Envisionings: Wandering Outside the Boxes

“Dr. Smith has written new book on political and social theorizing – revolutionary perspective – you won’t see it the same way after reading this book.”

Envisionings: Wandering Outside the Boxes – A Speculation on Political and Sociological Theorizing by Earl R Smith II, PhD

Envision: imagine as a future possibility; visualize

This is a speculation on the process of political and sociological theorizing as it is currently practiced, and to some extent on how it has been historically practiced, in Europe and North America. It considers this theorizing across a range of geographic, temporal and cultural contexts without resorting to the more traditional approach of “comparative analysis”. A primary aim of this work is to sketch out an alternative approach to this type of thinking.

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This book is a speculation about the effects of certain predispositions centered around the practice, nature and structure of political and sociological theorizing. It rises from the assumption that the traditional approaches to the study of the process of such theorizing – particularly via some form of comparative analysis – is less productive than ordinarily assumed – has some significant blind-spots – and further that it might be possible to find another way of thinking about such things – a way which does not suffer from those shortcomings.

“I’ll never read about political and social theorizing without the incredible vision that Dr. Smith has given me through this book. I now understand something that has changed the way I look at things. It is an amazing gift.”

This work should properly be considered a speculation. It started out, more years ago than I care to admit and as such journeys often do, with a few relatively concrete problems to which I found myself returning again and again. After several returnings, I began to see a pattern in my relationship with these conundrums – a series of steps leading up to – a series of coping attempts (mostly variations on themes) – a pattern and paths of retreats. I soon began to wonder more about these patterns than the hard nuts that seemed to refuse to crack – the problems became secondary to the questions like: “Why are these problems problems at all? … What role do they play in my scheme of things? … Why do I seem to feel a need to try to come to terms with them? … Why am I attempted solutions always unedifying? … Why do others seem to have been attacking roughly the same points as I have been – and seem to have been for centuries – with as little luck or effect?”

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“The  scope of this work is breathtaking. Dr. Smith’s vision of how humans engage in thinking about things is nothing short of amazing. He opened a door to a new way of seeing and, for that, I am extremely grateful.”

From Envisionings: “Gradually it has become clear to me what every great philosophy so far has been: namely, the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir; also that the moral (or immoral) intentions in every philosophy constituted the real germ of life from which the whole plant had grown.”

I wrote this book because the ways that I had been taught to think about political and social theory were just not working. They always seemed to lead to dead ends and crazy results. Each side fought its battle with a mixture of certainty and insane posturing to hide the obvious holes in their arguments and untenable parts of their world view. There had to be a better way of thinking about such things. Envisionings is the result of a two decades long search for that different way.

Most of my adult life has been spent in the field of politics and thinking about how it works. Dr. Smith has given me a whole new way of looking. Like the Hubble Space Telescope, I needed corrective lenses and he provided them.”

This book is about four groups: FUBARS. SNAFUs, YIMBYs and ~<[(;-’)>-s. They represent the four major ways that intellectuals have approached thinking about culture, society, politics and how they function within human populations. If you set out on this journey, be prepared for a crazy ride – for there is nothing lacking sanity more than the way these important topics have been traditionally thought about.

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