Forward, Sideways, Backward

James Lindsay claims that Woke is Maoism with Western characteristics.

James Lindsay claims that Woke is Maoism with Western characteristics. Mao himself called his theory Marxism with Chinese characteristics.

He also uses biology to make this more clear. We have genus and species in the taxonomy of the biological universe.

We could say that genus is the concept, while a specific species manifests the concept in one concrete form.

We could call Marxism, communism, Maoism, Woke, Critical Race Theory, and Queer Theory species of a common genus.

While “cats” is the genus, tiger, lion, and house cat are some species. We could now define cats as having a tail, but then there are lynx and bobcats.

Thus, we can always expect that people will doubt the common genus by pointing to distinct differences between species.

What, then, would be the characteristics of the genus that includes all these different species?

Marx looked at culture and defined it as flawed and needing deconstruction. He identified economics as the driving and defining force of culture and the lever to change culture. Deprive the ruling class of its lever to power, and you can redefine culture.

All the above theories have this in common: They see current culture needing deconstruction. They define a lever or means of power and then turn against the people with access to that power.

Look at Critical Race Theory. The lever to power is whiteness or white privilege. For Queer Theory, it’s being straight, or as they call it, cis-gendered.

To bind all these theories together, we have intersectionality. This allows white people to escape from the class of white privilege by defining themselves as non-cis.

To call these theories destructive would not do them full justice. They all believe that once the class, race, or gender in power is deprived of their privilege, they would administrate and use the newly gained power in more mature, just and egalitarian ways. The new lever of power would be equity.

Historical examples of utter failure, with revolution creating a new class of suppressors, are dismissed as poorly done or incorrectly identifying the problem and the lever.

In short, Marx was wrong in saying it’s about capital, and thus the wrong kind of people came out on top in the aftermath of the revolution.

Each of the above theories claims to know now, and therefore, they would succeed in ushering in the utopia of equity in two steps—a claim Jordan Peterson equates to narcissism.

Which would be the two steps?

First, we would see the benevolent dictatorship of those not in power before, which would automatically lead to an equity-based society without hierarchy and leadership.

What makes these theories appealing to some is this:

  • They promise revenge on the privileged without calling it that.
  • They are often correct in their analysis of the problem.
  • They play with the compassion and need for belonging people have.

People respond to these theories often by doubling down on their worldview, going to the trenches for it, and only acknowledging the correct analysis in part, if not outright denying it. It is easy to dismiss a problem if the proposed solution is illogical or inapplicable. But that results in the original problems not being addressed.

I can’t help but think of the Theory of Positive Disintegration when I look at the proposed solution.

Unilevel disintegration, as level II is called in TPD, in simple terms, is this: a person feels dissonance with their subculture and looks to solve it by looking for another qualitatively similar subculture.

All of the above theories identify power distribution as the main problem with the existing culture. Their solution is the redistribution of power, a solution of similar quality.

Granted, they hope this will prepare the culture to reach their ideal, but they have no plan. Sounds like an inkling of level III, multilevel spontaneous disintegration.

To be fair, their opponents seem like people that try to draw back those that feel the dissonance into primary integration.

The path forward would be to distill these elements from all these theories:

  • Where are they correct in their analysis of the problem?
  • Which elements of their solutions intuitively represent this inkling of an ideal that could constitute a higher path?

To do so will need a lot of humility and courage because one will be between a rock and a hard place, hated by both camps. But it might be the only path to bring humanity into the next stage.

Let me give you an example.

Wokeism is trying to destroy the existing culture by stating that all truth is subjective, including things like 2 2=4.

They use different ways to prove that depending on the species. Some say that math is a construct of white supremacy and forced on minorities.

There are quite a few loopholes in that, as math is based on Arab numbers with the addition of zero from India. The other is that what is a minority in the US does not have to be one worldwide. But anyway.

Others argue that we can never know absolute truth because as soon as we perceive it, we filter it through our own experience and distort it.

This argument makes much more sense, but it makes something absolute that is not.

Let’s have a look at subjective knowing. There are things that we can only know subjectively because there is no way to measure them against facts. Religions are subject to that on a grand scale. “There is a God” cannot be proven, only believed. Other kinds of subjective knowing are opinions and suppositions.

My acceptance of the existence of God stems from my experience, and experience undoubtedly is subjective.

Subjective knowing can become objective if there are means to measure what we believe or facts that can be tested.

It is essential to recognize that the statement that there is a God carries an objective and even an absolute truth. It is either true or false, we just do not know.

Subjective truth is the truth of which the subject is convinced. It is based on a mixture of objective and subjective knowledge. It is either objectively true or false.

The fallacy of postmodern subjectivism is that it makes subjective knowing the only way of knowing, and as everything is socially constructed, even the only source of truth. Thus, all truth has to be subjective.

I am sure I am oversimplifying and will leave a lot of room to be criticized. So be it.

Just because postmodernity has made this leap of thought, turning subjective knowing into subjective truth as the only existing truth by a slide of hands, do we have to eliminate the concept of subjective knowing?

Historically, starting in the 15th century, thinkers started to find new methods of finding objective truth, namely the scientific method. They wanted to gradually move away from the absolute truth given by the authorities.

Soon after that, in romanticism, people started to add subjective value to the picture again, stating that reason is not everything. This led to many different developments.

It became clear that we have subjective knowing, along with objective truths. And if we look at things like beauty, whether I find something beautiful or not is true, but does not constitute an objective truth about the object per se. We might call this a subjective truth.

This insight and the criteria to distinguish objective from subjective knowing are crucial to our maturing as humanity. It points to the individuality and commonality of a human being.

Throwing out postmodernity in its entirety would mean letting go of the concept of subjective truth. But it is essential to keep a moderate version of subjective truth.

The same can be said about psychology, psychiatry, and many more developments of postmodernity. Eat the grapes and spit out the seeds.

Do the same with capitalism as the manifestation of modernity. Then integrate them into a new worldview that transcends modernity and postmodernity.

Spiral Dynamics has proven to be a valuable tool to analyze, heal, integrate, and transcend long-held beliefs and worldviews. I would love to help you. Why not get some coaching?