if i had one wish for the discourse
May 19, 2016
One of things that is hitting my ‘omg why can’t this stop’ button re: teh discourse is twofolds of the same issue: 1) the assumption that there exists some kind of consensus and 2) the idea that there ought to be some kind of consensus. Take the endless discussions over who is and isn’t under the ~lgbt~ umbrella. One thing I know I’ve frequently asserted is that straight ace/aro ppl exist and that they are not part of any community to which I belong. Now, there are other ace/aro ppl who disagree with me, saying that being ace/aro is inherently ~queer~ or whatever. So… when I see a discussion on this where ppl are asserting that everyone should listen to ace/aro ppl on this issue the question becomes: which ace and/or aro ppl?
A while back I made a post about Zhuangzi and teh discourse. In the post, I quote a part of the qiwulun that in part discusses the futility of ‘proving’ your point by calling on third parties. This is basically the operative principle above. Sure, ace/aro ppl should be listened to on topics concerning ourselves. But that is meaningless in the absence of any kind of consensus. And the notion that you can appeal to such an ‘authority’ presumes a kind of consensus that doesn’t exist.
Moreover, its a consensus that shouldn’t exist. One of the oft repeated axioms about any given marginalized community is that we are not a monolith. And we aren’t. As such, within any given group we’ll have important ideological and conceptual differences. Now, the thing is, this is a good thing and appealing or attempting to establish some kind of consensus about any given issue undermines this.
Sure. Of course, I’m saying this bc I’m a self-avowed pluralist. But…. as far as I can tell, all attempting to establish a consensus accomplishes is to create an environment wherein dogmatism and purity politics flourish. In other words, you’re only a community member in ‘good standing’ so long as you follow the party line. Deviations from this lead to immediate punishment and/or exile.
This is also why I’ll be forever suspicious of people who insist that there ‘ought’ to be some kind of consensus. That there is a One True Path and that they, and only them, know what this path is.
As I’m writing this, I’m also realizing that a lot of ppl probably think that I’m guilty of this too. And… perhaps I am. A lot of the times, I tend to state things very assertively and in a general sounding way. As in I’ll say ‘cishet ace/aro ppl are straight’ rather than ‘Its my opinion that cishet ace/aro ppl are straight’. Tbh, this is just my writing style and, to some extent, how I was taught to write academically. Moreover, I tend to believe what I write. And I like to speak with conviction on the points I hold.
But… you’ll notice that I rarely get directly involved any more with other people on these topics. Its in part bc of Zhuangzi’s insight into discourse. I think my views are true and, obviously, I think I’m right. However, I don’t care if anyone else is convinced that I’m right. I think its a waste of my time to try and convince anyone else that I’m right and they are wrong. Part of this is bc I just don’t have the energy, but a large part is that I could be wrong and I like to leave room for that possibility (and since it takes me a while to process information, not immediately engaging anyone ensures I’ll actually spend time seriously considering what they’ve said). Ppl are free to agree or disagree with me as they please.
Always, always though, I see this push towards consensus all the time. Our oppressors must not treat us like monoliths but we must also all subscribe to the same ideology. Or something.