A Blogger’s Diary 10/24/20: On Writing, Reading, and 200+ Followers

Photo by Evelyn D’souza on Unsplash

Writing and Reading

Yep, a busy week, like every week. Phew. Well, I’ve written a couple of pieces this week, and, in case you’ve missed them, here they are again.

  1. A Wisdom Poem
  2. The Social Construction Series Part 6: The Social Construction of Work
  3. The Reflection Series Part 1: What Does it Mean to Be Alive?
  4. An Aliveness Poem
  5. What Does Being Present Really Mean, and Why Does it Matter?
  6. A Presence Poem

Wow. So much fun. I’ve had even more fun writing the poetry lately, which, I think, I’ll continue. Fun.

Right, and now? Well, I’m working on a couple of new pieces. You know, I never do know if an article/post will ever make it to publishing. You know?

Most of them do, yet there are times when they don’t.

Anyway, I am working on two new articles for the social construction series, one on the mind, and then two, which will probably become one, on either gender, or masculinity. Not sure yet.

Speaking of the mind. I am also reading Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. I just started it this week, and I have to say that it is a powerful expose on the Self. Amazing.

I’ll have more to say about the book at a later date. For now, insights abound inside of the discussion created by the narrator, and Ramana. It is beautiful.

Photo by Caleb Chen on Unsplash

200+ Followers

Well, in no way could I have foretold earlier this year, that I would have 200+ of you with me on this wonderful writing journey. And, you know, it’s more than that.

More than writing that is. Much more. How? Yep. Here we go.

The experience I’ve had this year has been unlike any I’ve had before. Why? Well, yes, part of it is the writing. Being back at my computer writing from both my head and heart is, for sure, a wonderful experience.

And, yet, you know what I’ve enjoyed most? Connecting and interacting with each of you. Really. I’ve had such a wonderful time reading all of your work. Such an inspiration. All of you.

From the exposes on spirituality, leadership and self-development, to the wonderful poems, fictions, artwork, pictures, challenges, recipes, and book reviews. All of it. Every single ounce of it. I love it all.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Know this. Ready? Good.

You are very much appreciated. Each of you. For being with me on this journey. From my heart to each of yours, thank you; and, thank you for allowing me to read about you and your life. A wonder.

I look forward to continuing this journey with each of you. As a matter of fact, it’s just about time to go check out what all of you have been up to. Fun.

Right, well that’s about it for this entry. Well, just a minute, one more thing, okay. Ready? Here we go.

Remember, when things get tough, and goodness knows we’ve had a lot of that this year, keep breathing, keep doing, and keep moving yourself forward.

You are an inspiration. You are beautiful. You are loved.

Have a wonderful evening, and a lovely Sunday.

#bloggers-diary, #bloggingcommunity, #diary, #inspiration, #poems, #reflections, #socialconstruction, #writingandreading

The Social Construction Series Part 5: The Social Construction of Time

7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

How often do you run from here to there, and back, checking the clock on the wall, in the kitchen, on your wrist, or on your phone? Yep, normal, we all do it, or, rather, have done it.

Time is such an important part of our life. We construct our whole lives, in fact, around it. Yep. Time. When we get up, when we eat, when we work, how we work, when we sleep. All of it.

Yet, time also provides people with tons of stress and anxiety. Really. How often have you said, or heard, or both, there’s just not enough time in the day? Yep. We’ve all said it, say it, and have heard many, or, rather, most people say it.

Phew. It’s tiring. Really.

I remember a time in my life where I was more concerned about what time it was, then about what I was doing with my time. Maybe you can relate?

Either way, time is not what we think it is.

Time is actually socially constructed. Meaning, it doesn’t even really exist, except for that we create it, agree upon it, and as has been aforementioned, organize our lives around it.

A social construction, you ask? Sure. Here you go.

social construct

Pronunciation /ˌsəʊʃl ˈkɒnstrʌkt/

NOUN

A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.

Lexico

There we go.

Now, time, you ask? Well, I think we can all agree upon the definition of time, yet, let’s go ahead and define it anyway. Here you go.

time

Pronunciation /tīm/ /taɪm/ 

Translate time into Spanish

NOUN

The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.‘travel through space and time’

1.1 The progress of time as affecting people and things.‘things were getting better as time passed’

1.2 Time or an amount of time as reckoned by a conventional standard.‘it’s eight o’clock Eastern Standard Time’

1.3 The personification of time, typically as an old man with a scythe and hourglass.‘Power began to flow out from Father Time’s scythe.’

Lexico

That’s fun.

Alright, so here’s what we have so far.

A social construction is something that is constructed and agreed upon by a group of people, of which time, as in the continued progress of existence and events as in the past, present, and future, is one. Phew.

You may now ask, well, there is a past, present, and future, therefore time exists. Yet, I would invite you to really think about that. Does the past really exist, or the future for that matter?

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Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Think about what you are doing right now. Does the past exist in the present moment? Does the future? Nope. They don’t.

