It is no surprise that society has become somewhat obsessed with victimhood in the form of various socially reinforced movements, such as intersectionality. For those who are not familiar with the term, intersectionality broadly means that to the extent that you have various class statuses, such as a racial category, a sexual or gender category, a disability, etc., that you can essentially stack all of those categories on top of one another if you occupy more than one of them and claim greater levels of oppression than someone who occupies less or only one or none. Moreover, this ideology makes the claim implicitly that there is as obviously an oppressor who can be easily identified by way of the same rudimentary categories, such as of course race. It goes without saying that victimhood as an ideology pits groups of people against one another and stirs vicious division because it is tied to the perception of assets. What we have seen in recent years in the United States is the perils of combining unconscious group aggression with victimhood ideology. This is exactly what caused the actual destruction of American cities; the west coast stands in ruins almost exclusively as a result of this phenomena.
There are some who would not appreciate my less than gracious definition of intersectionality, but behind any amount of pseudo-intellectual wordplay that can be found in made-up academic programs, what I have stated above is truly the meaning. I refer to intersectionality in this essay as an ideology because it is linked to a cultural milieu of victimhood, and those two experiences of the self are nearly synonymous. They produce certain forms of personal malaise, and they stand as invidious markers of class warfare.
For the individual, victimhood requires passive engagement as a primary way of orienting to the world. When you are passive, you cannot seek out problems in your life in order to solve them before they become catastrophes. And here's for the true irony and paradox for the persons possessed by victimhood ideology: because they constantly cause or worsen problems in their lives as a result of their passivity and avoidant personalities they then as constantly have a plethora of catastrophes, which they then experience as evidence of oppression from some sort of external force. This self-perpetuating cycle is maddening for those trying to help such individuals.
I spend much of my time as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst helping people realize that they have agency in the world in an active way. My role has increasingly involved helping people analyze the way that they have been indoctrinated by essentially a cult of passivity, ultra-subjectivism, and anti-metaphysics. A movement has swept through the country and certainly through academia, which encourages people to consider that because their sense of identity is contextual that there is no self, no real sense of agency, and that perseverance is an illusion possessed by privilege.
I cannot think of a more destructive ideology, especially for young people who need to make their way in the world through wielding a sense of personal control or efficacy. The subjectivists and contextual theorists are of course partially correct when they point to the context of the self and conjecture that there is no actual metaphysical self. My answer is, who cares? If the self is illusory it is a damn important illusion! And so I encourage people to fight against the fray in their own lives, to believe that they have a self, that there is the capacity to do something meaningful with the time they have left, and to avoid falling into the bottomless chasm of victimhood and Intersectionality.
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