|The Concept Of Ismism (Or Scientific Discoveries A Bunny And A Seagull Could Have Told You Long Ago)
||[Apr. 10th, 2013|10:58 pm]
Somebody on the Atheist group asked me what my religious background was and what my beliefs were. So, in my usual fashion I thought about it and put whatever I came up with in what was, for me, a short essay.
It got no response. So I don’t suppose anyone was too impressed by it.
Right about that time I decided to broaden my education by watching some documentaries on YouTube. And I recalled that I once took an internet religion test which said I was 100% Buddhist. I’ve never looked into Buddhism and I figured it’s about time. So I found a documentary and was somewhat shocked to find that there actually is a religion out there that does indeed seem to agree 100% with everything I’ve figured out for myself.
The only thing is, since it does agree with everything I already believe, there’s not much point in becoming a Buddhist. Buddhism doesn’t offer a god to be worshipped or a heaven that you need to earn a gate pass to. It’s like how I once described the fictitious religion in my stories when asked if it could be practiced by the readers.
I said, sure, the Omman religion can be practiced by anyone, but I don’t see why anyone would want to, because it offers no perks. It offers no promise of eternal life, and certainly no get out of hell free cards, which would be useless because it doesn’t offer a hell. It just offers you a fancy name to stick on yourself and sends you off on a quest to live a kind and compassionate life. And, according to this documentary I watched, that’s Buddhism in a nutshell.
I never thought people would want to adopt the religion I invented, because, why does anybody need a fancy title to live a kind and compassionate life? If you’re into that you should just do it. And that’s another thing that the documentary said. If you’re living that way for any reason, whether you know about Buddhism or not, you’re a Buddhist. Because Buddhism isn’t about what you believe or who you claim unity with, it’s about what you do and how you feel.
But, even though there may be a religion out there that perfectly suits me, I don’t plan to start sticking that label on myself. I just don’t like labels. I don’t believe in Ismism. I think Ismism is one of the most destructive things man has ever invented.
Some Atheists might come back and say, “If you won’t take a religious label, then you should take our label and support us, because that’s what we’re all about.” But I don’t see it that way. The way I see it, it’s not religions I object to. It’s Ismism. And Atheism is still an ism.
Another interesting aspect of Buddhism is that it’s one of a number of religions that doesn’t offer a God, and therefore is not incompatible with Atheism. That’s one of the things I don’t think a lot of Atheists realize. Atheism doesn’t preclude you from having a religion; it just precludes you from having a god. Which is another reason why I insist that “Atheist” and “Non-Religious” are not synonymous terms.
After the Buddhism documentary I started watching some Terry Prachett documentaries and lectures. And I found this person to be fascinating. So much so that I feel terrible about never having read any of his books. Not that I don’t feel terrible in general about somehow losing my ability, or at least my will to read anything after it got to a point where I needed bifocals or special reading glasses to read an actual book. But if I can find them on audio book I plan to veraciously devour his Disc World series at the first opportunity.
Anyway, I eventually ended up on a video called something like “Terry Prachett On God,” which of course took me into the Atheist neighborhood of YouTube. And since I found little to disagree with in Terry’s video or any of the others I clicked on afterward, the question popped up in the back of my mind again, “Why am I so repulsed by this Atheist label? If it’s good enough for someone I admire like Terry Prachett, is it not good enough for me?”
But then I started running into videos with titles like, “An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election.” And I said to myself, that’s it. That’s Ismism – people telling other people how to think, and people looking to other people to be told how to think.
If I stick a label like Atheist on myself, all they have to do is get someone I already have a slightly irrational fan type respect for, like Terry Prachett, to start me down the road of Ismism, and the next thing I know I’ll be buying everything that is spewed in the name of Atheism, whether it makes any real sense or not.
This is the same logical trap one falls into when joining a fandom. Though usually with a fandom it’s not harmful if you subscribe to illusions like everybody in my fandom is nice, or everybody in my fandom is exactly like me, or my fandom is so wonderful it can save the world.
