Lenses of Society: Seeing the Connections

Thermodynamics and Society: Is There a Connection? The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy (disorder) of a system only decreases when it interacts with some other system whose entropy (Yes, it still means disorder) increases in the process. Thermodynamics? Really? What does this have to do with anything? I know absolutely nothing about thermodynamics, other than these few words I regurgitated above. But it may give us a chance to reframe the way we think about our society and the problems that seem increasingly burdensome. As the nation has grown from the single point of declaring independence, there has been a growing divide. And though we continue to grow apart, I can’t help but wonder – is there something under it all that is developing a common ground for future generations? Are they riots, or are they protests? Is enforcing pandemic measures a sense of tyranny, or is it a necessary component of being societally beneficial? Who’s to blame for the problems between the African American community and the police force? Chaos of Systems When we look at the two political systems in our society, we have to spectrums of thought that can become equally radical. You have centrism in the middle, with communism and fascism at opposing ends of it all. It seems like a simple representation of the political arena, doesn’t it? Well, let’s dissect some of the problems that come along. As we see the polarization of the two parties in most discussions, we have run into several problems that keep us from coming together as one: A comprehensive understanding of one’s political thought. A lack of understanding of opposing thought. An objective point where ‘we’ ends and ‘they’ begins. A vague and subjective understanding of the last point. A societal average that represents everyone but defines only a few. Seeing Both the Order and Disorder: As we take the first to problems into account, this can define much of the division we have in this world. A democrat listening to Biden will often have the same reaction as a Republican listening to Trump. And the reaction? “They will bring order to this country and help us move forward?” Indeed, only one can be right…right? It is this very complication that fact-checkers and journalists thrive on. We have been consistently intent that order can only come from one thing – having the system as a whole that looks at the world with the same pair of eyes. This obstacle seems insurmountable because, well, it is impossible. The generalized groupings of each political narrative come from years of experiences and shaping that push us to one side of the American Divide. The interesting point is that from it, we are faced with confirming our own thought, realizing how true it is. When we see order and goodness in the world, it’s because we see our own thought patterns in others, thus confirming what we believe. Politics is Like Musical Taste It’s like music. Take jazz, for instance. Why do they always play the wrong note? With music, as with everything in life from food to or value systems, we are often so focused on the surface of it all that we don’t realize the underlying patterns. The later work of John Coltrane is an excellent example of this. If you ever want to hear a jazz musician playing all the wrong notes, listen to his song “The Father and The Son and The Holy Ghost.” As the pianist mashes his keys, John plays with the tenacity of childish Joy, and it sounds confusing. But to him and a select few – it’s music in its purest form. And so, the other side sounds like jazz to the ears, as you wonder what they could be saying? But if we sit for a few moments and honestly try to tune into the patterns of their stories, sometimes we can breakthrough and begin to grasp their melodies. Systems of Society? If we take a look at society as a matter of several systems, we can begin to cut through what makes us different. When we label what we see, it is more than just naming an object or group of people. With it, we develop expectations and understandings – these are our stereotypes. Seems simple enough, right? Well, let’s take it one step further. Since politics and values are a large part of our lives, we can say we are becoming experts in what we believe. Let’s say political thought is an engine of a car. When we look at our side, we see it through the eyes of an engineer or mechanic. We know combustion makes the pistons move, oil keeps them from ceasing, and the balance of air and gas. But when we look at the other side of the political divide? We look at the engine as through familiar eyes. ‘They’ have a machine – we know nothing more. And when we do not make connections with them, their way of doing things seems like sorcery. Then, when we don’t want to admit they may be right, we judge them as being inferior (i.e., ignorance and inadequacy). Final Thoughts: The Lenses of Society So, what do all these metaphors have in common? From an early age, we are taught a particular way of living, and we are forced to know what our life is all about. We see some things as good and others as bad, and we pass judgments on things we hardly understand. The randomness and polarity of these metaphors are to be how credulous we are as a species. Our ability to categorize is not meant for us to pass judgment but realize how fun it is to be human. When we find our most profound truth, we can see the same answers through so many avenues. Philosophy and practical knowledge don’t just come from dissecting the most significant writers, but through everything we do. Our differences are our chance to find interest in others. Our differences are our chance to realize something different. Life isn’t a single tunnel with all these tangents running off in the distance; instead, it is something that runs parallel to everything. Special Thanks! Photo by drmakete lab on Unsplash

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