We are living in an age of extremes. Potent pharmaceuticals, rapid fire media, and polar ideologies now comprise a typical day on planet earth. The world is shrinking, and some might say it may quite possibly be collapsing in upon itself.
The once “big wide, world,” that is, once divided by distance and time, is now a single digital phenomenon. Everything is connected to everything else, instantly. We are therefore (if we choose to or allow it) constantly inundated with images and words that impact and affect us in ways we do not yet fully understand. Programming is the new determinism.
I am curious if the current polarization of thoughts and ideologies within individuals might be a reaction to this bombardment? With our minds constantly being overwhelmed and destabilized by information overload, is it possible that we are all just trying to figure out who we actually are, what we actually believe, and where we stand on the many issues that humanity faces currently?
I feel it is safe to say that MOST of us want the same for our lives; peace, safety, joy, love, prosperity, dignity, etc., and when these needs and desires are threatened, we experience fear and trepidation. Many people then seek to manage their worries and anxieties by seeking some kind of instant remedy. For some, this takes the form of denial, for others it can manifest as addiction, and for others it can become a motivating force towards the adoption of an extreme ideology.
Now folks, please don’t get me wrong here. There is no harm in having personal beliefs and preferences, in fact, it is absolutely encouraged. The problem emerges when one feels that her/his way is the only way and that others must either join them, or at least give them free-reign to demand special treatment or recognition at the expense of others.
Oh, and they would also like to be in charge: indefinitely.
This is where radicalism takes form and begins to evolve to the point that people are willing to suspend sound judgment and good will in order to be in control and have their own way. Truth is, they are as terrified as the rest of us, but rather than see and accept this, they project and externalize this fear under the guise of strength and resolve.
The current political polarization that is occurring around our world is based in FEAR. The more threatened one feels, the more extreme, radical, and irrational they seem to become. How quickly we forget the events of the early 20th century!
Solution One: HONESTY. We all would do well to sit with ourselves for a moment and wholeheartedly admit that we are frightened, and perhaps even terrified by the instability of this re-patterning world. The change we all intrinsically know is needed is underway, but before humanity can reach its highest and best, it needs to confront its lowest and worst. This is where I believe we are today, and it is surely a challenging time to be here.
Solution Two: ACCEPTANCE of the fact that we are all collectively caught in the web of a defense mechanism known as “reaction-formation,” that is, an attempt to counter one extreme with another extreme in the opposite direction.
Solution Three: WILLINGNESS to embrace change, and first within ourselves. As individualistic as modern amenities are seeking to render us, we are not alone here, and it is not just about “me.” We share this planet with many others who do not think, feel, and believe as we do. THAT IS OKAY! There is room for diversity, and there can be progress in a unified acceptance of our differences.
Our goal is to co-exist in absolute peace and harmony where all are afforded the respect and opportunity to live peacefully and productively. Jew, Muslim, Christian, or WHATEVER, our blood is the same color, our Creator ONE, our world collectively our own, and our deepest desires ultimately the same.
Jung said, “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” Now is a time for humanity to be thinking very carefully about how selfish judgments are fostering destruction in our world. Now is the time for ALL INDIVIDUALS to become truly good and loving persons regardless of differences.
No more hate. No more absolutism. No more extremes. No more radicalism.