False Social Consciousness and Its Effects on Society
The whole aspect of social imagination has been a widely controversial issue with people not agreeing on whether its relevance has any importance on the larger social forces often met in daily lives. Most of these debates have often revolved around C. Wright Mills theory of advocated connection of public issues to people’s own troubles against, Charles Lemert argument that without these skills to connect these two aspects of social life, a balance cannot be achieved. Wright Mills brings the new concept of sociological imagination, which he defined simply as the relation a person always tries to find between the society and his own problems. He argues that through implementing this way of thinking people can simply change their thoughts and views on issues and through that can simplify even the most difficult and personal decisions related to their daily life (Mills, 2000).
Putting his theory into the context, it is often seen by the way people handle their problems they tend to relate their basis more on culture since its influence is more clear in all areas of daily life, be it the way of thinking, talking or socializing. By relating society and personal life, it is clear that all life problems have a definite cause attributed to them, being either directly or indirectly linked to the society through globalization, consumerism or government policies (Adler & Adler, 2003). An example of this is the increase of divorce cases, delinquent children in the society, poverty and its effects on the society; increased number of suicide cases which show how greatly the society affects people’s actions and behaviors.
Through realizing that everyone’s thoughts are linked, and by viewing every person as an addition or reflection of ourselves, we become socially conscious. Understanding of situations in different communities that people face, and their daily problems, applies to all sectors of life, business, personal thoughts and nature whether done consciously or not. This type of awareness helps people to be more cooperative and act more humane towards one another; the principal affects the global community and local economy greatly if implemented. Through understanding of social consciousness, the value of human life and acknowledgement of social harmony for the growth of others increases. In addition, a much larger scope of social skills obtained in early childhood, helps in the process of society transformation. In societies with higher level of social consciousness, the transformation experience takes part on a more personal level. Conflict resolution strategies prioritizing of others feelings first, increasing sensitivity to social harmony and justice, compassion, and unwavering support to social awareness plans, are some of the benefits of a socially conscious individual (Goffman, 1955).
The societies that have lacked a strong social imagination always tend to lag behind in terms of development, equality, industrialization. In such societies poor ruling regimes, modern-day slavery, poverty, inequality and war are often experienced. Bureaucracy and suppression are some of the ways dictatorship regimes use to control their countries and maintain their political might. Recent debates have disputed whether being socially conscious really helps, or is the main cause to global crisis and social degradation (Sternheimer, 2008). They tend to base their arguments on the Marxist theory, explaining that the developed societies have built a culture of wanting to own more without finding a way to secure the already possessed assets. This applies to the few selected people in the society who monopolize power and only relate with their own social circles. These are some of the negative aspects of lacking social imagination in the society referred to as false social consciousness (Montemurro).
A recent case study depicting actions of a public girl showed how false social consciousness directly connects to lack of social imagination by incorporating and allowing different opinions and beliefs of different people in groups. Similarly, gay marriages, transsexuals, lesbians, transgender and bisexuals, should be allowed their civil unions rights, and not be stereotyped by the public for expressing their individuality differently. Many people in the society are uncomfortable with the idea of intimate relation between people of the same gender, since people see this type of relationship as awkward and strange, and often cause uproar by the public who view them with prejudice and hostility. This leads to a feeling of loneliness, suicide and lack of connection with their families and society since they fear reaction from people knowing their sexual orientation. By misconception that everyone is against them, representatives of sexual minorities tens to feel safe only in their groups. Arguing that their sexuality is a personal matter and should not be the subject of anyone’s attention, representatives of sexual minorities separate themselves from the society and create a gap by only concentrating on their own problems, thus, missing the picture of social consciousness (Rupp & Taylor, 2010).
Educating the public on transgender relationships and integrating the representatives of sexual minorities in the society will instill more confidence in them as they will receive a platform to air their grievances and be represented. Therefore, the feeling of being persecuted and self-pity may be removed and replaced by more positive feelings of belonging and equality. Implementing hefty penalties on those who humiliate or discriminate against sexual minorities in public or at work places will give them more room to express themselves without fear, ensuring easier integration process. Through the human rights watch, their issues of civil union acknowledgement and provision of easier health facilities will be tackled. This will provide a feeling of belonging, since there will be no difference in their treatment in public or private hospitals just like the other people. Through this and other ways, the consciousness imagination, may slowly replace false consciousness in the society, and bring more benefits to individuals, groups and the society on the whole (Goffman, 1955).