The only thing that ever really exists is the present moment. Right now; and, then right now, and now. That’s it.

Therefore time is in many ways irrelevant, an illusion actually. Yet, we continue to create our whole lives around it. Pretty powerful.

You may now be saying. Okay. Fine. Yet, why is understanding time as a social construction important? Very well.

Let’s take a look at

7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

1. Increased Flexibility

When we hold time as a social construct, we are more flexible because we understand that there is an infinite amount of time to do all that we’d like to do. Really.

We become more flexible as we continue to consider time as something that we can choose to release ourselves from. We know at a different level that, yes, we need to move our work and lives forward, however, we also know that there is plenty of time to do so.

2. Less Stress

As we become more flexible, holding the awareness that time is socially constructed, which takes practice, we then realize that we can release the stress that we create about time-bound situations and events. Yep.

We can release that stress, and replace it with a renewed interest in being present. Present to everything in our lives, in each and every moment. Precious.

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Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

3. Reduced Anxiety

Holding time within ourselves differently, which creates less stress, also reduces our overall anxiety levels. There are so many people on this planet that have high levels of anxiety.

Yes, about lots of things, yet, considering time as one of the most important aspects of our lives causes a ton of that stress and, yep, related anxiety.

Yet, releasing that time-bound stress, releases the anxiety. Very helpful.

4. Greater Understanding

We also learn more about ourselves, and then have a greater understanding of, yes, ourselves, and about all people. We can connect with people on another level entirely. Why?

Because, we have connected to ourselves on an entirely different level. It works that way. We become more aware of our time-bound habits, and then can see them more clearly in ourselves and in others. Helpful.

5. More Grace

As we are more aware of our own behaviors related to time, and practice releasing the stress and anxiety that develops as a product of time-bound thinking, we can give ourselves more grace. And?

We can also extend that grace to others. If there is one thing on this planet we can all us more of, it’s grace. Given to ourselves and to each other. Important.

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Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

6. Deeper Compassion

Along with granting ourselves more grace, we also develop a deeper level of compassion for the human condition. Most all of us are socialized to place importance on time.

With that knowledge, we can release ourselves from any blame or shame for the stress we’ve caused ourselves and others at the expense of time-bound thinking and acting.

And, as we deepen the compassion we have for ourselves, we also deepen the compassion we can extend toward others. Lovely.

7. More Peace

With our practice of holding time differently in our awareness, we also have more peace. More peace about all aspects of our lives that we once associated with time-bound situations and events, and the associated outcomes, or results.

And, when we have more peace, we can also extend that peace out to everyone. Phew. That is important.

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Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash

Alright, there are 7 Reasons Why Considering Time as a Social Construction is Important to Your Life. Fun.

Remember, time is only important, when we create that importance. I’m not saying that we don’t take our commitments and agreements that are time-bound seriously.

Those time-bound commitments and agreements are very important. My days are full of them; and, I mean full. All day, every day.

Yet, we don’t have to associate time-bound commitments and agreements with a stressful conception of time. It’s a paradox, like most things in life.

You can both hold time as a socially constructed illusion and as an important aspect of your life in regard to meeting our commitments and agreements.

It is really in between the two, considering ourselves as bound in time and not, where you have the power to live, laugh, and love with less stress and anxiety, and way more flexibility, understanding, grace, compassion, and peace.

Be well. Consider well.

#anxiety, #compassion, #flexibility, #grace, #humandevelopment, #peace, #philosophy, #selfimprovement, #socialconstruct, #socialconstruction, #sociology, #stress, #timeasanillusion, #timeasasocialconstruction, #understanding

The Social Construction Series Part 4: The Social Construction of Reality

A Fluid Representation of Many Worlds

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

In the first installment of the Social Construction Series, we discussed why understanding social constructionism is important to our daily lives. How we interpret our world, think and feel about it; choices we make, and practices we keep, or let go of. Important.

In the second installment, we discussed the importance of understanding that all knowledge is socially constructed. All of it. And, how the production, distribution, and access, or lack thereof, to knowledge affects our lives. Also important.

In the third installment, we discussed the importance of understanding that our identities, every part of them, are also socially constructed. Giving us power and the freedom to create our identity as we want it to be, not as someone has said it should be.

In this fourth installment, we will discuss the social construction of reality; and, why considering a different way to think about reality as important to our lives, to your life. Important to the human being you are today, and the human being you want to be tomorrow. Ready? Let’s go.

Well, what exactly is reality? How does it function, and why do we understand our world as the reality it is? Hm. Let’s define reality, shall we. Here we go.

reality

noun OPAL WOPAL S /riˈæləti/ /riˈæləti/(plural realities)Idiom

[uncountable] the true situation and the problems that actually exist in life, in contrast to how you would like life to be

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Very good. Ah, I see. Reality is a true situation. Well, then what does truth mean. Let’s take a look. Stay with me.

truth

noun  /truːθ/ /truːθ/(plural truths  /truːðz/  /truːðz/)Word FamilyIdioms

the truth [singular] the true facts about something, rather than the things that have been invented or guessed

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Okay, here’s what we have so far.

