Pick three major concepts you learned/read about. The three major concepts I walked away with this week were the concept of (1)SPEC, (2)sociological imagination, and (3)alienated labor. SPEC refers to the main Social Political Economic Cultural aspects that affect the way we reason. It provides a base of reasons for choices a human will make or will be forced to make. Sociological imagination is the ability understand the idea of social structure outside your own personal life. It is an ability that allows one to understand his options through the use of generations of historical examples.
Employing it can help us avoid system traps we may be unaware of otherwise. Finally alienated labor is the concept that explains how a laborer can lose touch with himself and his humanity through the activity of producing against his or her own interest. It’s an explanation of a perpetuating system that cheapens the human life that is spent working for others than themselves as a way of subsisting. This concept I found particularly interesting, but even more so is how they all connect with one another.
By starting out with SPEC we can begin to understand that what sometimes seems like senseless choices are actually decisions based in some very concerns that may be deeply important. Layering that with sociological imagination allows us a window into understanding an issue from another point of view than our own limited one. And finally, alienated labor ties in with the rest of these concepts as a way to explain how spending life performing work that alienates us from our humanity can destroy us from the inside.
This alienation can cause us to become dehumanized and in fact can create a need for us to be more in the pursuit of simple animal pleasures to feel more human again. I feel that this paired with the other two points can help illustrate why as an individual’s life sinks into the despairs of social traps, their future may only get darker. These concepts help explain that this traps aren’t lacking some sign or organization, instead they are part of systemic inequalities and processes that keep those in power up there while maintaining the population needed to stay there, from advancing out of their troubles.
That is how I feel these concepts have changed my view of the world. I think I could sense there was some sort of pattern going on to our lives, but these concepts turn those feelings into concerns as real as you and me. This class is helping me see the traps that may lay ahead of my own wellbeing and self-realization. The concepts mentioned above, have become mostly clear in my life in just the first week of class. The concepts of SPEC, social imagination, and alienation of labor are all clear reminders of the career in which I spent the last 10 years of my life.
To clarify, I will use one situation from my work life that I think has a little of every part of this lesson wrapped inside it. I came from a poor, but close-knit, immigrant family that through luck and sacrifice rose to upper class too quickly. Almost a decade after amassing this mismanaged wealth, it was squandered and became the cause for many of the problems in the family, including drug dependency, abuse, and the total loss of unity that we enjoyed before the money came in faster than it could be spend. By the time I was 18, || joined the Air Force to carve my own path in life.
In hindsight it’s clear now how fucked we were from the start. Using sociological imagination has allowed me to understand many of my parent’s decisions that ultimately led to so many troubles. Using SPECT can understand their reactions to fear, uncertainty, and excitement. However, unaware of traps surrounding their situation, they didn’t prepare for what ultimately destroyed our family as we knew it because at the time we couldn’t see outside of our experience. In my personal life, joining the Air Force led to the most conflicting decisions in my life. It allowed me to reate a life for myself independent of my family, however, in the process, I came to hate what I did for a living and eventually myself for doing it.
I personally relate with Marx statement, “As a result, therefore, man … only feels himself freely active in his animal functions … [and] in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal. ” I joined the military, my brother joined a gang, but I see now it was for very similar social, political, economic, and cultural reason that affected our ability do discern what our best choices truly were.