See stance. The idea of this page is to catalog some of the stances I find myself occasionally assuming, or at aspiring to assuming, or noticing other people assuming. I certainly have no hope of providing an exhaustive set of all stances! My nebulous definition of stance admits too many different kinds of things.
Design Thinking is unfortunately a trendy idea in the business world (or was, probably long past its peak by now). That doesn't mean it isn't a really valuable stance! I'm not going to critique design thinking because I'm almost entirely [ok who the fuck cares]
I was exposed to a really compelling version of design stance at an early age, since I somehow discovered Victor Papanek's Design for the Real World at the public library (quite possible heard about it via Whole Earth Catalog). This was an eye-opening and intense book, as Papanek excoriated the profession of industrial design for spending its energies on trivial things while the real problems of the world are begging for creative solutions. At the time I read it I probably had no idea that there was such a thing as industrial design, but now I not only was aware, I had strong opinions about it.
Marvin talks about the dumbness of the try-harder stories.
Historical hope stance
The arc of the Moral Universe is Long, but it bends towards justice
– Martin Luther King Jr, quoting the original source, 19th century clergyman Theodore Parker
Faith in the inevitability of a better world certainly is a powerful tool to sustain action. Any progressive activist has to have a bit of this stance in them, otherwise they'd give up. It requires a certain kind of faith.
He's saying that the direction of history is not the result of some implacable evolution; we have to bend that arc ourselves.
Tanj! was a curse used in the fictional universe of Larry Niven, which I absorbed pretty throughly in my youth. It stands for There Ain't No Justice, aka shit happens, or the biblical "he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good,: and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45).
See Tourniquet stance
See Justice stance
I'm not sure how to characterize this, although RAW and Crowley are obvious exemplars.
It's radically skeptical and empirical but in a way wholly different from science and rationality. What works for you?
Writers on magic spend a lot of time explicitly trying to convey the nature of the magical stance. That is to say, as a field it is as reflexive (aka navel gazing) as academic literary theory, maybe more so. I think you could almost say that it consists of a particular kind of stance, the weird paraphrenalia is all in the service of a larger goal, which is something like "aligning your personal will with that of God".
MotT too involves detailed stance-work, his "Christian Hermeticism" is more than a body of knowledge, it is a particular attitude towards knowledge.
This is very simple, not a subculture or lifestyle choice, just a kind of trick you can always use to make yourself actually good. In any situation ask yourself "how can I be of service?". End of story, too fucking simple, and what if I get taken advantage of thereby....
Manjusri then asked further, “Noble sir, if a bodhisattva considers all living beings in such a way, how does he generate the great love3 toward them?”
Vimalakirti replied, “Manjusri, when a bodhisattva considers all living beings in this way, he thinks: ‘Just as I have realized the Dharma, so should I teach it to living beings.’4 Thereby, he generates the love that is truly a refuge for all living beings; the love that is peaceful because free of grasping; the love that is not
feverish, because free of passions; the love that accords with reality because it is equanimous in all three times; the love that is without conflict because free of the violence of the passions; the love that is nondual because it is involved neither with the external.nor with the internal; the love that is imperturbable because totally ultimate.
“Thereby he generates the love that is firm, its high resolve unbreakable, like a diamond; the love that is pure, purified in its intrinsic nature; the love that is even, its aspirations being equal; the saint’slove that has eliminated its enemy;5 the bodhisattva’s love that continuously develops living beings; the T athágata’s love that understands reality; the Buddha’s love that causes living beings to awaken from their sleep; the love that is spontaneous because it is fully enlightened spontaneously;6 the love that is enlightenment because it is unity of experience; the love that has no presumption because it has eliminated attachment and aversion; the love that is great compassion because it infuses the Mahayana with radiance; the love that is never exhausted because it acknowledges voidness and selflessness; the love that is giving because it bestows the gift of Dharma free of the tight fist of a bad teacher; the love that is morality because it improves immoral living beings; the love that is tolerance because it protects both self and others; the love that is effort because it takes responsibility for all living beings; the love that is contemplation because it refrains from indulgence in tastes; the love that is wisdom because it causes attainment at the proper time;7 the love that is liberative technique because it shows the way everywhere; the love that is without formality because it is pure in motivation; the love that is without deviation because it acts from decisive motivation; the love that is high resolve because it is without passions; the love that is without deceit because it is not artificial; the love that is happiness because it introduces living beings to the happiness of the Buddha. Such, Mañjusrí, is the great love of a bodhisattva.”
