THE NEUTRAL-INCLUSIVIST'S CHOICE
OF LINGUISTIC SYMBOLS
Everyone's use and nonuse of words, as ordinary linguistic symbols, is in
the first place dependent on the language of communication.
However, within the framework of such a language, the vocabulary of the
person believing in and supporting the ideal of
neutral-inclusivity will or may
differ from other vocabularies in the following respects:
Much of what applies to the neutral-inclusivist's choice of
words applies to the choice of names as well. But characteristic of
the inclusivistic choice of names is of course the rejection of
all forms of
exclusivism, whether as an
operational manifestation of
individual exclusivism or of any other
The employment of catenical terms as literal, denotative symbols
is inherent in the catenical fundament of neutral thought.
Neutralism is unthinkable without some kind of catenical vocabulary.
The potential use of catenical terms in names is practically
unlimited because of the indefinite number of
because of the many different types of predicate one can refer
to in a name. Examples are: ... of the (Three) Catenated
Predicates, ... of (Neutral) Catenality, ... of (Catenated)
Neutrality and ... of (Happiness and) Nanhappiness. Dependent
on the language of communication, on the choice of words and on
personal taste, these and similar expressions may sound more or
less poetic and be suitable as proper names.
The verbal symbolism of
the Ananorm comprises
the n-a series of neutralistic morphemes.
But while symbols such as nan and ana may be almost perfect,
'paraneutral', verbal symbols, they are not the only ones.
Also sound or character combinations which are merely symmetrical, for
instance, can function as verbal symbols in our
The n-a series is not onomatopoeic in that the spoken
terms would be vocal imitations of sounds associated with them
(like cuckoo or hiss). But it is partially onomatopoeic in a
sense in that the sound of each word (and its written image)
does suggest its neutral or
(How and why, we shall discuss in
the last division of this chapter.)
Presentatively speaking, a word like ananorm is
a mere synonym of
norm of neutrality and as such
only a literal, purely denotative symbol. But representatively speaking,
the prefix ana- relates the norm of neutrality to all neutral
thought, feeling and conduct. It is in this representative sphere that
ana- becomes a verbal symbol and acquires a neutralistic quality
which reaches far beyond the literal meaning it has in
connection with the base-word.
This is not only the case for a neologism such as ananorm but also
for some old words which are acceptable as part of the neutralistic
vocabulary, because they have a prefix such as ana- and because of
(one of) their appropriate conventional
Thus the word anabasis can very well be used to denote the
advance of the neutral-inclusive movement, for advance has always
been one of its lexical meanings.
Such a word can be made part of the doctrine's vocabulary without having
been specifically neutralistic before.
It goes without saying that the paraneutral prefixes do not have any
fundamental significance in that every word which happens to start with
such a prefix will have to be adopted by us with its traditional
The verbal symbols of the n-a series may be employed to
form names in a presentative way; they may also emerge in such
names when objects are named after a neutral-inclusivistic thing
or notion. Also the potential use of the names of these things
or notions is great. Examples are: ... of the Ananorm, ... of
Nanhonore (such as The Way of Nanhonore) and The Anabatic
Stream. For other names (or initials) it may be their symmetry
which symbolizes neutrality or neutral-inclusivity.
The nonuse of lingually exclusivistic terms and of terminological
distinctions which are irrelevant in the context concerned
needs hardly any further explanation. Such nonuse may
even go unnoticed when there is a suitable alternative within
the framework of the official or standard language. This will
probably be the case when we do not use derogatory words to
refer to members of certain groups, or when we use sincere
rather than honest. But there may also be a suitable alternative
within the framework of the total language which is traditionally
not always usual. This could be said of the use of it instead
of she to refer to a country, ship or car. The nonuse of
irrelevantist terms does become
more noticeable in such a case. When a language does not offer any
suitable alternative, one is forced to choose new words, new sets of
words or new meanings for old words. It is then that the
neutral-inclusivistic speaker will most markedly deviate from the
traditional speaker. An example is our gender-transcending use of
'er, since the
time-honored variant of the present language does not have any third
person pronoun; only a masculine pronoun referring to a 'third'
male and a feminine pronoun referring to a 'third' female.
Lingual inclusivity can be rendered explicit not just by using the neuter
gender where a nonneuter gender has been normal before but also by
exclusivist connotations of words which by themselves do not denote
exclusivists or their notions, attitudes or actions.
