Role of Ideology

Ideology is the most indescribable theory in the entire subject of social science. For it asks about the bases and validity of the most fundamental ideas. As such, it is an essentially contested concept, that is, a concept about the very definition (and therefore application) of which there is acute controversy.

With significant exceptions, the role ideology comes from trailing clouds of critical connotation. Ideology is someone elses thought seldom own. That the thought might be ideological is a suggestion that almost instinctively reject in case the foundations of our most cherished conceptions turn out to be composed of more shifting principles. Therefore, the role of ideology is an attempt to find a firm point outside the boundary of ideological discourse, an immoveable spot from which to observe the levers of ideology at work.

The book, The Empathic Civilization The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, shows a new interpretation of the ideology in terms of the history of civilization by analyzing the empathic progress of the human race and the profound ways it has shaped in the evolution of mankind. The book gives a new perspective about human nature in the cognitive and natural sciences. Moreover, it builds rational circles of the business society and the government. The original perceptive of mankind opens new principles that disclose a dramatic story of the evolution of human empathy from the mount of the enormous theological civilizations, to the ideological era that dominated the 18th and 19th century.

Jeremy Rifkin points out that traditional belief tend to be static and to rely on a restricted, hierarchical structure and coherent entities. He also stresses the role of ideologies as it seems to be the products of an increasingly pluralist society and associated with rival groups whose sectional interests are served. The traditional religions are concentrated on the interaction between the everyday lives of individuals and the secularized universe of ideology.

Moreover, although not directly implied, quest for the role of ideology can be deceptive since the author gives more technological advancement in civilizations, joined multiple individual together, increased empathic sensitivity and broadened awareness. However, these factors are not enough to analyze the role of ideology and require deeper understanding by an ever-greater consumption of the Earths energy and other resource.

On the other hand, like so many other enticing things, Freeden discusses the origin of the word ideology and its role to the emerging society But although it is the product of the French enlightenment, the notion obviously has its roots in the general philosophical questions about meaning and direction with which the breakdown of the medieval world view confronted Western European intellectuals. These questions are primarily courage by the impact of Protestantism with its insistence on the individual, on liberty of conscience and on the transformative power of the word rather than the reassuring presence of ritual. More direct examples that he mentions for instance were Francis Bacon, Karl Marx and Thomas Hobbes.

As such, this concept is agreed upon by Rifkin. He also explains that Enlightenment philosophers tempered by what Hobbes and other philosophers perspectives. This is what according to him a new view, on a new kind of a human condition with number of new narratives that will understand the status of human nature in the future.  Moreover, he also tell a story about the notion that there are many underlying meaning to the human story that fills and surpasses all of the several cultural narratives that makes up the dynamic evolution of different species including human that demonstrates the social glue for each of the odysseys. Thus he reiterated,

History is more often than not made by the disgruntled and discontented, the angry and rebellious  those interested in exercising authority and exploiting others and their victims, interested in righting wrongs and restoring justice. By this reckoning, much of the history that is written about the pathology of power, (Rifkin, 2009, 10).

Perhaps, these are the reasons why we think about human nature and depressing analysis of ideology. The combines memories are measured in periods of disasters where one can define the elements of human experience.

The book that was written by Rifkin is divided into three parts. Although, it not necessarily discuss ideology, the implication it gives in the book was obvious especially in the first part. The first portion describes a new look at the new scientific breakthrough that direct to the conclusion of human being naturally antagonistic, greedy and self-involved. He terms human as Homo empathicus whom he describes as a fundamentally empathic species. The second portion accounts the theological civilizations that lead to ideological age. Moreover, he gives more explanation regarding the psychological period that exemplify the 20th century and the rising trends of today. Lastly, the third part examines and tries to explain the emerging effect of Third Industrial Revolution with direct relationship to development of The Age of Empathy. He discusses the development of civilization in its constant struggle between empathy and entropy together with the deterioration of the health of the planet because of the new ideology that human embeds in their minds. He literary calls this as the Age of Reason being conceal by the Age of Empathy (Rifkin, 2009, 45).

On the other hand, Freeden also discusses the emerging civilization as a result of direct assault to ideology. He mentions that the organizing myths of past societies were inherited and constituted a given framework that transcended the social world. Thus, ideologies are typically ones own creation drawn from painstaking investigations of the societies. This tendency is, in turn, enhanced by the increased democratization of the political process. However, the increase in information available (new discoveries) and the fact that it issued from highly divergent sources meant that its interpretation became problematic and competing frameworks, reflecting different interests, emerged to make sense of all the new material. Thus he argued

Exploring the rationale why ideology came to stay as class of political and philosophical investigation tells only part of the story. Complete historical progress sustained the interest in ideologies more than the thoughts, however illuminating, of a few theorists Ideologies, from this perspective, were political traditions, and some of them exercised a huge impact on the formation of public policies and even on the fortunes of the states in which they prevailed, (Freeden, 2003, 31).
However, as he implied in his argument, the role ideologies, in spite of its inevitably partial origin, had to have universal appeal. For with the increased participation of the masses in politics, persuasion rather than mere command was the real meaning of the term ideology.

