Fanaticism

Fanaticism is an extreme uncritical zeal, particularly for a belief or dogma which most of the time exists in religious or political cause. I said “most of the time” is because most of the time in religious or political, fanaticism can be observed to be obviously most disturbing. While fanaticism is also exist in other cases like sports or consumerism towards particular brand or lifestyle, annoying as it could be, but it never as annoying as when it is into religion and ideology.

I always thought that fanaticism is like believing that “1 + 1 = 2”. A fanatic is just so certain that he is correct and don’t care about different opinions of others. Believe in themselves, that’s good, I always thought.

I was wrong. It was never about “1 + 1 = 2” (well, it kinda was, but never just about that.) It is more about an extreme obsessive behavior to self-confirm or to strengthen a certain belief towards the object of fanaticism. If we bring this to a more complex beliefs than “1 + 1 = 2”, it will shows that is not only about that they are not wrong, but it is more to that they expressed the particular belief in a manner that they could never be wrong about it in general or in the entire beliefs system. They express their belief passed the boundary of social norms. They talk about it all the time, they brag about it, looking for agreements, debating all the time and try to assuring or just showing it off to everybody. Some fanatics are more than the other, they forcing others to believe them and think that whoever not with them are against them. And it doesn’t stop there.

While it is more than just about their beliefs, their behavior towards the belief is like they are obsessively trying to assuring not only other people, but they are also trying to assuring themselves by looking for conformity among others who agrees or following them. Their object of fanaticism, however, more often than not could be quite neutral, like religion and politic.

Nothing is wrong with religions or politics. But when people sharing the object of their fanaticism to others with active-aggressively or passive-aggressively, that neutral object is becoming a not-so-neutral subject.

The sharing (or call it “spreading”, if you may) of faith and political belief, even though phenomenally they are showing practically the same behavior and attitude, I can classified it into two different groups.

The first group, they are trying to gather members and making other people as object or target to bring into their belief. Since other people is a ‘target’, the motivation (and what they could do if they don’t get their ‘target’) that lies under this kind of spreading is questionable.

The second group, they are doing the very same thing, but this one, they make other people as a subject. They share their belief not for themselves. They are acting more like a news people who is reading the news every morning and evening, they want us to listen but they know, if we don’t watch them, it’s our lost.

I guess things are never as easy as neither “1 + 1 = 2” nor as obvious as it seems.

A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject
Winston Churchill

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TRUTH and PARADOX

A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition. The complexity of a paradox is often misunderstood with contradiction, and the logic within a paradox usually oversimplified by “either-or” or sometimes “neither” statement inside a paradox is true.

While to comprehend the true TRUTH, paradoxical understanding must be explained with both side of the statement or opinion is being true. In the philosophical quests for wisdom, many concepts and opinions was written with contradictions within themselves and bound to self-destruct when confronted. The deeper the concepts, the more complicated the thinking process, the more prone integrity of the concepts stand against one another.

And as soon as philosophy touch the wall of the boundary between the known and the unknown in the grey area of religion, suddenly ratio has a smaller role in the mind and rational people think that it is the “easy way out” and “lousy answers by faith”. For example, why ice floats? Physics can answer that and the answer will be widely accepted. Why only the surface of the lake freezing during winter? If someone answered: “because God created fish and if the whole lake is freezing, fish will die.” then that particular answer is unacceptable.

Philosophy is stretched from the obvious realm, to the known, to the abstract concepts, to the possible-to-be known and stop to the limit of the not-possible-to-be-known where some answers have more rational basis than the others, but all is just a shot in the dark.

For those who have worldview of deep understanding to certain religion, they have the grey area where faith is allowing philosophy to stretch a little bit farther from that limit before everything becomes dark. And actually, even better: while philosophy questioning all things, religion answering all things.

That grey area is where the greatest paradox lies, while smaller paradoxes scattered all over the place, covered by the philosophy. That is for sure, in the search for the truth, paradox is inevitable.

In mathematics, paradox is the only connection between number line and the famous infinity symbol introduced since Greek dialectic (because that infinity symbol just doesn’t belong there with numbers).

In many religions and philosophies and psychology, paradox is the only way to understand the complexity in the minds and the ways within its concepts and point of views. So many aspects could be understood paradoxically. But being understood, doesn’t mean that it could be acceptable to all. There are boundaries and limitations defined by right and wrong, by the true Truth.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
F. Scott Fitzgerald