The Nature of Social Movements

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The Nature of Social Movements

Post by The Dude on Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:13 am

This post is mostly directed to Ravenpaige...

There's something I don't know ANYTHING about: the evolution of social movements.

In our WITP discussion of the Tea Party and OWS, we see something good turn into something bad. Soapstone's comments on the Tea Party people he's met reflect a certain truth: a movement begins with strong ideals and minds, evolves and gains popular momentum, where people start to support it without really understanding the core positions, and start to tag on their own ideas.

The people that want to co-opt these things then focus on the 'secondary' issues, and the real issues get lost.

This is something I struggled with at WITP, often flip-flopping on certain issues about censorship and limitations on acceptable topics...

If I understand correctly, you have a background in this stuff, and are actively involved in your local Occupy. Even if I did live somewhere that had an Occupy movement, I don't know if I would be part of it...

So, what do you know? Have you researched this? How do you keep a movement focused, and on-target. Lots of well-meaning (and some not-so-well-meaning) people come in and distort the message, add noise to the signal, etc. How do you keep this from happening?

I've kinda stopped following the Occupy message, and just watch the events happen, so I'm wondering if you think the message has been diluted or misdirected.
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by ravenpaige on Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:39 am

Ok, the short answer is, hell, no, I have no idea. I'm learning.

The long answer is: I've gotten very involved in the local Occupy, but I suspect they all are different, so I can only speak about this one. This one started as one or two people deciding to hold up signs at a local public plaza and maybe camp for a day or two. This attracted the local homeless (in such a small town as this, no one could even believe there were homeless here), and the homeless appreciated the tents and the free food and moved in (not many; just 3 or 4). Then it got cold and the local government via the police started harassing, and those who started it all had jobs and responsibilities to return to, and those who had joined were ok with holding up signs for an hour or two, but weren't ready to camp, or much less be arrested.

We had one guy who was down at the plaza EVERY DAY, alone if he had to, holding a sign. That sounds great, but then he'd get online and harass everyone else who wasn't there that day because they didn't come down. He got to be so negative that we finally (semi collectively) said "go away." And now we all feel bad about that, but don't have another answer. We had several (if not several dozen) leave because of his divisiveness.

And when the police finally said "the tents gotta be gone tomorrow," I invited the stragglers of Occupy to camp out at my house. I had three homeless people come. So now I guess I'm a homeless shelter. But yet, these three are really pretty dedicated to the movement, or at least to change in some form. They've seen the worst of the current system.

So, I guess I'm doing an experiment of sorts on how this all needs to work out. At GA tonight, one lady expressed strong resistance to coming to GA at my house, which I suggested might be an option when the weather got too cold to meet outside. She said "I'm a recovering alcoholic, and some of those homeless people were doing drugs, and I will not be around that." So I pushed back and told her that, first, the rule had been set that nothing illegal would be done on my property; and second, that I wanted then to know what HER suggestions were for keeping this going thru the snow. She wanted to just "drop it" because it was too much drama. And I fought back and said no: these things must be talked about.

So after talking it seems to turn out that maybe two guys who were staying at the Occupy site, but who didn't come to my house, may have been smoking pot at the site. When I left, the lady so objecting was apologizing, and I was telling her not to apologize because I really do understand we have to talk these things out. And we do. No way around it.

So, how do you keep a movement focused and on-target? I ask myself that every day. Since I decided to "host" and Occupy, I've been visited by a major local professional activist and a Democrat contender for State Rep.. The State Rep guy kept me up til midnight, wanting to figure out how to utilize the movement. I told him what I knew about how everything started, told him in no uncertain terms that he could not expect any kind of endorsement, but that incriminating information on an opponent might be worth distributing (information wants to be free). He didn't know about LiveStream; I gave him the link. We left, I think, on good terms. He's a nice guy, but naive. Maybe I'll vote for him. I don't know yet if I'll tell anyone else to vote for him (and I'm not sure they'd listen if I did).

How else do we do it? I think I'm pretty clear in my mind what I think this world needs, at least on a very high level. But I don't know the details. Maybe others do. I want so much to hear those ideas, even if they're not complete. How else do we figure it out?

Honestly, I think you are one of the smartest people that I've ever had the honor to converse with, and so I'm flattered to have you look for my opinion. And so I really wish I had a more definitive answer. But this is all I know: People talking. Real dialog. Hope and trust that some one, some ones of us, will figure it out.

Has the message been diluted or misdirected? At this point, I don't really think so, although it has evolved. We're all learning daily, educating others, so I really think this movement is still in it's infancy. For me, I believe that my only real job is to stay true to myself, and to fight any proposal that does not ring true with me. By the nature of consensus, and if others do the same, then won't we then develop a solution we can all live with?

Ok, ending with my favorite Shakespeare quote, with apologies for the long post.

"This above all else; to thine own self be true. And it shall follow, as night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by The Dude on Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:48 am

Wow. Incredible post.

