Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Supporting Our Luminaries

Read the entire post here 
The following was written by  Greta on the Occupy Canada website in August, It is time to share it again

There has been much discussion over the years regarding those in Anonymous who step forward (or are thrust forward) and those who encourage, promote, and assist them.  Most of us in the collective seem to feel that words like "leader" and "follower" are anathema to all for which Anonymous, the idea, stands.  I am here to propose that, since humans need to label things, and since we need terminology for that labeling, instead of using "leader" and "follower" we use "luminary" and "supporter".  I have explored the definitions, connotations and origins of these words, which I  will present below.  Disclaimer:  Any context in which I speak of Anonymous as "we", I am expressing MY OPINION of what the idea and ideals of Anonymous mean and/or hold true.

I shall start with the word leader.  The Oxford Dictionary definitions are: 
     1. The person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country
          1a. An organization or company that is the most advanced or successful in a particular area
          1b. British A member of the government officially responsible for initiating business in Parliament
     2. The principal player in a music group
     3. British A leading article or editorial in a newspaper
     4. A short strip of non-functioning material at each end of a reel of film or recording tape for connection to the spool
     5. A shoot of a plant at the apex of a stem or main branch
     6. Printing A series of dots or dashes across the page to guide the eye, especially in tabulated material
The etymology is derived from the word lead: "to guide," Old English lædan "cause to go with one, lead, guide, conduct, carry; sprout forth; bring forth, pass (one's life)," causative of liðan "to travel," from Proto-Germanic *laidjan (cognates: Old Saxon lithan, Old Norse liða "to go," Old High German ga-lidan "to travel," Gothic ga-leiþan "to go"), from PIE *leit- "to go forth."  The first ten synonyms of leader are: chief, commander, director, head, manager, officer, ruler, boss, captain, and chieftain.

Now for the follower definitions:
     1. An adherent or devotee of a particular person, cause, or activity
          1a. Someone who is tracking a particular person, group, organization, etc. on a social media website or application
     2. A person who moves or travels behind someone or something
Its etymology is derived from follow: Old English folgian, fylgan "follow, accompany; follow after, pursue," also "obey, apply oneself to a practice or calling," from Proto-Germanic *fulg- (cognates: Old Saxon folgon, Old Frisian folgia, Middle Dutch volghen, Dutch volgen, Old High German folgen, German folgen, Old Norse fylgja "to follow"). Probably originally a compound, *full-gan with a sense of "full-going;" the sense then shifting to "serve, go with as an attendant".  Fan, enthusiast, admirer, devotee, lover, supporter, adherent, disciple, apostle, and supporter are the first ten synonyms listed for follower.

To me, when we say no leaders, we mean no commanders or directors for certain. We are not here to be a new variety of sheep, with someone telling us what to do and when to do it, which ties into the word follower. The first synonym is fan which is the root of fanatic. As far as I know, we are a collective, not a mob. We hold personal responsibility an important part of human evolution. We CHOOSE whether or not we wish to join an op, protest, work within the system or without. The organizers of these actions do not tell us what to do, they advise us of what they are going to do.

Whereas the definitions for luminary are:
     1. A person who inspires or influences others, especially one prominent in a particular sphere
     2. An artificial light
          2a. literary A natural light-giving body, especially the sun or moon
The etymology of luminary is direct: late Middle English: from Old French luminarie or late Latin luminarium, from Latin lumen, lumin- ‘light.’ The first ten synonyms are: celebrity, dignitary, notable, personage, superstar, eminence, leader, lion, name, and notability.

To be used together with supporter, which Oxford defines thusly:
      1. A person who approves of and encourages someone or something (typically a public figure, a movement or party, or a policy)
          1a. A person who is actively interested in and wishes success for a particular sports team
     2. Heraldry A representation of an animal or other figure, typically one of a pair, holding up or standing beside an escutcheon

Supporter is derived from support and the etymology of it is: meaning "that which supports, one who provides assistance, protection, backing, etc." is early 15c. Sense of "bearing of expense" is mid-15c. Physical sense of "that which supports" is from 1560s. Meaning "services which enable something to fulfil its function and remain in operation". Synonyms for supporter were: ally, defender, follower, patron, proponent, support, abettor, adherent, bearer, and booster.

So a luminary provides light, inspires and influences. This is what we do, ALL of us. Plus, it adds a dimension of meaning with the fact that many of our luminaries have had to step out of the dark of Anonymity into the light of notoriety and publicity. "Services which enable something to fulfil its function and remain in operation". This describes how we assist and encourage each other towards common goals.

Therefore, I will conclude with a proposal to all who paticipate in, write about, or discuss Anonymous to start using luminary and supporter in the place of leader and follower in all future communications.


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