Situationist Ideology Primer

by obiefernandez 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • obiefernandez

    Came across this link today which I believe is interesting as exJWs. (Italics mine)


    Like an historical time-bomb, it seems that Situationist ideas can go off at any time, right under our noses, and without us really knowing it. The beauty of Situationism, its advocates held, was that it was only saying out loud what every modern human being already feels. "Our ideas are in everybody's minds", they said. Then as now, they had a least half a point, or maybe more than that.

    As a philosophy, it's fairly simple. By creating new situations, you confront people with unusual surroundings, which provoke them to think in new ways. This in turn shows them how constrained their thinking has been until now. Once they've tasted that freedom even briefly they'll never be able to go back to ordinary life. They will demand more from life, and a revolution will be inevitable. It's an idea that has had the occasional practical success. When Britain's miners went on strike in the 80's, their wives set up support groups. This was the first time most of them had ever been politically active, and it was often a liberating experience. Where years of feminism had failed, an unusual situation, the strike, had shown them their strength and offered them roles other than wife and mother. Many of them remain involved in unions and left-wing politics to this day.

    I'm curious if any of you have heard of this ideology and your thoughts on how to apply to our JW friends.


  • obiefernandez

    Talking to myself here, but anyway I thought of a situationist experience I had while running (circa 98). I was already waaaaayyyyy inactive, only occasionally showing up at Sunday meetings, just to keep up appearances. My brother-in-law Tony, the nominal JW party freak that he is, wanted to throw a "massive". A dance party with invitees from the whole tri-state-area (NY/NJ/CT) and even further. He was supported by a group of his JW friends with extensive social connections.

    The Party

    I've told this story before, but today I'm framing it in what I believe to be situationist point-of-view. The biggest massive we've ever heard of at the time is possibly 200 or 300, perhaps a popular wedding reception. The Society STRONGLY discourages large parties and uses anecdotal evidence to suggest they get out of control. We knew of some formal JW dances going on in Maryland at the time but those were only drawing 150-200. My goal was to triple that headcount in a club atmosphere. Knowing that many, many JW teens and twentysomethings would love to go to a dance club, but would never dare, I conspired with Tony and crew to give them a taste of what it is like. You know, big space, loud music, and lots of fun. I didn't realize the ideology at the time, but basically I was following a situationist belief. Give those JW youth a taste of a club, and they would be forever changed. They might even decide to go out and have some fun for themselves, or at least perpetuate that culture within JWs.

    The party ended up being fairly underground. Promotion was word-of-mouth, because the society had just come out with guidelines against using flyers to advertise JW parties. (We had intended to use flyers heavily, even at the DC. Decided against it due to probable backlash.) It was held in the gym of a local school (in Hackensack, NJ). I rented a full sound system and light show. (15,000 watts power; it was really loud) We counted approximately 600 people in attendance from over a dozen eastern US states. Supervising the event, one elder, who left halfway through the night. He didn't want to be the only one responsible! Bros were walking into the venue with their mouths wide open. They were in disbelief that we had actually pulled this off. They couldn't believe that the rumors were true. They couldn't believe that we had not gotten shot down by the local elders. Everyone had a great time, and the only problem we had was the noise levels disturbing the neighbors whenever someone would open the outside doors. No immoral conduct, no fights, not too much drama. The party went on until midnight and then disbanded. Total cost to me, about 200USD. Total cost of party, perhaps 800USD. Expenses were rent, liability insurance, PA rental, snacks and soda. NOTE: The only alcohol in the venue was BYOB by certain more daring of the guests.

    Guests walked away with a different concept of what IS and IS NOT possible within the JW world. You just have to put your mind to it. CHANGE takes work. Somedays I think it would be fun to still be a part of the JW community, if only to pull stunts like this off on a regular basis.

    My friends in NJ tell me that this party is still to this day discussed by the youth in the area.


  • SYN

    An interesting idea...such events would certainly have helped many taste the forbidden delights of the "world", so to speak...

  • TheOldHippie

    Just beautiful! What I have been propaganding the whole time - there in many areas are no more rules than those you make up in your own mind, or those you feel the others would make up.

    In sociological studies of youth, it has been shown that many take part in activities (drinking, smoking other things than tobacco, sex etc. ) not because they themselves want to, but because they believe all the others are doing it and would resent it if these ones would not. The result is, that it is the "meanest one in the flock" who gives the standard. Nobody really wants to do the thing in question, but do it only because they think the others also do it.

    So take your freedom back. Me? I'm shunning the CO and talks/articles I don't agree with, by walking out - and there ain't a thing anybody can do about it. The only thing could be that they make formal a regulation that it is forbidden to enter or leave a KH during a meeting - but that one would be a rather hard one to pass, since the "public" is also invited.

    A combination of Witness theology and personal freedom not only is possible, but is the only solution, the only way for the future, if those of us who theologically agree are to survive, and if the WBTS is to survive.

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