I don't have any easy answers right now, but I think this is something we should look into more (I know very little about it).

http://www.theelders.org/
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by ravenpaige on Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:33 am

Found this this morning. Interesting bit of history: http://www.lermanet.com/cos/libertyl.html
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by The Dude on Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:43 am

Interesting read. What I read afterwards about Scientology was equally interesting....

I could go way down the way of moonbattery, but I won't. Suffice to say, things are really fucked up right now. Our knowledge systems are almost completely out of touch with 'reality'.

All my life, I've focused on trying to be as objective as I could; I've tried to understand the world, and how things work. I've got a couple of conclusions:

1) Most people live in a total state of denial about what they know, or think they know. Getting people to try and see this is like trying to get a dog to recognize its own reflection in a mirror--it just ain't gonna happen.

2) What we 'think' we know, as individuals and a society, is deeply flawed and biased. Scientific inquiry was a real step forward in trying to understand the world, but has largely failed. It's like we can't escape our own human nature, and only a very few number of people are able to truly think scientifically; most people who profess to be scientists follow a dogmatic system with blind faith. The same kind of faith that they criticize people in who follow religion.

On both sides, a total inability to see outside themselves, to think about someone else, to see others as themselves. There's some fundamental flaw in most people that blinds them to things.

It's completely overwhelming me these days....
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by ravenpaige on Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:05 am

Wow, I have a lot to say about this, but unfortunately, I overslept this morning and so I know I don't have time to write everything this morning. Plus, I've got to research for the article...

But I remember reading sometime quite a while ago about how, back in early Greece, I believe, back when the basic tenants of logic were being defined, another group was arguing, instead, for a focus on intuition as the central process of attaining knowledge (or something like that). Logic, being more formally structured (or maybe just easier to structure), was adopted instead, and the study of the processes of intuition fell into disfavor.

Nowadays, I know that "intuition" tends to fall more into the areas of moonbattery, but most of my life I've spent trying to figure out how intuition works and how the two work together. Or I guess, trying to figure out exactly what "intuition" is and how it works. Because I really am convinced that this is a separate process that we don't really understand much about.

So that's why, when I was young and getting ready to go to college on a science track (I was going to study biology because I definitely had the grades and was quite interested in microbiology). But instead I decided to study art. Not the best career move ever, and I'm not even a very good artist, but it was the process of making art that I wanted to study and learn more about.

Well, that decision has certainly led me down some interesting paths that I will try to detail later, but the bottom line is that I'm still convinced that humans (at least) use two separate processes in defining their world, one being logic and objectivity, which is systematic and linear; but the other I call "intuition," and I believe it is a real process too, but holographic and perhaps higher dimensional (that is, outside of the linear timeline).

Ok, you can send me to the /b/atcave now, but it is this other process, I believe, that basically separates us from machines/computers, and also may explain some of the uncontrolled, organic phenomenon we sometimes see like the growth of OWS/Global Revolution.

Thoughts?

I will write more later when I have a little more time.
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by The Dude on Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:21 am

Interesting. I didn't know about the debate in Greece. So much for my philosophy degree!

It's funny you mention this, because this is precisely how my wife and I work. I'm the logical, scientific, rational one, and she's the intuitive, perceiving, emotional one. We compliment each other really well (hence AnonGirl).

I don't know how to answer this without talking about my schooling...grrr.

Osho's Intuition - Knowing Beyond Logic is a fabulous book on this topic.

Fuck it.

I've got degrees in Psychology, Philosophy, and Education, and a college diploma in Electrical Engineering. All this, to try and get a grasp on how the world works, and how we learn, and what we understand. My major area of interest is epistemology (the study of knowledge) and the history and philosophy of science. So, I'm pretty well versed in the whole logical part of the world. But all that education still left me with gaping holes in my understanding of human existence.

But then, my wife has a completely different way of viewing and understanding the world. She is almost a total intuitive--the complete opposite of me. And as I've gotten to know her, and understand how she knows/does things, clearly, there's a huge gap in our current western framework of understanding the world. And we're blind to that.

Anonymous bothers me because it actively encourages that blindness, and to question that is out of the question. Durandarte is a perfect example. The atheist perspective. The only thing I don't really understand about most atheists is if they really believe their stance, emotionally, intuitively, or believe their stance intellectually, and refuse to recognize the non-logical part of themselves. And here, I'm not talking about the Freudian irrational self-conscious, or the psychological biases that we talk about when deconstructing human behavior. I'm talking about a more fundamental realization that goes beyond the intellectual.

Zen Buddhist monks are able to control their autonomic bodily functions through meditation. This is totally closed, and held as impossible, to the Western viewpoint....I often ask myself, I've studied and read many books, so I'm aware of what I know that Durandarte isn't aware of. That's simple.

But the monk who spends 10 hours (or more) a day, in peaceful meditation, or insight meditation: what do they know? What kind of 'knowledge' or 'understanding' have they fostered? Understandings that I wouldn't have the least possibility of knowing anything about, if it weren't for my wife...

