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Tendencies toward fanaticism

    M Terry posted Wed, 04 Apr 2012 14:51:00 GMT(4/4/2012)

    Post 12580 of 16180
    Joined 6/19/2004

    In a "cause and effect" world detached from logical fallacy we probably would have an enormous drop in fanatical thinking and behavior.

    But, we don't.

    Some of us fall prey to fallacious thinking. We fail to sort out the facts. We group our "cause" and our "effects" out of synch with actual data.

    The next thing you know, we think we have "PROOF" that something is true when it actually is NOT.

    When I was being "courted" by Jehovah's Witnesses certain presumed facts were presented to me in a certain order.

    Other facts were downplayed, distorted or ignored.

    A "story" was told with a beginning, middle and end. A conclusion was called for.

    It all--eventually--seemed "reasonable".

    Once that was accepted my road to FANATICISM was well paved!

    I'd like to think I had no tendency toward fanatical thinking. And yet, I became a fanatic!

    How do you explain that crossover?

    EMOTIONS!

    Emotional people aren't bad people, but, they are likely to be more demonstrative.

    Powerful feelings can be trailer-hitched up to faulty reasoning and hauled off on a trip to Looney Town.

    Once we have a profound attachment to strong values we are likely to defend those values beyond what is ordinarlly reasonable.

    If we trick ourselves into thinking LIFE or DEATH we defend ferociously.

    If we see only GOOD or EVIL we become dangerous when that view is dead wrong.

    Without necessarily being inclined toward harm our unwitting emotional attachment to crazy-thinking can put us there anyway!

    This is what Cult religion can do to us: use our own Values against ourselves, our family and loved ones. Maybe even mankind itself!!

    It all starts with forming emotional attachments.

    If GOD is our number one value we are already in grave danger.

    Why?

    GOD isn't tangible, measurable, definable or demonstrable in an everyday sense...THEREFORE...we can be manipulated.

    If we accept some arbitrary definition backed up by seemingly righteous scriptures in contrived contexts, then, one foot is on the banana peel of fanatical thinking.

    If our number two value is the BIBLE we are in grave danger.

    Why?

    The Bible can represent an ABSOLUTE. We humans are knocked senseless by absolute thinking. It shuts down reason. It stifles logic. It becomes a drug.

    Simple words can take on enormously powerful black and white pomposity.

    Bible absolutes can be represented to support truly terrible behaviors.

    Slavery, domination of women, exploitation of other cultures, denunciations, shunning, loyalty tests, righteous wars, megalomania.....the list is practically daunting!

    If our number three value is LOYALTY we are in grave danger.

    Why?

    Once we become part of a group-think we are shut off from the world. Life becomes US vs THEM. What we do to demonstrate loyalty can turn us against our children, our family and any who think or speak differently.

    The above list of ordinarily POSITIVE VALUES is twisted into destructive thinking and behavior and that is true FANATICISM.

    Knowsnothing posted Wed, 04 Apr 2012 15:24:00 GMT(4/4/2012)

    Post 725 of 1269
    Joined 3/2/2011

    I don't there there will ever be a world without fanaticism. Sorry.

    M james_woods posted Wed, 04 Apr 2012 15:35:00 GMT(4/4/2012)

    Post 8590 of 12291
    Joined 10/26/2005

    Yes, it is certainly a human tendency. Yes, the JWs certainly exploit this tendency in making new converts.

    But Terry - do you think that the JWs are by any measure the "worst fanatics on earth" - or just one of a big grab-bag of all kinds of fanatics?

    For example - I would view the Radical Islamics as being at least as bad in fanaticism as the JWs. Or, PETA - for that matter...

    Phizzy posted Wed, 04 Apr 2012 17:40:00 GMT(4/4/2012)

    Post 856 of 6841
    Joined 12/17/2011

    James, as I read Terry's post (thoughtful as usual) I thought to myself , "What he is outlining here is the process that radicalises young Muslims so that they are willing to become suicide bombers , or whatever"

    I knew as I read that Terry was also applying this to JW's and other groups, but I do think it is a good post, and the authorities should take note !

