Charlie Hebdo. If you were to ask me who he is at one time I would have told you he’s just a normal man, possibly with a normal, suburban life, with normal hopes and dreams; a normal job, wife and kids.
But, no, Charlie Hebdo is a movement. He is not a man, but a satirical movement.
Being spiritual and certainly religious, I have to err on their intent, but that’s possibly the beauty of religious liberty, though it rankles with many.
But there is a bigger agenda at stake, and it’s broader than terrorism.
Extremism comes in myriad shape and form in life, and there always seems a common denominator in the person with extremist tendencies. There is something extrinsic and blaming in their focus. There is something about their modus operandi that refuses to look inward and continues to bully others. The extremist loves to win at any cost.
They say they fight for all the good things, but they do not truly do good things.
And extremists are everywhere. There are Muslim extremists, Jewish extremists, Christian extremists, and even Atheist extremists (especially passionate Atheists!). But there are also people of all walks of life that are passionate about one and one thing only; or, passion is their mode, so, once they’re decided, it’s their way or the highway.
The only real answer to extremism is to become just as interested in advocating for the little guy as the extremist is interested in flushing them away.
What is most important in the discussion on extremism is the psychology of the extremist. Anyone who quickly polarises to the extremes on a regular basis could be considered dangerous.
What characterises the extremist most of all is their predictability. They simply must stand out. It would be fine if they took a controversial position every now and then, but they can’t and they don’t. They simply must stand out.
Such a person is not a good friend, either when we first get to know them, and we get that awkward feeling it could end badly, or when they come full-blown in their comparative mania.
It’s useful to think of people who are more middle of the road as people with sturdy prospects for friendship.
The world needs more balanced heads in controversial times.
Good heads make for reasonable relationships, reliable interactions, and respectful dialogue, but extremists are unruly, vexatious, unwelcoming, and unwelcome.
Those with extreme views are generally not lovers of anything other than themselves. They certainly don’t love others as much as they might say they do.
The real answer to extremism is not give it the attention it so desperately seeks.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.