Why is ideology like a prism?

coberst

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Why is ideology like a prism?

Webster says a prism is “a medium that distorts, slants, or colors whatever is viewed through it”.

It appears to me that Marx was the first great thinker to have coined the word “ideology”. Ideology is a distinctive form of reasoning about the individual and about the individual in society. Ideology is a systematically biased mode of thinking. Ideologies vary extensively in so far as the idioms used, the extent of bias, the degree of sophistication, the manner in which bias permeates various aspects of theory, and so on.

While ideologies vary widely in certain aspects all ideologies share some common characteristics. An identifiable logical structure is shared by all. This structure includes: 1) a moral dimension, 2) it is biased toward a specific group and is biased against those out side this group, 3) an ideology cannot not directly defend it self because it rests on assumptions that have never been critically examined or even formulated, and 4) Marx believes these assumptions to be “nothing more than the intellectual ‘transcripts’ of the conditions of existence of the social group whose point of view it reflects”.

Like viewing the world through a prism, the ideologue experiences the world in a distorted manner. “What a man does not transcend in reality, he cannot effectively transcend in thought either. The limits of his existence are the limits of his thoughts. His basic assumptions are therefore ultimately nothing but his conditions of existence ‘reproduced’ in thought.”

Quotes from Marx’s Theory of Ideology Bhikhu Parekh
 

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Why is ideology like a prism?

Webster says a prism is “a medium that distorts, slants, or colors whatever is viewed through it”.

It appears to me that Marx was the first great thinker to have coined the word “ideology”. Ideology is a distinctive form of reasoning about the individual and about the individual in society. Ideology is a systematically biased mode of thinking. Ideologies vary extensively in so far as the idioms used, the extent of bias, the degree of sophistication, the manner in which bias permeates various aspects of theory, and so on.

While ideologies vary widely in certain aspects all ideologies share some common characteristics. An identifiable logical structure is shared by all. This structure includes: 1) a moral dimension, 2) it is biased toward a specific group and is biased against those out side this group, 3) an ideology cannot not directly defend it self because it rests on assumptions that have never been critically examined or even formulated, and 4) Marx believes these assumptions to be “nothing more than the intellectual ‘transcripts’ of the conditions of existence of the social group whose point of view it reflects”.

Like viewing the world through a prism, the ideologue experiences the world in a distorted manner. “What a man does not transcend in reality, he cannot effectively transcend in thought either. The limits of his existence are the limits of his thoughts. His basic assumptions are therefore ultimately nothing but his conditions of existence ‘reproduced’ in thought.”

Quotes from Marx’s Theory of Ideology Bhikhu Parekh

IMO you've posted a good description of "choir logic." But how to deal with it from both the personal psychological perspective and its potential for societal harm is another matter. The problem seems to be that those believing that they are considering the problem are actually exponents of the problem. It is like sitting in a chair and trying to pull yourself into the air by pulling up on the seat. Your behind pushes you down.

Of course Marx thought that the way around it is to find the right ideology which religion denies. He said that "Religion is the opiate of the masses." Then of course the infamous Simone Weil had the audacity to retort that "Revolution is the opiate of the masses" meaning that the problem isn't a matter of choice of ideologies but rather human nature and water will always seek its own level regardless of revolutions and fine speeches.

What a mess we're in.
 

juantoo3

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Why is ideology like a prism?

Could it possibly be related to the subjective nature of our memetic paradigms in combination with our experiential libraries viewing through our preferential lenses?

Webster says a prism is “a medium that distorts, slants, or colors whatever is viewed through it”.

Perhaps, but that is not the only possible definition. In fact, I would say it is not the preferential definition based on the etymology (precise meaning) of the word, to wit:

ENGLISH

Etymology
< French idéologie < Greek ιδέα (idea), “‘idea’”) + -λογία (-logía), “‘-logy, branch of study, to speak’”)


Noun
Singular
ideology
Plural
ideologies


ideology (plural ideologies)

Doctrine, philosophy, body of beliefs or principles belonging to an individual or group.
The study of the origin and nature of ideas.

ideology - Wiktionary

So, "ideology" comes from the Greek roots meaning the study of ideas...a far cry from what is implied by this and the previous OP's. No insidious ulterior motive, no hidden agenda.

It appears to me that Marx was the first great thinker to have coined the word “ideology”.

I wasn't aware Marx could speak Greek, English or French.

