Random Thoughts on: Dogma

This is another Random Thought in the Random Thoughts series of quickfire posts (more like comments than articles).

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.


4 Responses to “Random Thoughts on: Dogma”

  1. ddl Says:

    I was the Anon who misspelled Theses.

    Your comments on dogma and roissy resonated with me. Think of Rousseau, Robespierre, Marx etc. Simple forceful ideas which set fire to the minds of men. Not wish-washy caveats on-the-other-hand academic blah. People who integrate ideas into their personality or psyche.

    I’m always surprised at how a couple of paragraphs can drag you into an alternative way of looking at the world.

    Some really nice turns of phrase in this post.

  2. Default User Says:


    I was the Anon who misspelled Theses.

    I know how you feel, my posts and replies always end up with some spelling or grammar errors. Indeed, after finishing this reply I have to fix a few things in this post.

    Some really nice turns of phrase in this post.

    Thank you.

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