Better Communication and Target-Aimed Debates Through Ism-Free Thinking (and a completely unrelated question about downflagging @dots)
a long, long, long time ago,
I considered and identified myself a Feminist, an Anarchist, a Pacifist, an Utopist and Atheist (all before it was cool), but then the day came that I was accused of Antisemitism and my world view exploded into a million tiny shards.
Firstly, I had said nothing at all about Semites, Jews, Jewish People, Israel, Israelis, Zion, Zionists or Judaism. The topic was far from it and didn't have remotely to do with any religion, creed, faith, belief, culture, race, tribe or nation.
Secondly, I'm a little Jewish myself and went to school in the 80ies and 90ies in western Germany so I can assure you school taught me too much history to even dare speak a single word against anything remotely having to do with Semites, Jews, Jewish People, Israel, Israelis, Zion, Zionists or Judaism or any other religion, creed, faith, belief, culture, race, tribe or nation.
why such a baseless accusation then?
In one instance, I claimed that a slender solid standing upright will usually not completely disintegrate from top to bottom at almost half the free fall rate when its equally or less dense upper fourth falls on it.
In the other instance, I said there is something wrong with the math of compound interest and inflation by showing C[n] = Cx(1+p/100)n is an exponential function assuming eternal growth.
So, both my arguments were technical, analytical, mathematical (and physical-mechanical in the first instance). How did I open myself for such an attack then?
Well, if my claim about physics is true, that proves the Illuminati are real, which is a Jewish conspiracy, so I am an Antisemitist even if I just don't know it.
And if my claim about math is true, that proves that the privately owned central banking system is a slow-cooking Ponzi pyramid scheme, which means it is a conspiracy of the east coast banksters which is dog whistle speak (wat?) for "The Jews" because Jews and Jewish people are, purely coincidentally, disproportionally well represented in some professions, so I am an Antisemitist even if I just don't know it.
And the more I protested, the guiltier I became; with every insistance that nothing could be further from my mind, I heard louder the screams of a sixty million tortured souls, and that is how I learned that I should just admit and make it easier for everyone -- and under tears I confessed to a crime I knew nothing about.
Broken from the burning shame of my ignorance and Antisemitism, I made a vow to right the wrongs I did, and to dedicate my life to a better understanding of Antisemitism.
I heard that "Anti" means "against", but I already made it a point of being for peace, not against war, for example. So what is "Semitism", I wondered, maybe I could become a Semitist to wash the blood of all the persecution of four thousand years of history off my hands?
To my great surprise, I found out that Semitism is a word invented by Antisemitists to label linguistic forms similar to "Anglicisms" (Computer) or "Germanisms" (kindergarten), words and idioms that made it from Yiddish into the languages of the countries with a Jewish population, such as "chuzpah", "meshuggah", or - fasten your seatbelts - "break a leg", which made it from "Hals- und Beinbruch" (neck and bone fracture) which comes from הצלחה און ברכה ("Hatsloche un Broche"), literally: success and blessing.
So a Semitism is actually something funny, where you can learn why we say stupid things, but it is an "anti-Jewish construction" so I'm definitely not a Semitist!
But I inquired further - maybe I should be an Antiantisemitist then?
And as I pondered, deep from within, I suddenly heard clearly the voice that has been nagging me so silently but persistently, and which I had tried to ignore:
what does "ism" even mean?!?
Oh boy. I was looking at the wrong end of the word all the time! In English it doesn't work that well because some useful things end on ism, but in German, every Ismus is either
- some sort of literary device or linguistic phenomenon, like a "syllogism" and "aphorisms"
- some kind of descriptive "art" style label or "tag", like "pointillism", "cubism" etc.
- some kind of descriptive "revolution" style label or "tag" of an era, like "marxism", "leninism", "reformism"
- some form of label for a school of thought or world view - "capitalism", "socialism", "anarchism", "catholicism", "buddhism", "hinduism", "feminism", ...
- some kind of dogma, with a disparaging undertone of something undesirable, like "extremism", "fascism", "absolutism", "militarism"
- some sort of counterpole, like "idealism - realism", "optimism - pessimism", "individualism - collectivism"
isms don't real
There are three isms left, the organism, the mechanism and the magnetism, and this betrays the origin of all isms.
