The problem with ideology

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

We exist amongst the most complex system ever created. Man was put on this earth without any guidance, explanation, or tutorial on how to navigate all the uncertainty, chaos and despair that plagues what is the human experience. We are ignorant of so much, and even though we have come to explain some things through careful research and experimentation, there is much much more that we do not understand, and probably never will. The intrications of the human soul, the mystical experiences, dreams, emotions. We will never understand all of those things. And maybe we should stop trying, for maybe there are some things that are not to be understood or explained by the human intellect. In the midst of the chaotic ride of human existence, mankind has resorted to myths and legends, and then to religion, to find a way of making some kind of sense of the complicated world that we inhabit. And then, we started to feel as though we were gods. We implemented the scientific method, and we started to believe that we could explain everything. We did away with religion, smuggly and arrogantly equating the collective wisdom of thousands of years with an invented fariytale. But men are not gods, and no matter how much we try to feel as though we already know all there is to know, many things are and will always be too complex for us. Thus, we create new religions, in the form of ideologies that attempt to explain every complex issue through a binary classification of good and evil. Oppressors vs. opressed. Rich vs. Poor. Black vs. White. No grey in between.

We did away with religion, only to replace it with empty and basic ideologies. The problem with these ideologies is that they try to explain every issue that ever existed through a univariable explanation of (in most cases) power disparity. Do not underestimate how tempting it can be to adhere to these oversimplified ideologies. People are drowning in chaos and uncertainty, and the helping hand of an easy explanation is not easy to reject. Instead of navigating through the fundamental complexity of most of mankinds' issues, many young people take the easy way out and choose the laziest ideology to feel as though they finally understand the world around them. The problems here are pretty obvious:

1) Once you feel as though you already understand and can explain everything around you, you stop looking for answers (because you think you already have them).

2) A God complex arises: you know why everything is the way it is, and everyone else is stupid or evil. You become arrogant.

3) You create arbitrary categories to classify people and groups, and assing them a tag of either "good and evil". Ideologies don't allow for individual differentiation.

4) You become bitter, and find a lazily chosen "enemy" towards whom to direct all your rage, as he is the only one responsible for all that is wrong in the world (the patriarchy, men, white men, the rich, etc.).

People are drowning in chaos and uncertainty, and the helping hand of an easy explanation is not easy to reject.

These ideologies are also very tempting because they start at the most macro level, and stop there. They explain evrything in black and white. This means that there is a vaguely defined but very extense group of people that are responsible for all evil. It is much easier to direct all of your negative feelings outwards, towards a scapegoat. Ideologies provide people with an enemy, but it's always an outside enemy. The way of the world is complex, and even though there are many outside enemies, the greatest enemy is within. And the first step towards any kind of progress or improvement starts with the individual, at the most micro level possible. Only one inside evil has been dealt with, can any man look outside, and try to fight evil within his family. And the within his community. Then his city, country, and finally the world. Notice how much trouble that is? It's a long process, and one that requires us to humbly start with the improvement of ourselves. Ideologies bypass all of those steps, and give people a false sense of meaning and purpose by telling them how easy it is to fix the world. Black and white.


Start within

As I said previously, the alternative to ideologies is twofold: Recognize that everyone is religious, only some people revere the god of ideology. Understand this, in order to understand the value of religion in providing a complex oadmap to navigate and understand the way of the world, instead of the oversimplified binary explanation that ideologies offer. And then, with that roadmap of values and actions in your hand, start improving the small things first, and then tackle more difficult issues. Start with you, then the next smallest social organization, and so on. Beware of theories, explanations and ideologies that seem too simple: they are dangerous and evil, they prey in the intellectually lazy and are a piss poor way of explaining the complexitiy of the world.



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