Reality is a true, or factual account of a situation inherent with problems that exist in contrast to what you’d like your reality to be. Hm. Not sure about these definitions. How about you? Let’s look at a different way to think about reality.

Here you go.

“Human existence is, ab initio, an ongoing externalization. As man externalizes himself, he constructs the world into which he externalizes himself. In the process of externalization, he projects his own meanings into reality. Symbolic universes, which proclaim that all reality is humanly meaningful and call upon the entire cosmos to signify the validity of human existence, constitute the farthest reaches of this projection.80 b.”
― Peter L. Berger, 

The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge

Alright, so what do you read here? Okay. Well, let me tell you what I read.

That reality, all reality, is a projection of what it is that we think it is. That’s about it.

Reality is about a created truth, our factual account, of a situation inherent with problems, and possibilities, that is seen to exist.

And, who prey, creates it and sees it? Well, you do, I do.

Our realities, however, are different. Your reality is not the same as mine, which is why having general statements, as in the aforementioned definitions from Oxford, are problematic. They’re not inclusive enough, and leave people wanting, and, in some cases, confused.

Right, well, what then?

Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why understanding the social construction of reality as a fluid representation of a world, nay many worlds (over 7 billion in fact), is important to your life. Ready? Here we go.

A Fluid Representation of Many Worlds

If we begin to consider reality as fluid, always shifting and moving, we release ourselves from the false notion that reality is in some way a static, or solid, representation of that which we see. Make sense?

Reality is influenced by several key factors. Here are a few.

  1. Our current state of mind
  2. Our emotional state
  3. Our past
  4. Our present situation
  5. Our future

Complex, yet simple. Another fun paradox.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

1. Our current state of mind

What we believe, we see. Yep. True. If we believe the world is full of bad people with hidden agendas, guess what we’ll see? Yep. A world full of bad people with hidden agendas.

Conversely, if we believe the world is full of good people with noble intentions, yes, that is what we will see.

Now, the world is not binary.

The world is full of both, that which we will find good and that which we will find bad. The point is that, what we expect to see, is what we will see; and, that then becomes our reality.

2. Our emotional state

Our emotions, like our mind, are powerful. How we feel, especially if we are sensitive to our emotions, like I am, influences how we see the world.

If we feel hopeful, we will see hope. If we feel despair, yep, we will see despair. It works that way. Again, complex, and yet quite simple.

Of course, we know that we have many emotions within us, and they come and go like waves in the ocean. Here, then gone, here again, then gone again.

The point is when we are unaware of our emotional state, we are not aware of how our emotions are influencing our perception of reality.

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

3. Our past

When we focus on our past, especially when that past is full of things we label as a problem, we can literally bring those problems into our present reality. Really.

If we are focusing more on what happened yesterday, than the present context, we are creating a disruption in the reality right in front of us, and, in effect, replacing that reality with an alternative version from a past time.

However, when we are aware that our minds work this way, we can catch ourselves living in the past, and shift our attention back to the present moment, and let go of the past.

4. Our present situation

If we are not at peace with our present reality, we will continue to see issues and problems. In effect, creating even more issues and problems as possible.

When we fight against the reality we see, we make our current reality into a larger problem, and, at the same time, increase our own pain and suffering.

However, if we recognize this pattern, or habit, we can disrupt the habit and replace it with understanding and grace. We can change our reality into something that is more congruent with what we want to see. Finding more peace and harmony in the process.

5. Our future

When we are scared of the future, or feel like the future will only ever be a reproduction of the past, limited and painful, that is what our future will be. Simple. That which we put our attention on expands, and becomes our reality.

Yet, when we let go of our past, and remain open to our future being all that we want it to be, we can begin to shift our attention and create a reality that is quite different.

We can begin to create the future reality that we want to manifest. One that is full of possibility.

Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

Many worlds

Reality is fluid and dynamic, not stable and static. And, we have the power within us to create the reality we want to live into. We do.

There are over 7 billion worlds (realities) on this planet. One reality for each of us. Yep. The paradox?

Sure, here you go.

Though there are over 7 billion worlds on this one planet, there are certain things we agree on. Yep. Example? Sure, we all mostly agree that a tree is a tree, right? The sun is the sun, the stars are stars.

Yet, know that a tree, the sun, and the stars were not always called such. They weren’t. There was a time when they were called something else, and a time when they were called nothing at all. They just existed. That’s it.

Know that the reality you want to live into is available to you. Has been, is, and will always be available.

Reality is socially constructed by each of us every minute of every day. Next time you find yourself frustrated about your current reality, ask yourself why that’s so.

Here are a couple questions you can ask yourself.

