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As I understand it, one of the core focuses of Wokism is the emphasis on accepting people as they are so long as they aren’t harming others. Due to that acceptance they will face fewer internal conflicts and will feel embraced and ultimately happier. It is a natural extension of the positive-feedback-only method of child-raising. If there is only good, then negativity and struggle will be kept at bay.
Opponents of Wokism tend to focus on the breakdown of social/moral values as a response. This ends up making them looking uncaring, or stuck in the past. A favorite talking point is that not going out of one’s way to include transexual or non-binary people (e.g. using their preferred pronouns) will only contribute to a reality in which 20% commit/attempt suicide. In other words, if you’re not with the program then you’re being mean and driving the most fragile among us to self-harm.
With this in mind, a decent question is: Does wokism make people happier?
I wanted to look into this, briefly, so I focused on suicide.
The data here would seem to suggest that (if suicide is the measure) then wokism is a terrifying failure.
Since 2008, suicide rates are up 31.5% among 15-24 year-olds and 27.8% among 25-34-year-olds. The rise has been steady despite economic decline and recovery. Other groups have seen a rise, but none nearly as sharp. Mental illness as a whole has followed the same trend. Among 18-25 year-olds it rose from ~18.5% in 2008 (I have stats for every age and assumed the same number of people in each one) to 25.8% in 2017. That is a 38% rise.
It is a complex world and the reasons for these shifts can be chalked up to all sorts of things, but there has been a clear social trend. And the trend seems to suggest that the better we know ourselves (and express that knowledge) the more mentally ill and suicidal we are.
Personally, I believe a lot of us are actually malleable within a spectrum. Evidence of this might be the 26% rise in LGBT self-identification among millennials in that same time period with no change among other populations. I think many people are capable of a great deal of sexual ‘self-expression’ and social pressures guide that. Remember, Freud studied ‘wandering hysterics’ and they don’t even exist anymore. People fit into the patterns expected of them.
Given this malleability, when we actually find our ‘self,’ we find something emptier and less fulfilling than what we expected when we started looking. After all, the very focus on self changes that self; it isn’t that real and focusing on it leads nowhere stable.
I think we tend to be strongest and happiest when we seek objectives beyond ourselves and our own self-expression. Sexuality is what we have in common with animals; people need more. Often that more involves rewarding self-restriction in service of a greater cause, not just self-expression of a very limited self.
There are people with significant differences and struggles in society. Even the Bible describes (in the literal text) many sexual practices as being ‘in the blood.’ Blood, in turn, is describing as the animating component of meat. Our bodies drive us, naturally, in all sorts of directions. The challenge (in the Biblical context) is restricting the blood.
The question for the present is: when is it heartless to challenge the blood by rejecting what the body wants and when it is actually the kindest thing that can be done?
I think the answers vary widely by situation, but I’d also think that setting the ‘self’ as the pre-eminent goal may often be self-destructive.