Monday, August 30, 2010

Human Being or Human Doing?

Over the weekend I picked up an old book whose title caught my eye: Ideology and Utopia by Karl Mannheim (printed by Harcourt, Brace, and Company in London, 1949). Although I have very limited knowledge of sociology, I have enjoyed the opening section on "Preliminary Approach to the Problem". On page 17 I highlighted a couple of insightful statements:

"Just as the most exact theory of cause and function does not answer the question as to who I actually am, what I actually am, or what it means to be a human being..."

"The mechanistic and functionalistic theory is highly valuable as a current in psychological research. It fails, however, when it is placed in the total context of life-experience because it says nothing concerning the meaningful goal of conduct..."

"The most important role of thought in life consists, however, in providing guidance for conduct when decisions must be made. Every real decision (such as one's evaluation of other persons or how society should be organized) implies a judgment concerning good and evil, concerning the meaning of life and mind."

Our emphasis on a modern mechanistically computer-controlled life cannot articulate to us and the generation to follow what Dr. Mannheim prophetically wrote in the 1940s, "what it means to be a human being". Corporations see employees as "unit costs", "human doings", "liabilities", etc. So how do we value the "life-experience" and define "the meaningful goal of conduct"?

Dr. Mannheim gives the reader a clue to the question of conduct - the role of Thought. What and how we think determines the value of life and the meaning of our conduct. What do we think? I know that thoughts are like planting a crop in the field of life. If you plant corn, it doesn't matter how much you wish, pray, hope, argue, fight, and curse you will not receive a crop of carrots. You plant corn you get corn. So what are we planting, what are we thinking?

I became aware of my thought life upon being forced to go to a radical movie showing at an independent movie theater years ago. The movie is What the Bleep do we Know? Although I may not agree with everything presented, I was intrigued with the responsibility of our thoughts. The following movie clip is from the movie and presents some of the data from Dr. Masaru Emoto's phenomenal work with water and words (from his book The Hidden Messages in Water):

Additional videos on Messages in Water can be found at:

We are not mechanical human doings! We are human beings responsible for our thoughts! Read and Think! The Eagle is Thinking.....

Eagle Driver
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