Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is Wokism Working?

 

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.

Your thoughts?

Sources:

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2009-nsduh-detailed-tables
https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/
https://news.gallup.com/poll/201731/lgbt-identification-rises.aspx?g_source=link_NEWSV9&g_medium=TOPIC&g_campaign=item_&g_content=In%2520U.S.%2c%2520More%2520Adults%2520Identifying%2520as%2520LGBT

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  1. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Harvester: Your thoughts?

    I think this bit (emphasis added):

    Richard Harvester:

    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.

    is very wise. And clarifies why, among other things, I find so much of what passes for ‘modern literature’ so tedious and unsatisfying, as it is largely consumed by the writer’s search for his own self to the exclusion of everything else.

    • #1
    • January 28, 2019, at 2:44 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  2. Saint Augustine Member

    Great post.

    • #2
    • January 28, 2019, at 2:51 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor

    It depends on what you mean by the focus on the self. If it is a narcissistic focus, where a person thinks he or she is the center of the universe, it is self-destructive and counterproductive (and not holy). But if the focus is on being a better person, on taking responsibility for one’s self-destructive behavior or rootlessness in the world, as well as focusing on how to serve G-d and others, it is a good thing. I might just be a bit sensitive about the post, since I have a post right now on Ricochet that describes a kind of “finding my way”; of course, it had to do centrally with finding G-d.

    • #3
    • January 28, 2019, at 6:17 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard,

    Remember that the 100% emphasis of the wokism you are describing is the external effects of society. There is no emphasis on internal values at all. In fact, as a value implies that you will be making a distinction based on your value, then the distinction automatically implies an exclusion. Thus by a kind of circular logic, no value can be allowed to interfere with purifying the environment of all exclusions and thus allowing perfect inclusion.

    This is a hopelessly false point of view. Even believing in the law of gravity means you are making distinctions and excluding behavior such as jumping out of a ten story building (no parachute). Survival itself depends on making such distinctions. Moral values are much more sophisticated than just believing in the law of gravity but in the end, they affect survival just the same.

    Excellent post Richard.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
    • January 28, 2019, at 6:31 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  5. Front Seat Cat Member

    These are tragic symptoms of an old old lie spun new for each generation. The New Age movement focused on ‘the self’ – today its the same thing and there is no fulfillment in it.

    • #5
    • January 28, 2019, at 6:34 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Richard Harvester Inactive
    Richard Harvester

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    It depends on what you mean by the focus on the self. If it is a narcissistic focus, where a person thinks he or she is the center of the universe, it is self-destructive and counterproductive (and not holy). But if the focus is on being a better person, on taking responsibility for one’s self-destructive behavior or rootlessness in the world, as well as focusing on how to serve G-d and others, it is a good thing. I might just be a bit sensitive about the post, since I have a post right now on Ricochet that describes a kind of “finding my way”; of course, it had to do centrally with finding G-d.

    You are finding your own purpose by finding something else, not defining your own purpose as yourself.

    • #6
    • January 28, 2019, at 6:54 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  7. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Likewise, “gay-friendly” cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco should see lower rates of suicide and depression among gays and crossdressers, if intolerance can be blamed, because such people are not confronted about their choices in face-to-face interactions. Their choices are publicly celebrated. But the statistics don’t reveal any difference between California and Alabama. 

    TV programming is almost exclusively celebratory of sexual deviance, so there’s no pressure there either. Friction among family members is also less common since the general culture jumped aboard the bandwagon.

    • #7
    • January 28, 2019, at 7:31 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  8. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Harvester:

    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.

    You understand it wrong. What you’ve just described is the core tenet of Libertarianism, not “wokeness”.

    Woke-ism is not libertarian. Woke-ism is not about freedom. According to Woke-ism, freedom isn’t really even possible.

    Instead, woke-ism is all about the redistribution of privilege. It’s about decreasing the (alleged) privilege held by “historically-advantaged” groups and increasing the privilege of “historically-disadvantaged” groups.

    Etymologically, “privilege” literally means “private law”. i.e. private+legislation=privilege. It originally referred to a law or bill concerning a specific individual. The deed to your home is literally a “privilege”. It’s a legal document that says only you can enjoy that property.

    Therefore, Woke-ism is indistinguishable from Communism Marxism.

    (I figured I should expand the comparison to all flavours of Marxist ideology.)

    • #8
    • January 28, 2019, at 9:06 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  9. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Wisdom, RH!

    • #9
    • January 28, 2019, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Harvester (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    It depends on what you mean by the focus on the self. If it is a narcissistic focus, where a person thinks he or she is the center of the universe, it is self-destructive and counterproductive (and not holy). But if the focus is on being a better person, on taking responsibility for one’s self-destructive behavior or rootlessness in the world, as well as focusing on how to serve G-d and others, it is a good thing. I might just be a bit sensitive about the post, since I have a post right now on Ricochet that describes a kind of “finding my way”; of course, it had to do centrally with finding G-d.

    You are finding your own purpose by finding something else, not defining your own purpose as yourself.

    Absolutely. Nothing wrong with “know thyself,” and looking outward from there. It is “know thyself as an end in itself” that I thought @richardharvester deemed unworthy of us.

