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Notes on video lecture:
Inter-Subjective Reality and Romantic Consumerism
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
changing, legend, monopoly, home, horizons, armies, story, collapse, foods, chimpanzees, equality, violence, jeans, imaginary, dissolved, emanates, society, radioactivity, objects, vacation, tenets, industries, individualism, stories, Egypt, neighborhood
if human rights are just a            that we create and believe, isn't there a danger that the social order will                 ?
the answer is yes, which is why the social order of humans is much less stable that the social order of                       , or wolves, or ants which have their rigid social structures, i.e. how to deal with large numbers of strangers, hard-coded into their genes, and it is why we humans have had so many revolutions and wars and upheavals in our history whereas animals haven't
yet the social order cannot be                  all the time, otherwise you could not build cities, kingdoms, empires and modern states
therefore humans invest a lot of time, effort and money in stabilizing the social order and the stories that uphold the social order
physical force
we create             , courts, police forces, and prisons to maintain this order
religions
coercion
evangelism
religions such as Christianity and Islam would not have lasted thousands of years through                  and coercion alone, they are perpetuated in large part because people really believe that their              are true of the world
education
from a young age we are told the                that our families and societies believe in
histories, plays, stories, humor
others' actions in daily situations
in clothes that we wear
           were originally clothing for the working class but today they are worn by people in almost all classes, which emphasizes the story that everyone is equal
people in the Middle Ages did not believe in                  but hierarchy so a nobleman would never wear the clothes of a common worker
the three main factors that prevent people from realizing that the order that organizes our lives exists only in our imaginations
1. imagined reality is linked to material world of                around us, such as architecture
most people in Western societies today believe in                           , that every human being is an individual whose value does not depend his position within society or on what other people think about him, that each of us has within himself something unique which gives meaning to his life, children are brought up to ignore criticism by others and to believe in themselves
modern architecture encourages this story: the modern          is built with many individual rooms so that each child can have his private space which provides the child autonomy, often with a door that can be locked, and which even parents need to knock on before being allowed to enter, children are allowed to decorate their room as they wish
someone who grows in such a space is encouraged to think of himself as an individual, someone whose value                  from within himself
in contrast, in the Middle Ages, the nobility did not believe in individualism, the true value of people did not come from inside each person but was determined by social hierarchy and what other people were saying and thinking about them
Medieval architecture reflected this view of human worth: a teenage son of a medieval baron did not have his own room with a door that he could lock, but rather he grew up in large halls where he slept, ate, and went about daily life with other people which emphasized the story that his value comes not from his individual self but from how others see him and what they say about him
2. imagined reality shapes our desires and wishes
most people do not want to accept that the order governing their lives is imaginary
even what people take to be their most personal desires are often determined by imaginary constructs that exist only as beliefs
for instance, the desire to take a                  abroad, to France or India or wherever, but there is nothing natural or obvious about this desire
a chimpanzee would never come up with the idea to use his energy to go visit another band of chimpanzees in some neighboring territory
even the richest pharaohs of ancient            who had pyramids built for them did not think about traveling to go see other lands
people in our culture have been influenced by the stories of their societies to travel on vacations to other places
romantic consumerism
romanticism
one of the most powerful stories today in the world
a mesh of between two of the late-modern ideologies: romanticism and consumerism
romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of your life
you have to have as many different experiences as you can
you must open yourself to a wide spectrum of emotions
you must sample various kinds of relationships
you must try all kinds of different           
you have to appreciate different kinds of music styles
one of the best ways to do this is to break free of your daily routine, leave behind your familiar                          and city and travel to a distant land where you can experience the different culture, norms and values of another people
a common story that we hear today in our culture is new experience opened opened our eyes and changed our life
consumerism
in order to be happy, you must consume as many products and services as possible
if you feel that something is missing in your life, if you feel that something is not quite right, then you need to buy a new product like a new car, or new clothes, or organic food, or you need to buy some kind of service, maybe you need relationship therapy, maybe you need yoga classes, but you need to buy something to be happy
every television commercial, and you have probably watched thousands of them by now, is another little              about how consuming some product or some service will make your life better
romanticism which encourages a variety of experiences, combines perfectly with consumerism, the marriage between romanticism and consumerism is what gave birth to the modern tourism industry, one of the biggest                      today in the world, does not sell you flight tickets or hotel bedrooms, it sells you experiences. For tourism, Paris is not a city, it is an experience. India is not a country, it is an experience. Skiing in the Alps is not a sport, it's an experience. The consumption of these experiences, the story tells us, will widen our                 , fulfill our potential, and make us happier. Our desire to go to Paris or London or New York is not a reflection of some natural and independent desire, it is a reflection of an ardent belief in the story of romantic consumerism. People are so busy believing these fantasies that they seldom stop to ask themselves why they believe in them in the first place.