Ideology is a distinctive form of reasoning about the individual and about the individual in society. Ideology is a systematically biased mode of thinking. Ideologies vary extensively in so far as the idioms used, the extent of bias, the degree of sophistication, the manner in which bias permeates various aspects of theory, and so on.

No, it's not. Unless one is speaking of a particular ideology, such as Communist ideology, Capitalist ideology, Democratic ideology, Hezbollah ideology, Nazi Racial ideology, or some other *specific* ideology. One can't make a blanket statement using the term "ideology" without inviting miscommunication and misunderstanding...unless that is the purpose in doing so?

Indeed, one can have and hold the ideology that ideologies are bad...quite a convoluted position to argue from in my opinion. Not at all unlike those who would argue that memes are bad, not realizing that they are arguing from a meme. The difference being that in this case the OP suggests a political substrate, whereas the typical objection to memes is based on religious objection...neither seeing that politics and religion are irrelevent to the subjects.

While ideologies vary widely in certain aspects all ideologies share some common characteristics. An identifiable logical structure is shared by all. This structure includes: 1) a moral dimension, 2) it is biased toward a specific group and is biased against those out side this group, 3) an ideology cannot not directly defend it self because it rests on assumptions that have never been critically examined or even formulated, and 4) Marx believes these assumptions to be “nothing more than the intellectual ‘transcripts’ of the conditions of existence of the social group whose point of view it reflects”.

I have already demonstrated that this is not so when applied in a blanket sense as is being attempted. Do you wish to single out a specific ideology to which to apply this so that it can be proved or disproved...or must we accept on the mere weight of your word? Since you mention Marx, several times now, is it Communist ideology specifically that you are referencing?

Like viewing the world through a prism, the ideologue experiences the world in a distorted manner. “What a man does not transcend in reality, he cannot effectively transcend in thought either. The limits of his existence are the limits of his thoughts. His basic assumptions are therefore ultimately nothing but his conditions of existence ‘reproduced’ in thought.”


Ummm, yeah, so? Every person is unique, and views the world through a unique lens filtered through unique circumstances and experiences. Even lemmings are not robots, there are always a few who decide not to jump and stick around to create the next generations. Lumping various peoples together by generalities is logically fallacious and faulty reasoning. What is more, lumping peoples together in order to make overarching assumptions is another way of describing stereotyping and prejudicial discrimination. "I believe you are a so-and-so, so I already know you will do such-and-such, so I will judge you in my mind and behave towards you accordingly." Is this not the root of what it is you are saying? How is this any different...let alone better...than what you are saying are the ills of ideologies? It is only one more ideology, except it happens to belong to you. ;)
 

juantoo3

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The problem seems to be that those believing that they are considering the problem are actually exponents of the problem. It is like sitting in a chair and trying to pull yourself into the air by pulling up on the seat. Your behind pushes you down.

There's no such thing as gravity...the world just sucks. :rolleyes:

...the problem isn't a matter of choice of ideologies but rather human nature and water will always seek its own level regardless of revolutions and fine speeches.

Actually, I think this is the nature of a self-referential learning system in combination with free will. I don't see it as a mess, I see it as an amazingly complex and efficient biological thinking apparatus that has allowed humanity the luxury of consciousness and rational thought.

Blaming a cow for being a cow is irrational. Seeing a cow as a cow and realizing that cows behave in certain ways, that even though cows may often behave in predictable manners there is still room for unique and individual behaviors, and making allowance for that within one's own reasoning, is what I see as "enlightened" reasoning.

Practical application of fractals, a la Mandelbrot.
 
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coberst

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I think that President Bush often spoke the mantra of ideology "you are either with us or against us". This either/or view is the view of ideology. Because high tech has placed extraordinary power into the hands of ordinary people our species is in great danger.
 

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Juantoo3 said:
Even lemmings are not robots, there are always a few who decide not to jump and stick around to create the next generations.
I like it! This lemming is no robot!
Juantoo3 said:
Blaming a cow for being a cow is irrational. Seeing a cow as a cow and realizing that cows behave in certain ways, that even though cows may often behave in predictable manners there is still room for unique and individual behaviors, and making allowance for that within one's own reasoning, is what I see as "enlightened" reasoning.

Practical application of fractals, a la Mandelbrot.
Moo!!! Yay! Go Julia set theory! Interesting posts. I also like the prism idea.