Isms aren't points. Isms are tendencies of directions in a virtual tree of ideas, fields in a multidimensional matrix of pure, essential, occult magic, a relic from the alchem-ismists of old.
i am not an ismist
I recanted from all my isms.
Feminism. Do I think male and female are equal? No, they are completely different things, no matter the species. That's a biologism! Whatever you say, I call it science. Hence, it is a priori unwise to demand equality, in whichever respect. All the ridiculous and constantly failing attempts to blur the natural line cannot find support by a critically thinking person, except as a life style, a rebellion against the system, the expression of the desperate cry of an empire on its peak of decadence at the eve of the inevitable collapse. I do not think that the battle of the sexes will be won by either side with the shrill accusations which, in an ironic way, still only mimick the huge-scale bedroom fights of our parents we sometimes couldn't help but listen to. "You did" - "But I always have to, and you" they are both wrong in making us choose a side. They should get along already the way they thought they would when they were in love and before we were there.
I like women, I am not a feminist.
Anarchism. Do I think one should do as he pleases? It objectively depends on the pleasure. Should one do as someone else pleases? Never! Do I need an Ism? Preferring anarchic (="ruler-less"), tribal, decentralised, communal, cooperative and mutual societies and ways of life over totalitarian dictatorships makes me one of those who wish for anarchy, but not an "anarchist" who demands all rule be abolished.
I desire anarchy, I am not an anarchist.
Pacifism. Do I think we should all live together in harmony, mutuality and prosperity? Absolutely. Do I think that the global war machine must be stopped immediately and molten into ingots? Absolutely. Do I think it is wise to avoid all confrontation and always give in to superior force, to bow down to oppression, to "allow the Russian invader to rape your girlfriend although you could shoot him with his AK47" (this was an actual question often asked by the office responsible in Germany to test "conscientious objectors")? No, there is honor in being a warrior, in protecting your tribe even if you have to give your life, in defending your freedom and that of those you love even if you have to make sure the agressor does not stand up again ("Ender's Game"). And then, so-called "pacifists", the Green party, part of the government coalition for the first time, waved the illegal war on Yugoslavia through parliament... on grounds of pacifism.
I desire peace, I am not a pacifist.
Utopism. Did I read the book that is getting 500 years old these days? You bet I did. Do I find it desirable to keep human slaves in golden chains? Not reaLly. Are there other good ideas in Thomas More's work? Absolutely. Are there "utopias" I wholeheartedly hope to come true? No, not really, but I found very many good ideas in the literature. Do I truly think or desire that humanity as a whole will ever completely stop to try and strive, will instead lean back in Cockaignian satiation and complacency and let fried chicken fall into their mouths? No, but I think "Utopia" is a good target to aim for when crossing the deserts of brutal, mercyless reality.
I desire a utopia, I am not an utopist.
Schlaraffenland, Matthäus Seutter, 1730-40, Source: Wikimedia; Licence: PD
Atheism. Do I pray to the irate, constantly jealous and butthurt thundergod of the Israelites or the t-shaped torture device the whole occident bows to because it is a symbol for "His" selfless "love", do I need a carpet and a compass and learn a completely new language to find, and speak to, the maker and master of the universe? Of course not. Do I indulge in the delusion that there can impossibly be a consciousness greater and more powerful than mine? Not for a second. Do I find solace, hope and wisdom in the teachings of the carpenter rabbi and the buddha, guidance in the Thorah, the sūrah and the Vedas? A lot! Will I grow a beard and threaten to kill all infidels? Of course not.
I think some religious traditions are harmful and wish some teachings were abandoned asap, I am not an atheist.
5 easy steps to ism-free thinking
Just kidding, there is only one: by stopping to identify oneself with an "idea", or "set of ideas", or label thereof. Everyone has a different idea of that "tag" anyway. Why even waste time with an argument over the precise definition. "I am an empiricist so you can't tell me what to believe in."
