Posts Tagged ‘idealist’

the xenophobic idealism in common between racism & nationalism

January 2, 2013

 

 

 

cherokee veterans of the confederacy

 

 

 

Cherokee Civil War Veterans, New Orleans 1903

 

 

 

It is interesting to me that so many people will condemn the idea of favoring a particular tribe or “nation” or race of people, like being pro-Cherokee and anti-everything else or being pro-Irish and anti-everything else, but then promote any OTHER kind of nationalism. What I mean by nationalism is that people identify themselves as citizens of a particular country (such as Ireland) and think their citizens “deserve” special rights and borders and government entitlements that non-citizens do not deserve. (If Americans support the existence of borders and immigration rules, that is “isolationism” in the form of “nationalism.”)

 

 

 

It is the exact same kind of thinking that leads to racism AKA tribalism (Cherokee vs Apache, etc). Further, there is “nothing wrong” with any of those forms of isolationist thinking. To condemn one form of isolationism while practicing another form is… ironic, but not unusual!

 

 

 

English: William C. Rogers, Principal Chief of...

English: William C. Rogers, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1903 to 1917. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“Why are those Muslims so pro-Islam!?!?” “Why are those Mormons so pro-Mormon?!?!” “Why are those Baptists so pro-Baptist?”

 

 

 

Humans have different language patterns (AKA isolated “languages”). Why shouldn’t people favor others who have a similar genetic background, a common heritage, a common dialect, and so on? That is just plain natural. That is why it is so common in so many forms of isolationism (tribalism, racism, nationalism, etc…).

 

 

 

“Our nation is the greatest in the world” is a very common statement among patriots worldwide. How can 100% of nations be “above average?” Well, they all use different measures of “what is valuable” from within their own culture to measure other nations in terms of “how much is their culture like our culture?” So, nearly 100% of the world condemns the rest of world for not being as much like them as they are!

 

 

 

English: The Ethnic composition of Muslims in ...

English: The Ethnic composition of Muslims in the United States, according to the United States Department of State based on the publication of Being Muslim in America as of March 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Now, these following categories of people exist only in language: Muslims, black people, Cherokees, anyone who speaks Irish, and so on. These categories are linguistic. There is no absolute, objective barrier of “the boundary between Muslims and anyone else.

 

 

 

Different people all claiming to be Muslims will even assert different categorical definitions of the word “Muslim” and say “well, those other people may claim to be Muslims, but they really are not Muslims by my definition. They are frauds and heretics and infidels!”

 

 

 

So there are all these definitions in language and all of these people arguing about categorical labels like tribalism and racism and nationalism and how whatever particular list of things that do exist should not exist (because they are “evil” or “sinful”). I call that kind of thinking “idealism.” It is not as functional as realism, but it is a normal stage of development- the very foundation of realism!

 

 

 

Further, there is nothing inherently “wrong” with any form of isolationism. “Nationalism” is popular in many countries and cultures today. The practical reality is that governments like the US, the UN, the Vatican, and NATO are powerful and influential. So, these governments can even criminalize “thought crimes” like religious heresy or racism (as in being a citizen of the EU but being a racist “pro-French” loyalist).

 

 

 

What is racism? What exactly is the boundary between racism and any other form of ethnocentricity? Who says?!?!

 

 

 

Let’s look at the term “black” in the US. In spite of what the average American might presume, “black” is actually not a reference to skin color. There are some very “black” people that live near the equator throughout the world, like India and Australia and Central America. They are dark-skinned, but they are not “black.” Black refers only to African continental heritage. Ask a “black person” and they will say “those dark-skinned folks from India or Ecuador are not BLACK people.”

 

 

 

English: These are 3 of my friends from Centra...

English: These are 3 of my friends from Central & South America. They are mixed raced of African, Indigenous, & European descent. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So, there are lots of light-skinned people of mixed African descent saying that very dark-skinned people from India or Ecuador are not black. Why? They are not from the geographic region that ‘defines” their form of “blackness,” which is Africa.

 

 

 

“Black” is reference to a culture (a cultural group). It is a label in language. Different people can use the same term differently. In fact, maybe there are a bunch of dark-skinned people in India who insist that people from Africa are not “black,” but only people from India can qualify as “black.”

 

 

 

I happen to have a very small percentage of African descent (from the Cuban side of my family). However, I do not consider myself Hispanic and “certainly not” black- but some “racial purist” somewhere might say that I am not “really white.” My own grandfather (whom I never met) was actively anti-black (as in anti-negro or anti-African) as a way of showing his loyalty to “white culture.” He had four times as much “African descent” as I did, but he did not want to be labeled “pro-black” and so he was publicly “ultra-white” culturally.

