Today’s topic: Dogma.
A recent comment on another post reminded me of something I have been meaning to write about, and that is “Dogma.”
Roissy makes the extreme case – a “dogma” as you have observed – and it’s people who nail their thesis to the church door that move history along. People who live their ideas who are interesting.
Anonymous at 2010/08/2010 [link]
I thought it a good point. Well of course it was a good point, as it is similar to something I have been meaning to write a post about. I did not feel that I had enough for a “real” blog post, but these Random Thoughts pieces allow me get away with smaller nuggets of wisdom. Therefore, this is my non-dogmatic take on dogma.
As Anonymous pointed out, the dogmatic will tend to be more interesting. While we all love to claim a preference for refined and nuanced debate, we still love the bite of sharp invective. Indeed that is one of the reasons that Roissy (The Sultan of Schwing) and In Male Fide ([Upstate] New York’s Finest) will always be more popular than, say, this blog.
Dogma, and its sibling reductionism, introduces ideas in their most concentrated form. They offer a piquant dish rather than a bland mush of uncertain ingredients. Too many ifs, ands, or buts may confuse rather than enlighten someone encountering a new idea.
An idea presented in its raw dogmatic form can hit with a power that the nuanced version can never match. Reductionism brings an idea back to its simplest premise. With no adornment to confuse and distract, the basic idea can shine.
Once you have stretched your mind to consider the new dogma, your perceptions will be forever wider. Dogma asserts its influence on the mind like a vicious tug on an elastic band. Even if the idea lets go, the band never quite returns to its old shape.
The trick with dogma is that once you have taken it on board you must aim to lessen its grip. You can use your new understanding in ways that are more flexible. The dogma helped you to reach new understanding; it should not now imprison you.