Coberst said:
This either/or view is the view of ideology. Because high tech has placed extraordinary power into the hands of ordinary people our species is in great danger.
The super high tech concerns me, too. It can be a good thing though. Eventually, the nuclear advantage will be nullified by missile sheilds, magnetic bombs, etc; and then diplomacy will change again. This may have a downside: The invention of newer more terrible weapons helped forge the modern invention of diplomacy. After guns & bombs, warlords were no longer safe just because they had castles and knights; so they became more interested in peace. Fighting suddenly risked too much! Similarly the existence of nuclear bombs has probably helped keep the world (USA included) from fighting sometimes.
 

juantoo3

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I think that President Bush often spoke the mantra of ideology "you are either with us or against us".

President Bush spoke these words? I would seriously be interested in knowing what the context was. I doubt a statement like this was made to the American people...Bush didn't carry enough political capital to make such a divisive statement. Now, if such a statement were made in the context of taking on those terrorists who plotted the killing of some 3000 American citizens in New York City on September 11, 2001, not only do I think a statement like this is warranted, but I also think it is disingenuous of somebody to infer some nefarious ulterior motive without demonstrable proof.

If the sin lies in thinking such "us and them" words, then the world has committed this particular sin since time immemorial. Ever since the first stone weapon was raised against the first mortally wounded adversary, people have gravitated into cliques behind their defenders. Why not point to Kruschev? Hitler? Lenin? Mao? Any of the various colonial kings, queens and emperors? How about those Khans, Rajas, and Sheiks? Let us not forget those Popes, Imams, High Priests, Gurus, Monks and similar who have entertained these exact same thoughts and acted accordingly.

In fairness, I have encouraged you to be specific about which *specific* ideology it is you have issue with...may I presume then that your issue is with the ideology underlying American Democracy?

This either/or view is the view of ideology.

No, its not. See my previous post where "ideology" is defined. It is the study of ideas. There are *some* ideologies that hold an either/or view, there are also some ideologies that *do not* hold an either/or view. Making a blanket statement that implies all ideologies hold either/or views is inaccurate and untrue.

Because high tech has placed extraordinary power into the hands of ordinary people our species is in great danger.

Ah! Perhaps we venture closer to the heart of the matter? It does not follow the argument, ideology (even a specific ideology) does not lead directly to technology. Is the contempt levelled at technology levelled out of jealousy? Or frustration? Or some sense of inequity?

I would also wager that the "danger" that has come about is not the direct effect of high technology. Is an automobile a danger to our species? I suppose one could count all of the accident victims killed and injured in crashes, the air pollution attributed to global warming, and...that's all I can think of. Of course, without the automobile we would not be able to transport food, building materials, medicines, clothing or any of the basic necessities of life beyond a close perimeter to a deep water port (presuming boats are still suitable technology by virtue of antiquity). Horse and ox drawn vehicles are too slow and can carry only so much tonnage as to be relatively ineffective for transporting commercial quantities of goods. Let us not forget ambulances, fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles (including military vehicles) that are used by people to protect, assist and save other people. I suppose people could still walk or ride bicycles (ooops, bicycles are recent "high" technology, are they not?). But the amount of cargo capacity, even dragging a trailor, is miniscule in comparison with the typical commercial vehicle. The energy spent would far....*far*....outweigh any energy saved.

I can make similar arguments for so much of modern technology. For all of the perceived ills, there are benefits that more than outweigh them. That is why it is proving so difficult to transfer to seemingly benign technologies. And progress is being made...automobiles are much less polluting than they were 25 years ago, factories are much less polluting than they were 25 years ago (in the States anyway, I don't know about China or India), appliances are more efficient, more "green" energy is coming online, etc., etc., etc.

Have you ever read the Unabomber Manifesto? It is posted around here somewhere on this site, it should come up with a simple search. I suggest a read, and let me know what you think. Lest I be accused of being disingenuous, I will forewarn who the author is; Theodore Kaczynski, a brilliant mathematician before he turned militant environmentalist. ;)
 
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juantoo3

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Just a little teaser...

Unabomber Manifesto said:
The radical environmentalists already hold an ideology that exalts nature and opposes technology.
-Ted Kaczynski

And a link to Kaczynski's essay in entirety:

Industrial Society and Its Future - Wikisource

And a link to a previous discussion where Kaczynski's essay was discussed at length in the context of "high tech being a danger to our species:"

http://www.interfaith.org/forum/selfishness-and-society-8902-16.html

beginning about post 232...enjoy!
 
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coberst

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I like it! This lemming is no robot! Moo!!! Yay! Go Julia set theory! Interesting posts. I also like the prism idea.

