Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Journal Entry #5 (Taylor, 171-218)
Within this specific selection from Charles Taylor's magnum opus, A Secular Age, he introduces the idea of a social imaginary. According to Taylor, a social imaginary is "broader and deeper than the intellectual schemes people may entertain when they think about social reality in a disengaged mode [. . .]" A social imaginary is "[. . .] the way ordinary people 'imagine' their social surroundings, and this is often not expressed in theoretical terms, it is carried in images, stories, legends, etc." (Taylor 171-172). As mainstream society has become increasingly secularized over an extended period of time, the human social imaginary has changed in countless ways. As a result of the modernization of civilization, the belief in God has merely become one option among many (in terms of the expression of faith by human beings). As a result, emphasis has been placed on the individual, rather than the community. Therefore, citizens have continued to call morality into question. George Orwell's groundbreaking book, Nineteen Eighty-four, proclaims, "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength" (Orwell 4). Humanity has enslaved itself to fundamental features of the political process, including: equality, freedom and liberty, among others. The evolution of humanity's social imaginary is predicated upon individuality (at the expense of authority). Religion continues to be viewed (by some people) as a strict set of standards to be followed without reservations; however, it is much more than this. I firmly believe that mankind's modern social imaginary hasn't lost a sense of the sacred; however, the focus has shifted from transcendence to human flourishing. This isn't detrimental to Catholicism; in fact, it has helped pave the way for the Catholic faith to become stronger in mainstream society.