The Orthodoxy of Orthodoxy

Rigid thought patterns, unshakeable norms, traditions that shrug off any and all questions. Welcome to Orthodoxy Nation, folks. You’re in for an angry ride.

ORTHODOXY – noun – authorized or generally accepted theory, doctrine, or practice.

The definition of “Orthodoxy” doesn’t do justice to the reality of the modern world, where it dwells and reproduces at a rapid rate. Religion is the realm of life where we’re most familiar with the term, where we expect it, and it doesn’t disappoint. But orthodox codes, spoken or unspoken, are everywhere.

Orthodoxy is the foundation of so many aspects of life that we don’t even realize. In fact, some groups who think their very reason for being is to avoid Orthodoxy are, ironically, as orthodox as anyone else.

Orthodoxy isn’t inherently bad, but when it gets so entrenched that anyone who questions it is immediately labelled a “conspiracy theorist,” “crazy,” or often something much worse, then it needs to go.

We’ll start with religion. Evangelical Christians, who consider themselves orthodox fundamentalists, when questioned on how their politics don’t square with the tenets of their faith, tend to answer with some very unchristian language. On the flip side, Unitarian Universalists, who think their religion takes a strong, unwavering stand against orthodoxy, will allow no one to question political correctness, which IS their orthodoxy. Not allowing questioning is a primary characteristic of orthodoxy.

Business orthodoxy requires the right business attire

Business is full of Orthodoxy. Business has so much entrenched orthodoxy that they had to invent a term for any thought that falls outside of it (“thinking outside the box”). The forming of committees, while rarely solving any problems, remains an entrenched business practice. Image in business is an orthodoxy. If you are not wearing the uniform you are not one of us. Image represents wealth, credibility, adherence to the orthodox code. Suits, pantsuits, high heels, dark socks, ties, even the extreme lunacy that is panty hose are some examples.

Look at the strange current state of medicine. This entire country’s future seems to be in the hands of one immunologist. News anchors are berating anyone who suggests that we may already have a pandemic cure. They may be right, they may not be, but the lack of ability to even try to cure a global pandemic is frightening. The need for rigorous studies, multiple studies, from multiple angles, while we’re trying to combat a global pandemic is beyond ludicrous. If there was ever a time to abandon medical orthodoxy it’s now. Of course, we won’t do that. In our current pandemic, if a clinician reports hopeful results, the intellectual community cries havoc and unleashes the dogs of Scientism. “We can’t believe you unless you conduct a double blind study on a thousand patients. We are THE guardians of truth, the purists, and it matters not how many die while we wait on test results.”

We are in a global emergency, so throwing everything we have at it is probably what we should do. Try anything that might work. It doesn’t HAVE TO come in pressed pill form.

What about Western medicine’s inability to break away from its raging pill addiction. Medicine has to come in pressed pill form. Really? Wouldn’t drinking orange juice be as good as taking a Vitamin C supplement? Isn’t eating salt basically the same thing as taking an Aleve?

Scientism has become a religion, with scientists being the high priests of truth. And like all religions, it has rigid rules. You are considered a conspiracy theorist if you question the outcome of a publication, even if the results are being skewed by who funded the research. If there were ever a good time to ditch established practices, it would be when a global pandemic is killing off our people at an alarming rate…like, for example, right now.

As is often the case, politics is the worst. The two dominant political parties have such tight orthodoxies that questioning any single small part of it will land you in tribal limbo, where you’re seen as not-really-a-member-of-the-tribe. If you need proof of that one, what planet have you been living on?

Essentially, orthodoxy limits free thinking, causes tribal anger toward anyone brave and intelligent enough to even take a baby step outside of the circle of accepted thought. It doesn’t help. It doesn’t foster creativity. It doesn’t allow for any degree of nuanced thought. Hell, it barely allows for thought at all. It’s just a giant world of playground behavior gone global.

Baseball fan not happy with deviation from orthodoxy

Baseball has been around since the 1840’s. It’s as close to a sacred sport as we have in America. The league itself has wanted to shorten the game to keep the attention of younger kids with short attention spans for years, so it has adjusted, using the pandemic as its excuse, with limited success. Since baseball is semi-sacred, the reaction has been, at best, mixed. Mainly, the reaction is mild outrage.

Now it wants to shorten games, and fans are mad about “America’s Pastime” changing its rules to shorten games. Baseball has an inordinate amount of unspoken rules (Orthodoxy), but when even tweaking the rules to a game, something that any kid with any degree of imagination has done in an empty field at least once or twice, leads to anger, protest, and angry fans stubbornly claiming that they’ll never watch another game again, is this strong, something is amiss.

Alice and I aren’t questioning the idea of norms, as much as wondering why there are so many orthodoxies and why their pull is so powerful for so many, especially when so many of them are so self-defeating. If something doesn’t work, you fix it.