    • #10
    • January 28, 2019, at 9:56 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Among the many things that I’m not are statistician and social scientist, but I have noticed that in many “alarming” studies of dramatic changes in a specific category, the population size of the group under study is relatively small. In other words, if a group size was only 10 and in a given time the effect reported changed from 1 to 2 individuals, the magnitude of the change would be a 100% increase.

    I have probably stated this very poorly; but I recall that in the early days of the Iraq war there was a report of the dramatic increase in rate of suicides of veterans of that war from one year to the next. When you looked at the actual study, you could see that the actual number of suicides had increased by something like 25, among many thousands of veterans, and that change could have been attributable to any number of things other than the war experience.

    • #11
    • January 28, 2019, at 11:44 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  12. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You need to edit your post. The sucide rates read as if its the whole population. Its not I assume your only talking about transgender suicide rates. Which go over 40% when they get the surgery.

    • #12
    • January 28, 2019, at 11:55 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    I think the statistics are good, but I think it’s not the point to make other people happy, it’s to make social mores and those who might adhere to them “bend the knee” and be made to care.

    You can’t make yourself happy, but sticking to those uptight types might bring some comfort.

    This isn’t “woke” culture per se, but I have a friend’s kid who was worried about the shutdown because he didn’t want “the bad guys to win.” He’s far too young for this stupidity (politics) but that’s the paradigm in which we live from conversations with supposedly educated and smart people. “We’re the good guys” and all opposition to what we’re doing is therefore “bad”

    • #13
    • January 28, 2019, at 11:55 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Before I read the article, I assume this isn’t about the cooking implement (wok), but I hope to be plesantly surprised. We need more isms based on cooking implements. I for one advocate duchovenism. Basically it’s the perfect cooking vessel. 

     

    Okay, I’ve read the post. It wasn’t about woks. Sad. Still I have one question for the author. You meassure the effects of wokism by looking at suicide rates based on age. I guess the assumption is younger people are more woke? But we know the 18-25 cohort isn’t uniform. Are they all more woke? How do we eliminate the possibility that the increase in suicide is driven by a none woke sub population of those age ranges? 

    • #14
    • January 28, 2019, at 1:20 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Richard Harvester Inactive
    Richard Harvester

    Brian Clendinen (View Comment):

    You need to edit your post. The sucide rates read as if its the whole population. Its not I assume your only talking about transgender suicide rates. Which go over 40% when they get the surgery.

    The increases are population rise. There has been a 27+% increase in suicide rates across the country for these age ranges. Not a small sample size.

    • #15
    • January 28, 2019, at 1:21 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Richard Harvester Inactive
    Richard Harvester

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Okay, I’ve read the post. It wasn’t about woks. Sad. Still I have one question for the author. You meassure the effects of wokism by looking at suicide rates based on age. I guess the assumption is younger people are more woke? But we know the 18-25 cohort isn’t uniform. Are they all more woke? How do we eliminate the possibility that the increase in suicide is driven by a none woke sub population of those age ranges?

    We can’t. It could be privilege-correcting wokism (my misuse of the term is noted), it could be self-seeking, it could be despair at the election of Obama and then despair by others at the election of Trump. It could be a rise in sexual assault or in expulsion from school for sexual assault. It could be any number of factors. But there have been two fundamental and interconnected social trends of the last 10 years – woke and emphasis on acceptance of whatever self-expression you have. One has been focused on equality of outcomes, the other on equality of acceptance.

    The mental illness rates (given the far higher prevalence) are probably harder to explain away with micro-trends.

    • #16
    • January 28, 2019, at 1:32 PM PST
    • Like
  17. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    So doing some quick checking on suicide rates over all one thing I noticed is that the lowest rate over all (all age groups) are found in California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, basically blue states. While the highest rates are found in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, basically red states. Now Native Americans have the highest suicide rates of all racial demographics which probably serves to explain why those states are so high but even without them less woke states like Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi have higher per capita rates than New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts. This would argue against your point wouldn’t it. More woke the general population of a state the less likely to suicide. 

    • #17
    • January 28, 2019, at 3:17 PM PST
    • 1 like
  18. Richard Harvester Inactive
    Richard Harvester

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    So doing some quick checking on suicide rates over all one thing I noticed is that the lowest rate over all (all age groups) are found in California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, basically blue states. While the highest rates are found in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, basically red states. Now Native Americans have the highest suicide rates of all racial demographics which probably serves to explain why those states are so high but even without them less woke states like Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi have higher per capita rates than New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts. This would argue against your point wouldn’t it. More woke the general population of a state the less likely to suicide.

    Traditional suicide statistics do tend to be impacted by ethnicity. California has seen a significant drop in white population and it is the white population that has seen the most significant rise in suicides. Hispanics have a much lower rate of suicide than whites.

    • #18
    • January 28, 2019, at 8:05 PM PST
    • Like
  19. Saint Augustine Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Okay, I’ve read the post. It wasn’t about woks. Sad.

    I originally came here to read about Wookies.

    • #19
    • January 28, 2019, at 8:08 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Okay, I’ve read the post. It wasn’t about woks. Sad.

    I originally came here to read about Wookies.

    Aug & Val,

    Neither Woks nor Wookies are Woke.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #20
    • January 29, 2019, at 7:45 AM PST
    • 3 likes

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