Dreams Of Gnosis
1143 Words • June 01, 2021
Sovereignty isn’t the same as individualism or as selfishness.
Sovereignty isn't about the nature of a decision that you make, it’s about the process through which the decision was arrived at.
Body Sovereignty, means “my body my choice”. Body Sovereignty doesn’t say whether a person should or should not get an abortion, it says that they should be the one to decide.
Body Sovereignty doesn’t say wether or not two people should have sex. It says that sex should take place without coercion.
Body Sovereignty doesn’t say whether or not someone should get a vaccine, it says that each person needs to make their own decision about what goes into their body.
Someone may choose to get a vaccine because they’ve read that getting a vaccine will help protect the vulnerable, and they choose to get vaccinated not to protect themselves, but out of care for the world. Body Sovereignty doesn’t say that each person is an island.
It says someone should make that choice not because they feel they have no other choice, but because it is what they believe and choose based on their best understanding of the world. Epistemology and power are deeply entwined, and body sovereignty is an epistemology of the people. Some call it gnosis. Some call it citizen science. Ayurveda has a related term called "Pramana". Body Sovereignty doesn’t say don’t seek the opinions of experts and elders, it says you must decide for yourself who to trust.
Some people may argue that disease is so dangerous and harmful, that disease is a special case which is more important than some theoretical principle of sovereignty. That freedom and safety are an axis which we make compromises between. Other people will argue that “people are dumb” and we need experts to make decisions for them.
My view is that sovereignty is not located on this axis. It is my experience that true respect for sovereignty even when you disagree actually leads to safety and connection at a deeper level. It was also the (continued) colonial violation of indigenous sovereignty that has led to genocide and so much destruction of the earth. It was also the religious missionary violation of sovereignty that justified so much harm under the guise of salvation. Every missionary believes their cause is worth the means at the time.
The idea that even suggesting sovereignty is a good principle, may be seen as a dangerous perspective, points to the level of coercion that is accepted as normal in our society. Perhaps this is to be expected in a world where we see advertisements against our will on a regular basis, and where platforms like instagram have a business model that relies on changing people's behavior to give their attention and resources to the companies that pay them.
Coercion and manipulation are deeply rooted in our culture (advertisements, police, data tracking, prisons, dark UX), but I’m still not really sure we can dismantle the masters house with the masters tools.
I have a lot of friends who are anti-colonial and anti-capitalist, but somehow see vaccination, medicine, and the pharmaceutical companies as separate from these systems. To me this feels dissonant. As though Pfizer doesn't have more than 1.3 billion in past criminal fines. As though crisis and trauma were not the perfect opportunity for power structures to establish themselves which will long outlast their virtue.
Given the long history of connection between religion and medicine in cultures all around the world, freedom of religion, and medical freedom, seem deeply entwined. Given the inherent uncertainty of the world, even of science, even between scientists, at what point does forcing a medical perspective on someone else become a sort of religious missionary activity? And who gets to draw that line? Do we want to live in a world where white billionaires make those decisions for everyone? Even if you approve of their decisions this time, what seeds do we sew when we outsource those decisions to them? Will “experts” always have the experience of marginalized people in mind? Have they in the past?
A part of me feels these edge cases where we want to make an exception and throw sovereignty away, are actually the most important to pay extra attention to, to bring about deeper change, beyond the current news cycle.
Beyond my objections to vaccine passports, I feel like ending this letter with something else.
Whether you get vaccinated or don’t get vaccinated I will not ostracize you or look down on you. That’s your choice.
Below is a letter from Txanahuya Hunikuī which I read via Scuttlebutt, and inspired many of the topics I wrote about in the writing above.
Here is a link to the original letter.
Letter From Txanahuya Hunikuī
Inurua Inanibanu …
Yura Baka Nai Bai …
Native Nation Hunikuī of the Yuxibu Forest of the North Region of Pindo Abya Ayala …
Yesterday and today we lost two great Native Chiefs! One from the Native Native Nation Hunikuī, another from the Native Native Nation Katukina both victims of the vaccine they got!
I mean to make it clear to all of us brothers and sisters in authority that the extermination, ethnogenocide and genocides against us Native Nations in Pindo Abya Ayala continues to be promoted by the Brazilian state and its political rulers, managers, lawmakers, corporate business, industrial rural farmers, timber extractors, oil miners, etc!
We demand justice measures against the Brazilian state and its political rulers, managers, legal legislators, and its biopiracy laboratories, colonizers, killers of the ministry, health secretary, hospitals, Sesai, Funasa, Anvisa, Disis base poles !!! Who insist on wanting to vaccinate our nations, relatives, families Native from Pindo Abya Ayala where we have already warned that we have not adhered, we do not accept vaccination in our Native Nations from Pindo Abya Ayala !!!
We are sending a copy of the same content to the Courts and operators who are experts in the laws so that the appropriate legal measures can be taken against the Brazilian state and its political governors, legal legislative managers !!!
Txanahuya Hunikuī …
Natural Judge-TOAJ representative of the North region of Pindo Abya Ayala …
Deliberative Adviser of FEPHAC …
- Morgan Ash on Vaccine Passports, Racism and Vaccine Segregation — Morgan has been working with these topics in Hudson Valley for a long time. If you want to organize with her you can contact her via facebook.
- A podcast about Body Sovereignty and Reproductive Health (no mention of vaccines)
- Love Poem
Another way to phrase things perhaps, is that acknowledging, respecting and culivating the power of every human being, to have domain over their own body, could be a good starting point for a lot of things, small & large, even when it may seem counter-intuitive.