  1. In my current state of mind, am I expecting to see frustration?
  2. Is my emotional state having an impact on how I am seeing my reality?
  3. Am I thinking about my past experiences, and bringing them into my present reality?
  4. Am I not at peace with my present situation?
  5. Am I thinking that the future will only ever be a reproduction of my past?

When you ask yourself these questions, see what you get back. And, shift your attention away from these thoughts and emotions, and to the present reality. And?

Begin to create the future you’ve been waiting for. Make that future your reality now, today. You are the only one that can do so.

Create well.

#emotionalintelligence, #humandevelopment, #philosphy, #psychology, #realityasmanyworlds, #selfdevelopment, #socialconstruction, #socialconstructionism, #sociology, #thesocialconstructionofreality

A Blogger’s Diary 10/6/20: On Social Constructionism, Integrity, and A Final Note on Curiosity

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A few weeks ago I started the social construction series, which includes two entries:

  1. The Social Construction Series Part 1: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Social Constructions Is Important
  2. The Social Construction Series Part 2: 5 Reasons Why Understanding The Social Construction of Knowledge is Important

Now I’m working on a third; the social construction of reality. Yep. And, why is understanding the social construction of reality important? Hm. Power.

As we discussed in 4 Reasons Why Language Is Power, how we describe our reality in language, whether we are describing something internal or external to ourselves, is powerful. It is in essence the reality that we know.

Writing the piece on the social construction of reality is really fun; and, I hope you will all enjoy it.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Right, so integrity. What’s the deal with integrity? Important, yes? I’ve actually read a couple of posts in the past couple of weeks that have mentioned integrity, and I am excited to add my lens to the mix this week.

I think about integrity a little differently, which simply means I conceptualize, internalize, and practice integrity in a way that pushes on the traditional notions of integrity.

It is important to investigate definitions, to push on them when needed, and to conceptualize them differently when they don’t work as intended.

The definition of reality and truth, as we will discuss in the social construction of reality is a good example of this notion, as is the post I am writing on integrity. Will be fun.

Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

Alright, I also wanted to close the book, for now, on curiosity with one final note. Ready?

As we discussed in the post, Why Curiosity Didn’t Kill The Cat: 7 Reasons Why Remaining Curious Can Move You From a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset, remaining curious is important to our development.

Maintaining a growth mindset, which I will also write more about in the next couple of weeks, by remaining curious means that we get to take in all of the wonder that surrounds us.

That’s important right now. Maybe more important than ever before.

Remaining curious means taking time for yourself. Taking time to be quiet, to walk by yourself, for yourself, to reflect, to question, to contemplate, and to discover.

When we take time for ourselves, we get back so much more. It is a paradox. Often people think that being continuously busy is the way to get back more, or to progress more, or to move themselves forward more.

And, being active, actively creating the life you want to manifest for yourself is important, yet, not at the expense of your own internal contemplation, reflection, and discovery time.

Example? Sure.

Yesterday, I came home from a very busy day, and immediately took a nap. Yep, been doing that more often. Feels good. Refreshing.

Watch what happens though. Ready?

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

I then got up, had a little something to eat, and started working again. And, guess what? I became frustrated? Why?

Because I had essentially gone from work, to sleep, and back to work. What did I do?

I stopped, turned out the light, and meditated for 30-minutes. And?

Inside of that meditation I had a couple of really nice insights, which then fueled the rest of my evening. Meaning that I switched from work, to writing, and developed this week’s ideas for my blog.

My invitation to you on this wonderful Tuesday evening is to remember to take time for yourself. Unplug, go for a walk, meditate, just sit. Do whatever it is that you do to refresh your inner-self.

It is in this space where curiosity and everything else in life for that matter lives; and, where you will find the answers to the questions you are asking yourself right now.

Take time for you. You deserve it.

#blogger, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #curiosity, #integrity, #socialconstruct, #socialconstruction, #socialconstructionism, #sociology

The Social Construction Series Part 3: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Your Identity as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Who are you, and what do you do? How much do you enjoy a typical exchange like this with another human being? Oh, hello, my name is, insert any name you like here, who are you; or, what do you do? Sound familiar?

We get these types of questions all the time. And, did you know that how you answer this question is, well, rather powerful? Why?

Because when we describe ourselves in language, we are, in effect, solidifying our identity as the person we are today.

Yet, what you may or may not know, or have only general cursory knowledge about, is that your identity, my identity, all identities are socially constructed.

Meaning that they are a product of socialization; they are productions caught in a particular time and place. Bound, if you will, in language to ideas we have about who we believe we are, about who we were told, and or are told we are.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Yet, because identities, like all things, are constructed in language, and are embedded in particular geographic, cultural, and societal contexts, they are not fixed. Again, they are not fixed.