I recently saw this exchange where one woman said "I'm a woman in IT. Here are some experiences that sometimes upset me. I am not a feminist, but I think people are dumb for thinking I'm unqualified just because I'm a woman." and the next woman yelled, flipping a bird with a woolly lower arm (which I find strangely exciting on cute girls with glasses), "How can you say you are not a feminist? You are a woman in IT, of course you MUST be a feminist! Can you imagine the harm you are doing to women all over the world?! It is as if you would condone rape! You suffer from Stockholm syndrome, the patriarchal society has brainwashed you" and the first woman meekly apologized for thinking she wasn't a feminist.
I can't imagine how liberated that girl must have felt afterwards. Maybe as much as I felt guilty for my unconscious antisemitimitism?
What is "empowerment" and "liberation" for these, is shrill and shrieking attention-seeking for those. What is a wonderful concept the whole world shoud abide by according to these, is a tool of oppression, suffering and destruction for those.
All these ismic concepts are ultimately meaningless. If what we want to achieve is a mutual, fruitful agreement - and not just a philosophical-intellectual masturbation, a game of attrition on a non-existing board - it will be advisable to learn the great art of saying and describing precisely what you want, miss or desire, or what you have to offer or are willing and capable to do.
Suddenly, the plenum is not a battlefield of besieging ideologies anymore, but a forum (marketplace) for supply and demand.
And yes, it may sometimes require to strip naked, when we need new underwear for example. But that's okay, because we're all the same underneath after all. Who's judging?
So what I would like right now is that you all have a look at @dots' blog and the #dots streem (where @dots dots a dot every day) and tell me whether this should mercylessly be downflagged into seven hells because it is so obviously nonsensical and valueless that it can only perceived as a disturbance and spam, or whether, according to the rules, mindset, philosophy and moral guidelines of this community @dots should keep dotting dots in #dots undisturbed and free.
yes or no
Stupid question, people should be allowed to downvote whoever they want. Soon, there will be analytic tools to highlight the different classes and psychologies of "retribution voters" and "crony voters"... It will be a feast to behold the metadrama it must cause :]
where was i
Oh right. @scaredycatguide was the first to use the word
and the honor of coining
goes to @fabio.
Just for the historic record.
What were your isms, and how did you overcome them? Vote, comment, follow!1!onetyeleven11!
I see your post as an extention of mine. I posted very similar things yesterday with the title "Be your own -ism". I wonder. Have I inspired your post?
it is true, I saw your post and enjoyed the discussion it sparked, but at that point, I had already begun to write mine and had gathered momentum, so all that was left for me was to shift the weight a little to influence where it impacts, it was not within my power to completely bring that inertia to a complete halt anymore. So if it inspired me, then through space and back in time: I said the same, but with more words and in my mother's tongue almost five years ago, when the confusion of being called an Antisemitist was much fresher, and my words almost as sharp as those of @williambanks in your discussion.
Had we said essentially the same, I might have refrained from posting even, I have discarded longer comments in my time. But I also completed anyway because our approaches diverge a little and disagree a lot in one aspect: where you advertise an ism - individualism (or, to take it literally, that I adopt akareyonism while you raise your banner for kyriacosanism) - and someone else will maybe speak of the strength in numbers and favor collectivism (or steemitism, ha!), ism-free thinking acknowledges the values and dangers of both views and takes no sides. I'll obviously be a "collectivist" to many when "bad individualism" endangers the natural cohesion of the group, and an "individualist" when "bad collectivism" suffocates the freedom of the individual with groupthink and general sheepledom. In truth, I "am" neither. Pledging allegience to either ism can only lead to disaster or inconsistency. Consequently, it is favorable - at least when opinion- and decision-shaping as a society - to not communicate in "isms", but as concrete "wills", demands and supplies, likes and dislikes, fears and preferences, to make communication better. To make a technical drawing, if necessary -- all it takes not to rely on any "ism" as a crutch, motte-and-bailey defense or offensive charge.
A dumb example: I argue @dots should be allowed to dot its dots in #dots one dot at a time because there is no harm to anyone. It doesn't tag-spam, doesn't insult, doesn't plagiarize, doesn't troll, just posts a dot a day.
This is an akareyonism. Being of different opinion - calling for a vote brigade - is blatant, vile antiakareyonism.
Where does kyriacosanism come in here?
There is a clear overlap between antiakareyonists and fascists. Akareyonism is the only true antifascism. Akareyonists of the world, unite!
Are you with us, kyriacosanists?!?