naturism philosophy nudist practice and the politics of disagreement


Politics – the total complex of relations between people living in society -Merriam Webster Dictionary

A few days ago I had what I thought was a civil though dynamic conversation on Twitter about best first visit situation clothing optional or clothes free it was born out of a tip I gave on our recent podcast about planning for summer clothes free living. Without having listened to the podcast some parties launched into a defense of the clothes free side to in their words “show the other side.” After a vigorous and cordial rapartee, we agreed to disagree. I thought the conversation ended on a good note. However I discovered shortly after one of the parties to the conversation promptly unfollowedoir account.   The other has blocked our account and the accounts of others who disagreed with their view. I observed the same pattern occur between two other naturist account one of whom was reacting to a question about the terminology of naturist or nudist.

Judging by that observed pattern over the past few days one could say that there is a segment of the naturist/nudist community at least on Twitter that is in the throes of what social scientists call a confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. Wikipedia

It seems to this observer/participant that some of us only interact with others who think like us. We have lost the art of social discourse A loss which deprives us of much wisdom.

In his book the Big Sort, author Bill Bishop suggests this social segmentation may be in part the cause of the polarized society in which we live. Because we only hear ideas that fit our existing beliefs, we are ill-equipped to engage other with views different from our own and tend drive deeper into our own way of thinking. The result is another quality of confirmation bias which gives disproportionately less value to the perspective of those who do not agree with us.

As people seek out the social settings they prefer—as they choose the group that makes them feel the most comfortable—Americans segregate themselves into their own political worlds, blocking out discordant voices and surrounding themselves with reassuring news and companions.

The Bishop, Big Sort pg 36

It seems that disagreement represents an existential threat to those whose beliefs or values are the subject of debate. The philosopher Aristotle was right with this oft credited statement. A skill I think we have lost in western society.

The irony is all this comes from strongly self-identified naturists. It is happening in a community which claims as one of its values being open-minded. A community that prides itself on respecting the perspectives of others while asking that from society for itself. I might suggest from what I observed that it’s more like I am open-minded as long as we agree and respectful as long as perspectives are the same. Is it any wonder we are have difficulties engaging people in broader society? Maybe they aren’t engaged when we do the same thing to them, and each other that we ask them to not do to us!

So here are some thoughts to ponder as we continue to explore this conundrum of duality. They are my thoughts shaped by my experience and observations. Engage them, entertain them if you wish, ignore if you’d rather.

  • When naturists/nudists tell society we are egalitarian and espouse the value benefit of naturism to help in “being true to yourself” but then dismiss another’s perspective as invalid we all seem disingenuous.
  • When naturists/nudists tell the rest of society to be open-minded to our way of life but can’t have disagreement with another naturist without blocking out their opinion we all appear hypocritical.
  • When naturists/nudists challenges the broader society to not force us to live by their traditions but respect ours but cloister exclusively behind our own (possibly outdated ones) we all look duplicitous.
  • Embracing diversity is more than saying come be like me more than tolerating someone of a different skin color or social class it’s also embracing diverse thoughts.
  • If we can’t be in the same space and have differing opinions or hold space for people who are different and have different views, how does the practice or philosophy survive in a world of increasingly divergent thoughts, views and perspectives.

I do not share this by way of trying to shame anyone or holding myself out as any expert in naturism philosophy and nudist practice. But I do know that there have been some I’ve engaged who have been hesitant to interact with the naturist/nudist community because of what they perceive to be a clique or cult like attitude from some. I share to hold out hope that through vibrant conversation and bringing many divergent thoughts to the table a path forward can be carved into a vibrant future naturism, nudism and the clothes free way of life.

About the author: cflmag

Curator of news and information for clothes free life


11 Comments
  1. naturistsholiday 3 years ago

    Reblogged this on Naturist Holidays in Europe.

  2. hontouniheart 3 years ago

    There is a lot of life-lesson in this post for me. So much of what I perceive and experience in the way of tension, charge, disconnection in the community are around principles that apply to all of life, really. And I wrestle with this, because it does feel like we go from being in the rest of the world to living with Alice in Wonderland.

    I don’t know what we are defending anymore. Perhaps defense is the wrong word, and therefore, the whole problem. Defense.

    When I first came, I thought there were some general principles and notions that were of utmost importance to welcome people, help them feel safe, and foster a dynamic community. But, the longer I stay, the more I feel that it’s really every person for themselves. So little collaboration. So little partnership. For all the touting of “social naturism” there is so little connection, or so it seems from where I stand.

    I recently read a piece by someone awesome. She had in it some opinions that I didn’t necessarily agree with, but I think she’s amazing. There are my bosses: I don’t always agree with them or even like them for that matter. But we work together and we get the job done. Because the work at hand, which in both of them is about serving others, was never about us in the first place. It was never about us liking each other or having the same opinions or wearing our hair the same way. It was about serving others. No matter what beef we have about one tiny issue, in all these years, we still had the wherewithal to put down our swords, go into the room, and be of service to the people who came.

    We need to do that here. We have to remember the bigger picture. We can’t keep making it about our individual agendas of being right and whatever. Forget that. How are we serving our community and those we’d like to welcome?

  3. hontouniheart 3 years ago

    Reblogged this on Hontouniheart and commented:

    “Embracing diversity is more than saying come be like me more than tolerating someone of a different skin color or social class it’s also embracing diverse thoughts.”

    Piece by Earl D of clothesfreelife.com.

    Lessons for me, as well.

  4. martbel 3 years ago

    An extremely well thought out and well said article. Something we all should read and think about carefully. I can speak as someone who has, as mentioned in this article ‘badly and completely overreacted’ to an artcle. The experience has made me think more deeply about my reaction, my thought process and how social media makes us react in a way we might not do in ‘normal life’. I realise now I was wrong and I took the brave step of apologising and hopefully moving on.

    • Earl D avatar
      clothesfreelife 3 years ago

      Martin thank you for being so authentic and transparent in your response. It is a rare person these days who is courageous enough and yet humble enough to express what you have here. I am truly grateful for your willingness to engage on this level once again. It is that kind of discourse which I value and hope will help to move things forward for the betterment of all of us. Thank again.

  5. martbel 3 years ago

    Reblogged this on naturistmartin.

  6. Ivan Akirov 3 years ago

    You can’t expect anything else from a society where people “chase” the minor chance to take offence so they can sue, where they force censorship on knowledge because it may trigger something inside or hurt their beliefs, where hypocrisy shines as they say they are your friends or followers but report that they feel is wrong (not for them I guess since they are “friends”)…

  7. ysgibson 3 years ago

    Reblogged this on Freedom Fields Naturist Ranch and commented:
    “When you open your mind to the impossible, sometimes you find the truth” Dr. Walter Bishop

  8. moniquasexton avatar
    Moniqua 3 years ago

    This is very true. It also goes beyond naturism/nudism. People are conditioned to believe that they are always right and anyone who disagrees, is against them, almost blasphemous. I think this also can be said about religion, which I don’t believe in, but it’s the same aspect. Great post and very articulate.

    • Earl D avatar
      clothesfreelife 3 years ago

      Sad but true. The real difficulty in all this the motion you mention from disagreement to I am against you. The reverse is true. The assumption that is we agree I am for you. It think it’s why so many people act against their own interests.

      • moniquasexton avatar
        Moniqua 3 years ago

        Very true, I never thought of it like that

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