My good fellow, you made me happy, since what you wrote was said in a beautiful manner and sincerely touched my heart. For an anon to take the time to answer in such a way, I do thank you genuinely. However, regarding the argument itself, you are right to say that we are antithetical to each other, to a point beyond theoretical reconciliation. I cannot but disagree with every single point you made. In fact, i've come to notice that our dispute is not political, rather, very much deeper and beyond ideology, its is ontological in nature, so i'll start from the most basic of your points to then move to the ones that are more accidental and bleed out of ontology:
You start your basic point by saying that society is not reducible to individuals, but is nontheless composed of it, which they also are the ones that reproduce it through their practices. However, you then go on to say that what we call society, it's just a purely nominal concept, a phantasmagorical entity, a "flatus vocis". You then say that to "treat society as more real to those realising it" is ultimately idealism, and that society is meant for the subject, and not the other way around.
At first sight this seems to be coherent, but the argument is contradictory, and actually start from an idealist perspective, assuming you are opposed to it. It seems to me that you place the human as the most
fundamental being of all, and that all things beyond human exist only insofar as humans have a concept or word for it. A waterfall, that moves through the air, we see it as one, but ultimately it is just a collection of H2O, the same applies to toasters, trees, and everything, as everything can be said to be composed of something else, except maybe an hypothetical most fundamental particle or whatever thing it may be. I do not know if you apply the same reasonment to everything in existence, that all we percieve as unitary entities are really phantasmagorical concepts projected onto matter, or bundle of qualities. however, the same critique will be made regardless of the extent of which you apply this belief, because you do ultimately use it for society.
This assumes that our immanent reality is radically mutilated from the one that is trascendent of us. In this sense, the existence of the object to which we relate to is real only insofar as it is immanent, and in fact, everything is, which leaves the trascendental, so to speak, in a place of always-non-being. This leaves ontology splitted in half, one for the human and every existent thing on the other, or at least, since we are talking about the ontological status of society, any possible being that has humans as part of its assemblage. I wish to start by making clear that a human being is no central part of the fabric of the universe, it is an entity that exists in the same mode as every other being, only very "immanently" complex, and as every other being, it can be a mere part of somethig beyond it. But you'll say, beings with a "mind" are the only ones that are susceptible to have "immanence" to begin with, thus legitimizing the split. I'd say that what we experience is not really "immanence", not really a dimensional split, but in fact just a "relation within an assemblage", which is common to everything, in fact, i do not believe in "minds" as commonly understood. To understand it better, i always put the example of a computer: immagine it holding data inside of him, whose monitor provides the image of it. The image and the data within it are not realties abstracted from the rest of the fabric of the universe, it is contained within it, and is not a separte world, rather, a mere relation of an assemblage within its parts and the others. It is also for this reason that the concept of "life", "subject", are so problematic, they draw an ontological distinction that is in fact unfounded and based on anthropocentrism or "biocentrism".
But before continuing, all this quickstarts many other topics that need to be adressed: 1.why can't an assemblage reduced to its parts? 2.Where do we draw the distcinction of an entity and another? 3.How do we know an entity is "real" or not? 1.Its because assemblages are more than the sum of their parts, this is why a mere bunch of legos can form artforms, It is not just legos, its also the way that they are assambled in, which is not arbitrary. This difference is obviously called "form". 2. An entity withholds infinite possibilities, that cannot be exahusted by our relation to it. In this sense, however, we can only draw a distinction through relations: we can say an individual thing is that which can relate as such with others. One must not forget the composition of a thing though: if we can relate to god, that doesnt mean a material god exist, only a material concept of god, with many forms: as a neuronal link, as letters, as images... This will serve as an answer to question number 3 too. In this sense, unicorns, and any social construct, is very real, just not the same way of real as a horse with a horn made of flesh is. Lastly, i want to better adress the question of immanence and subject. We are said to have conciousness, since we can have intentionality with things, or for many other reasons, and draw a distinction there. However, a rock can also "encounter the world": when a rock hits another one, it leaves a mark on it forever, its encounter has been "mapped" by the rock in the form of the impact, miniscule how it might be. In this sense, a rock can "percieve" the same way we do, the difference reside in the fact that through the causal and material process of evolution, the entities we call "life" have sublimed their means of "mapping" and "percieving". In this sense, we "encounter" and thereafter aid our "percieve" through "maps", such as concepts, language et al, but what we map cannot be reduced to the map, and a map is a map of something, and there are better maps than others. This is not unique to us.
Back on track though. Your notion of society is very liberal, its as if its existence only really implies a harmony of practices and wills, since its reduced to subjectivity. I disagree entirely, a human is but a thing, an "ant" if you will, any great apotheoisis of humanity or life in general i oppose. An ant forms an assemblage to form its community of ants, it however, can or cannot be aware of it, the assemblage remains the same. When we are "encountering" we are already "thrown into the world", millenia of culture and civilization are there before us and indipendently of anyone involved. Society, or a community, are assemblages, our individual relation to them do not matter for they to exist. Our matter objectively moves this way to perform as an assemblage, a state can also be, its materiality is unavoidable. People live and die, state withstand the passage of time better than most people, the entity of the USA for example, is much more of the sum of the perceptions of it. This is also that much more complex when we take into account the fact that an assamblage of such proportions is by far not only made of humans, but also many other things, such as weapons, modes of production, political structures, institution, infrastructure, tools, cultural artifacts and histories of culture in general, all things which relate to each other indipendently of the sum of the will of humans. Capital moves mysteriously, the same for any mode of production, this is one of the many lessons of marx and the masters of suspicion: behind your perception of the world, there are bigger entities, being it within your particular assamblage (freudian unconcious) or one that you are a part of(marx with mode and relations of production, Nietzsche with what we can roughly call culture).
In this sense, YOUR account of society is very much idealistic, it denies material reality in exchange of the collective thoughts of individuals, it places the entire organization by which humans move on an immanent, nominal ontological status.