The Sea of Isms

June 8, 2020
Oakland, CA
Sunny and warm

I am suffering from Ism Fatigue, a condition with no known cure. It seems that everything can become an Ism, that is, a customary way of thinking and being, which influences everything we do. All religions have their Ism aspects – prescribed beliefs and ways of behavior – Catholicism, Judaism, evangelism, Trumpism, Protestantism, Buddhism, do-goodism, patriarchism, not to mention monotheism, polytheism, atheism, agnosticism. The same with systems of economics – socialism, communism, fascism, capitalism – and with psychological conditions: nihilism, pessimism, alcoholism, narcissism, egoism, the list goes on and on.

How can we escape from all these Isms? An Ism is a mental prison in which our thoughts and actions follow a certain, pre-determined path. We are swimming in a sea of Isms. Many we know and accept without critical thinking, and other isms that affect our behaviors we may be unconscious of, such as elitism, racism, and misogynism.

When I first started working as a social worker, my supervisor said I was a “do-gooder”, that is, I was using my work to hide my elitism from myself. He was probably right. My inner attitude was elitist. As for misogyny, some men have an unconscious contempt for women, which results in their humiliating and harming women. Racism can be subtle. Why is a church which is actively preaching racial equality have no black members? With the few black friends I have, I had to overcome my initial reservations to enjoy a warm and caring friendship. Without being aware of it, we can fall into the Sea of Isms.

One word that does not have an Ism attached to it is Love. There is no Loveism as far as I know, nor have I met anyone who considers herself to be a Loveist. Love appears to be an amorphous “something” that is outside the grip of the Ism world. For refuge from the Isms, I go to what I love and to whom I love and connect in my heart.

There are no Isms there.

Looking Inwards,
Dorothy Deviani

What I have been reading: “Wetiko” by Paul Levy, 2021, Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT. This is a book to dig into and digest. The thesis is that the current prevalence of insanity in the world is the product of a contagious virus that affects the mind. The cure? Read and find out.

9 thoughts on “The Sea of Isms”

  1. I love this, Dorothy! All those Isms but no Loveism. What a beautiful statement about both Isms and Love. Thanks!

  2. Hi Dorothy:

    I thoroughly agree. Isms are rigidified ways of thinking that cannot work because of their inflexibility. They need to become a thing of the past. May all isms become “wasms”!

  3. I agree with Violeta.. A new you is emerging!! Love this are so right on.. never thought about it like this!
    It must be good fun to do this posting snd get responses!! Love it! And love you!❤️

    Living softly on the earth

  4. This post is very well timed! It brought a smile to my face and kept me laughing. In the process I noticed that there is no smileism or laughism either. Could it be that all that brings us joy is out of the realm of ism?

  5. Rudi Verhoeven

    “I once asked a bird; how is it that you fly in this gravity of darkness? She responded love lifts me.”

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