Similarly, Rifkin assembles his classification for the growth of human consciousness that links politics, power and communication in one organization. Accordingly, human-powered oral tradition a mythic consciousness and the wood-burning script traditions as an answer to theological consciousness, while the coal-period was the age when ideology comes to place. The rapidly changing environment caused by an overwhelm political development as a result of ideological consciousness, in which philosophers like Freud, Jung and other started a new methods to consider ones own interrelationships and identities.

In relation to what civilization brought to the philosophical ideologies, the disappearances of the self in Freeden principle have an obvious parallel with the recent economic developments such as anti-planning views that happened during the Reagan and Thatcher era. The dominance of the free market environment led to an economic anarchy in which, in Marxs famous phrase all that is solid melts into air (Freeden, 2003, 23). The impression of the lack of solidity in social and economic life was reinforced by the acceleration in the turnover time of capital fostered by the growth of information technology. This can be seen in the cultural logic of the late capitalism in which the information society not only produces new theories of language but in which aesthetic production today has become integrated into commodity production generally. Thus, in a society where packaging and imaging are crucial in the sale of politics, where time and space are increasingly compressed by information super-high ways, where new reports are referred to as stories and murderously armed nation states of the emerging technology that becomes virtual reality.

However, while it is undoubtedly inspirational to find so much verification for human goodness in the sense of goodness in one place, the dilemma is that Rifkin covers too much discussion that most of them are not relative to the concept of ideology and only few of them the profundity they justify. Moreover, he also has a frustrating weakness for giving his own concept of ideology in its very own sense that it has a wide range of studies. Thus, it leaves the reads bereft of concepts that might have given a clearer argument with his discussion. For example, he hypothesizes about the pre-history of human consciousness without deeply analyzing the work of renowned historians like Julian Janes. Furthermore, he explains ways of communication media with only one reference and did not include famous personality in the field.

In this sense, it is very difficult to analyze and utilize information from the book written by Rifkin. However, with the supplement of the works of Freenden, readers will be enlightened to the role of ideology that Rifkin conveys in his book.  Thus, it is in the empiricist tradition that the scienceideology (both of them tackle in their work) dichotomy appears at its more vulnerable. A recent and a well informed can still declare that those propounding an end of ideology thesis in the United States are merely speaking in terms of, and reference to, empirical phenomena far removed from the methodological self-doubts of social sciences. In this sense, Freeden explained
The word authority might signify series of facts of deference to a person or institutions. But the meaning of words (ideology) was also interdependent, they were located in the network of relationships with other words and were only intelligible in that context, (Freeden, 2003, 45).

It is very clear that the view of Freeden is that facts and values are different at least in the sense that they can be separated in expressions where they are conjoined. But to say that facts (particularly the principles of Rifkin in his work) are simply there, whereas values are the subject of free choice, is itself an evaluative view.

Recent work on ideology has linked it to the study of language and the symbols of everyday practical life where it is much less vulnerable to dismissal by reason or science than when it is simply treated as a systematic body of ideas. But if the scienceideology dichotomy will not do, nor will its opposite  the pale view of omnipresence of ideology which has the additional, dangerous implication in reducing all social and political arguments to the status of mere propaganda. This can come in the form of an indiscriminating vulgar Marxism to which virtually any aspect of contemporary society is a symptom of bourgeois ideology (Freeden, 2003, 83).

On the other hand, Rifkin indirectly traces the boost amount of individuals including literacy and prosperity as a result of better freedom, increased literacy, democratic government, and same rights for women, reception of racial equality and the acceptance of individuals of the concepts of freedom to enhance their character. He also creatively attached the information of many spiritual leaders like, Montaigne, Adam Smith, Freud, Thomas Aquinas, Schopenhauer and many others on how ideology of person works. As such, he gave two points to in maintaining his argument. First is the presence of urbanization and second the global interdependence between nations and individuals that requires endeavor to build up empathy.

In real meaning, these books is all about reaching out to others about the history of civilization with the basic introduction of ideological concepts. It follows that the role of ideology is certainly a basic necessity to Enlightenment philosophers turn over their faith-based awareness with the standard of rationale. This is because is best viewed not as a separate system of sign and symbols that could be contrasted with  and eventually replaced another sort of science technology. Thus, ideology is rather an aspect of every system of signs and symbols in so far as they are implicated in an asymmetrical distribution of power and resources.


Post a Comment