The root word of fandom is fanatic. Fandoms are a form of fanaticism. And just like when you stick a religious or political label on yourself, when you stick a fandom label on yourself you are saying you are so fanatical about this subject that you can’t be expected to view that subject logically.
When you take an ism on yourself, that ism becomes an obsession that takes up most if not all of the scope of your vision. You can’t see over it, under it, and certainly not through it. Thus, it becomes extremely difficult for any logic, other than the one the stars of your ism are spouting, to penetrate your perception. So even a normally open minded person will become closed minded where their ism is concerned.
Even today, with all the experience I’ve had with taking on the isms of various fandoms and the disillusionment that follows, I still occasionally catch myself writing things like “All Furries are nice.” Then I just have to slap myself and say “You know that’s not true.”
Still, it seems to be true, because I only surround myself with nice Furries. And what I surround myself with takes up the whole of my perception. Likewise, if you only surround yourself with what you regard to be nice Atheists, nice Republicans, nice Catholics, or even nice Neo-Nazis, your subconscious can absorb the idea that it’s all good, even if your logic center should know better.
I found a video by someone on YouTube who was basically defining Ismism the same as I am, but he harps on another danger of Ismism – that of molding the square pegs of society into round holes that can be compartmentalized, more easily controlled and kept in line through constant conflict. By making sure everyone is dropped into an ism, questions of universal concern can never be considered.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a discussion of matters that should be of universal importance to everyone on the planet, and had every word I said dismissed by someone trying to paste a leftist label on me.
To which I will tend to reply with something like, “If someone just told you your house was on fire, would you ignore them if you thought they were a leftist?” But, you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. That’s the power of Ismism. Ismism suspends logic the way fantasy suspends disbelief. It’s an entirely different mode of thinking apart from rationality. I’m surprised universities don’t give lectures on it.
But I suppose some people might ask, isn’t Ismism essential to human existence? Doesn’t everybody have to have an ism? Or, if one rejects Ismism, isn’t that Anti-Ismism?
It can be Anti-Ismism, if you join a group for it or in any way look to others to tell you how to do it. And then Anti-Ismism would become just as bad as any other Ism.
The way to break the cycle is to not make it Anti-Ismism. You just free yourself from the need to have the approval of any group, listen to everybody and learn to think for yourself.
Some might ask, isn’t that risky? Not everyone has confidence in their own ability to think for themselves. But it’s actually less risky than belonging to an ism.
If you belong to an ism, you are guaranteed to be wrong on some level. The very fact that they all claim to be right insures that they are all wrong. But when your mind is free of all isms, you actually run a ghost of a chance of being right. Your vision is not limited. You can listen to everyone and judge what they say without bias. Then you might be able to lead them all down that middle road none of them can see to a place where they can all be happy together.
And what a relief it is to realize that, yes, everybody else can indeed be wrong. And that shadow of an idea in the back of your mind, that solution that seems so simple that it couldn’t possibly be the answer to everything it seems to be, might just be the very thing the world has been waiting for all these years. And then, what a letdown to realize that no one with an ism will ever take it seriously, let alone give it a try.
What a pointless thing it is to be right in this world. But I think Buddhism addresses that. Buddhism basically says take the world as it is and make the most of it. Don’t worry about how imperfect things seem. Just be one with your world and the people around you, loving everyone, regardless of how wrong they may be, because they’re still the ones you share this world with, the ones who make life beautiful, in spite of the harm they do in their wrongness.
What a pity that also is an ism, and therefore one becoming a Buddhist will likely encounter some wrongness in the religion. But how nice to have come to those conclusions myself, and therefore I don’t have to subject myself to any wrongnesses the religion may have attached to the basic ideas over the centuries.
From there all I have to do is what I’d be doing anyway, living a moderate and compassionate existence, enjoying my time on Earth as if it was the only time I was going to have, just in case it is.
