Idealism, Not Ideology

The discretionist is ideological in that he roots his life in an Ideal, but discretionism is not an ideology. It is a system, not a specific set of beliefs. Different belief systems, even fundamentally contradictory ones, may exist using the same structure. The discretionist accepts the inflexibility of the Absolute but understands that degrees of relativism exist between Absolutes. He understands the impact competing personal choices and the entropy of the natural world have upon his corporeal life. He seeks permanence and does not live a life affected by the ideas and judgments of others. This, however, is divorced in impact from his spiritual life. He lives on a higher plane which exists outside the bounds of temporal law. He is not, as are may proudly self-professed ideologues a structural conservative who insists on using the same “time-tested” standard of measure. It is not tradition or habit which compels him to act rigidly, but belief in merit being untouched by the changing realities of the natural world. Instead, he understands that different standards of measure exist in the natural world, but this multiplicity does not invalidate his processes or in any way affect the Absolute, which exists outside of time.

Though attainment of the absolute is the goal, it is values which are important. This cannot be understated. Cohesive sets of beliefs, values and practices are ideologies. Ideology is often used as a pejorative; it is not. But neither is being ideological laudative. The values of a particular ideology and the content of a set of beliefs may be judged harshly or favorably. But adherence in itself is not a thing of value. To the contrary, the ideologue who touts his adherence to a set of beliefs is a menace. He is static in character, reacting rigidly to unfolding events by the ideology he has not examined. He does not examine new information.

The discretionist’s whole being is rooted in value. It is love of the Ideal that moves him towards attaining consummation of spirit and of pursing his potential to its highest possible apex.

Since the goal of discretionism is immutability of spirit, it logically follows that individual character would be static. But this is not necessarily true. First, the scale which is used to measure stasis/dynamism is impactful. A process of trial and error is necessary in determining right and wrong practices and values. So, dynamism as personal growth is essential to the seeming stasis of consummation. Stasis rests on some period of dynamic growth of character. Secondly, though the processes by which consummate individuals become static leads to entrenched habits this does not mean individual character or reactions are static. Were this the case, individuality would lose its significance. Process would supplant the values of which it is in aid.

The discretionist’s whole being is rooted in value. It is love of the Ideal that moves him towards attaining consummation of spirit and causes him to pursue his potential to its highest possible apex. The particulars of the Ideal to which he devotes his life are his sole focus. Just as the discretionist admires values and ideas in the production of others, not necessarily the things themselves, so too is the merit of an Ideal more important than the process of attaining it. Though attainment of an Ideal demands a particular approach to living, the hierarchy of discretion is irrelevant unless it reaches towards the highest moral good.

For this reason, discretionism is not an ideology. It is a system for refining the processes of discriminating with a goal of promoting the self in service to the Ideal each individual finds most meritorious. Though ideology may contribute to the values each individual deems meritorious, they are not the emphasis of the discretionist philosophy.