Risto Juola
Ab absurdo, ad libertatem.
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The Violence of Opinion


Jan 21, 2011


Broadly speaking, every social generation is identified with some specific set of interpersonal rules that play a role in directing the conditioning and explaining the conditions of that generation. Such rules are not in all cases unique to a specific era, but such rules are in all cases presumed to ease the burden of social interaction by their pre-conscious character. However, when this presumption is tested, and when such rules are not simply pre-consciously accepted, what then is the experience of a social subset that consciously reflect on their peers' social norms, closely and constantly re-examines their shifting options base, and willfully chooses their own plans, based on criteria that are non-normative?

By the simple, but fundamentally human act of inquiring into the reasonability of social norms, such a subset will by definition make decisions and live a lifestyle inconsistent with the unconsciously propagated cultural standards of their generational peers, thereby producing social tension by their contravention of convention, irrespective of the demonstrable sensibility of the non-normative subset's reasoning, or the monstrous insensibility of the conventions being contravened.

To understand this general reality, let us consider the particular example of tensions arising from the modern, but eternal social rule of recompensed self-martyrdom, whereby the volition of one bairn has impelled them to exchange personal emotional suffering, taking the form of openly (and perhaps in some degree clandestinely) reviled intergenerational congregation, for the receipt of wages or services not exceeding the abilities of the bairn's superordinate hematic-kith or ken.

In the case that any of the bairn's cognate relations chooses against living by a similarly licentious licence, the phenomenon of recompensed self-martyrdom manifestly involves the self-martyring bairn's histrionic, vituperative denigration of said relations. Here, the anti-licentious relation has rejected not merely the social rules of their generation, but the lifestyle rules of a cognate hematic-kith; and where all social norms dictate that social actors may be expected to speak and act within a specific set of well -- if unconsciously and irrationally -- defined boundaries, the act of rejecting licentiousness occurs outside of not only the self-martyr's social expectation zone, but also beyond the self-martyr's hematic-kith expectation zone, and can therefore not easily be reconciled with reality by the self-martyr using their personal socialization processes or rules, or with the wider socialization processes and rules of their generation. Reality of course perseveres, so how is such a condition to be understood and managed?

The most prominent options for managing this situation are undertaking: (1) a norm-circular defensive-offensive, or (2) inquiry. The first option promises the self-reassuring simplicity of applying already developed maneuvers and mechanisms against non-normal nonresistance, while the second promises an unknown amount of tedium involving the research of nonresistance, while also requiring anti-normal self-abasement.

Now, if recompensed self-martyrdom is both standard and praxis, then researching, let alone comprehending, nonresistance stands as a goal and activity patently outside the domain proscribed by the social rules of all generations involved (that is, it is not limited to the domain circumscribed by the self-martyr's own generation, but includes at least one, if not more, superordinate generations). In such a case, what is to be done if the non-normative social subset in question maintains their stance in the face of intergenerational outrage, sustaining that position by the fundamentally human act of inquiring into the reasonability of social norms, and by appealing to the fundamentally human ability of demonstrating a choice's sensibility?

Tough times all around.


Part of the series: Servetus