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Under the Veil of Ideology

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posted on May, 19 2014 @ 03:58 PM
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Under the Veil of Ideology

For the bored wanderer,

My friends, have you ever seen yourself without ideology? We rarely do. Why not try it? Remove your clothing, your makeup, your product, your devices, your tattoos, your piercings and stand in front of a mirror. See a reflection of what you actually are and begin to behold yourself. Feel your skin, your nakedness, your senses. Smell your hair, your arm, your knee. For at least a moment, occupy yourself. Smile, frown, contort your face in any expression and your body into any position. Touch your body. Explore it. Think about love, loss, laughter, pain and arousal; induce tears of joy and sorrow and explore the capacities of the mind and emotions. Body. Self-awareness. Jouissance. Vulnerability. No one is watching; no restraints. You are nothing but what you are. This is you without ideology.

But what is ideology? Imagine in your nakedness and in your self-exploration in front of a mirror, someone walks in the door and sees you doing these strange things. You freeze. Embarrassment, shame, disgrace, and humiliation washes over you. What goes through your mind at this moment is ideology.

“Pull yourself together” it says and “suit up”. Remember, no one wants to see you like this, and you know this because you don’t want to see anyone else like this. We have an ideal to uphold, you and I. We are ideological. Hide your true face, you monster. It’s time to step out into society.

We are the costume-wearing species. Swaddled and hidden beneath a carapace of compromise, culture, custom, and commonplace convention, lie us, naked, even when fully clothed. Like how the ancients preserved their dead, we too wrap ourselves in so many strips of this and that idea in the vain hope that they will preserve us, but only mummifying ourselves in the process. By wearing so proudly our ideologies and masks, we become them, the official products of dead paradigms, other people’s baggage, and sleep-walking billboards. We do it because, well, others expect it of us. We too expect it of them. In this sense we are infected by, cursed with, or at the very least dependent upon, the ideologies that have frequently arisen throughout the course of human history.

Even though we dare not mention it, the real world is out there, happening at all times as it acts continuously, and never is it found in the personal stories and narratives we tell ourselves in order to cope with it. I know—such a shame. But because our consciousness ever so slightly lags behind, it is always hindsight and afterthought to the rest of ourself. As such, ideas themselves are just such afterthoughts, neither material nor non-material, at least until they become sentences and paragraphs in our inner and outer dialogues. But the ideologies that abound from them are built of a thousand hindsights and a thousand afterthoughts, crystallized into words to become religion, poetry, politics and rhetoric, a confluence into the sea of culture we drown within. Through inundation, these afterthoughts and hindsights influence our own, even sometimes taking their place, or are reassembled and redistributed, thereby continuing the process ad infinitum, or at least until the last human takes his last breath. Even then—even with no one watching and no social consequence—the last man will still try to die with honour.

As we can witness by simply going outside, ideology is keeping up with appearances. It is required of us. Our consciousness lags behind and suffers greatly in the face of belittlement and shame, so it does its best to take the reigns in avoidance and cowardice by attempting to deceive the rest with its inner-politics. Thus it drapes the body in this and that bauble, this and that article of clothing. It doesn’t want to be seen for what it is and puts up a front. Isn’t that so?

We often say that our reasons and intentions are what is real in the hopes that these reasons will convince not just others, but ourselves, that our actions were indeed justified. But the truth is in the action itself, the reality, an actual and concrete occurrence, while the reason and justification for it, will forever remain in the hindsight and the stories we tell ourselves and others. The thick ideological impluse in this method is the distortion of truth for the sake of coping with it, the employment of Plato’s Noble Lie, designed to guild the truth, the concrete, the actual state of affairs in golden curlicues. Ideology as disguise.

Plato was correct. And it is actually quite hilarious to witness the extent to which we will go to maintain this lie. Culture is the greatest source of comedy. Michel de Montaigne relates in his essay “On Custom” many of his own ideological tendencies in a humorous yet sadly realistic fashion, which I highly recommend as most of his writings are essentially timeless. He recalls a French gentleman who blew his nose into his hands, justifying this offensive action by saying “what privilege this filthy excrement had, that we must carry about us a fine handkerchief to receive it, and, which was more, afterward to lap it carefully up and carry it all day about in our pockets...” which, he continued, “...could not be much more nauseous and offensive, than to see it thrown away, as we did all other evacuations.” I am unable to disagree with him.

This is the nature of ideology: that we practice things we don’t necessarily believe in. It is the perpetuation of the Noble Lie, or in psychoanalytic theory, the appeasement of the big Other. It is carrying our snot in our pockets. We say “bless you” when someone sneezes, knowing full well their soul has not left their body. We make kings and queens out of individuals, put them on thrones of gold, knowing full well they are no different than you or I. It is choosing honor over shame, even though no such distinction exists.

