From: L. Michael Hall
2023 Neurons #6
January 30, 2023
BROKE WITH WOKE
“Woke” and “wokeness”—relatively new words, so what is it? What does it refer to? It seems to have arisen as a slang word representing by some to indicate the embracing of progressive activism. Merriam-Webster added it to the dictionary (2017): “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”
“Woke is a slang term that is easing into the mainstream from some varieties of a dialect called African American Vernacular English,” according to Merriam-Webster.
Now originally, the term referred to social and political injustices and to that extent, I can sympathize with it and see the value. But it no longer means that. Today “woke” seems to be a mixture of radical and mostly unintelligent activism, along with some socialism thrown in for good measure. To that concoction add a good dose of narcissism and rigid dogmatism. Today, as an ideology, it mostly propagates itself as inevitable and unquestionable. And why? Because in that way those who promote it don’t have to debate or argue for it. In this way they can avoid critical thinking (which they seem to be allergic to) and do not have to examine the legitimacy of their ideology. And why would the do that? Because they know that it would not stand up to scrutiny. So with an attitude of dogmatism and authoritarianism, they declare what they declare, arrogantly assuming that there are no other perspectives.
But, of course, as with everything, there are! There are many alternatives and much better ones. And as one person who disagrees with the conclusions of the woke crowd, I am fully ready to engage those ideas and to question them. And why would I be so ready to do that? Because when you go woke, you go broke. The woke ideas will bankrupt you in every way— mentally, emotionally, relationally, and economically. Because the assumptions in “woke” are not even intelligently sound, thinking in that way undermines clear and precise thinking as it gives place to lots of cognitive distortions.
It also inter-personally bankrupts. Already we can see the fruits “woke” ideology produces— prejudice against anyone who disagree. A bullying attitude that seeks to “cancel” anyone with an opposite position. An arrogance of being a know-it-all, the hate language and the language of violence against conservatives. Pretending to be against racism, they actually promote a new and more vicious form of racism. Saying that they dislike stereotypes, they stereotype their opponents. All of this is full of incongruencies and hypocrisies.
What probably started out with some good positive intentions has turned really sour. It has created and is creating more division, intolerance, and partisanship. “Woke” people on school boards, in universities as professors or decision-makers have subverted education and transformed it into brainwashing. Once sensitive to injustice, they perpetuate what is unjust on parents who disagree, students who want to question things, and conservatives who would be invited into schools and universities to offer a differing opinion.
Those who believe in the “woke” ideology ought to truly wake up so that they can truly see the damage that they are doing with that ideology. They need to wake up to realize that every ideology is a belief system and not a set of facts. The person who forgets that or who does not know that, then operates in the dark confusing their map with the territory. They then over-identify with the ideology, personalizing it, so now any question of their ideology is treated as a personal attack. Then to that they become ridiculously self-righteous, talk as if they are the victims, and boldly victimize the person who simply asks a question.
The so-called “reasoning” that goes on in “woke” ideology is like the circular and self-defeating “logic” during the ancient witch hunts. You accuse someone of being a witch or non-“work” and they deny it. Their denial is then quoted as proof that they are heretics to “wokism.” In fact, the more vehement their denial, the more convinced they are that you are a danger to them and the more willing they are to burn the witch.
Basic NLP and basic General Semantics (Korzybski) and basic Neuro-Semantics starts from the position that whatever you think and believe is your mental map and no matter how accurate parts of it is, it is not the territory. It is not “real.” It is a representation, a fallible human opinion, and it not only should be tested and question, but it must be constantly tested and questioned. Even scripture says, “Test all things, hold firm that which is good.”
Democratic freedom begins with the power to question. It is in questioning, debating, continually checking on facts, and collaborating with others that we come to as good as understanding as we can— open to new facts emerging that will demand we keep adjusting our understandings. That’s the true heart of science, the true heart of education, the true center of an open and critical mind. Let all who are “woke” wake up to that realization.
The attached video is another voice speaking out against “wokism,” it’s a video that has gone viral and when you see it, you’ll know why.