Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Continent antarctica: Nontheist Friends, Social theory is a broad field, Quakers, Creativity

Nontheist Friends,

Social theory is a broad field. You'll find some links to various fields in Social Theory here, half way down - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Social_Science, and here in the Social Theory subject - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Social_Theory. As a practicing anthropologist (I'm writing an actual / virtual ethnography of Harbin Hot Springs in northern California - http://www.harbin.org), I (can) see social theory in anthropology to be an interpretive practice of a cultural milieu through participant observation.

Anthropology has deep roots in cultural relativism's comparative approach to questions of 'cultural' difference, which has long cast questions of bigotry into question, by offering approaches for us to learn about others and ourselves, through anthropological kinds of immersion in the lives of others, and sharing of such knowledge representationally in media.

I find Friends / Quakers have historically recast questions of bigotry through a kind of experiential code of seeing the light in everyone, often formulated in variations on "There is that of God in everyone" language.

I wonder how nontheistic Friends might nontheistically create anew, vis-a-vis this historical Friendly code. I understand some of us as engaging in a kind of nontheistic parallelism with much Quaker code, as approach or method - mostly online in email, but also in gatherings and publications - where Friendly language is a basis. But nontheistic Friends also seem, as a kind of method, to create anew through divergent yet unifying tendencies with Quaker process, expressed here in words, and spanning continents.

Might we engage the interpretive practices of social theory vis-a-vis nontheistic Friends to suggest "there is that of Friendly atheists, or nontheistic f/Friends, in everyone"? (I personally draw on the primate record in my social theory interpretations). In the process we might transform bigotry in nontheistically friendly ways. There is that of the nontheist Friend not only in the 7 billion people on the planet, but also in the two species of chimpanzees, two species of orangutans, etc. (Of course, there may not be, as well).

As nontheistic friends, we may create our own 'subculture,' or identity, in a sense, in the U.S., 'within' - sociologically - modern U.S. society which includes the elements you mention (New Deal social and economic policies, and with agency/choice, and via information technologies), but also including aspects of caring and progressive thought (e.g. approaches to peace, anti-war activism, social justic and nonharming ... ) - in my experience. This ongoing creative generation of nontheistic language is thus open-ended, and capable of developing new responses and language to the problematics of bigotry, (and even Quakerism?), for example, but furthers, too, developing continuing networks and community within the Society of Friends, as a whole.

With friendly greetings,



(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2011/04/nontheist-friends-social-theory-is.html - April 5, 2011)

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