In the Middle Ages, it was considered appropriate and absolutely necessary to physically torture heresy out of individuals who did not conform to the local divine standards. The eternal well-being of these individuals was considered to be at risk. Heresy, these Inquisitors thought, was like a virus spreading through populations – akin perhaps to what athene referred to in their last post.
The world has updated the torture standard (some government or religious bodies aside) and their desire to “fix” other people, stamping out “dangerous” ideas on behalf of an unknowing or unquestioning populace. They draw the lines of an arbitrary box around their only true path and scribble out those who fall outside. This same world raised me, and where I have not been met with distance and suspicion, I have been met with outright fear. It was not so much that I held hazardous ideas about my experience with my body, but that I chose to live as myself and to share my experience with others. People just like me who might otherwise have stayed within the hastily drawn lines of the box. A variety of alternative torture methods were employed to try and prevent me from doing so. Nothing’s worked yet, unfortunately.
The new torture standards leverage societal pressure to return deviant persons to the herd. We ostracize people, minimize or dismiss their experience, and outright dehumanize them. Those who are not “normal” certainly cannot be permitted in polite society, now can they? And if these anomalies continue to disrespect the arbitrary rules, the modern extremes are activated. We simply strip them of their autonomy and lock them up: in prisons, mental institutions, and addiction to drugs.
Individuals born here are not offered the opportunity to evaluate various possible codes of conduct – many of which would be more than acceptable in polite society – and choose. The choice is stripped from them, often without their knowing it, and the option remains to conform. Conform, or have any heresy tortured out. It is no wonder so many of us flee.
If you could, would you have chosen anything different?