We can do this by using terms which are traditionally exclusivistic in
an explicitly inclusivistic way.
To illustrate this let us consider the facet of physical laterality-neutral
inclusivity (with writing-related handedness-neutral inclusivity as
In a laterality-neutral terminology the words sinister and
gauche will have no unfavorable connotations as in
sinistral exclusivism; and the word dexter will have no
favorable connotation as in
exclusivism. Sinister and dexter are then purely synonymous
to left and right, and neither pair of words indicates
anything else than the side which is used or on which something is
located. So long as the use of left and right is free
and unbiased too, calling the left side of a building, for instance,
"the sinister side" and the right side "the dexter side" will
symbolically underline the lateral neutrality of our inclusivistic
body of thought.
The rejection of infralinguistic exclusivism — the fifth point
on our list — is more in the nature of a fundamental than of a
Moreover, infralinguistic inclusivity does not lead to a uniform, written
or spoken, vocabulary.
On the contrary, it makes diversity in the neutral-inclusivistic
One of the two or more variants may even be equal to a (more) traditional
variant which is not typically neutral-inclusive.
Infralinguistic inclusivity is not something that characterizes one
speaker or writer in one work.
(There is a difference between infralinguistic inclusivity and
Infralinguistic inclusivity is something that characterizes a group of
language users, or one language user under different circumstances.
Whether the neutral-inclusivistic vocabulary will actually show the
diversity infralinguistic inclusivity allows for, cannot be foreseen.
Whatever may occur, such diversity is not something to strive for in
Naturally, our disbelief in the ultimate authority of exclusivist
gods and demons and our disbelief in supernatural constructs
implies the nonuse of theodemonist and supernaturalist
terms, except when referring to theodemonist or supernaturalist
beliefs or believers themselves. This also means that the
practising adherent of
shall not curse by employing theodemonist or supernaturalist names or
words for emphasis. Any person doing so in spite of these considerations
will, while flying in the face of
the Norm, only show a damnable
weakness of character.
It is not always easy to determine whether a word or name is
inherently theodemonistic or supernaturalistic, or whether it
merely happens to be used by theodemonists or supernaturalists.
Some notions, like god and sacred, clearly belong to the
former category, whereas other notions, like being and
supreme, clearly belong to the latter. Between these two
epistemic categories there is a third class of notions for which
the choice to make is completely or largely stipulative. An
example is holy or holiness. Is holy an
inherently supernaturalistic notion? From the etymological standpoint it
can be argued that it is a 'holistic' notion and therefore suitable for
inclusivistic usage. Yet, it might be argued instead that holiness
is so tainted by its historical connection with supernaturalist
tale-telling and idolatry that it is better to 'wholly' dissociate
ourselves from this term.
Perhaps, some will argue the same with regard to the notion
of 'dharma'. This concept is historically not just connected
with a custom or law regarded as a duty but with a particular
set of customs and laws with a highly supernaturalistic and
extremely exclusivistic content. But such a content is also here
not inherent in the etymology of dharma which derives from
dharayati meaning (h)e holds and akin to firm. Nor
is that content inherent in dharma when it is defined as basic
principles of cosmic or individual existence or nature in a
sense which is more normative than descriptive. (Also the
content of what is or was customarily called "morality" has been
very exclusivistic, especially sexualistic. Yet, this is no
reason either not to use the word moral at all anymore,
altho it is a
reason to use it much more sparingly than before.)
Therefore, it is very well possible to call the set of basic
principles of the DNI "the dharma" too. The Dharma is then
the literary reference to the entire Norm itself. Since the use of terms
such as holy and dharma or Dharma may be
controversial, it should be made clear, if they are used, that they
have an explicitly inclusivistic and veridicalistic content in the
case of the DNI.
In languages with a bicameral script such as the current one we use an
upper case instead of a lower case letter to show that a linguistic symbol
is a name and not a literal word symbol.
The Norm, for instance, is not a norm, because the Norm itself is not a
single interpreted principle.
Conversely, when a linguistic symbol literally presents a certain thing or
notion, there is no need to (always) capitalize it, at least not if
there is only one such thing or notion.
That is why we spell "supreme being", for the supreme being is
indeed the sole being that is supreme, that is, of a supreme normative
On the neutral-inclusive model a Supreme Being is no supreme being.