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How do you peoples define ideology

+2 votes
How do you peoples define ideology, ideologue, ideological thinking... They're used on here often but, I don't think i've seen it specifically defined.
asked Aug 5 by Zubaz (3,940 points)
I like how this question digs at the way we tend to fall in to using jargon without defining terms clearly. I at once am not willing to preface everything i write with all possible definitions (some of that should come through reading and contextualizing anpiece of writing as a whole, and to always set out definitions upfront can lead to clunky writing), but it is also good to sometimes have to actually parse out what we mean when we say what we say. I am parsing!
i think of it as the belief in right and wrong, and thinking that everyone "should" do what "is right".

when i encounter someone talking in terms of right and wrong, i perceive the rightness and wrongness as ideas coming from that person, but generally, the person indicates that the right/wrong comes from somewhere else.
bornagainanarchist it sounds like you mean mostly morality, but ideology and morality can be intertwined in ways because, I guess, some peoples use it as a base of beliefs/ideas of whichever kind to encourage others on what to do and what not. I imagine there are some ideologies (depending on how it defines) where morality is absent, but I'd just confuse myself trying to think of some.

Do you view ideology and morality as different concepts or somewhat similar?

not speaking for ba@, but i think of morality as an ideology.

i tend to somewhat equate ideological thinking with being dogmatic; unquestioning, unconditional belief in a set of ideas. from an anarchistic perspective, it is to hold ideas above (and outside of) oneself; to be subservient to those ideas. hence my distaste for it.

i like ingrate's concept of a box into which everything must fit. or this one: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. i think one's worldview becomes limited when everything is seen solely through the lens of their ideology. it leads to what i think of as the boogieman syndrome. 

perhaps most importantly to me, ideologues have no (edit: or very little) allowance for context. if i use the word "bitch", that means i am denigrating women, regardless of the context in which i used the word. 

while i am not a big fan of the writings of stirner and nietzsche (to the extent i have read them), they have both expressed some very strong critiques of ideology and ideological thinking that i find quite useful. you might look them up on theanarchistlibrary.org. also, wolfi has written quite a bit on the topic, and presents some similar critiques in a much more approachable (to me) manner. there are other contemporary @writers that have also written stuff on the topic i have found useful.

i don't make much of a distinction between ideology and morality.

to me, they both boil down to a person thinking that other (all) people "should" act/behave/relate/organize in certain ways.....the "best" way.....

and they promote the ideas of laws and rules and commandments and economics and education, etc. in an attempt to create those behaviors.

but i don't use the words very often, and i don't have any desire to "have" one (ideology or morality)....like a lot of words, i think of  "ideology" as an abstraction, as a summarized and generalized concept for a bunch of thoughts bouncing around in someone's head about a "society" (another abstract summary) which i never encounter directly.

just writing/talking about these words gives me a headache....give me sensory (five and beyond) details please!

1 Answer

+2 votes
To me ideology means a set of ideals that have become reified, meaning they may have started as ideas one holds, but have since become the shape of the box into which we fit all the things.

Ideaologues I use as shorthand for individuals who accept that their ideology is the correct thinking.

Ideological thinking is the process of fitting whatever story of narrative into said box for whatever (conscious or not) purpose.

We all have our narratives and our ways of making sense of things, it is when we stop examining or questioning out own narratives that we slip into believing an ideology, ideological thinking and become ideologues. I don't have a prophylactic for this except to always ask questions

Curious how others define these terms.
answered Aug 6 by ingrate (21,620 points)

Can you explain what this idiom "the shape of the box into which we fit all the things" means. I'm not familiar with it.

As we move through the world we learn things and gain ideas. Over time and repeated experience these things and ideas are either challenged or reinforced. There can be lots of things that reinforce or challenge those ideas, from family to subculture, to events big and small that help shape the story we tell ourselves about the world.

The more that an idea is reinforced, the more we tend to see the story we attach to that idea as fact. Facts are different than ideas, ideas are out porous, while facts are hard lines, walls. As our ideas come to be seen as fact, the put constraints on our ability to perceive the world outside of the box we construct from what were once our ideas.

IDK if that makes sense? I am happy to say more. 

This question makes me think of the opening of The Garden of Peculiarities by Jesus Sepulveda:

"Ideology crystalizes itself like a map in memory. It legitimizes itself by propagating the false idea that the world in which we live is the best possible world, or the system the best system, regardless of its shortcomings."

People should read that book.

Also, I just noticed that I have 666 up-votes, so no one can up-vote me again without down-voting something else of mine :)
So like single minded that inevitably leads to confirmation biases? At least that what the line about the hammer and everything looks like a nail funkyanarchy used above means according to ddg and he implied it was similar.

No one can upvote you ever again
Zubaz- similar, maybe not the same (maybe so though?) I see the tool metaphor as being descriptive of discussions of tactics, how we deal with a problem (if you have a screw that sticks out, but you only know hammers, you hammer the screw, even though a phillip's screwdriver might better do the job, or might not if it is a slot-head screw). I see the box as being bigger than choices of tactics, being more about limiting our perceptions, and what questions we even ask.

also, yes to no more up-votes, let me live in teenage Slayer fandom to perpetuity! :)
the situationists had a very marxist understanding of ideology, which they condensed into a pithy adage that is often paraphrased like this:

"theory is when you have ideas; ideology is when ideas have you"