Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yearning Yell 3/04/09

All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.

Yeats
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Set a spell
Hear me yell.
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An extremist is one who has all the answers tied up in a nice, neat bag, expressed in broad, dazzling, simple terms, with all of life's problems neatly placed inside a theoretical fur-lined box. An extremist is one who has a vision of the world which is four square, neat, trimmed and clean. An extremist is one who has taken a tack in a direction that does not include the nasty business called tacks of brass. Everything outside of that neat, clean, foursquare view is not a different opinion. It's just wrong.

You can usually tell a group of extremists because they all look alike. They eschew any kind of original thought or behavior for fear of being outside the four square clipped lawn world where every thing is simple and right. Anyone who doesn't adhere to the line and think the way the others do is decidedly dangerous and must be convinced, contained, submerged or destroyed.

Religious extremists, of course, are the worst because whatever they think, they have God on their side. And if they come upon a group of people she don't worship the way they do, those people are mistaken, deluded and, at worst, instruments of Satan. "Hang 'em. Burn 'em at the stake."

Wouldn't life be grand if everyone agreed with everyone else? No. Frankly, it wouldn't. It's the rigorous, respected, commerce of different opinions and ideas that makes civilization work, when it works at all.

One day a group of young people marched down the sidewalk past my building, singing away in unison about something. I didn't catch the whole song but I heard one line that said "for all mankind." I looked out the window and saw that they were obviously on their way to an inspirational meeting of some kind and they were letting everyone know about it. "Let's all join hands and praise the Lord" my way. Those who think they have the solution for all mankind in their pockets and all they have to do is tell people, are on a sidewalk going nowhere.

What is so great about the human race is that there are so many different kinds of people, different races, names, languages, handwritings, occupations, activities, music, traditions, interests, products, styles, hopes, flags, families, dreams, fears, skills, opinions and ideas. They also have souls, and I yearn that they don't give away their souls to some fanatical extremist preaching the "truth" for all mankind.

The Vagabond
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Send a prayer.

4 comments:

Beth said...

Great thoughts. You'd think that anyone who has spent even a few years as an adult would figure out that there are many shades of gray between black and white.

Hugs, Beth

Big Mark 243 said...

This was a pretty cool post.

Arlene (AJ) said...

I'm proud to say I'll never be an extremist, like thinking for myself and making my own choices in life. You don't have to agree with me, but I'm entitled to my own thoughts and opinions as you are. I don't judge anyone, so don't judge me.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I like the middle ground, between the conformists and the extremests. The first are like limp dish rags, the second are fanatical.