But ideology isn’t necessarily so abstract. It often manifests and rears its ugly face—too often. It manifests in the actions of human beings; ideology itself is composed of human beings. It appears in the conscious and unconscious need to align oneself with one particular ideology over another, to choose one at the expense of all the rest, and to display that choice in the public square. Look at everyone around us—they wear their ideologies on their clothes and they act it out in the streets and in the marketplaces. We brand ourselves in it and wear their slogans proudly. We trade ideological pieces of paper for ideological goods and services, even though we know full well how little of value they actually are. We merely pretend we don’t know, because it is the best way to justify our continuing participation in such a farce.

Thank you for reading,

LesMis




posted on May, 19 2014 @ 04:19 PM
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I dig the crux of your biscuit. The tendency to be conformist could potentially be the downfall of our species. Damn...that sounds like another ideology. We are trapped!
edit on 19-5-2014 by skunkape23 because: supercalafragalisticexpialadocious



posted on May, 19 2014 @ 04:19 PM
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Ideology is basically the only thing separating us from the dogs we keep as pets.



posted on May, 19 2014 @ 04:46 PM
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a reply to: AfterInfinity

Sometimes I feel like my dog keeps me. When my dog wags its tail, that is the only stationary point in the Universe. The rest of the whole of Creation is moving around it.



posted on May, 19 2014 @ 05:11 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

Feel your skin, your nakedness, your senses. Smell your hair, your arm, your knee. For at least a moment, occupy yourself. Smile, frown, contort your face in any expression and your body into any position. Touch your body. Explore it. Think about love, loss, laughter, pain and arousal; induce tears of joy and sorrow and explore the capacities of the mind and emotions. Body. Self-awareness.


Lol. That's funny. I had a conversation like this once with the Hindus watching us in our mirrors. (...yeah, I know, the Truman Show delusion, but how do you know it isn't reality?)



Even then—even with no one watching and no social consequence—the last man will still try to die with honour.


What is life without honor? But this also mirrors Pascal's Wager. Is it not better to keep one's Honor than to throw it away? And it's also basic game theory, if applied correctly (assuming the best in people instead of John Nash assuming the worst), which would truly lead to a better world. (But that's not a concept I would expect anyone in the West to understand. You just love your John Nash. You even made a movie worshipping him as yet another of your false idols.)



The employment of Plato’s Noble Lie, designed to guild the truth, the concrete, the actual state of affairs in golden curlicues. Ideology as disguise.

Plato was correct.


Indeed. But, unfortunately, it seems that the People who have society's best interests at heart aren't the Leaders... instead, you have fools at the top who only care about their own interests.



And it is actually quite hilarious to witness the extent to which we will go to maintain this lie.


It will be hilarious when the sheep in society lose their precious electricity while the "Leaders" get to relax away in their underground communities.



Culture is the greatest source of comedy. Michel de Montaigne relates in his essay “On Custom” many of his own ideological tendencies in a humorous yet sadly realistic fashion, which I highly recommend as most of his writings are essentially timeless. He recalls a French gentleman who blew his nose into his hands, justifying this offensive action by saying “what privilege this filthy excrement had, that we must carry about us a fine handkerchief to receive it, and, which was more, afterward to lap it carefully up and carry it all day about in our pockets...” which, he continued, “...could not be much more nauseous and offensive, than to see it thrown away, as we did all other evacuations.” I am unable to disagree with him.


Nice. You threw in some Montaigne. I knew this would turn out to be a good read.



We make kings and queens out of individuals, put them on thrones of gold, knowing full well they are no different than you or I. It is choosing honor over shame, even though no such distinction exists.


Amen. The aristocracy has just the same Soul, same Breath of Life, as You and I, so why should we sacrifice our well-being for theirs?



posted on May, 19 2014 @ 06:23 PM
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originally posted by: skunkape23
a reply to: AfterInfinity

Sometimes I feel like my dog keeps me. When my dog wags its tail, that is the only stationary point in the Universe. The rest of the whole of Creation is moving around it.


My point is that ideology is the only thing that separates us from the animals we like to dominate. Otherwise, the only real difference is that we are bigger and cleverer. Beavers are bigger and cleverer than ants, but that doesn't make them any more worthwhile in our eyes. Without ideology, we may as well look at ourselves the same way we look at those beavers. We're just as meaningless, arbitrary, and short-lived. Every single idea that compels people to be kind and loving to one another comes from an ideology. Every bank in the world operates on an ideology. Our teachers take pride in their job because of an ideology. Police officers, legislators and politicians strive to keep us safe and strong (or so they would have us think) because of an ideology.

