Following on from my previous post about duality and polarisation I would like to take a look at duality and extremism. Extremism occupies a position on the continuum of polarisation and is usually seen in the context of views held and maybe even actions taken on social, political and religious beliefs.
The people who are classed as extremist are seen by others as being “black or white” types of people for whom “grey” mostly doesn’t exist. They firmly believe that the positions they take are correct and find it difficult or impossible to understand why others see things differently. A more moderate person is seen by them as “wishy washey”, uncommited and maybe even part of the problem. If only there were more people in the world with their take on things everything would be perfect!
I am not suggesting that some, a healthy, deviation from moderation is bad but extreme positions are unhelpful in achieving anything and are actually a symptom of weakness in one form or another. The extremists position is usually over simplified, not thought through and subject to impatience. The underlying weakness spurs the extremist to think, speak and act in ways that will, in their view, achieve their objectives in their way, possibly including the use of coercion.
What are the advantages of not being extreme, of being in the middle ground? Occupying the middle ground is more harmonious and makes spirtiual endeavour and connection easier. The less constricted standpoint brings a more relaxed state where awareness is free to focus on ways to achieve things that are based on a broader understanding of the issue and that take account of other peoples priorities. In this way it is possible to see and accept that some objectives can take time to achieve but when they are they will have been achieved harmoniously and with everyones goodwill. This rewarding way of working makes the extremists position look just that – extremist.
Can someone caught in an extremist way of being become less extreme? Yes! I would put as my priorities the greater consideration of other peoples point of view – try and see things as if standing in their shoes (it may be that the extreme viewpoint is underpinned by self-centredness caused by the underlying weakness); instead of always seeing the problems in other people and situations begin to look closer to home (those external problems may just be a reflection in the mirror); do unto others as you would have others do unto you; realise that it can take time to achieve things that involve change for others and that things should fall into place rather than being forced; the universe has its way of moving – try to fit in. Balance is best.