on extremism

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Extremism is the most necessary socio-political stance throughout the history of the modern world. (How’s that for an opening argument, high school english teacher? Right to the point, ya know? No pussy-footin’ around on this blog! No sir-ee! OK, back to the post…)

At one point in time, Christianity was extreme.

At one point in time, American independence was extreme.

At one point in time, black equality was extreme.

We need people on street corners with signs that aren’t mainstream.

You need extreme examples to sway the masses. And we are the masses. No matter your political clout. No matter your relative level of intelligence. No matter how big your Twitter following is. We are the masses.

I work at an institution that recently tried to tell the global story of the world’s most precious resource – water. The message was spread too thin to incite any sort of life-altering action. It covered too much. There were a couple stats about bottled water and how wasteful we are as a society, but for the most part it was strictly educational. Not action-inciting. So I ask, “What’s the point?” Education, while necessary, only gets you so far. Action is the catalyst for any change.

scenario #1

I tell you to stop drinking bottled water in the USA and other developed countries because it’s bad for the environment. I give you statistics, show you pictures of dumps, of ruined ecosystems, of relatively uninhabited islands whose shores are devastated by plastic bottles – and you’ll still buy the 12-pack of Aquafina from Wal-Mart, albeit maybe a little more reluctantly than before. But you still buy it, even with what you know.

scenario #2

But then I threaten the life of you and yours. I tell you I’m going to burn your house down unless you stop buying bottled water. I tell you I’m going to rape your wife and shoot your children in front of you unless you stop…I guarantee that you won’t come within five feet of a bottle of water again. (If that example was too extreme for you, I won’t apologize – look at the title of this post)

the middle children of history

We need people like Chuck Palahniuk’s Tyler Durden. We need people to blow up banks and credit unions. We need people to start fight clubs. Shake ourselves out of the norm, out of the ordinary, out of the realm where everything’s comfortable.

Look at the hippies as another example. God bless them, I say. They might have flown a little too high, might have gotten a little too wild at times, but that’s what allowed them to have the impact they did.

We need the extremists who go against the mainstream. That’s the only way to advance as a society. That’s the only way to advance as a human being.

So be extreme. Be humble. Be powerful. You are a force to be reckoned with, and damn the man that says otherwise.

Illegitimi non carborundum.
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2 Responses to “on extremism”

  1. Mr. Durden Says:

    Nice work my good man! Keep the Extremests around. That’s what can break the cycle of the everyday modern living! We, Americans, are being drowned out by one another. We choose to stay in our livingrooms with our tv, recliner, and tv dinner and don’t even blink an eye when the News comes on and tells about 63 dead, 15 raped, 12 robbed…it’s all normal to us. We don’t let it bother us as long as we are left alone in our tiny little livingroom. It won’t bother us until it comes right up to our door step and pounds on our front door.
    This was very motivational. Thankyou.

  2. i hate doing laundry « livin' like a freebird Says:

    […] certain equilibrium, allowing us to stay balanced and centered. There’s definitely a need for extreme swings to the left or right to shake us out of the ordinary, but if we ever want to achieve a higher state […]

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