They are, rather, fluid, and understanding this fact is important to everyone’s development, and, yes, to our lives as well. Why? Well, many reasons, however, for now, let’s take a look at

7 Reasons Why Understanding Your Identity as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

  1. Empowered – when we understand that our identities, like all of life and the world, are socially constructed, we are immediately empowered. Empowered to let go of preconceived notions of who we were told we are, are told we are, or think we are. When we subscribe to a fixed identity, instead of one that is socially constructed, we are limited. And, limitation is stressful. However, when we subscribe to the idea that our identities are socially constructed, we are unlimited, able to create the identity and person we dream to be.
  2. Engaged – when we let go of our previously conceived ideas about who we are, we also let go of the types of people that we are “supposed” to engage with, be friends with, and partner with. Also limited. Yet, when we let go of those limitations, we free ourselves to engage with anyone that sparks our interest. Anyone.
  3. Unlimited – when we get clear on our identity, both the identity we were handed, and the one that we created around that identity, we break the limitations that were handed to us, and the ones that we’ve created for ourselves. The only limitations we have are the ones we continue to believe in and the ones we continue to create for ourselves.
  4. Reality – reality becomes more clear. We can see where social institutions, like the family, government, and educational system, have placed limitations on our lives. And, we can make choices to break free from these pre imposed limitations. How? By creating a new life, a new way to conceive of the human being we are today, and the one that we want to become.
  5. Freed – when we can clearly see the limitations we’ve been living within, bound by stories we have about who we are as a human being, we can make different choices. Make different choices to free ourselves from those stories. When we are free from these stories, we can act in new ways, and become new. Seriously. We become a new iteration of the human being we’ve always been, living free from the constraints we were given, or created.
  6. Energized – when we let go of the ideas we have about who we are, we can create a more energized life. A life that is present to all that we have, and want to create. In this kind of life, you will be more often tired, yet, overall, you will have more energy, and feel more regularly energized.
  7. Loved – when we realize that we are not the human being someone has always told us we must be, we are free to love ourselves for the human being we are right now, and the human being we are going to become. And, guess what? When we begin to love ourselves more deeply, we can love others more deeply. We get deeper connections with those we choose to have in our lives. Pretty special.
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Phew, that went quick. Obviously, there are many more to add to this list, yet those are some of the most powerful reasons why understanding that your identity is socially constructed is important to your life.

You may be asking, okay, now what?

Well, you can, right now, begin to get clear on the fact that everything you know to be true about the world has been handed to you.

Handed to you by the various social institutions that make up any society or culture, such as parents, educators, friends, churches, healthcare, and the government, to name a few.

When we understand that all knowledge, thus all identities, are socially constructed, we have the power to let go, and create, learn, and recreate.

Let go of ideas and concepts that don’t help move us forward as human beings, and create, learn, and recreate new ideas and concepts that do move us forward as human beings. Fun.

Hard work? Yep, for sure.

Letting go of ideas and concepts we’ve held onto for years is extremely difficult. Yet, know that the reason it is so hard is that we, as humans, like habit, like patterns. We are comfortable with the known.

And, what we know, is how we think, and then act. Yet, when we act from a space of outdated ideas and concepts that no longer serve us, it is time to let go. And, guess what?

Though it is difficult, it does get easier. And, after time, you will wonder why you hadn’t made the choice to let go of those stories, ideas, and concepts much earlier.

No time like the present.

#development, #empowermentandidentity, #energizedandidentity, #engagedandidentity, #freedandidentity, #growth, #identities, #identity, #lovedandidentity, #realityandidentity, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #socialconstruction, #thesocialconstructionofidentity, #unlimitedandidentity

The Social Construction Series Part 2: 5 Reasons Why Understanding The Social Construction of Knowledge is Important

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In The Social Construction Series Part 1: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Social Constructions Is Important, I write about the need to understand how the world is actually socially constructed. All of it. Important.

One of the most important social constructions to understand is how knowledge is socially constructed. Numerous books and articles have been written on this topic, from both a theoretical and practical perspective.

Here, we will explore the social construction of knowledge likewise. Both theoretically and practically. Ready? Let’s go.

Let’s first define knowledge.

knowledge

noun ˈnɒlɪdʒ/ /ˈnɑːlɪdʒ/

  1. [uncountable, singular] the information, understanding, and skills that you gain through education or
    1. experience practical/medical/scientific knowledge
    2. knowledge of/about something He [she] has a wide knowledge of painting and music.
    3. There is a lack of knowledge about the tax system.

There we go.

Now before we go onto our discussion, let’s take a look at what two prominent philosophers had to say about knowledge, Jurgen Habermas, and Michel Foucault.

Habermas’s Perspective

“Habermas argues that domination is an obstacle in the pursuit of true knowledge” (Anttonen, Saila. 1999).

University of Leeds

Foucault’s Perspective

“Foucault, however, argues that all knowledge is constituted and socially constructed under conditions of power” (Anttonen, Saila. 1999).

University of Leeds

And, what prey tell, do both of these philosophers consider an obstacle to knowledge for some, and a boon for others? Power.

Let’s now consider the social construction of knowledge.

Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

How is Knowledge Constructed?

