Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Every ism is…

Every pathological ism is just a habit with a fancy hat on. And every habit is a choice. Every choice is, in turn, a microcosm for everything a future ism will one day colonize. Take alcoholism, for instance. It is just a fancy word for "habitual drunkenness", which is to say, just a condensed way of saying that the alcoholist regularly chooses to get drunk. Indeed, I have a hunch that the prevalence of the word "alcoholic" as opposed to the more lexically accurate "alcoholist" is a symptom of the clinicalization of the world and the victimhood mentality regnant the past century till now. Alcoholic is technically an adjective referring to anything pertaining to alcohol, but referring to a person as an adjective is just a way of infantilizing and undermining her will as a rational agent.

With the collapse of essence in metaphysics since––if I must put a tail on a likely donkey––Descartes, it seems "the world" and "persons" with it have been steadily reduced to attributes, to adjectives devoid of substance. To impressive isms devoid of responsible ists. One of the more popular manifestations of this metaphysical adjectivalism is the movement to define oneself as one's sexual impulses. Asserting "I'm a homosexual" in order to say "Who and what I am is a homosexual" is rather as odd as asserting "Who and what I am is a diabetic." Or again, as odd as asserting "I am an alcoholic"––a something pertaining to alcohol. All these peculiar assertions of identity bring to mind something I heard about the first step to a solution is admitting you have a problem, and something else about never letting the condition define the patient. But never mind. The gonads must have their daily feed and the gullet its regular gorging, so let's keep reason out of the bedroom and reality out of the bar, might we?

Communism admits of a similar analysis in that communism is just a special (did I say specious?) word for "habitual niggardliness." As such, communism is just a cryptic (did I say chthonic?) way of saying someone, usually from on high––high above the people and thus somehow deeply for the people––, legislates his choice to deprive some people of what they have earned so that others may not be deprived of what they should earn.

Interestingly, if human choice is not free, and is but a crystallized node on the rippling flux called matter-in-motion, then a disorder like thyroidism is not much different from a habitual, that is, chosen, disorder. If I am as free––or unfree––as my thyroid gland, my isms and schisms are no less unfree and its hormonal schism no less free. I could go on, but perhaps it suffices to say that the only pathological ism which can be excused from this analysis is botulism.

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