VOX DEI

Recently, I have blogged twice regarding how de facto consensus can be found in social systems.  Human beings, as social creatures, are interconnected through a wide variety of communication mechanisms.  Generally, we gravitate toward gregariousness rather than being argumentative.  One of the social skills we acquire as we mature is the ability to gauge group communication, or even dyadic communication.  We usually consider the degree of agreeableness that is involved so that we can decide whether we want to “go along to get along” in the context of conversations and so forth.  In short, much of our social energy is expended in mostly peaceful communication.  By the way, there is nothing wrong with desiring peaceful coexistence with other people, particularly those with whom we are in frequent contact.  See Romans 12:18.

Acculturation is the process of acquiring a deep understanding of a culture – particularly the culture into which we are born.  In its essence, acculturation consists of pervasive communication between the person and the culture in which we find that person. The phenomenon provides us with the opportunity to get all the various elements of the culture to be integrated with one another as we live in that culture.  In that sense, acculturation is a lifelong process of adaptation to the ways of those people most like ourselves.  This provides a mechanism for harmonious agreement and more-or-less orderly change.


ZEITGEIST

Zeitgeist is one of those terms that is fairly commonly used but not commonly understood.  The word “zeitgeist” is composed of two German words.  Zeit means time in German.  Geist means ghost or spirit in German.  So Zeitgeist basically means “spirit of the times.”  One way to look at it is that over time social trends dictate changes in popular attitudes that are generally shared by many people.  The Zeitgeist idea allows for change in things like automobile styling.  What is considered good taste in automobiles today may be considered archaic in a relatively short period of time.  Things like fads and fashions are examples of public attitudes that change very quickly.   Such things are not usually considered under the heading of zeitgeist, but they might be.  On the other hand, the use of seatbelts took a very long time to become popular – become a part of the zeitgeist.  What I mean is that the definition of zeitgeist is a bit ambiguous.  It has generally been used to refer to social or political movements and the like.  But it might be used just to refer to trending ideas, particularly those that are talked about fairly regularly.


VOX POPULI

Almost without regard to the actual form some human government takes, the leaders of the governed population maintain that they rule in the manner in which they rule because that is what the people want.  Even tyrannical dictators will typically claim they do what they do for the benefit of the people or because the people want it that way.  Regardless of the mode of their accession to power, the claim is still made that all is “for” the people.  One of the most stark examples of this phenomenon is the modern title “People’s Republic of” some nation. 

The “vox populi,” which just means “voice of the people” in Latin, is a powerful force.  In this blog I want to look at the vox populi from a fairly broad perspective.  One underlying motivation is that what some often claim to be the vox populi is a very carefully orchestrated outcome produced by persons who wish to have power over the very people they claim to represent.  When political leaders say, “the people want this” or “the people want that,” they often refer to something the leaders want the people to want.  When the people want what the leaders want the people to want, then the leaders will become voices (voces is the Latin) for the people themselves in many cases.  Such voices can take what is perceived to be the will of the people and package it in such a way as to bring power and control to the leaders in question.  In the long run, this is inevitable in fact.


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