Knowledge is continually produced, internalized, and practiced, or acted upon. Though not always in this order. Sometimes intellectual knowledge precedes practical knowledge, and sometimes practical knowledge precedes intellectual knowledge. Depends.

Think about a time when you learned something through doing. For instance, learning how to drive a car. You can possess the intellectual knowledge about how to drive a car, yet until you actually drive a car, you don’t possess the knowledge necessary to drive a car.

You need both. And, in fact, some would argue, as would I, that practical knowledge outweighs intellectual knowledge. For it is in the doing, or practice, that we learn the most.

We accumulate the real knowledge about something when we do it.

Conversely, however, you can ask me to create a presentation on the social construction of knowledge, yet unless I possess the intellectual knowledge about the social construction of knowledge, I will be unable to create that presentation, try as I might.

Therefore, knowledge is constructed two ways. Through our intellect and through practice. Both.

Who Constructs Knowledge?

Everyone constructs knowledge. From a young child to an older adult, knowledge is continuously produced, internalized, and practiced. Knowledge is all around us. Everywhere.

Think about an interaction you’ve had recently where you learned something new, or taught someone something new. That is knowledge production.

Knowledge is produced, internalized, and practiced continuously, all day, every day.

Yet, there is some knowledge that is considered more illusive, more special, or maybe the more appropriate term is specialized. You typically go to University, College, or Trade School to learn about these types of specialized knowledge.

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Who Constructs Specialized Knowledge

Simple answer, experts. Yet, what does that really mean? Ah, good question. Someone is considered an expert when they have attained a reasonable amount of intellectual and or practical knowledge about a particular subject or topic. Simple. Why does this matter?

Because the humans that have constructed this knowledge, are just that, human. Meaning that they are like you, like me, and like everyone else. Full of strengths and weaknesses. Both

People often get caught up in the term, expert, thinking that because someone has a degree or certification in one specialized area or another, that they should know what is best for us, or know the best path to take in a certain area of our lives.

Yet, because experts are also human means that they are not infallible. Important. Additionally, because we know that the world and all knowledge within it is socially constructed, we also know that there are many, many ways to understand a subject or topic. Many ways. Not one.

Further, not all knowledge about a particular subject or topic has yet been discovered. Meaning that there is always something more to learn. Always.

Here is what Socrates said about knowledge.

“At the trial, Socrates says, “The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.” Socrates put emphasis on knowledge all his life because he believed that “the ability to distinguish between right and wrong lies in people’s reason not in society.”

The Independent

Ah, wonderful. According to Socrates, then, it is up to the individual, each one of us, to distinguish between right and wrong. And that includes distinguishing between the right and wrong of what someone is telling us is true about our bodies, families, community, and the greater world.

Of course, that does not mean that we don’t need assistance from others, and access to the knowledge we need to make informed decisions and choices. Quite the contrary. More assistance and access is needed.

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How is Knowledge Disseminated?

Knowledge is disseminated in many different ways. We’ve covered some of them already, such as through Universities, Colleges,and Trade Schools. Yet, knowledge is also produced, internalized, and practiced in many other social contexts, which are typically referred to as social institutions.

Before we go further, let’s define the term social institution.

“Typically, contemporary sociologists use the term to refer to complex social forms that reproduce themselves such as governments, the family, human languages, universities, hospitals, business corporations, and legal systems. A typical definition is that proffered by Jonathan Turner (1997: 6): “a complex of positions, roles, norms and values lodged in particular types of social structures and organising relatively stable patterns of human activity with respect to fundamental problems in producing life-sustaining resources, in reproducing individuals, and in sustaining viable societal structures within a given environment.”

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Ah, helpful. Thus far, we’ve covered the social construction of knowledge within University, College, and Trade Schools, yet as you can read above, there are many social institutions that socially construct knowledge.

The issue? Same as with the socially constructed knowledge that Universities, College’s, and Trade Schools produce. When we internalize a socially constructed view of the world, and our place in it, we are receiving knowledge that has been produced within a very particular framework.

And, those frameworks include within them people that have biases, just like you and I. Yep. We can deny we have biases, yet we all have them. They are part of socialization.

All socialization, which just means the how, what, why, when, and where of all that you learned as a child, youth, and young adult has within it bias. It has to. It’s one way of viewing the world. Yet, it’s not the only way.

Now, choose any social institution you like, and we can discuss the problems inherent with the production, internalization, and then the eventual reproduction of that knowledge through practice, or action. What problems, you ask? Good question.

One of the largest problems, or issues, we have just discussed. Because we know that knowledge is socially constructed, and we know that all social institutions have within them a particular worldview (or bias) this knowledge then, which is often told as truth, is not truth.

This knowledge is, rather, a subjective interpretation of life and the world through one lens, or viewpoint.

However, when we internalize this socially constructed knowledge as truth, we limit ourselves. We limit that which we can really know about the world and life. If we are conscious of this fact, and continue to choose a limited framework, very well.

