Originally Posted by Tovarishch
It should be kept in mind that while we may say that we are masters of our world, it does not mean that it is true. How could it be, when poverty and crime abound, and we are continually at the mercy of the elements? Perhaps the only reason that such problems exist is that we count them as such- a problem.
Perhaps the only reason Im bringing this up is because Im supposed to be studying it right now rather than using this site to procrastinate, but hell I learn a basic concept much better when Im forced to implement it immediately.
Before you are to make sense of my argument you will have to understand two perspectives in sociology, sociology being the study of the inner workings of society on a macro level. The argument of structural functionalism states that everything that makes up our society is there for a reason, that if there was any sort of inefficiency it would have been been eliminated swiftly and efficiently.
The second argument is the social conflict theory. The social conflict theory states that society is in a constant state of conflict, and that these conflicts fuel social change and innovations. Society is seperated into the haves and the have nots, with the have nots trying to get what the haves... have, and the people that possess what the others want trying to keep it out of the hands that don't possess it in the interest of controlling the class below them. For example you go to school to learn, you are the have not, the teacher that imparts the information unto you is the Have. The teacher has complete control over what information you receive and gives you it in the interest of receiving a service in exchange, in this case you filling out a worksheet.
Now Structural functionalism and social conflict theory aren't two entirely different theories, and there is room for them to coexist. For example a structural functional approach to conflict theory would state that social conflict exists because it performs a purpose. Social conflict allows for the means of social mobility.
So why is there poverty and crime? Because the conflict between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have nots serves a purpose in the overall functioning of our society. The poor provide unskilled manual labor for the rich, performing jobs that don't award much prestige or wage, however someone has to do it and seeing as how every person on the planet is capable of cleaning a toilet bowl there is a great deal of competition for the unpleasant job, making its value to society go down, in addition to its wage. Are you going to pay more than minimum wage to a person, when theres 50 other people outside the door capable of performing that janitorial position just as well as the person you currently have?
So what does social conflict do? It allows the person to specialize into a certain position, such as doctor that while still just as necessary as a clean working environment, have much less competition and require a greater deal of specialization.
So again why is there poverty and crime? Because it serves a purpose.
Perhaps I went a little off topic, and I feel that I was unclear in my original post. You are viewing argument in completely the wrong light, and I feel you need to look closer at my final paragraph.
Originally Posted by Sun Tzu
And so since reality is subjective you will have to agree with me that everything that we do is original. You see, philosophy didn't exist until we said it exists, mathematics didn't exist until someone scrawled a couple numbers into the sand on a beach, and science didn't bother rearing its ugly head until we damn well told it to. We humans are the masters of our world, creating and shaping it as we see fit. Regardless of whether or not the information or idea is out there floating around, it doesn't have any tangible reality until we choose to acknowledge it.
While granted nothing exists until I say it exists it, for me to acknowledge its existence there has to be something there to acknowledge. For example, objective sensory input. Now this objective sensory input is in all cases real, however not real, until we choose to put it through the filter that is our brain, turning it into subjective input.
So, for all intents and purposes the world out there is indeed "real", and "solid" however it doesn't become real to us individually until we choose to run it through the subjective filter. So there can be a hurricane rolling through Florida, however that hurricane doesn't exist until the citizens of Florida choose to acknowledge the sensory input that the hurricane was providing. People are more than capable of simply shutting themselves off and refusing to acknowledge the hurricanes existence, and they will be none the wiser of its presence. Of course the mind will also have to ignore the fact that your getting thrown around my 100 mph winds as well as getting smacked in the head with hale and rain. While this is incredibly unlikely due to our brains being built to acknowledge and respond to external sensory input it is not unheard of.
For example the album "Tommy" by The Who tells a tale of a child who is suffering from an extreme form of PTSD. Tommy refuses to acknowledge anything visually, auditory, and is completely mute. While all of Tommy's sensory organs work perfectly fine, Tommy chooses not to use them preferring the contents of his own thoughts as opposed to the content of the world around him. Tommy exists in his own world, and that world is real to him though it isn't real to anyone else.
Does that help make things a little clearer?