3. the imagined order is embedded in not just one person but many people
objective
existing independently of human consciousness, independent of what humans believe and invent
e.g.                           , this is not a story that people invented and tell another, it can be measured accurately independent of anyone's beliefs, and it affects people predictably and consistently whether or not they believe in it
subjective
existing based on the consciousness and beliefs of a single individual, and it will disappear or change if that individual person changes his beliefs
e.g. young children believe in the existence of an imaginary friend, but as the child grows up, the child stops believing in the imaginary friend, and the imaginary friend disappears
inter-subjective
existing within the communication network that links the subjective consciousness of many individuals, one individual changing his beliefs is of little importance but if most of the individuals change or discontinue their belief, the phenomenon will change or disappear
many of histories most important players are inter-subjective entities such as gods, nations, human rights, money, and corporations
these are not imaginary friends of a single individual but they are not objective entities and forces like radioactivity
a corporation is not the                    friend of the CEO, but exists as a shared imaginary entity by all the people who believe that the company will pay them, all the people who honor its contracts, and all the people who sign their names to its legal documents
the dollar, the euro and other currencies exist as inter-subjective entities: if one person or even a small group of people stop accepting them as legal tender, their existence will not be affected, but if everyone stops accepting them as happened to all of the currencies which the Euro replaced, then they will cease having power and influence in the world
to change the inter-subjective reality of an entity such as a corporation, you would need another larger entity which millions of people believe in, e.g. to eliminate the existence of Peugot car company, the French legal system which everyone believes in would need to pronounce, e.g. that the company broke                  laws and therefore should be dissolved
in order for the French legal system to change, something larger than it, e.g. the French nation would have to declare it nullified
in order for the French nation to be                   , something larger than it would need to pronounce this, e.g. the European Union
you can only change one inter-subjective story with another one because the only way to stop believing in one big story is to start believing in another story, as we see when countries and currencies are dissolved and replaced by others
the agricultural revolution showed us that having food to feed all the people is not enough for a stable society: cultures also had to get everyone in the culture believing in the same stories, because if you can't do that, all the food in the world will not produce a stable               
The Context of History and Our Extended Human Family
How Walking Upright Led to Better Social and Cooperative Skills
The Importance of Fire and Cooking
Why Did Other Human Species Become Extinct?
The Cognitive Revolution and the Beginning of Human History
The Language of Homo Sapiens
How Fictive Language Enabled Larger Social Groups
The Power of Imagined Realities
How the Ability to Tell Stories Enabled Humans to Cooperate in Massive Groups
The Cognitive Revolution and the Variety of Human Communities
Spiritual Beliefs of Early Humans
Politics and Warfare of Pre-Agricultural Societies
45,000 Years Ago: Human's Decimation of Australia's Large Mammals
14,000 BC: Human Migration to the Americas
Agriculture: The Good and the Bad
10,000 BC: Agricultural Revolution
The Origins of Agriculture
The Code of Hammurabi and Other Imagined Realities
Inter-Subjective Reality and Romantic Consumerism
The Human Brain's Outsourcing of Mathematics
Unjust and Imagined Hierarchies
Imagined Hierarchies in History
Culturally Defined Gender
Three Theories of Gender Domination
The Direction of Humankind: Global Unity
The Essence of Money
The History of Money
The Historical Definition of Empire
The Relationship between Science, European Imperialism and Capitalism
Science, Capitalism and European Imperialism
Columbus: Last Man of the Middle Ages, Vespucci: First Man of the Modern Age
European Empires, Science, and Capitalism
How Capitalism is Based on Trust in the Future
On the Interdependence of Science and Capitalism
How Capitalism Enabled Small European Countries to Explore and Conquer the World
The Relationship Between Capitalism, the Slave Trade, and Free Market Forces
Industrialization, Energy and Raw Materials
The Second Agricultural Revolution and its Effect on Animal Treatment
The Ethics of Capitalism and Consumerism
On Limitless Energy Resources and the Hegemony of Modern Time Schedules
State/Market vs. Family/Community
Humankind's Rigid and Violent Past, and Flexible and Peaceful Present
Reasons for Our Current Unprecedented Era of International Peace
Three Theories on the History of Happiness
Psychological and Biological Happiness
Measuring Human Happiness
The Future of Cyborgs and Robots
What Do We Want to Want?