However, most people are unaware, so do not actively choose. They subscribe to a particular set of knowledge constructs because they were socialized to do so. Many people live their entire lives this way.

Hm. What to do? Before we get to that question, let’s take a look at obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge. Important.

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What are the obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge?

As we’ve discussed, Habermas and Foucault would both argue that power is an obstacle to the acquisition of knowledge. Meaning that with more power comes more knowledge. Or, maybe, it’s that with more knowledge comes more power?

Actually power and knowledge have a reciprocal relationship. Meaning that with more knowledge, you do have more power. Likewise, with more power, you have more access to knowledge. Truth.

And, then?

Well, those with power construct more knowledge, especially of the specialized kind. And, as we’ve discussed, accessing such knowledge is inaccessible for many people.

Therefore understanding how knowledge is socially constructed is important for everyone. Why?

5 Reasons Why Understanding The Social Construction of Knowledge is Important

1. Know matter how much you know intellectually, you must practice it

Practicing our intellectual knowledge is necessary to develop ourselves. When we learn something, and internalize it, the cycle of knowledge production is not complete.

We must practice that knowledge to really know it.

Once practiced, we know it through our entire selves, which is a very different experience than simply having intellectual knowledge about a subject or topic.

2. You can do something with that which you know, or are knowledgeable about

Knowing that knowledge is socially constructed, and that you are an active participant in constructing knowledge creates an opportunity for you to practice distributing your particular knowledge to others.

You are the only one that can educate someone on that which you know, just as you know it.

And, when you give out that which you are knowledgeable about, you will get back that which someone else is knowledgeable about. Meaning, that you will now have acquired more knowledge by giving someone your knowledge. Reciprocal learning.

3. Specialized knowledge is an interpretation, so question it

When we know that all knowledge is socially constructed, we know that questioning all that we learn is necessary and needed. We must question what experts tell us is true about our bodies, families, community, and the greater world.

When we begin to question other people’s truths, we create a space to develop ourselves more. Why?

Because we have created a space to learn more from the expert. Simple. When we don’t take expert knowledge at face value, we create a space to learn more about the subject or topic. Keep questioning.

4. Because bias is inherent in all socially constructed knowledge, be wary of limitation

When we accept knowledge as true, which is given to us by a social institution we limit ourselves. We limit what is knowable.

However, as was aforementioned, when we question that knowledge, we create the opportunity to learn more, and develop more. We don’t accept one worldview or interpretation of the world, which is limiting.

We know knowledge is socially constructed, so we question. We question the knowledge. We become unlimited.

5. Search for knowledge everywhere, both intellectually, and in practice

When we know that knowledge precedes and follows power, we can intentionally create opportunities to learn more. Acquiring more knowledge, both intellectually and practically, moves us forward as human beings.

When we internalize and practice what we learn, we also create an opportunity to produce something out of this knowledge. Of which this article is an example.

And, when we practice that which we know, we have more power as a human being.

In Closing: Question Everything

My final thoughts on the social construction of knowledge is to question everything. Really.

Question the knowledge you now have. Question the knowledge people communicate to you. Question all of it. Powerful.

We choose to accept the knowledge that we have, as well as the knowledge that is communicated to us as true. However, when we know that the world is socially constructed, and that all knowledge is likewise socially constructed, we create an opportunity to question these truths.

Both the ones we’ve considered as truth for most of our lives, and other people’s truths.

We also create a developmental opportunity for ourselves, and as we have discussed, for everyone that we know. We move ourselves from a limited framework to an unlimited one.

Remember, on any subject or topic, there is more to learn. Always. Because we know this to be true, there is always an opportunity to share your knowledge with someone, and for them to share their knowledge with you.

That which you know is powerful. That which you can learn about is powerful.

Knowledge that is produced, internalized, and practiced is socially constructed by you, by me, by experts, by every human being. Thus, question it, question all of it.

Definition of knowledge taken from Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries.

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A Blogger’s Diary 9/3/20: On the Need for Adequate Sleep and Other Meanderings

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I feel like each week I write the words, phew, what a busy week. Well, this week was no different than the previous. Phew, busy, busy, busy.

Open registration began this past week, and our enrollments are up from the past two terms, which is exciting. As I’ve written about in previous posts, COVID-19 has made creating and delivering experiential classes, workshops, and training, precarious.

Yet, we’ve persisted, and not resisted; and have over 150 remote classes on offer this fall term. Pretty cool.

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon the need for adequate sleep. Yes, sleep. Really. I’ve spent the past 20 years being a, well, not very good sleeper. Yet, I’m getting better.

And, adequate sleep is needed more now than ever. More than ever.

How do you sleep?

One insight into sleeping adequately I’ve had the past two weeks is this: when you’re sleepy, sleep. Often, I think we resist. I did, for many years. Not helpful. Sleep when you are tired.

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Last Saturday, I opened up my medium account, and an article of mine had been curated. 100 submissions, and a first curation. Pretty cool.