 

 

 

I consider myself culturally “American,” but also “Southern” and “Contrarian” and a bunch of “cultural categories” that are ultimately about how I use language. However, I know several immigrants to America (from Eastern Europe in particular) who are far more patriotic than I am. They grew up somewhere else and made huge investments to get to the US and then to become citizens. They show that they are “really true Americans” by being extreme in their patriotism.

 

 

 

Patriotism is a form of idealism, too. I do not mean idealism as a negative thing at all, but a recognition that different people have different ideals.

 

 

 

It is not that I do not have ideals (values). Of course I do. However, I do not assert that my ideals are “better” than any others.

 

 

 

They are just my own ideals. Once I recognize my ideals as merely ideals, that is no longer idealism. That is realism.

 

 

 

So, yes, I have ideals and values. They may change over time. In fact, the ideals that I have now are not the same as when I was 5 or 15 or 25. Maybe one day I will relocate to some other country and be an ultra-patriot there (like to distance my association as an immigrant or foreigner or outsider).

 

Flag of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation

Flag of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Xenophobia is isolationism, whether in the form of racism or idealism or tribalism. Further, xenophobia is UNIVERSAL throughout human cultures. It is VALUABLE. It is functional. It is “good.”

 

 

 

It is not that my xenophobia is good and other people’s xenophobia is bad. All xenophobia is just xenophobic.

 

 

 

“My nation is the best” is the universal slogan of all nationalism. “My tribe is the best” is the universal slogan of all tribalism (ethnocentrism). “My religion is the best” is the universal form of all religious xenophobia. “My favorite kind of music is the best” is the universal slogan of young musicians.

 

 

 

In other words, “my values are the best” is a form of idealism which is universal. In reality, many people prefer what is familiar to them. “My values are the most familiar ones to me, so they are the best.”

 

 

 

However, when people mature to a point of personal confidence, then they are not threatened by the existence of other value systems or belief systems. Or, maybe “openness” to the unfamiliar is a sign of a transitional stage. Maybe people who are “open” are curious about new value systems because their old ones are not satisfying them (economically, emotionally, or whatever).

 

 

 

Yet, I am not against American borders or the American political system. Most “patriots” are far more politically outraged than I am. They are extremely sensitive (easily terrified). So, I assert that a direct acceptance of my own priorities or values is never threatened by other people having other values.

 

Flag of the Cherokee Nation

Flag of the Cherokee Nation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I assert that I am more developed in the cultural and linguistic distinctions of Christianity than most people who are very public about their piety. They are like Pharisees who shout from the steps of the temple that they love God more than anyone else.

 

 

 

Is it ironic that I would say that in a public blog? Sure! But, I am not saying that I love God more than them. I am saying that “they who trumpet their righteousness from the temple steps” may not even know God at all. Maybe some of them do. I rather doubt it. If they knew God, why would they be so reactively xenophobic? Why would they condemn other forms of idealism? They are just idealists!

 

 

 

They can argue among themselves about the true definition of sin or Christianity or any other word. I simply share my thoughts without expecting any particular person to approve or agree. In fact, I expect that most people would either not comprehend most of what I just shared or would comprehend some of it but be threatened by it and condemn it.

 

 

 

They are not as developed as the readers to whom I am writing. I am writing to sincere enthusiasts in divinity, language, philosophy, and humanity. For others who are not interested in such things, perhaps later they will be as they mature. It is not wrong for most younger people to be less mature than most older people. That is natural.

 

 

 

There is an “elite” or “elect” group who might be more mature or developed than the people who are merely “above average.” These people are not identified by a particular geographic origin or a particular dialect or a particular skin color. These people are what we might call “leaders” or “bishops” or “the shepherds of humanity.”

 

 

 

Wherever they are, there are others who have similar values to them. But who will lead? The ones who are most mature and developed MAY be the ones who are most perceptive and competent to lead. However, not all value systems are equally relevant in a given place and time. Some are more adaptive- not inherently or fundamentally, but just practically relevant to a particular circumstance.

 

 

 

Realists lead idealists. What else would anyone seriously expect?

 

 

 

English: Escritura en ingles

English: Escritura en ingles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using the system: post-idealist realism

October 4, 2012

Use the system

“Yes, I understand that my car won’t start, but you do not understand what I am saying. My car SHOULD start! That would just be so much more convenient for me….”

Computer Desk and Hutch

Computer Desk and Hutch (Photo credit: Scott Beamer)

I’m using a computer system right now. Which is more important: how it actually is operating or how I think that it should be operating, like based on some ideals or presumptions that are familiar to me from my past? Present or past: which is more important right now?