Continuing my YouTube exploration, I next discovered a YouTube channel called “Big Think.” There they have commentaries by various scientists, writers and other notorious big thinkers.
It was here I began to get a glimpse into quantum physics. And here were these prominent scientists saying there is now scientific proof that all life we perceive is not solid as it appears to be, but rather a projection of our perception that is directly responsive to our state of thinking.
They were suggesting that the fact that I employ a very different perception of reality and put it out on the internet to share with the world creates a fractal effect which in a small way changes the whole course of human thinking, and thereby brings about a change in the world. Actually, they say it changes the entire universe.
If you think about quantum physics while reading Spectral Shadows, one might get the impression that I’ve known this all along. But, in a practical sense, I have never known or believed anything. I just had some fanciful theories which were adapted from the Christian Science training I received as a child. And also some interesting parallels I drew from computers and playing Second Life.
Thus I have always set forward in Spectral Shadows that the only separation between magic and science was the lack of understanding of how the science of magic works. And suddenly there is a suggestion that a good many of my science fiction concepts are going to be proved right.
Apparently I am a middle stage in a continuous fractal shift in human thinking, a bridge between the now outdated theories of Christian Science and the future of quantum physics.
Egad! What an ego trip!
But what this really points out to me is the pointlessness of religion and science being at odds with each other. This is a perfect example of Ismism slowing man’s progress. We who did not feel bound by either the religious side or the science side to reject anything that came out of the other were glimpsing this stuff back in the 70’s. But science would not even consider it until they could feel like it was their idea.
Well, it wasn’t their idea. It was the idea of Furries like myself and Richard Bach, and various other sci-fi/fantasy writers, building mainly on a foundation of new age Christian philosophies. We who were operating in The Realm Of Fantasy where there is no need for Ismism, we who were free to take and combine any ideas from both science and religion without prejudice, created the fractal shift which is now becoming visible in quantum physics. And that fits so logically with both the concepts of creation and evolution. But if you deny the existence of any piece of this puzzle because of Ismism, quantum physics will be viewed as illogical magic. And we all know what human beings do when confronted by something they regard as illogical magic, don’t we?
Sadly, though, science as well still has some hang ups that seem blatantly obvious to me. There are videos on YouTube with scientists crying the blues because Einstein’s calculations end up with a zero at the bottom of a black hole. And a zero equates to an infinity. And the way they’ve been trained to think an infinity must be recognized as nonsense or an error. They’re literally thinking of tossing Einstein over this one thing, even though every other calculation in his theory has been proven right.
But, to my way of thinking, you don’t just toss out a successful path of logic because the final calculation is beyond your understanding. Actually, infinity is exactly what I expect to find at the bottom of a black hole.
You compact an intense amount of weight into a point so small that it’s almost impossible to perceive. It warps space and time until it creates a hole. Then it continues to compact until it can compact no more. Then it explodes out the other side creating a new infinity, a new universe – all that compressed weight shooting outward in a new big bang.
This new universe would then exist separate to our own, yet still connected to it, like the cells of a larger organism. And that’s what I think the universe is – a cell in a larger organism. That would also explain parallel universes and worm holes.
It’s so sad. I mean, I have no education to speak of. More than that, I’m terrible at working with numbers. Equations, forget it. And yet, scientists are crying the blues because the answers are right within their reach, but denied to them because they’re in a place where they’ve trained their minds not to go. And yet, someone like me can just look at that equation and say, “No, you don’t have to throw the whole of physics in the garbage can. You just have to accept that this infinity is not nonsense. It means something. Stop crying the blues and allow your imaginations the freedom to bridge the gap.”
Of course, the solution will probably have been written in innumerable science fiction novels before they start taking it seriously. But apparently that’s how things work. Science doesn’t seem to get anywhere at all until fiction writers open a door of perception for it.