So yeah, trolls at WITP can call it moonbattery, but they do so out of blind ignorance. They haven't got the knowledge. They haven't done the research. They haven't 'stretched' their view of things.
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by ravenpaige on Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:53 am

Ok, I had a whole lot to say, but then I found this article about the Greek concept, "nous," and buried myself in it until I ran out of time this morning. I still have to go back and give it a more thorough reading, because it's been a long time since I've buried myself in Plato and Aristotle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nous

I WILL get back to this, though, because I have a lot to say, I think.

Oh, BTW, sorry for making you feel like you had to self-dox about education.

For my part: BA, Fine Art; most of an MA in non-fiction writing; MBA, Marketing. Self-taught: computers, programming, philosophy, electrical engineering (sorta. I'm not an engineer, but I've worked for the past 15 years writing manuals and marketing lit for power amplifier companies), let's see, a little quantum physics, a little horticulture, a little herbology, and a bit of what I guess you'd call "esoteric arts": i ching, tarot, astrology, magic (this last bit, I guess, due to a series of events that I've yet to explain). Oh, and I cook. :-)

As you can see, I have absolutely no idea of how to be Anonymous. I don't see how to disconnect the intellect from the experience; how to explain and support my thoughts and conclusions without describing the path.

However, I would really like to continue this conversation. So, if you're uncomfortable with the "public" audience (who may just be one or two others besides sixtwelve), we could move this to a more limited forum (members only, admins only?). So let me know what you think.
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by The Dude on Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:20 am

It's not a conversation...it's research! ;-)

Seriously, I couldn't give a *expletive* about sixtwelve besides trying to glean some knowledge...
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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by ravenpaige on Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:50 am

Ok, but all good research starts and ends with a conversation (even if it's only with oneself). I think someone famous once said that, or they should have.

I haven't posted much here the past day or two because I've started working on a separate document (story? book? not sure yet). But I think I will post it here on a separate thread, maybe when it gets a little further along.

Meanwhile, I need to get back to the discussion on logic vs. intuition, but not this morning....I'm unfortunately out of time. :-(
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Seems Relevant.

Post by Integrator on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:06 pm

One would hope that any 'social movement' would be liberty based. The movement of anything is relative to the motive force upon it; motive power dictates the degree of influence the concerned 'movement' has on its environment. Social movement derives its motive power from the 'society' that generates it; its motive power is dependent on the collective cohesion and intent resolution of the concerned society. Collective cohesion + collective intent = Collective motive power.

An 'efficient evolution' of humanity is dependent on the level of Collective Consciousness of the concerned societal whole. One would hope that human evolution is 'moving' towards a Universal 'Bliss Consciousness' as described in Buddhist thought. But sadly, it seems that the Collective Human Consciousness is as departmentalized as ever in history. One Buddhist principle I find relevant to this discussion, is the concept of the individual's perception of 'separation' from anything. Basically, human mental suffering is relative to the degree of 'perceived separation' the individual experiences in terms of their environment. Buddhist principle acknowledges no separation in terms of human and the Universe. Distinctions and/or separations of 'the Whole' are strictly gross sense based and further any thought of one being separate from anything in the Universe is seen as mental defilement.

This concept is important because it has a direct effect on ones individual consciousness. Assuming that human liberty is of paramount importance to a benevolent human evolution, I believe that the 'collective of individual's' degree of 'perceived separation' from the Universe directly effects the Collective Human Consciousness, and this is correlated with Collective Human Liberty. I apologize if my explanations are unclear because I have not written in awhile.

I wanted to comment on the importance of intuition as discussed by ravenpaige. From most of what I have read in Eastern thought, our ability to demonstrate intuition is dependent on our ability to transcend thought. One who is driven by their Ego/Lower Mind can not distinguish between 'the thoughts in their head' and their Atman/Higher Self that is devoid of all thought and identity. Simply, in the Present moment, devoid of thought one 'knows' without thinking what the Truth is. But unless we practice zazen=sitting meditation a couple of hours a day, I am sure that our 'perceived' intuition is skewed by our past conditioning.

We will never evolve beyond our ability to transcend our own identity.

Interestingly, the above statement seems to support some of the concept of Anonymous.

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Re: The Nature of Social Movements

Post by ravenpaige on Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:47 pm

In my mind, the reality and perhaps the hope of Anonymous is in finding that place where one can be in unity with the whole. In actuality, Anonymous is a teeming, chaotic body, not unified at all.

But then it flows like water on the ocean: rising and falling, ceding to this force or the next, ever flowing and changing, each droplet indistinguishable from the others, but yet, somehow, becoming a force that can overcome anything, at times, if you will, a tsunami.

I have a place in my mind or being where I know I can go to meet with the global consciousness. I don't necessarily go there for 2 hours a day; in fact, I go there whenever I can or have a short moment. But I'm not sure if that makes me better able to deal with the compartmentalization. One can touch the collective, I think, but not necessarily those who are completely apart from the collective.

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