Thursday, August 05, 2010

Social construction of reality

Title have been used in an earlier post, as is a title for a book by Berger and Luckmann, 1966 (quote from the book). Reality as they mean, is contructed by the social content. And therefore we can ask us these questions as Charon does in his book;

Who has truth, and how can we tell who has truth? Indeed, is there a real truth to be found?
- Symbolic Interactionism; An Introduktion, An Interpretation,
An Integration 10th edition, first page

Charon mean that we have five ways to found truth;
We accept authority (accept what others teach us). We find truth by culture, from personal experience, from carfully and rationally thinking through the ideas and fifth from carfully observation.

What does a smile mean? I may think that the other is smiling while in fact he is smirking.
What does the phrase "I love you" mean? Or the fact that it's not there?
What does it mean while a company says "best green choice"? Or "without hazardous substances"?

We need a context to put things in, a frame, a dictionary with words and meanings which everyone understands, if we want to make good choices of how to react and act to another. Reality is constructed together with others, and is only reasonable if we can communicate and understand each other. Say that you want to buy dinner for the day and in the same time breakfast and some other things and try to find the best for health, nature and the pocket. How do you do? You read signs, try to remember the recipe and what you read about health and nature, and compare price tags. And what do you do when construct a building with "green materials"?

Individual behavior and responsibility is always in contrary to expert knowledge. This is even more clear when talking about things as environmental issues, when the solution or choice should be considered in all ways to be the best choice no matter.

But what is that? What is best choice?

The concept of what the best choice is, is simple in the definition, for example when construct a fast car with no money limits; light parts, strong engine, strength equipment or when to run a fast food restaurang; fast food, easy to find, find the balance between income and outgo. But then what? In terms of sustainability as if you want to run your company for a long time, it also requires the concept of success, and success is to find some people (as more as better) to use it.

I think we can ask us this question; Should the company construct something for the people, should the people tell the company what they want or, can it be participatory?

Today, the first alternative is most often used. Magazines, newspapers, shopping centers and so on tries to affect us, and does so, i.e becomes our reality. Second alternative is used a lot as scores, reviews, arguments and discussion in different web page's forums. Last alternative is almost never used in full lenght, because a lot of people want to talk and most often those talks ends without a solution or that something has been decided or even worse; without anything really said.

I would like to see a change in how we look upon reality. Because neither when the company or a group of experts creates the reality for others, or when individuals tries to find the truth in order to make good choices, is good enough. I would like to see that we can try to find these truths together, because we are all experts to live our own lives.

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Mirage from Edan Cohen on Vimeo .