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Friday, March 24, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Social Identity + NEWS

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Social Identity.

But first, Maria has sent us an invitation to the presentation of her book:
Whinny by Maria Gloria Torres Mejìa
On the 30th March 2017 at 19:00
MORE DETAILS HERE:
http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/2017/03/whinny-by-maria-gloria-torres-mejia.html

Back to social identity:

Society is an important condition in our life and we need society
because life would be even more difficult than what it is already. And
for a society to function we need to give up some of our personal
freedoms to gain security and access to resources which would take us
too long to achieve on our own.

As a system, a successful society functions with a win-win strategy. In
other words, we have to cooperate together to achieve an above average
reward in return for our participation in creating the wealth in
resources. Of course, like all real life instances, nothing is perfect:
indeed, even in successful societies there are many who fall between the
cracks, so to speak, and do not receive their just rewards. While others
get more than they morally deserve.

However, this is not a seamless and smooth state of existence, no matter
how moral and just a society is, there is always the primordial struggle
to win against everyone else. But some might cheat while others might
not be capable to earn their fair share of rewards for living in a
cooperative society. Some might argue that how society copes with these
situations reflects the level of development of a society.

Social identity is therefore more like an emotional and psychological
marker for us to identify our society from other societies. Maybe social
identity is even an extension of personal identity that most necessary
condition that makes us individual human beings and not some clone of a
biological automaton.

As we have discussed recently, a natural language is a very strong
social marker to identify a society. But a natural language has other
advantages, and one of those advantages is that people who do not speak
the language of a given society are more or less excluded from that
society. And they are excluded because they cannot exchange information
necessary to function within that society.

There is nothing new about this, animals such as insects, bees, ants,
bacteria etc, achieve this with chemical signatures. Biological systems
do need information to function because they function by interacting
with their environment. Stones and volcanoes do not need to communicate
anything; they just subject to the principles of physics.

Thus social identity not only is supposed to tell us where we belong but
also who we are. Thus the identity of French society is in fact the
common identity a group of people have, ie what we call French people.
Of course, there are even sub identities within a general society
grouping: A Spanish person might also have another social identity
linked to their ancestral region of origin. Thus in most societies, one
can be British, English and a Londoner all at the same time. We can
argue that these are forms of social identities, which we all subscribe
to or ascribe to.

Of course, we can identify a society in other terms, such as
professional societies, sports clubs, philosophy debating groups etc but
I would say that these societies might be subsets of our bigger society.
What is important in my opinion is that we discuss the topic with our
normal meaning of society.

But why should we assume that a social identity must be linked to our
national identity? And a national identity is the political structure of
a given society. Whilst one can identify themselves as part of Spanish
society, it does not necessary follow that they must be citizens of the
Kingdom of Spain. However, it would be reasonable to assume that if
someone identifies themselves with Spanish society, they must have some
connection with Spain: maybe ancestral or someone who settled in Spain.
And today we even accept that a person can easily identify with two
social identities: indeed someone who settles in another country.

Of course, we can identify a society in other terms, such as
professional societies, sports clubs, philosophy debating groups etc but
I would say that these societies might be subsets of our bigger society.
What is important in my opinion is that we discuss the topic with our
normal meaning of society.

But at least today social identity does not stop at our border, if there
are subsets within a "country" or national society, there are also sets
within which country based societies derive their identity: for example,
belonging to a continent, ie being European, or American or Asian. And
today we also recognise that cooperation is more successful strategy and
nations have created political societies such as the European Union or
the WTO etc.

The logic of win-win strategies is not in doubt, the efficiency of
cooperation is not in doubt, what is relevant is how far can we stretch
a social identity before it breaks up or becomes diluted beyond
recognition? If the justification of society is to create a cooperative
endeavour, how long will this endeavour last if individuals do not
identify with a particular society? In other words, can a social
identity survive if there is no sense in individuals of moral obligation
to be loyal to that cooperative endeavour? There is no question that
societies are made of individuals and not some metaphysical airy fairy
ether.

Indeed, throughout the ages, there have always been movements to exclude
outsiders from society: these ideas come in all shapes and persuasions
from extreme fascism or nationalism to seemingly innocuous tests such as
which football team or cricket team we support. Whilst there is no doubt
that we have some kind of moral duty to protect the very society that
helps us prosper, how far does that loyalty stretch if the principles of
the win-win strategy are not followed?

And more importantly, what is our social identity? The problem here it
seems that what was once a natural phenomenon of identifying with our
kin, today that phenomenon has evolved to identifying with our kin's
politics. It seems that even in the 21st century we are stuck, and some
might say regressing, to a situation where we're somewhere between
biological genetic identity and the ultimate social identity of
belonging to the human race. Belonging to the human race is still not an
established social identity with all the benefits and obligations a
social marker such as identity brings.

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
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from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Social Identity + NEWS

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