Beyond Ideology (but never far enough)

Beyond Ideology (but never far enough) April 17, 2009

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?
~ Gandhi

Ideology is part of the human condition. Its function, however, is not always the same. When it is used in advance, ideology censors the need to intimately know the other thing. It serves as an excuse to consume the other before it is given to me. It distorts and reshapes the other according to my own horizon of possibility. This function of ideology, ideology-in-advance, sanitizes and deodorizes the world with a fragrance I can control and live with. There is no room for death in this world.

No, there are only numbers, objects, lists, casualties and causes to be advanced for the sake of our ideology-in-advance. It quarters and measures the world and the person. Even God. As passionate as we may become and as “pure” as our ideology may seem to be, sending it out to scout the other to prevent contact with real lepers reveals the true face of ideology-in-advance: Fear.

Even an ideology of love, compassion, democracy, Jesus, Mother Theresa, or what have you, used in advance is just language, only name of something we do not know. It is not the thing the language corresponds to. As we partition the world into fragmented bodies of our ideological taxonomies, we sterilize and recast the world in our own image, on our own terms. In such a world we have nothing to truly fight for, we have nothing to truly be, we have no Truth at all. We only have those essential ideas that keep us thinking that this is what life is, safely embedded in the blindness of our own ideological existence.

One can never, and should never, try to escape ideology or Truth. But it should only come after our encounter with the world. And the excessive nature of real, live, and tragic moments, should make the ideas we decide afterward tremble. Also, since our encounter with the world is eternal, our ideology should always be ideology-to-come, never quite decided, yet rooted in Truth. This function reveals the face of ideology-to-come: Love.

The tranformative effect of love in the function of ideology-to-come reminds us of the flesh of matter. The numbers, statistics, good causes, and other things that were once human persons before ideology-in-advance cleansed them, become human once again. They become more than daughters, they become “my daughter.” My self. God. Then, we can embrace the world and live in it. In Truth. In Love. Blind to the ideology-in-advance that remains after we fool ourself and think that we are healed.

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