All Ideology is Toxic

Ideology is, in its most simple form, a system of ideals. These ideals create our worldviews and underpin the very fabric of our culture. Christianity, Islam, democracy, capitalism, Marxism, feminism, nomadism, absolutism, atheism, etc – these are all ideologies. In order for society to progress, we must denounce ideology, all ideology, as the unconscious repression of free thought that it is.

In many respects, ideology seems perfectly acceptable or is at the very least benign, so why am I attacking it? At face value, this may be so. But it’s this notion that with the use of any ideological system, there is another layer of distortion placed over reality; another filter slapped onto what there simply is. When there is enough ideological filtration of reality, we unconsciously find ourselves in a completely obfuscated existence. Truth becomes harder to ascertain, knowledge therefore becomes unfounded, and the result is crooked wisdom. As Terence Mckenna puts it, “ideology is a kind of insult to the gift of human free thinking”.

When you approach a subject from the perspective of a particular ideology, you do so with a prejudice. In the West, religious folk approach secular political subjects through the filter of their own religious ideology. Feminists, environmentalists, and socialists – everyone with a particular ideological disposition does the same. These filters compound and you end up with more and more absolutism which leads to people walking around society with their eyes closed to the actual goings on.

Neophytes are in the most danger. When these people experience uncertainty or tumult or question their reality, they immediately turn to the their particular enchiridion or look to their particular ideological elders (who are often approaching worrying levels of absolutism and close-mindedness) for assistance.

When people experience life less the ideology, creativity flourishes. No longer do people see the colours of reality through the insipid spectrum of their chosen ideology, but they have access to a full, unadulterated range of potentiality. To paraphrase Terence Mckenna once more, you must ask not how you feel as a feminist or how you feel as a Marxist, but rather how you feel… period.

Yes, you may have noticed the paradox here. My ideology is no ideology. It is the ideology of reverence for the authenticity of the lived experience and perhaps this is the only righteous ideology for humanity to hold.


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  1. Jules

    Great thoughts mate. One question I have, however, is how you say ideology disrupts a person’s free will when it is their choice initially to choose the lens through which they see the world?

    • Harvey Meale

      Hey mate,

      Not entirely sure what you’re referring to regarding the notion of free will. Could you clarify? I’m think I understand what you’re after.

      Suppose a person makes a conscious decision to subscribe to x ideology. Now, they view everything through that particular filter. Their views on a certain subject may be warranted and righteous even, but I think the issue arises when they attempt to extend their ideology into other aspects of life. I hate to keep picking on religion, but I’ll do it again because it clarifies my earlier analogy. Suppose we have a Catholic priest. Suppose then that they participate in Australian politics. Australian politics is a fundamentally secular democracy. Suppose our priest suggests it should be illegal for people in Australia to have premarital sex on the basis that it is a sin. You can see how, in this example, the priest’s particular ideology has resulted in a certain degree of absolutism outside of an acceptable domain. When the priest is in the church, when the priest is talking with his acolytes, and when the priest is operating within the domain of Catholicism, his views are perfectly warranted. But the priest and virtually everyone else who subscribes to any ideology, will find their ideologically-inspired views seeping into other areas of their lives. I don’t quite think we can suggest that any subscription to an ideology impacts upon your free will metaphysically, but rather that these particular views, beliefs, and ideals will alter the decisions you make based rather on causation.

      To clarify, my point is that we’re forced to think critically and remain sceptical of everything we’re taught when we choose not to subscribe to any ideologies. This enables the capacity for innovation, improvement, revolution, creativity, and free thought. The moment we incorporate an ideological perspective on anything, we lose sight of what it means to approach something completely objectively.

      Sorry for the tome.

      See you on the battleground.

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