Everything we have and know is because of an ideology. Education, beauty, strength, unity, honesty, integrity, all of these things. Each and every one of them is a label to define something only we can appreciate, because only we have the language to recognize the contours of each idea and the emotions they evoke within us. We assign meaning to those emotions and the values they entail, the ideas they inspire, and as a result, ideologies are born. Without such processes, we'd still be naked and grunting, hiding from the lightning in filthy caves we call home. We wouldn't even have the word "home". Or "love", or "truth", or "peace". Everything we hold dear today, didn't exist 500,000 years ago. You can see what we were like without ideology in an archaeology textbook. Or you could visit a zoo and study the monkeys in their cages. Maybe that's what it feels like to be in one of those flying saucers we like to ponder so much. Like pressing your nose to the window and staring at baser animals busily maintaining an existence that looks like little more than glorified autonomous consumption, eating and breathing just to continue eating and breathing until the day they die. Just like thousands before them and millions more after. All doing the same thing, centuries in and centuries out, because no one bothered or dared to imagine bigger. Because no one had the capacity for an idea, an idea that might revolutionize their understanding of everything they had taken for granted, and change their world forever.

Don't be so hasty to dismiss ideology when every comfort and convenience you possess is a result of ideology. Everything that makes us human is a result of ideology. Without it, we would most certainly not be who or what we are right now. Something dumber, clumsier, less sophisticated. The sort of thing you'd be inclined to keep in a cage. And that is my point. It feels to me as though Aphorism just waves that away like it's all nothing, all meaningless, all so much dead weight slowing down our cognitive faculties. But I've just explained how that is not at all true. Ideologies are the only reason we've gotten this far. Otherwise, we'd still be trying to figure out what fire is and how we can use it. Trying, and maybe succeeding. After all, it takes true innovation and ingenuity to evolve from a dumb mammal to the master of fire. The sort of stuff that produces ideologies.
edit on 19-5-2014 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 19 2014 @ 09:04 PM
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Well put together thread.

Ideology is a key in a civilization, and even the development of the civilization future in some cases. Whether it about being a bad ass warrior in such tribal times, to being considered as some fancy elite view of etiquette. Or a scientist view to find something next level , or no different then a Christians view of a loving God.

Bushido or any other combat art is based on ideology, whether it be based on animal behavior, or set of moral code.

Or the idea of being like a gentle stream in a zen meditation being simple guide line for some idealistic people, unlike those who like to idolize things.


edit on 19-5-2014 by Specimen because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 19 2014 @ 09:45 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
Under the Veil of Ideology

For the bored wanderer,

...Thank you for reading,

LesMis

Thank you for composing.
What would life be without ideology?
Hunter-Gatherers?
Survival of the Fittest, and others be damned?
Is it possible to have a social construct without some common ideology?
And...without a social bond...there would, of course, be no requisite standard/s to adhere to or conform with - - - and likewise, none of the benefits (or curses) derived therefrom.

Might I ask if, other than describing a 'fault' with ideologies, you believe there is a better (attainable) alternative?

Thanks again, for your thoughts. They were stimulating.



posted on May, 20 2014 @ 02:46 AM
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a reply to: AfterInfinity
 


I love reading your writing. Keep it up.

It is true that ideology is the greatest ideology of them all. But I think you have it backwards.

Everything that makes us human is our humanity. Ideology is after the fact, and is an effect of, not a cause of, our humanity. Ideologies have nothing to do with us getting this far. It is the human every single time that has gotten us this far. Every creator, inventor, and every human that has produced the means for your precious conveniences would laugh in your face, and rightly so. Ideologies grow out of their ideas, and are built and supported only by those who cannot produce their own means. Ideologies are completely furnished by the ideas of better creators, but followed, promoted, killed for and loved by only those who refuse to create—the dumber, clumsier and less sophisticated animals among us.

Blessing the ideas rather than those who create them is a perversion of truth. Those who create them would be pressing their nose to the window, behind which lies you, maintaining an existence that looks like nothing more than autonomous consumption.



posted on May, 20 2014 @ 02:51 AM
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a reply to: WanDash




Might I ask if, other than describing a 'fault' with ideologies, you believe there is a better (attainable) alternative?


Thank you for reading.

Ideology is necessary for a functioning society, but often we appreciate the ideology more than the persons they are meant to govern. The only alternative I might suggest is to see ideology for what it is, and to realize that each individual is more powerful and more valuable than all ideologies combined. The ideology should be sacrificed before a single drop of blood is spilt for it.



posted on May, 20 2014 @ 02:53 AM
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Slovenien philosopher Slavoj Zizek's documentary on ideology. Interesting watch.




posted on May, 20 2014 @ 10:21 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I disagree. I suspect that humanity is a result of ideology, because ideology encourages us to listen to the parts that make us human, rather than the parts that make us animals.
edit on 20-5-2014 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)




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