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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %EXTREMIST ENCOURAGE CONTENTIOUS AFFIRMATIONS TRUTH+980423 %VIOLENT OPPOSITION PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS EVIL SIN+980423 %OPPOSITE OPEN HONEST DIALOGUE COMPLEMENTARY GOOD+980423 %DESCRIBE POINT EXPERIENCE PARADOXICAL TRUTHS FAIL 980423 The following descriptions are intended to cast light upon extremists and the consequences of their attitudes, assumptions and beliefs. It is helpful for each person to know how to recognize extremists' patterns of behavior. It is not helpful for us to past labels upon particular persons as extremists. Our focus should be upon recognizing, naming and describing extremists patterns of behavior --- not upon particular persons labeled as extremists. Extremist people are people who often engage in extremist PATTERNS of behavior. It is PATTERNS of behavior which are extreme. It is in terms of PATTERNS of behavior, attitudes, assumptions and beliefs that we can recognize extremists' behaviors. Individual acts taken in isolation are unreliable indicators of extremism. The PATTERNS of attitudes, assumptions and beliefs which lead to behaviors are important in recognizing extremists' PATTERNS of behavior. Extremists encourage us to go to opposite extremes in affirming paradoxical truths --- rather than to come together in open and honest dialogue about our complementary experiences pertaining to paradoxical truths which confront us. Extremists are less interested in working towards mutual understands of our experiences in our personal relationships --- than in trying to manage or control human behaviors, relationships, and ideals. Extremists seek to achieve purity in exclusive affirmations of isolated truths --- rather than to participate in open and honest dialogue about the truths we ourselves have experienced in those personal relationships which we most cherish, admire, respect and honor. Extremists promote contention which may engender tension, conflict and violence --- rather than conflict- resolution which engenders relaxation, mutual understanding and cooperation. Extremists promote tension which drives people apart into opposing armies prepared for holy wars --- rather than promote love which brings people together in honest fellowship and cooperative ventures. Extremists care more for how good they appear to be in superficial formal relationships --- than in how authentic they are in intimate personal relationships --- within which people enjoy true security as the freedom to be safely vulnerable in open and honest dialogue. Extremists approach each other in contentious/ defensive ways which engender distrust, suspicion and doubt --- rather than in gracious reconciling ways which invite disclosure, trust and respect. Extremists are usually more preoccupied with prescriptions and proscriptions which state how people should and should-not behave and/or relate --- than with descriptions of how and why people actually behave/relate as they do. Extremists are more interested in using alienation as a manipulative tool in attempting to control each other's contentious behaviors --- than in understanding and moderating alienation which undermines both personal and communal integrity. Extremists are usually involved in minimizing the number of complementary ideals/values which cooperative people affirm in mutually supportive ways --- rather than in helping to maximize the number of complementary ideals/values which cooperative people affirm and integrate in mutually supportive ways. We cannot moderate fragmentive extremist patterns of behavior by attempting to control them --- in keeping with the assumptions, attitudes, ideals and values which have lead people into extremist patterns of behavior. Extremists seek to be dominant and are preoccupied with issues of control. They seek to avoid situations in which they would be vulnerable --- even to the extent of avoiding intimate relationships in which they might enjoy true security known as the freedom to be safely vulnerable in open and honest dialogue with people who are different. Thus, extremists are usually participants in relationships of alienation which entail mutual manipulations, coercion, defensiveness and violence. They DO NOT enjoy personal OR communal integrity; and are suspicious of people who do and thereby threaten the collusive games of mutual self deception which extremists engender. In order to moderate fragmentive extremist patterns of behavior we need to recognize, name and talk about occasions in which we have seen assumptions, attitudes, ideals and values lead people into extremist patterns of behavior. Extremists generate tragedies because they are committed to assumptions, attitudes, ideals and values which do not affirm the importance of balance, integration, synthesis, cooperation, mutuality, healthy relationships, communal integrity, or personal integrity. Extremists are more concerned with how good they and their ideals are in their own eyes --- than with the quality of their relationships with those whom they do not yet personally know, understand, respect or trust. Extremists criticize each other for affirming values and ideals which are complementary to their own --- but which are regarded and feared as being contradictory to their own. Thus they deny the validity of each other's complementary affirmations --- rather than describe their own experiences which clarify why their own affirmations have value. Extremists encourage bystanders to view their special forms of extremism and exclusivity as good --- rather than as evil because they engender suspicion, alienation, distrust, misunderstanding and prejudice. It is not helpful to label various extremist people with terms like liberal and conservative; or to label people on the "other" side as extremists. Extremists are alienated from each other by each other through their various forms of exclusivity. Exclusivity which they regard as the key to purity and righteousness --- engenders alienation and disintegration. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================