As individuals develop over the course of their lifetime, ideologies and belief systems serve to organize a person’s worldview and identity, such that they define the individual. The inevitability and permanence of this feature of human existence begs the question: are societies doomed to ideological polarization? Do people identify with systems of thought so strongly as to ruin the chances of integration of disparate beliefs and lifestyles? How do we make room for common ground when doing so encourages us to quiet everything we’ve been fighting for? These questions are pertinent, now more than ever, in the increasingly polarized and cultural-warfare backdrop of the United States, as well as in the increasingly globalized world.
How are ideologies advantageous and at what point are they detrimental to the human condition?
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By James A. Weigel
From his daughter, Jennifer A. Weigel: This song was written by my father, James A. Weigel. Many of his songs questioned ideologies and religious doctrines, and so I have submitted this song to TAEM‘s Issue No. 2 in his memory. He would have loved The Abstract Elephant Magazine and its mission to “understand the situations, events, and characteristics of human life” from an interdisciplinary approach. I wish I could have shared it with him, but thank you for letting me instead share his music with you. We shared many deep philosophical conversations as I grew up and especially into college, sometimes long into the night. Though I wish he could have read and responded to TAEM‘s online discourse, I am grateful he can be a part of its mission.