[Your Name Here] Publishes Manifesto

A name is more than just a noun, verb, or adjective. It’s your life, your legacy, your journey, sacrifices, and everything you’ve worked hard for every day of your life as and adolescent, young adult and adult. Don’t let anybody tarnish it when you know you’ve live up to your own set of ethics and personal ethos.

Manifesto of Christopher Dorner, 8 February 2013

I feel sorry for this guy, despite his stereotypical TL/DR manifesto. He has that old-fashioned obsession with honor, as typified in the focus on clearing his name at the expense of his life. It’s evident that he perceives all his homicidal behavior to be conditioned by training and morally justified in its object, which is what our society expects from military and police officers.

The people who think he is crazy are a little too far removed from actual life experience (especially military/police experience) to be fair; he is out of control, but not crazy. The journalists are, as per usual, stupid and shallow; it is not necessary for journalists to be that way, but when they become fascinated by their own mythology, they end up constantly searching for that juicy rhetorical hook. The fake appeals to racism and homophobia illustrate why most people who are not journalists, yet who must deal with journalists, despise journalists. [I felt that contempt dripping off of my more aware subjects, either as condescension or hostility.]

The doctrine of the name is an area of philosophical inquiry that doesn’t seem to go away, for me. I don’t like anonymity, because anonymity is fake, except when it is statistically significant, at which point it is no longer relevant to identity. I also don’t like fake authority, but I don’t know how to evaluate genuine authority. I favor pseudonymity in an existential spirit, something that precedes “postmodernism” yet sounds very postmodern to someone living in a postmodern society and yearning for the old modern society of 1961, when they could still believe that the perfectly rational order was just about to spring forth and shower everyone with non-psychedelic Edenic bliss.

The Davison Principle of Everyone’s True Names (if everyone used their true name they would all be civil and rational) seems like it would enable someone to accrue honor and reputation. Yet, in practice, I think it requires one to be comfortable with their real life as it is and desire to build on that, rather than trying to create some parasitic commercial or artistic appeal. Can any American be that integrated and confident? Surely, only someone regarded by others as hopelessly delusional.

Then there is the Sacred Mindset Principle of the One True Name. I know some of those people who believe that if you call God by the wrong name, then you are worshipping the wrong god, and you will suffer dire consequences. If you use the right name in the right language, along with a right heart, right actions, right clothing, and right diet, that might mean you have the right sacred mindset, and that might prove that you really love God, and maybe he’ll give you grace. Maybe, or maybe not. Sorry, but I’m agnostic about that god: I don’t know him and I don’t want to know him.

It is kind of stupid to declare war on the folks empowered to use deadly violence to keep order within society, and to be concerned with one’s name in the face of institutional neglect and opposition. Common sense means accepting defeat and keeping the peace; stupid means pretending that your name matters. I’ve been in the same emotional space as Dorner, and whereas I would love to tell off The Beast and The Whores of Babylon and The False Prophet, it isn’t really worth it in a society where work identity can be fungible and purely objective.

But all this merely proves that I believe in the opposite point, that there can be significance in a name and a reputation, that someone can have resolute character that is known to others and trusted, yet still integrated and consistent. If I didn’t believe that were possible, I wouldn’t argue against it.

The distinction to be made pertains to totalizing identity. If one’s total identity is subsumed by externalities, by visible evidences of one’s position relative to the world (as if such contained profound spiritual significance), then one may be consumed by externally driven factors:

“He collects injustices and never lets them go, and evidently they finally reached a tipping point that led to the series of violent acts the last several days,” Bratton said. “The last thing that he would want would be to be arrested by the LAPD and do a perp walk. That would be the last injustice, the most significant one.”  [Profile of ex-LAPD cop Dorner]

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