The Woke Philosophy of Life

I know I keep harping on Ann Napolitano’s novel Hello Beautiful but it lays out the woke philosophy of life very clearly and openly. The book utterly lacks artistic merit, but its insight into wokeness makes it worth the time.

So what is the woke worldview?

It posits that there’s something called “your true self” hidden inside every person. Our task in life is to discover this true self and accept it. The issue of who puts this true self into us is never raised. It is simply there.

How do we know that we have found that true self and fully accepted it?

It feels good. That’s how we know we are on the right track in life. Feeling good shows that we are accepting our true self. Not feeling good means we aren’t.

See the problem with this way of thinking?

It’s an inward-oriented closed system.

There are no external elements at all. There is no gauge of good and bad aside from my feelings.

The problem is that my feelings can be caused by all sorts of things. Maybe I’ve been damaged by bad past experiences. Maybe I have an upset stomach and it’s coloring my perceptions. Or maybe I’m a shitty person and instead of accepting my true self I should be trying to improve it.

Another problem with this approach is that it’s very lonely. If other people don’t enter into my calculations of how to behave and there’s no external morality to guide me, I’ll end up using and discarding people like paper napkins at a barbecue joint. Napolitano’s novel shows what this looks like when followed through to its ultimate consequences. A father discards his infant child because it feels good to be rid of a squawking baby. A woman seduces her sister’s husband because it feels good. A woman draws pornographic images to explain sex to a kindergartner because why not? If how something makes you feel is the only measure of good and bad, that’s where you’ll end up.

Napolitano tries to talk up these barren, self-immersed lifestyles but they still look grim. If you are already born with the “true self”, it means that there’s no need to develop, grow, try to be better. The characters in the novel either find their true self in doing a particular job, and then their personal lives turn into a cavalcade of episodic, interchangeable partners, or the true self consists in being in an unconventional sexual relationship. Then everything besides this particular sex partner becomes easily discardable. Beyond the job or the sex, the only other “true self” can reside in a physical characteristic or a health condition. So people who are very curly or unusually tall need to accept their height or hairstyle and… well, that’s it. Their task in life is done.

I told you it’s grim.

But that’s what the universe that revolves around the self looks like.

11 thoughts on “The Woke Philosophy of Life

  1. стихотворение: Женя Беркович

    То ли новостей перебрал,
    То ли вина в обед,
    Только ночью к Сергею пришёл его воевавший дед.
    Сел на икеевскую табуретку, спиной заслоняя двор
    За окном. У меня, говорит, к тебе,
    Серёженька, разговор.

    Не мог бы ты, дорогой мой, любимый внук,
    Никогда, ничего не писать обо мне в фейсбук?
    Ни в каком контексте, ни с буквой зэт, ни без буквы зэт,
    Просто возьми и не делай этого, просит дед.
    Никаких побед моим именем,
    Вообще никаких побед.

    Так же, он продолжает, я был бы рад,
    Если бы ты не носил меня на парад,
    Я прошу тебя очень, (и делает так рукой),
    Мне не нужен полк,
    Ни бессмертный, ни смертный, Серёженька, никакой.
    Отпусти меня на покой, Серёжа,
    Я заслужил покой.

    Да, я знаю, что ты трудяга, умница, либерал,
    Ты все это не выбирал,
    Но ведь я-то тоже не выбирал!
    Мы прожили жизнь,
    Тяжёлую и одну.
    Можно мы больше не будем
    Иллюстрировать вам войну?
    Мы уже всё, ребята,
    Нас забрала земля.
    Можно вы как-то сами.
    Как-то уже с нуля.
    Не нужна нам ни ваша гордость,
    Ни ваш потаённый стыд.
    Я прошу тебя, сделай так,
    Чтоб я был наконец забыт.

    Но ведь я забуду, как в Русском музее
    Мы искали девятый вал,
    Как я проснулся мокрый,
    А ты меня одевал,
    Как читали Пришвина,
    Как искали в атласе полюса,
    Как ты мне объяснял, почему на небе
    Такая белая полоса
    За любым самолётом,
    Как подарил мне
    Увеличительное стекло…

    Ничего, отвечает дед,
    Тебе ведь и это не помогло.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Стихотворение театрального режиссера Евгении Беркович, которую сегодня арестовали (обвинение в оправдании терроризма за ее пьесу о женщинах, виртуально выходивших замуж за бойцов ИГИЛ и ехавших к ним в Сирию).


  3. I’m still waiting for the woke philosophy to justify the true selves of serial killers who get off on strangling women. That worldview is not actually compatible with consent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Folks here might enjoy this essay. Basically, people shrouding themselves in the psychobabble of supposedly protecting their own boundaries while being brutal and aggressive for no good reason. Enforcing random nonessential stuff that presumably works for someone (like going to specific restaurants is somehow a boundary) as if there aren’t real people at the other side of your demands:

      Liked by 1 person

          1. …I mean, the whole concept of saying, out loud, in front of other people “I feel unsafe”, is basically admitting that 1) you recognize that you are completely actually safe (you would never be like “I feel so unsafe!” in a dark alley with a bunch of angry bikers, or the baseball-bat wielding drug dealer you owe money to, for example), and 2) You are loudly announcing to everyone around you that you have dangerous mental problems and they probably need to stay away from you because if they so much as offer you a hand to get up off the floor, you’ll probably get a lawyer and sue them for personal injury later.

            So this is a term for people sane enough to know the real, actual difference between safe and unsafe situations, and completely ignore it in favor of a very public role-playing fantasy where they go a bunch of very safe places and pretend to be in grave danger.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel like I’ve lost a few friends to wokeness in the last 5 years. These are people around whom I used to feel like I can speak my mind, and no longer feel like I can without the consequences being too unpleasant to be worth it. It has definitely lowered my feeling of psychological safety.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know if this is actually true. A lot of woke is about chanting community as every third word and even more of it is calling for considerations of this perceived outgroup or that, or outlining the history of oppression of, again, a group. And on a psychological level, there are whole classes of people woke definitely wants to hide their shameful deepestiest selves into the farthest corner of their psyches.

    What you outlined here honestly just seems like the default conservative stance towards whatever the ills of the moment are than a specific description of said ills.


    1. The characters in the novel do harp on about their unity and extreme attachment to each other. They have no idea they are emotional cripples.

      The woke see themselves as categories, it’s true. But their communities are a fiction. The proof of this resides, for instance, in the call-out culture or the oppression Olympics.


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