On the December 14, IOGT International, held an Extraordinary World Congress, with the purpose of redefining the organization. Not with regards to its values, ideas, history or membership of our global community, but with regards to its name. The members decided unanimously to change the name.
Formally from January 1, 2020 and practically from today, IOGT International is now called Movendi International.
Since this change of name has rendered the formulation of some (in my opinion) unjustified criticism within our movement, I think it is appropriate to reflect about this name change from my perspective and put it in a wider context.
I would rather make my name then inherit it.” ― William Makepeace Thackeray
I think this quote from William Makepeace Thackeray sums up some of the tension that a name change (as in any name change) can have in a diverse community accustomed to internal debate. On one side of the aisle there are proponents that argue that names (as with other aspects within a community) should serve a clear purpose and be a reflection of who we, or any entity for that matter, are today. On the other side of the aisle there are proponents that argue that the history of an entity, or an idea, is inseparable from what it is today and therefore, any action to hide or avoid this, cannot be purposeful as this neglects the ‘platonic idea’ of what this entity stands for. And although I agree that history should not (and ultimately cannot) be revised without consequences, I think the idea that this is inhered to a particular name is a fallacy.
Is Movendi a name with a purpose?
A name is almost like a song with two distinct qualities: the music and the lyrics. Some people value one more than the other, and some value both, but these are the basic traits of how we perceive and describe a song. When we hear a song, we always feel something. From joy to apathy, from sadness to melancholy. I would argue that this is the very reason we listen to music, to feel something. And the recipe to music that makes us feel differently is unpredictable and hard to grasp to say the very least.
What we feel when we hear Movendi and our instinctive reaction when presented with it is ultimately an individual matter and really something that cannot be discussed. Not to say that our perception or emotional response is insignificant (rather the opposite), I am just saying that it is pointless for me to have a discussion about whether you as a reader are entitled to your emotional response or not.
What I can do is to talk about about the textual aspects of the name, in the same way we can analyze a song in order to make a valued judgement about it. And just as there exists a dialectal relationship between the lyrics and music in a song, I firmly believe that same thing can be said for the textual meaning of a name and the feeling it evokes in us.
The etymology of Movendi
The idea behind Movendi is the combination of the latin phrase ‘modus vivendi’ which literally translates to mode or way of living. Or Way of life. So basically, life style.
However, historically modus vivendi has primarily been associated to name the diplomatic situation implicating a temporary treaty of some sort with the intention of making a more substantial and thorough agreement later down the line. My opinion is that both of these aspects perfectly sum up our global movement on an individual level as well as on an organizational level. Let me explain why.
Anyone within our temperance movement is well familiar with the fact that we are not a movement against alcohol. We are a movement towards something, with our basic principles of solidarity, temperance and democracy as our foundation as well as our compass. So being a part of our movement is not about choosing an alcohol-free life (although it sure is one of the key aspects), it is really a life-style, a way of life, a way of living. A modus vivendi. Our movement serves as a shining light for each and every individual, showing the practical way forward in life to make the world a better place, together.
On the organizational level this name is even more intriguing. Modus vivendi in the meaning of a temporary treaty actually describes the goals of our movement on metaphysical level. We represent the temporary treaty of the current system. We work to abolish our own structures.
In the ideal world, our organization is redundant and serves no purpose. So yes, how unintuitive it might seem, the ideal future does not include the IOGT-movement nor Movendi International, in the perfect scenario we are the future.
From Star Wars saga to Movendi International
Through popular culture we can sometimes learn truths about ourselves and the world we live in that not even the philosophical giants or holy scriptures of our time can teach us. I don’t know if The Rise of Skywalker meets that criteria, but I know for sure that there is an important lesson to be learned here.
The main protagonist Rey has been fighting a two sided war since her introduction to the Star Wars saga. A war against the empire (which is symbolized by Kylo Ren), and a war within herself. The war within herself is about finding out who she is and what she represents and stands for. The movie elucidates this several times through other characters’ questions about Rey’s family name. Since she doesn’t know her history, her family, she doesn’t have a family name, and is therefore just called ‘Rey’. ‘
Without a history she is struggling to find the purpose of what she is fighting for. Instead she only knows what she is fighting against. This tension is obvious as she spares Kylo Ren’s life despite him being the enemy and apex of the empire. She does this because she is unsure if he is the real enemy or not.
In the course of the movie, Rey does find out about her past. Her bloodline, her history and her family name are revealed to her. The interesting part is that this revelation gives her no comfort what so ever, as her blood, history and family are propelling her to accept a fate and birth right, to be the Empress of the Empire (the final order) and leader of the sith. One could even say that it was only when her fate and bloodline were presented to her, that she had the ability to choose not be a part of that history. Instead, the family, history and “bloodline” that she had chosen by herself is what prevails. As Rey remembers the heritage of the jedi, only then, and only through the power of that heritage, can she conjure up the strength to defeat what is basically her own bloodline – in flesh and bone.
Finally, in the last scene of the movie she is once again asked: Who are you? Now Rey knows her story. She knows that she was born a Palpatine, but now she realizes that just because she is a Palpatine by birth doesn’t mean that she is a Palpatine today. Instead, she remembers her values, her struggle, and what she stands for. That there are “things in this galaxy that are stronger than blood” as mentioned by the ghost of Luke Skywalker.
Therefore, then and there, in the very last scene, when she is asked about who she is, she answers: Rey Skywalker. Not by blood. Not by heritage. But by choice.
I would rather make my name than inherit it. That is the lesson The Rise of Skywalker is teaching us. And this is also the lesson we have learned as the global temperance movement. We don’t forget our history. We remember where we came from. But we know, just as Rey Skywalker, that we would rather make our name ourselves, than inherit one.