Issue No. 2 Ideologies, Belief Systems, & The Human Condition

TAEM's Issue No. 2

When you hear the word ideology, images of political partisanship commonly come to mind for most Western country inhabitants. Though its negative connotation evokes images of fanatics and those unwilling to hear reason, the concept was born from the Enlightenment, the ideas of French philosopher Destutt de Tracy, and the empiricist tradition as a philosophical term for the “science of ideas.” Ideology is: 

Ideologies are typically categorized as economic (e.g. Capitalism, Fascism, Socialism, Communism), political (e.g. Liberalism, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Populism), or philosophical (e.g. religious or spiritual belief systems). Ultimately, ideologies are the systems by which we order our world, determine our place/purpose, and make sense of our relation to others. 

As they relate to the individual, ideologies are believed to develop from cultural influences, biological predispositions, and personality characteristics. Research suggests ideologies have a genetic component, emerge early in childhood, and affect the brain structure. As they relate to society, ideologies are the “lived relation[s] between men and their world.” Human societies are built upon ideological “systems of representation,” such that it is nearly impossible to image human life void of ideological underpinnings. 

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 unavoidableness 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. 

For Issue No. 2, The Abstract Elephant Magazine tasks you with answer the following question:

How are ideologies advantageous and at what point are they detrimental to the human condition?

Please consider all types of ideologies (not just political). We welcome all perspectives (not just the ones that are in vogue & as long as there’s a decent argument) and we encourage submissions from across the globe.

To be considered for Issue No. 2, you must include:
  • Author/Artist headshot
  • Short Author/Artist bio (~100 words)
  • Author/Artist website/portfolio links (Optional)
  • Author/Artist social media handles (Optional)
  • Statement indicating whether submission is simultaneous submission
  • 60-word description explaining the connection between your submission and the theme for Issue No. 2 (see Ideas For Issue No. 2 Description below for more details)
Ideas for Issue No. 2 Description

How are ideologies advantageous and at what point are they detrimental to the human condition?

  • How are ideologies and belief systems unavoidable features of human life? Are they necessary for human existence?
  • What are the evolutionary advantages of ideologies or belief systems? How have they allowed for and encouraged the progression of human society? 
  • Are humans biologically wired for ideologies?
  • How do ideologies create ideologues? 
  • If children are trained early on in their development to engage with opposing belief systems, could we prevent inflexible ideologues later in life? 
  • If one’s self-identity is tied to their ideology, what are the chances of either changing?
  • Because ideologies become ingrained with identity, are we doomed to polarized nations and societies?
  • With more and more people and societies of distinctly different ideologies and belief systems coming into contact with one another due to technology (e.g. social media) and globalization, how do we make room for everyone?
  • Is common ground possible? 
Accepted Disciplines
  • Academic
  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Visual Art
  • Performing Art
  • Nonfiction Essay
  • Photo Essay
  • Personal History
When is the submission deadline?

Submission deadline: Oct 26, 2020

When will Issue No. 2 be released?

Estimated release date: Dec 15, 2020

I have a piece that relates to TAEM in general, but doesn’t address the theme for Issue No. 2. Should I still submit?

If your piece does not relate to the theme for Issue No. 2, please do not submit it to our Issue No. 2. However, we still encourage you to submit it to our other discipline-specific open projects.



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