The Alcyone Books ad in the July 3 Islands Marketplace, reads: “Cursing ‘Fix-Conceptions’ is crucial”. It was, I thought short and to the point but not clear. Friends pointed that to me and some asked for clarification and this I will try.
“Cursing” denotes “ostracizing” which means “banishing”, “getting rid of”. “Crucial”, means “decisive”, or “pre-requisite to success” of an enterprise.“Fix-Conceptions”, (hyphenated or not) is not in the OED and I know of no word between or about “misconception” and “preconception” to express what I want to convey. The enterprise I hint at is that of Civilization with the attendant “Democratization” of the society’s governance.
The absence of a name obscures awareness of numerous “endemic pandemics” occurring silently and invisibly in our midst, attacking our intellect. This results in a situation similar to that which it would be if we had no microscopes to discern “Covid19" attacking our body. Try to imagine it ...
FixConceptions denotes “fake truths” established so firmly and permanently that we routinely deem them to be “constants” in the equations with which we determine the route to take individually and collectively to near and distant “next”. They could be the “unknown unknowns” of Donald Rumsfeld. But FixConceptions are often “known knowns” with the additional attribute of being deemed “unchangeable” and/or being “the best possible” or “the only available”.
Having no name helps hide who, or what lacks it. But it does not eliminate its effects and ususally makes the consequences more severe. The “Stealth” aircraft has enhanced kill-ability because it attacks undetected. Marie Antoinette suggested the hungry people pleading for bread “eat cake” because “famine” was unknown within the King’s court. The Inquisition nabbed Galileo because he questioned that which “everyone knew”, which was that the Earth stands still.
Giving a name to something which has no name, gives it visibility and triggers response, be it for better or worse. “FixConceptions”, the word, would draw attention to the existence of things and situations we currently suffer passively or unreasonably deny ourselves the benefits therefrom.
John Kenneth Galbraith talked with some sarcasm about “conventional wisdom”. Closer to the the target is Max Nordau’s “social lies”, this because it contains Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns” and because lying can be either by commission or omission.
Lenin suggested (after Marx) “religion is the opium of the people”. This boils down to it being a misconception consequential to FixConception that “since the universe exists, someone must have made it”. But this is getting too much for a short column.
“Cursing Fixconceptions is crucial” prods us to look for feeble and missing links in our chain of thought. This we must always do because weak links reduce the strength of our chain of thought and broken links kill its purpose. Perhaps some more examples would help disambiguation FixConception:
The occurrence of elections ensure democracy; Political parties are stalwarts of Democracy; Without political parties democracy is naught; High pay, tenure and non-accountability ensure fair decisions; A justice system consisting of un-accountable judges is compatible with democracy; A truly fair Justice system cannot be devised to replace the existing; The current Justice system is the “best possible”, so nearly so, that a search for a better one is unnecessary; Lee de Forest who invented the diode tube which made possible telecommunications, aviation, x-rays and the Bell Telephone Co, was fairly compensated with $12,750 pa (stipend) from Bell, while the Bell CEO was “earning” $1M pa; Priests are legit scalpers of tickets to Paradise; The “education” system can “graduate” the young without knowing whether “The Republic” is a book by Plato or was his pet serpent; Eating an apple justified the eviction of Adam and Eve from Paradise and the punishment of their descendants who had done nothing wrong; There is no “Absolution Papers” industry currently active in our society; A duet of elected “peoples’ representatives” constitute a “local government parliament”; and so on. There is a myriad more to list, but these would do for now.
Fixconceptions, hold back civilization, resulting in an environment where we honour” those who “give cannons to the children and children to the canons”, as Jacques Prevert worded it.
“Cursing ‘FixConceptions’ is crucial” to thinking the unthinkable so we can do that which “they” make us believe is “impossible”.