rung of the ladder, so as to not promote ignorance.

This is the realm of the Deepest Concepts and where the most Sublime/Subtle aspects are given differentiation and illumination. The Deepest Concepts are more capable not so much inviting people to said pursuit, but informing those who are already on the pursuit for sometime. The Deepest Concepts are most capable in defending their subject/pursuits most readily. It is in the Esoteric Realm that one not only finds the original meaning but works to become it as well. Those in Specialized positions may not all get to this level, but those who have a real passion and drive most certainly could become more deeply informed on the subtleties that exist.

Addressing The Issue and Solutions

At the heart of the matter is a need to address the issue of Pride and Laziness. Pride is at the root of all of our conflicts with one another, in this case its a sense of being informed on something and shaming the other side for being so unaware; but on the other end of the spectrum Laziness is what prevents us from knowing anymore. You couple these two basic vices together and you get a tough Ignorance that needs to be eroded and quickly, lest the individual starts doing and making commitments with the false assumption in place, such commitment making could only prevent the individual from changing even more!

Pride needs to be shattered with Humility, we need to expose the Popular concept they are holding for what it is, a concept that is Popularized, a concept that is quick and easy to swallow. Likewise, Laziness needs to be shattered with Inspiration, more precisely an Inspiration that would encourage them to continue looking deeper into the issue, an Inspiration that would shatter Indifference and Apathy. This has been a life long project of mine, to find out a way to inspire people.

An article was written on the Happy Catholic Blog, about How One Ought To Discern Truth in Popular Culture and the author of the post writes, “We must be educated, find trustworthy information, weigh opposing opinions, ask questions, and possibly review the actual material in question. Only then should we reject or accept stories and ideas, whether fully or in part.” I sometimes like to emphasize the words “in part” from this excerpt, as sometimes we are willing to make sweeping generalization and base our judgments on those generalizations, rather then examining and trying to understand every nook and cranny of a particular topic, but this goes back to the vice of Intellectual Laziness!

Also William Irwin who is a Philosophy Professor and a Contributor/Author to the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series states that, “We can loosely define popular culture as artifacts and subjects of mass interest and appreciation. Popular culture does not exclude people from appreciating it on the basis of class or formal education.”

Therefore, my situation is that, Popular Culture offers a great way to Start the Journey but not necessarily a great place to start building your foundations. In the Christian view of things, we come out of the world [Purification stage], we come to some insight, wisdom, even revelation [Illumination stage], and then we in alignment with said Illumination return back into the world in order to offer our own unique contribution to the problems we face [Communion stage]. In this stage we are at once Communing with God but also with each other, in keeping with the Two Greatest Commandments of Christ.

An Example

So lets use a Popularized and Highly Charged Politically Correct Concept in Our Western Society today, Nature-V-Nurture. This concept is used in many instances from psychological behavior to biology, the one that many know where this concept comes up a lot today is found in the Homosexual Debate between often the Irreligious Liberals and the Religious Conservatives, on one hand you have those who say such behaviors and desires cannot be helped [aka Nature] and the other say that these behaviors and desires are completely within ones range of control [aka Nurture]. Such polarized Left-Right Paradigmatic Thinking is at the Core of Popular Culture: IF your a social Liberal you believe homosexuals are not in control of their sexuality; IF your a social Conservative you believe that homosexuals are in control of their sexual expression.

This is the danger I was warning the reader about earlier in the Exoteric Sub-section of this post, “However, when things are simplified, the depth and understanding become watered-down, in exchange for quick bite sized information that more often then not turns into a gross oversimplification/sweeping generalization.” Essentially what happens, is the entire debate is rigged and confined to these conditional premises, and any discussion becomes linear to these two viewpoints. However, what happens if we were to investigate further into the Nature-V-Nurture Debate?

We would find that we enter what appears to be a Paradoxical situation: Nature now no longer ALWAYS means, out of your control; Nurture now no longer ALWAYS means, in your control. Ones Genetic Inheritance does not mean that you will have X nor be X, but your environment does mean that you could realize X or become X, said environment could mean your physical but even your social/cultural environment. Therefore, Genetic Inheritance does not mean, “You Will” it only means “You Could” or your more sensitive to X. Likewise, this deeper understanding also conveys another fact that, said Genetic-Environmental Relations are not quantitative (e.g. The Propensity to Be X or Have X is NOT 80% Genetic and 20% Environmental) but rather it is qualitative (e.g. The Genetics inform the Environment; The Environment informs the Genetics). So now the Debate has changed, it is no longer a dualistic: Nature – V – Nurture, but has become a paradoxical inclusion of Nature With Nurture!

*SIDENOTE* Also another factor pertaining to the Homosexuality case as it relates to the more socially conservative individuals [speaking for Christians then others]: Humans are composite beings, we are body, mind, and spirit. After the Fall, our spirit darkened, through that our mind was no longer single and our body was corrupted. So if fundamentalist elements of the Tradition who find it threatening that Homosexuality has a genetic rather then free will component to it, we actually do not need to be threatened with this fact, because we are composite beings and one aspect informs the other aspects of our being, and those other aspects inform that one aspect.

This conveys the deeper understanding, by going deeper into the knowledge base, we transcend the dualistic notions of our highly popularized, emotionally invested, and dualistic concepts. Hence why I said earlier, “Grounded concepts are more capable of inviting people to build entire philosophies and assumptions toward life, largely because the presence of misunderstandings and sweeping generalizations are absent or have been exposed.” In the end of course, esoteric concepts need to be incrementally brought to light to society as a whole, because it is like coming out of a cave, if you do not give your [intellectual] eyes ample time to adjust from darkness to a faint light over to the full light people will be blinded, this blindness will be a metaphor for disbelief and one will have thrown what is valuable over to the uninformed. I do not speak this out of boastfulness or some elitist position, but the same way a child should not be too quickly exposed to the harder to understand truths of the world, lest the child be scarred for life or thrown into protective shell of denial, is the same way I speak of this progressive initiation into deeper truths.


Posted October 30, 2011 by jimbo9889 in Current Events, The Objectives

2 responses to “On Popular and Real Concepts: Information in Society and Why We Must Discriminate Accordingly

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  1. Pingback: “Christian Libertarian” Excerpt #6: Allegory of Castle Defense, God, and The Deeper Tradition « Reality and Illusions

  2. Pingback: On George Carlin: Grumpy Old Cynic or Truth-Teller « Reality and Illusions

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