Yes! I hear what you say. Thanks for engaging. I see similar things, and I find this ‘infighting’ and picking sides stuff often a total mindfuck. i experience these times as super confusing times, as no doubt many others are too.
I’m wondering if you have heard of Coalescism as described by raisondecalcul? Excuse the long quote - I find this description very beautiful and I use it to challenge myself to look closer. it’s an idea I often find myself coming back to:
A major problem with activism, and political and human relations in general, is schism. Countless organizations, subcultures, and microdemgraphics are constantly shearing-off and presenting themselves as wholes, but as distinct from every other whole, especially those most similar to them. Demographic marketers participate in this, researching for trends in advertizing data, and then explicitly inventing and then reifying entirely new microdemographics. The mass invention of new ways to distinguish ourselves from others on the basis of superficial traits has become such a pervasive, toxic mode of relating that it is now routine to make fun of it […]
Activism especially has this problem—tell me, why haven’t activists already solved all the problems? It’s because their organizational structure is almost entirely based on a politics of schisms and infighting, and this tendency is constantly encouraged—and activist communities are constantly attacked—to maximize the number of schisms and factious sub-movements which defect from any unified front. This tendency has reached its nadir with the news coverage of the Occupy protests in 2011, which accused the protesters—who were, quite correctly, mad at a whole host of injustices—of being “unfocused” or vague in their articulation of issues. However, this is exactly what a functional activism movement might look like to outsiders—there are many injustices, many ways that people have been harmed, many things that must be corrected—and compared to this complexity, the singular Justice is quite simple, but unspeakable to those who disagree with justice as an end. In their good intentions, however, those committed to justice are aligned, and find it easy to communicate. It is only the mistaken assumption that an activist movement should have a clear, specific, tiny reason for its existence which makes people accuse Occupy of being vague.
First, there is the assumption holographic or stigmergic cooperation: We assume that “the Others” are already out there and already working with us. We assume that those others […] are working to find us, to meet us, to exchange notes, and to build together the larger movement we have co-discovered.
Second, there is the assumption that any conflict, any disagreement or difference in political stances, is illusory, and due merely to an artifact of language. This is a very powerful assumption which grants benefit of doubt to the other—maybe this person seems aligned against my interests, maybe they speak in a way which seems hateful, but I must assume that they are a compassionate, intelligent being who is trying to say and do the best they can to help themselves and those they care about, and, if they are engaging in political discoures, presumably the entire world as well.
This assumption—which can never be disproven—allows one to delay foreclosing on political discussion, in favor of exploding outward the political disagreements and misalignments which cause conflicts (schisming and infighting). These exploded, extended discussions can then explore systematically each point of difference, defering disagreements indefinitely as a difference in terms. The result of assuming that disagreement is an illusion is that conversations can continue until differences in terminology are dethreaded, collated, then rethreaded (like fixing a stuck zipper), revealing deep underlying agreement in values, which was merely obscured by superficial stances taken in significating terminology. This process undoes identity politics and builds deep bridges between conflicting ideologies.
Coelescism is the practice and the idea that we are all already working together, and that the only way we can “save the world” is to recognize this fact. If, after we have formed a very large bloc of cooperaters, we find a few people who are genuinely antithetical to cooperation or ongoing communication, well, then we know who the hostile actors are.
I have never known this form of communication to fail, because it does not ever end, but always proceeds through the extension of oneself through the development of additional compassions. Others may convince themselves that we are their enemy and leave the conversation, but if we are convinced that they are a friend, it is always possible to extend ourselves and find a new perspective from which to respect the other, and to delicately attempt to continue the conversation, dethreading disagreements as differences in terms as we go.
This is the glass bead game.
I think your Orwell quote and raisondecalcul’s writing complement each other super nicely. I’ll take a look at this Orwell essay! Thanks for sharing