In The Social Construction Series Part 1: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Social Constructions Is Important, I write about how important it is to understand that the whole world, and everything in it is a social construction. All of it.

Then, I got a message that curious, which is a subsidiary of medium wanted to publish it. Exciting. Of course you can find the article on my site, or you can check it out on curious.

I am now working on the social construction of knowledge. Fun. I will have it completed sometime this weekend.

Alright, that’s it for this submission.

Remember, sleep when you are tired. Really. When we resist, which I did for a long time, it does not help. In fact, it makes us more tired, less productive, and easily agitated.

Here are a couple quotes I like on sleep.

“The minute anyone’s getting anxious I say, you must eat and you must sleep. They’re the two vital elements for a healthy life.” Francesca Annis

Awaken the Greatness Within

“Sleep is the best meditation.” Dalai Lama

Awaken the Greatness Within

Be well. Sleep well.

#blogger, #blogging, #blogs, #covid-19, #diary, #persistwithoutresistance, #quotes, #sleep, #sleepisimportant, #sleepisneeded, #sleepwhentired, #socialconstruct, #socialconstruction, #socialconstructionism, #theneedforsleep

A Blogger’s Diary 8/15/20: 4 Months In

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Four months in, almost 100 blogs, and SO MUCH learning. Phew. What a ride. I’ve loved every minute of it. Every minute. What have I been up to lately? Hm.

Well, like most of you, writing, creating new ways to engage, and learning a lot about myself along the way. A lot.

I’ve finally made the decision to merge my two sites into one. It will take some time, yet it is time. My oldest son, Justin, will be assisting. Fun. So funny. When I started blogging in April, I created 5 websites. Phew. That was a lot.

Since that time, I have whittled them down to two. And, now there has been a natural confluence of the two sites. I am really excited about merging them in the coming weeks. It will help me focus, and I think it will be much more efficient.

This past week, I’ve been reflecting a lot about transformation. I’ll be doing a new blog series, actually it started today with, Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction, and a new video series over the next several weeks.

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The series will cover, change agents versus the status quo, integrity, vulnerability, communication, and a couple of other topics. I am also working on a new series on sociology called the social constructionism series.

Super excited about both of these series. I think they are very pertinent right now, and I hope you all get something from them. I know I will get many things from reflecting upon them and writing them. 🙂

And, here are a couple other blog topics I am currently working on.

  • The illusion of control
  • Confusion to clarity: order, disorder, reorder, order
  • Why letting go is so hard

Work? Busy. I’ve been working more on my social media presence, especially on LinkedIn. If you’ve not connected with me, and would like to, please do. You can find me here.

Photo by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash

We are almost ready to launch fall classes. We will have over 120 remote community education classes on offer. Pretty amazing. If you’ve never taken a remote community education class, and would like to, you can email me at fleschj@linnbenton.edu. Registration opens on 8/31.

Personal? Spending time working on me. Like many of you, I would like desperately to be with other people right now, yet know that is not helpful, or necessary. So, I am spending my time writing, reading, watching a show here and there, meditating, and going for walks and hikes while the weather is so nice.

Because the theme of the next couple of weeks is about transformation and the social construction of life, here are a couple quotes on these two topics.

“Yes, your transformation will be hard. Yes, you will feel frightened, messed up and knocked down. Yes, you’ll want to stop. Yes, it’s the best work you’ll ever do.” -Robin Sharma

Awakenthegreatnesswithin

“Transformation isn’t sweet and bright. It’s a dark and murky, painful pushing. An unraveling of the untruths you’ve carried in your body. A practice in facing your own created demons. A complete uprooting, before becoming.” -Victoria Erickson

Awakenthegreatnesswithin

“Human existence is, ab initio, an ongoing externalization. As man externalizes himself, he constructs the world into which he externalizes himself. In the process of externalization, he projects his own meanings into reality. Symbolic universes, which proclaim that all reality is humanly meaningful and call upon the entire cosmos to signify the validity of human existence, constitute the farthest reaches of this projection.80 b.”
― Peter L. Berger, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge

Goodreads.com

Forgive the highly gendered language in the last quote. It was written a long time ago. Actually, let’s write it again, with more appropriate language. Here we go.

Human existence is, ab initio, an ongoing externalization. As [humans] externalize [themselves], [they] construct the world into which [they] externalize [themselves]. In the process of externalization, [they] project [their] own meanings into reality. Symbolic universes, which proclaim that all reality is humanly meaningful and call upon the entire cosmos to signify the validity of human existence, constitute the farthest reaches of this projection.” (Berger, 1966.)

Alright, that’s it for this entry. I hope that you are all doing well, living well, loving well, creating well, and developing well.

Citation

Berger, Peter L, and Thomas Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. , 1967. Print.

#blog, #blogging, #confusiontoclarity, #development, #diary, #growth, #illusionofcontrol, #lettinggo, #linkedin, #socialconstruction, #socialconstructionism, #transformation