In our midst is a social system (including various social institutions). Which is more important: how the social social is actually functioning or how we think that it should be functioning? Realism or idealism: which is really more important?

Caricature of The Hon Sir Matthew Ingle Joyce ...

Caricature of The Hon Sir Matthew Ingle Joyce (1839-1930). Caption read “steady-going”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are a few ways to relate to a system: as a raging enemy trying to destroy it, as a frightened victim trying to avoid it, as a guilt-ridden revolutionary trying to correct it desperately to compensate for my guilt and to hopefully earn my way in to heaven, and so on. How about this: as a participant partnering with the system?

I am physically a physiological system, like an organism with a system of organs. Which is more important: how the organism is actually working or how anyone thinks that it might be working or claims that it should be working or asserts that it could not possibly be working? Which is more important: reality or ideals, ideology, presumptions, labels, declarations, claims?

The reality about ideals is that ideals in language do exist. Ideals exist in language. Maybe one ideal is that ideals should not exist, but they do. One extremely ironic ideal is the ideal that ideals should not exist. It is the climax of hypocrisy.

Ideals are a normal and predictable phenomenon in language and consciousness. We learn to labels various patterns and then we naturally presume that all labeling is accurate and even lasting.

Let’s say that the weather is a system. Which is more important: the reality of the weather system or my ideals (labels) relating to the weather system?

I know I am being repetitive so far. That is because I want to be clear about the issue of arrogance and vanity. When I relate to anything as if it should already be how I expect or prefer or wish, that is arrogant vanity.

“The weather should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “The weather is not how I expected it” is humble, with curiosity and learning possible.

“This computer system should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “This computer system is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

“My physiological functioning should be how I expected it” is delusion, sin, hysteria. “My physiological functioning is not exactly how I expected it to be” is innocent.

Judiciary Committee Hearing in Wilmington

Judiciary Committee Hearing in Wilmington (Photo credit: senatorchriscoons)

Now let’s consider the social system. That includes things like the economy, the court system, the media, and the education system.

“This economy should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “This economy is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

Caricature of Sir James Bacon (1798-1895). Cap...

Caricature of Sir James Bacon (1798-1895). Caption read “Contempt of Court”. Bacon was Commissioner of Bankruptcy for London and later Chief Judge in Bankruptcy, Vice Chancellor, Judge of the High Court, Member of the Privy Council. Obituary : http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/9361092?searchTerm=James+Bacon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“This court system should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity (AKA “contempt”). “This court system is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

“The media should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “The media is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

“The education system should be how I expected it” is arrogant vanity. “The education system is not how I expected it” is humble and open.

Let’s try the same process with your parents, your neighbors, and your pets. “Your parents, your neighbors, and your pets should conform to my expectations about how it would be really convenient for me if they already were so that I do not need to pay attention or adapt or learn or think.” That is arrogant vanity. “Your parents, your neighbors, and your pets are not how I expected them to be” is humble and open.

Which one is the ideal we have been taught? “Be like little children: humble, innocent, and open.” “Be like frustrated, confused, exhausted, whining, resentful demons throwing a tantrum whenever they get scared.”

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
And he said, “Truly I say to you, unless you will be converted and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself like this child, he will be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Matthew 18:3-4

For to the pure everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving… nothing is pure, but their mind and conscience is defiled.

http://bible.cc/titus/1-15.htm

Romans 14:14 …. if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

English: Miniature from a French translation o...

English: Miniature from a French translation of William of Tyre’s Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum, (British Library, London) It depicts William’s discovery of leprosy in the future Baldwin IV Français : Miniature tirée d’une traduction française de lHistoria rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum de Guillaume de Tyr (British Library, Londres). Elle représente la façon dont Guillaume découvre que le futur Baudouin IV de Jérusalem est atteint de la lèpre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, any system can include protestors and reformers and defenders, right, and all of them compete with each other as they promote their conflicting ideals. There are always those who respectfully and curiously study any system. They may ask questions:

“How does it work? What methods produce what results? How can I use the system to the benefit of myself and my family or my clan? How do the people who benefit most from the system use it? How do the people who created the system use it?”

What is the reality of the economy? How can I use the reality of the economy to my advantage?

What is the reality of the court system? How can I use the reality of the court system to my advantage?

What is the reality of language? How can I use the reality of language to my advantage?

What is the reality of arrogant vanity? How can I use the reality of arrogant vanity to my advantage?

If these are questions that you would like to explore yourself, go ahead. If these are questions that you would like to explore with others like me, go ahead and let me know.


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