To be moderate in thought is the way to peace. Even in the great accomplishment of lasting worth, we seek moderation to be the desired state of human existence. In one of the posts some time back, some thought was put into considering the growth of extremism and the possibility of some remedy. Extremism is a response. It is a response to the surge of thoughts and emotions within a person, or it could be a response to external ideas and changes. There is finally a point when the human choice comes into the picture. It is the choice, withering away with the persistence of pressures from within and without, that finally produce a reaction. Subjugated by pressures, the withered human choice ends in extreme thought and action. We need to maintain the hope that we can come out of the times of such pressures.
Where extremism persists, there must be something within a human or it is in the environment causing him or her to respond so.
– Why the growth of extremism in recent times? Is there a remedy?
Moderation as the goal in politics, religions, news, and revolution
The world would be a very dull, boring place if everyone and everything was overcome by moderation. This is what an energetic and enthusiastic person is bound to feel. He or she would not be wrong in thinking so. However, human society is very complex and there are all different kinds of individuals who come together to form it. What we wish to avoid is the capturing of the social setup by extremist thinking. The “extremization” of society is the great, present danger we can feel.
Bertrand Russell also feared a time when all society is engulfed by such mechanization and perfunctoriness that the exceptional individuals are suppressed by the moderation of society. On the other hand, we have come to be in a time when so many individuals – particularly to stand out on social networks – are resorting to extreme statements. These are not statements of excellence, nor are these evidence of great thought. On the contrary, we are confronted by a strange escalation of loud mediocrity. It is mediocre, and it is very loud. It is loud enough to drown out the truly excellent thoughts. This is evident in politics, in religion, in news, and even in revolutions. As a result, leadership has truly suffered. The ones deserving to be in leadership positions are not able to rise to the deserved status while still maintaining a moderation of expression. As a result, all of human society is suffering.
Recognizing leadership – the big challenge
In the desire for moderateness (and moderation) while still leaving room for the exceptional individuals to thrive is the modern challenge. This challenge relates directly to the people who can take on the role of leaders.
A lot of criticism that emerges today is ill-motivated. It is based on feelings of envy and seeking to take revenge for personal injustices from those who are not directly responsible. It is incredibly surprising and disheartening to see such things when one re-examines history. We are bound to doubt those we see as having leadership positions in the past, the choices they made, and how short-sighted their leadership appears now. There are examples one can find in foreign policy decisions weighed down by war, decisions of big corporations to disregard environmental damage despite signs of warning, the use of dangerous chemicals in farming to increase yield but causing damage to human health in the process, etc. There are examples that reveal human greed and short-sightedness. These examples also reveal the inability to find sustainable solutions.
Even while this situation persists, criticism through social networks produce a deafening sound. It is so loud so as to incomprehensible. When it gathers people (and even bots) together it shows evidence of tribalism and personal agendas far more than to find lasting solutions. This threatens the role of leaders because it presents a direct threat to something needed for leadership to succeed – the respect to authority.
A meaningful, moderate challenge to authority that opens the way for solutions
We have to come to the general agreement on a couple of things:
- All leaders are not fit for their job, for their power, and for the responsibilities given them.
- We want to have unanimity in the desire to find solutions.
From where are standing today, it is simply too much information on the Internet for any one person or even a group of persons to make sense of it. When companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook talk of using Artificial Intelligence for the purpose of analyzing big data, they are looking at a viable solution. Why should we have some confidence? While these companies have a huge influence and effect on the daily lives of people, they are still working in the direction of paying attention to the needs of humanity. It is true, greater maturation is still needed to put the interests of mankind over the prospect of profits, but we can generally agree on the direction we need to take.
A clear sign of the imminence of problems is when extremism starts to appear.
We are today living in a time of extremes and of gigantic problems. The underlying forces for problems to emerge are in existence. A clear sign of the imminence of problems is when extremism starts to appear. If we can implement moderating checks to block the growth of the kind of extremism that starts to hurt society – politically, religiously, in news, and in revolutions – we would have taken an important step in the direction of maintaining peace. We need this kind of far-sighted, moderated vision from the leaders of today. The same wisdom needs to exist in us as individuals and societies as well.