Making Sense of Society

Making Sense of Society

Or what on earth is it all about?

[Perhaps an even more pertinent question following the EU Referendum result]


Each one of us, a soul alone
Yet life is no a solo performance
Born into a family – even if only ‘nuclear’
[perhaps nowadays dysfunctional]
Socialised through nursery and primary
Dragooned through the schooling process
Finished off in higher education
Launched out into “society”
Like debutantes of old seeking a good marriage

How can we understand this complicated world?
From infant’s baby chatter to literature’s lofty tomes
From simple fairy tales to the treasure chest
Of history, philosophy, all the humanities
And that pragmatic realm of science
Describing all from single atom to the universe at large
Then technology the mighty progeny of science
And all of these given order by the ideology of politics

How then do we make sense of all of this?
Is this not too much for our tiny mind
Perhaps the point is that we cannot
On our own make sense of society
Rather, the very existence of society
makes sense of us and of our place in it
And only as we play our part as citizens
Can society be to our mutual benefit

And so let us rather praise that we live
Not as hermits on some island paradise
But as valued members of some collective realm
Each contributing to the greater whole
Which is the blessing of civil society
Combining our efforts and our gains
And accepting some loss of identity
Within the larger whole and for the greater good

Ken Fisher

But what about Mrs Thatcher’s much quoted utterance:
“There is no such thing as society”

So why try to make sense of it anyway?

NOTE: IN THE 1980’S THE OPEN UNIVERSITY’S Social Science Foundation Course
had the title : Making Sense of Society

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