The Sea of Isms
June 8, 2020
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.
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.