The super high tech concerns me, too. It can be a good thing though. Eventually, the nuclear advantage will be nullified by missile sheilds, magnetic bombs, etc; and then diplomacy will change again. This may have a downside: The invention of newer more terrible weapons helped forge the modern invention of diplomacy. After guns & bombs, warlords were no longer safe just because they had castles and knights; so they became more interested in peace. Fighting suddenly risked too much! Similarly the existence of nuclear bombs has probably helped keep the world (USA included) from fighting sometimes.

High tech has made this financial fiasco possible. High tech makes population too big for planet possible. High tech makes too many old people to care for possible. etc
 

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Juantoo

High tech does not cause ideology but ideology is our major problem and this ideological frame of mind makes men and women more irrational and thus more dangerous with high tech. We are like children sitting in a pool of gasoline playing with matches.

President Bush spoke those exact words. Another problem is that only 27% of young people read a newspaper.
 

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Coberst said:
High tech has made this financial fiasco possible. High tech makes population too big for planet possible. High tech makes too many old people to care for possible. etc
All of those statements are true, yet there is a positive side to each statement as well. More people = more brainpower = more happiness = more possibilities. These are also true statements.
 

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Thank you Paladin, I presume this is President Bush saying these words. However, youtube is blocked where I am at, so I am still at a loss as to the context. When did he make such statement and what was the cause that made him make it?

It was in reference to support for war, and in general, his agenda. Of course he was just speaking as an ideologue. ;)
 

juantoo3

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High tech does not cause ideology but ideology is our major problem and this ideological frame of mind makes men and women more irrational and thus more dangerous with high tech. We are like children sitting in a pool of gasoline playing with matches.

Coberst, it is not I who attempted to draw a connection between ideologies and technology. Rather, it is I who attempted to distinguish between the two.

When you say that ideology is our major problem, do you include your own ideology in that mix? Is your ideology a major problem too?

President Bush spoke those exact words. Another problem is that only 27% of young people read a newspaper.

I did not say Bush did not speak those words. I asked in what context they were said.

As for reading newspapers, how many newspapers are folding (pardon the pun), closing their doors and going out of business? There should be a shout "hooray!" from the militant enviromentalist types...fewer trees cut down (even though the trees are farm raised for that purpose, putting loggers and tree farmers out of business), less paper processing with less bleaching and discharge into waterways (putting pulpwood processors out of business), less chemical processing to produce the inks (which I understand to be soy based, so more soy available for food production even though the chemical workers loose their jobs), a decrease in fossil fuel to power the delivery vehicles and production processes (more lost jobs, but more fuel available for other uses!), and the people running craigslist and the various network affiliated webzines perform the same function the newspapers did with fewer people and resources and greater efficiency... Just one technology replacing another, welcome to the business cycle.

Of course, the liberal media establishment will always maintain a stranglehold on the dissemination of news, whether by newspaper, television or computer anyway. And as long as the young people can read their computerese shorthand, what difference does it make? :rolleyes: AFAIK, IMO my POTS, LOL. Kids are gonna hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe, the fuddy duddy old timers will just have to get used to getting their news in some other way.

Besides, what passes as news seldom is to begin with. 20 minutes of a 30 minute "news" program on tv typically is devoted to blathering b.s. about what soap opera stars are wearing and finding out what Obama's dog had for supper last night, or some such drivel. People decide the important aspects of their political lives (where allowed) by ten second sound bites and bumper sticker slogans, and who looks better in a $500 suit. The Audacity of Hope! Change Is Coming!
 

juantoo3

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he was just speaking as an ideologue. ;)

Don't we all?

Thanks, I figured it was something to do with the war on terrorists.

I can accept that cause holds its own problematic issues. But flying an airplane full of innocent bystanders into a building full of more innocent bystanders because one's ideology won't allow room for any others to even draw breath is far more incindiary than anything Bush could have ever said.
 
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Gotta have ideology to have heroism. Need both to create mythology. Gotta have that to have culture.

Chris
 

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Don't we all?

Thanks, I figured it was something to do with the war on terrorists.

I can accept that cause holds its own problematic issues. But flying an airplane full of innocent bystanders into a building full of more innocent bystanders because one's ideology won't allow room for any others to even draw breath is far more incindiary than anything Bush could have ever said.

Really? I maintain my belief that it was none other than Bush and his associates that planned and orchestrated this atrocity. Actually given the evidence it is less of a belief and more of a certainty.
 

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Thermite does amazing things doesn't it?:eek:
Now how did that get in there?
Not standard kit in airplanes.
 
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