Derived from Kant’s social philosophy, ideology forms the foundation of any society, government and policy framework. Ideology is reflected in religion, family, social beliefs, values and attitudes, the ethical thinking and reasoning of a society. This is then induced in to the literature, culture and government as Kant has described in his social and political philosophy (Beiner, et al. 143). No one can escape from ideological framework, as the organization of every civilized society is based on a sound ideology. Ideology is a thought, reasoning and an understanding of the system of the world. But not only that, an ideology is formed to better shape the life according to the nature of the worldly expectations and systems. Ideology may be according to the school of thought of the wise men of a nation, who no longer live in it, but have bound the nation for the coming future to live their destinies according to the ideology (Zizek, 321). The idea of powerlessness derives a person of today to consider his options but feel bound nonetheless, as ideology of a nation is something which is hardly an element to run away from as it covers up almost every aspect of life. Thus, the idea that ideology ties us to destinies from which we are powerless to escape is highly sustainable as it shapes up the political framework, language and communication and the overall culture and religion of a nation, within the boundaries of which the people live their whole lives.
Now, two very broad questions come to the mind: What is really ideology? Ideology exists for almost every form of reasoning of the world and its objects. But generally how can we define it? And how does it come to govern the destiny of a man?
Firstly, ideology is what holds the society together. Every society, big or small, ancient or modern, has had its own ideology or its own set of ideological frameworks. These frameworks are used in policy and decision making for every big or small situations of life that either affects an individual’s life or that of a nation (Zald, 311). Ideologies are formed to better reflect the system of the world in the actions of the man and to lead a life that is backed with a sound system and reasonable structure. When societies are formed, they are formed on the basis of an ideology.
When it is said that ideology binds destiny, it implies that ideology governs a man’s life. How? Every society has an ideology of religion, theories of the origin of the world, communication, culture, ideas, morals and ethics, politics and government, social order and social systems (Ball, 108). In fact, in a more modern setting, ideologies are separate for every group, organization and nation. Let it be a particular interest group that has its own set of objectives or a nation which sets itself separate from the world for e.g. in Amish existence, ideologies exist in broad definitions (Bell, 89). At a more profound level, it is said that ideas give way to ideologies and ideas exist for everything in our lives. But then are we not bound by ideologies that are already formed for us and leave little room to escape? Why does one feel so caught up? This will now be discussed in more detail.
Ideas are communicated through language and every society has its own communication links and language which binds the society together. From one generation to another, ideas are passed on through language and communication (Pratt, 200). Thus, ideology is strongly reflected in communication and language (Farrell, 142). Language and literature play a vital role in creating a literary framework for an ideology to progress in a society (Orlovsky, 202). Literature in fact is seen as a servant of ideology (Orlovsky, 203). How can one say that? Consider this: verbs express action and adverbs address states of being. In this way, language is used to edify ideology. It is said that semantics plus moral rituals equal an ideology.
The religious laws and practices, rituals and customs are all based on some ideology. In France Christianity is followed on by majority and Christianity is based on the ideology of existence of one God and the ideologies of Jesus Christ (Harth, 183). The ideologies reflect distinction of right from wrong, explanation of the existence of many aspects of the world, superiority of equality and moral justice, etc. these, then shape up the behavioral actions of a man during his entire life, where his wrong actions are strictly adhered to by the society and where he himself is no one to determine his righteousness (Juden, 191). Now, does not this make a man powerless to justify himself on the basis of his own reasoning? The reasoning is done on the basis of the religious norms which are based on the ideologies, governing lives of those who follow it.
Two famous ideologies in the world which form the basis of many laws and understanding and theoretical frameworks of the existence of the world are materialism and idealism.
Materialism sees world as being knowable. It rejects the idea of “Absolute knowledge” and believes that science will be on the toil of improvement and through our knowledge we keep on learning more and more as we never come to the point of attaining the ultimate truth (Kamuf, 94). Through relative knowledge and experimentation, we gradually improve ourselves and create a more realistic perception of the material world (Denes, 261).
Idealism is, however, based on the idea of “Absolute Idea” whereby we cannot know about the world, through learning or experimentation as acclaimed by materialism (Schor, 124). The way of learning and gaining the knowledge in idealism is to debate and discuss on one’s ideas that reflect the fundamental principle of the Absolute Idea (Eagleton, 63).
French ideology for politics and government strongly revolves around dualism (Warwick, 178). In the modern times by the new political philosophers, this ideology is much argued as it hinders in the way of constructive politics today and produces conflicts when responding to the nation’s problems. But the government is nothing but bound to strictly adhere to rigidly follow up with the ideology which initially formed the basis of the government of France (Fluery, 13)
There are many social systems exist in the world, such as capitalism, individualism, collectivism, etc. France is incumbent of an individualistic society such as other European countries; where by individual objectives are of higher priority and are considered separate from those of a group (Stuart, 2002, p.284). In contrast to an individualistic ideology of a society, the collectivism, which is a common social system in the Eastern countries such as those of Asian countries for example, regards the interest of the groups as being more important and the society runs on the basis of a group consensus rather than individual concern (Kecward, 85). Thus, where individuals assess their own interest in decision making bound by the societal morals in individualism, individuals are bound by group’s interests in collectivism. Both societies bound the individuals to lead the life according to the ideologies nonetheless.
In colonization people’s destinies are decided upon and shaped up via the political ideologies according to the example in Elise ou la vraie vie where in a car factory workersare treated as ‘un carburant sans valeur, une rèserve inépuisable’ rather than as human beings and live as being the target of racial prejudice and racial insults, and find themselves powerless to escape from how they are supposed to be treated (Etcherelli, 96).
In a French play called “Les séquestrés d’Altona’ by Sartre was described the Gerlach Family which was the victim of various ideologies incumbent in religion and culture which present themselves in a rather negative way but bind the people nonetheless to be cruel as to follow up to them (Sartre, 196).
As much as the world has evolved, the ideologies that were formed historically have not, such as those of religion and culture. Science has modernized the nations and individual thinking which has only paved the way for cognitive dissonance, as human have begun to adopt contrasting attitudes towards certain elements of life to the ideological perspectives vested on to their societies by the earlier wise men and philosophers. This has only resulted in a chaotic mental condition, social, ethical and practical reasoning and thinking for men, who now come to regard scientific thinking as a better alternative to ideological frameworks which have for long bound them into living a life which was considered suitable by the earlier philosophers and has only made them powerless to escape from a destiny similar to those who followed the ideology before them (Sanakoyev, 56). This does not however imply that all ideologies deem a person powerless to pursue a good and healthy life, ideologies are meant for a healthy life nonetheless, and as much as they may prove successful in a person’s life, they may very well bound him to pursue nothing else.