And child stance, although that is.a weird one in that it is the one stance you can take without effort or training.
Games People Play and Transactional Analysis spun up a lot of theories based on the pop-Freudian division of self into Parent, Adult, and Child.
This is the poseur version of the hacker stance or design stance, kind of. Or the delusional version, the idea that hey, here's a problem, let's just put our mind and will to it and fix it!
But some problems can't be fixed. One must adapt, which is different.
See Hacker Stance, Doctor Stance.
[i think this is missing some panels!]
Not sure this one is really all that useful!
The left likes this one, which is one of the things that makes it hard for me to identify with the left. Not that I don't have plenty of rage, but I don't think it's done me any good, whether or not is justified or not, whether it is personal or political. I'm trying to be less rage-y.
Burrough's Portugese Mooch. Must be some other good literary interpretations (Loki in Sandman? But too fucking obvious about it). Rage is not very interesting unless it carries a risk of real violence along with it. Saleri. Malkovich in Burn After Reading, a very wimpy, silly sort of rage but real enough.
This is a key element of Buddhism, which has the idea that selves are non-existant and one should feel great compassion for all of them.
[Vimalakirti passage about how one generates compassion for all living beings]
This isn't sentimental, pitying, do-gooder liberal compassion (not that there's anything wrong with that – but it doesn't interest me), That is still based on atomized individuals who are sources or sinks of pity. Buddhist compassion is more of a field of liberation and joy, that seeks to spread itself to the unliberated.
"put a tourniquet on it"
See stoic stance, although this is more specific
I am one of those people who have memorized entire Coen brothers movies, but I will spare you The Big Lebowski riffs (although come on, how many other works of pop culture reference nihilism by name?)
Boring in the sense that everybody is sort of aware of these because they are attached to specific professions:
Etc. To the extent these are professions, they are all marked with scoring systems: a good financier has more money than a mediocre one, a good artist ahs more attention, a good scientist has a higher count of influential publications. (I got this trope from Sloterdijk).
Or James Carse: two different play stances for different games
This sounds extremely lame when decoupled from being an actual artist. But – viewing every small act you do as an act of creation, you are at minimum creating the conditions in your mind. And creating in the same way an artist does, by letting yourself be driven by powers larger than oneself. And taking a keen notice of the esthetic qualities of things (which means in practice being anti-quantitative)
It's bad science, and I guess pretty bad as philosophy. And may be bad spiritually, it is too egoic. But good, maybe, as a magical incantation, a spell to get the mind to take its endless constructions less seriously and wake up to reality.
Something downright metaphysical going on there; not sure I can articulate it. Shamanistic – the only available authenticity is a kind of spiritual fakery.
The Bruce Sterling stance
(also a founder of a movement and sort-of a cultural attitude)
Hm, what did I have in mind for this? Texas-globalist-hipster...
He's got dozens probably
No Fucks Left to Give
La Resistance Lives On
Political resistance is a stance. In the present time, everybody is kind of feeling out what this means. What is it that demands resistance? There are some ugly, ugly things out there (fascism and racism) that demand resistance, or at least a show of resistance.
I'm a leftist and the thing that demands resistance for me is fascism. My warning-detectors for fascism are set high, although as it turns out I was quite right about it. But our local American fascism is not at the stage of a shooting war and probably won't be, so what does resistance even mean? I wrote some blog posts and tweets trying to get people stirred up, and went to some protests. Big freakin' deal.
The stance aspect of this is interesting; I feel like there's sort of a collective effort to get the soft middle-class people we all are to at least get the idea of physical resistence in mind. To realize that violence is quite real and our society is based on it, even if it's been pretty much moved out of sight.
Note that rightwingers have their own version of this stance – they gather in groups to complain about perceived oppression and fantasize about violence, although they are more likely to have real guns and cross the border into real action.
The fantasy elements are strong in both cases. I can't begin to unpack how much my imagination is ruled by images of Nazi terror – from both history and popular culture. And the notion that fat lazy Americans on either side are about to gird their loins for existential war is frankly laughable.
[private definitely] I feel fucking guilty of this one, I feel like a special snowflake, who never fit into any normal niche or rules. I must make my own rules! I must write long texts where I humorously dissect my own specialness!