Bundling Ideas

Patterns – how fascinating they can be!  For some of us, patterns can become obsessive…and I am no exception.  If I examine a piece of clothing, I’ll be able to reproduce its pattern.  I can accurately draw the floor plan (pattern) of every single building I’ve ever been in (at least, the areas I saw).  I love visual puzzles.  But, observing social interactions – human or animal – has always been my favorite venue for observing patterns.

One very important aspect of human behavioural patterns is that we tend to bundle ideas together.  It seems so very natural to us, we don’t really even think about it.  Yet, we inevitably do bundle ideas together without even being aware of it.  It couldd be as simple as ‘connotations’, at other times the ‘bundling process’ is more complex. 

This is a handy way for us to ‘categorize’ things, help us make sense of all the ‘stuff’ out there.  And that is good.  As long as we remember that we are doing it.  Because if we are not careful, we can end up rejecting very good ideas (or accepting very bad ones), just because someone (innocently or manipulatively) has managed to bundle them with a whole other set of ideas that are quite unrelated, yet which will colour our perception of the whole ‘bundle’.

Perhaps I am not being very clear … an example or two might help illustrate.  One time, while buying shampoo, my (at that time) four-year-old son told me I should buy a particular brand.  When I asked why, wondering if he liked the smell or something, he answered:  “Because you’re worth it, Mom!”… this was the catch-line of that brand’s latest ad campaign….

Ads are one of the most familiar ways ideas are intentionally bundled:  if the advertising campaign can successfully link a product with an image which is desiarable within the target audience, the sales of this product will be higher than should the campaign have only presented factual information on the product.  This works with positive as well as negative advertising.

Most of us are wary of the manipulation of idea-bundling by advertizers, but there are so many other areas in which we are bombarded by these idea bundles, yet where we are much less sophisticated at detecting them.  Still, they occurr all around us. 

So, what does one do when society ‘bundles ideas’ in a way that does not line up with one’s own ‘bundles’?

Perhaps the most obvious example is in the world of politics.  The more ‘right of centre’ one’s fiscal and social ideas are, the more one is presumed to be ardently Christian.  The more ‘left of centre’ one’s fiscal and social ideas are, the less ‘religiously Christian’ their ideas are presumed to be.  Perhaps, in the past, this might have ‘sort-of’ been  so.

This ‘bundling’ of ideas on the political scene really does not account for the emerging trends within our society.  Two of these many ’emerging trends’ are ‘non-religious conservatives’, the other are ‘very religious non-Christians’.  These are just two off several of the fast growing segments of our population that simply do not ‘fit’ the political ‘idea-bundles’.

It is extremely difficult for non-religious (or, the also emerging anti-religious) conservatives to find a place in our society.  These people are extremely uncomfortable with the religious right, and their motivations for many policies.  Yet, they see the folly of the social and fiscal policies of the liberal (or, perhaps more accurately called, anti-liberty) left. 

On the other hand, the ‘religious right’ perceive this new and growing segment on their end of the political spectrum with suspicion, not considering them to be ‘real’ conservatives )and being very vocal about this).  Perhaps that is how people like George Bush Jr., whose fiscal policies are anything but conservative, yet who is a Christian fundamentalist, can be perceived as somehow more ‘conservative’ than a fiscal conservative libretarian who is not shackled by religious dogma.  I’m not making a judgment here, simply observing a pattern!

Similarly, many very religious non-Christian immigrants are finding an uncomfortable ‘political home’ on the left side of the spectrum.  Not hung up on the historical division between the religious right and the communist (and atheist) left, they appreciate the benfits they receive from social programs instituted by ‘left’.  Among a small segment of them, there is also a very real fear (justified or not)  of both the ‘religious right’ and the ‘libretarian right’.

This is the dilemma that was, to some degree, faced by the Jewish populations in ‘the West’ following WWII.  As Barbara Amiel (yes, Lady Black is Jewish) had explained in her writings, following WWII, many Jewish people were, rightly or wrongly, wary of anything that was deemed ‘right wing’ – and threw their support behind the ‘humanist left’, whatever the costs.  An unesy arrangement, at best.

So, with the growth of non-Christian religious vote, are we going to see a re-alignment of the current political parties?  Will the ‘consrevatives’ come to represent non-religious, fiscally conservative libretarians, while the ‘religious vote’ will flock to the ‘liberal/socialist’ vote?  Or will we see a fragmentation of the traditional parties, into the ‘four corners’:  ‘religious right’, ‘religious left’, ‘non-religious right’ and ‘non-religious left’? 

And if we do, how will the different faiths within one movement come to terms with each other?

4 Responses to “Bundling Ideas”

  1. leafless Says:

    Unless there are serious conflicts of interest, religion identity has no place in politics. The influence of religion on politics is just a myth put out there by the media. I view conservatives more as warmongers and promoters of individual liberty, and liberals as tree huggers and promoters of socialism.

  2. Nancy Coppock Says:

    Again, you pose some interesting ideas about patterns and the method patterns become bundled by outside forces and manipulators. Even worse than advertisements is the entire main stream media. But that’s another whole can of worms.

    One thing non-believers, atheists, or those of other religions misunderstand about Christianity is that many who call themselves by Christ’s name are not behaving so. All Christians will fail due to our human nature, but it is our love and mercy that sets us apart from those merely claiming the Name.

    Those that believe Christianity is merely not drinking, smoking, or dancing, are certainly wrong – whether they claim the Name or are outsiders looking in. This judgmental thinking is the source of cultural distrust and name calling from both sides.
    Those of the Name are not in the fight, but are stained none the less. Christianity is not so much about the “do not” but about Liberty .
    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galations 5:22-23
    This becomes the basis for our own Declaration of Independence which is why liberty requires moral citizens. The more laws the less freedom. Also, more laws or regulations create dark muddled areas where illegal and immoral activity thrives.
    But that too, is another topic.

    What I want to make clear is that Christianity is about love, treating our neighbor as we would treat ourselves, and greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his neighbor. It is not about pointing the finger at others for their faults but about showing Christ – even though we fail miserably at times. It is about humility of self, because we acknowledge how we came to be redeemed by a holy God. This is the measure of those called by the Name.

    As to the Liberal/Conservative connection, today Liberalism has come to mean the absence of moral values – “it’s just sex, it doesn’t interfere with doing the job” or the marveling at how good a liar one can be. Conservatism by it’s thought process becomes a quest for the higher ideal, which is why Conservatives caught in sin/corruption are dispatched by their own party. A concept that raises the glee of Liberals accustomed to forcing that dispatch with “culture of corruption” buzzwords to shape public opinion.

    I expect that as the Democratic Party goes into decline, the Republican Party will split into Republicans and Libertarians. Politically, I just long to see the Constitution respected. Because as long as it is perceived in a muddled fashion, our liberty and freedom are under threat.

  3. xanthippa Says:

    Leafless,

    so where would you stick a tree-hugging war-monger?

  4. xanthippa Says:

    Nancy,

    I do not think that liberals lack morals: they definitely have some, just that these are usually so incomprehensive to most conservatives as to appear non-existant. And liberals usually see the conservative values to be destructive to society.

    I am NOT passing a value on the morals on either side – at least, not here! I do hope to pass judgment on them both in later posts! Nor am I attempting to predict how specific parties will behave in the next few years.

    I am simply noting that in recent times, we are seeing more and more people who are NOT comfortable with (and ready to support) ANY ‘idea bundle’ presented by the traditional ‘right/left’ division in our political spectrum.


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