The Human Compass

What causes extremism? Is the answer in all of us?

At the present time, extremism of all kinds seems to grow by the day, whether right-wing political nationalism in Europe, newfound xenophobia in America, or religious fundamentalism in parts of the Islamic world. The geo-politics behind the rise of fundamentalist beliefs – even of Al Qaeda, ISIS and other horrifically violent groups – in countries in conflict, like Afghanistan and Iraq, is complex, but well known. And it’s no wonder that people living under extreme duress, turn to extreme beliefs and means of response.

But what are the reasons that in the richer Western world so many people, and in particular young people of many talents, choices and comforts, turn to fundamentalist ideologies? How in a digital, globalised world without the old-fashioned social control mechanisms inherent in small-scale geographically bound communities, do we halt this trend towards the perilously seductive blinding territory of one-and-only truisms?

 

The White Hear

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