    If the process can be stopped, lives will be saved, if folks do not become radicalised Muslims or Fundie JayDubs then lives would be saved.

    M james_woods posted Wed, 04 Apr 2012 17:43:00 GMT(4/4/2012)

    Post 8602 of 12291
    Joined 10/26/2005
    If the process can be stopped, lives will be saved, if folks do not become radicalised Muslims or Fundie JayDubs then lives would be saved.

    Absolutely.

    M thetrueone posted Wed, 04 Apr 2012 18:08:00 GMT(4/4/2012)

    Post 5685 of 5528
    Joined 9/18/2006

    And aren't these extremes of fanaticism easily evoked toward young open minded people who are invariably unaware of the possible dangers

    that these emotionally inspired expressions of fanaticism can create.

    Most people I've met who get into fanatical religious cults did so when they were young adults, including my own parents who were 20 ish . (JWS)

    As usual another good write up Terry

    I particularly liked this sentence.

    Powerful feelings can be trailer-hitched up to faulty reasoning and hauled off on a trip to Looney Town.

    Flossycat posted Thu, 05 Apr 2012 00:21:00 GMT(4/5/2012)

    Post 51 of 93
    Joined 2/27/2012

    Fear must be the most powerful emotion. (Isn't hatred born from fear?) I wonder if part of the equation is providing/nurturing atmosphere of safety. Cults exploit feelings of insecurity/fear.

    Like your thread, Terry

    scotoma posted Thu, 05 Apr 2012 15:23:00 GMT(4/5/2012)

    Post 144 of 831
    Joined 4/17/2011

    Long ago (I was still a believer) my teen age kids, one-by-one, expressed doubts. My wife would jump on them about how "dare they even think that way". I would come to my kids defense. I would "shoosh" my wife and tell her that this was an important passage in their life. They could squelch doubt and become a fanatic or they could decide to develop their thinking ability.

    The only way to get rid of doubt is to be brutally honest about fallacious ideas.

    Fanatics have more doubt than people who think things through. Instead of dealing with their doubt internally they try to punish the external doubters.

    I too, like the phrase "Powerful feelings can be trailer-hitched up to faulty reasoning and hauled off on a trip to Looney Town."

    sabastious posted Thu, 05 Apr 2012 16:04:00 GMT(4/5/2012)

    Post 7328 of 9407
    Joined 2/3/2010
    The next thing you know, we think we have "PROOF" that something is true when it actually is NOT.

    Hello Terry, I really enjoy your writing but I have to say this statement put me off. I don't particularly care for this type of absolute language. The proof is always in the pudding, yes, but our understanding of our very reality, past and present, are in a state of constant flux. You write as if you have inside knoweldge as to what constitutes proof and what does not. This is a mistake and science is a lot, but not everything. Check out this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiQMlNWwwnM

    At time index 1:47 Mr Chapelle makes a great point. The word "crazy" is incredibly over used in our western culture. So much so that people with a real interest and talent for discovery suddenly find themselves having to walk down a path that someone else has laid out for them. They unexpectedly find themselves being imposed upon rules that have already been preset. Which IS NOT the discovery they look for, but something else.

    Powerful feelings can be trailer-hitched up to faulty reasoning and hauled off on a trip to Looney Town.

    This is exactly what Chapelle was talking about. You are basically saying that feelings lead to insanity. Both logic and feelings are used in tandum in all human activity so both are needed for insanity. Blame the driver not the car.

    Lawrence Krauss, a renowned cosmologist, says that we are the "early map makers" of this reality. This statement comes with a heavy implication that the map is not yet complete. When will the charting end? I hope never.

    Fanaticism is not a word that should be thrown around. The person responsible for the Oaklohama City Bombing was a type of fanatic that are the dangerous type. But, such a category should be left to the true loons. Great care should be taken not to include the pleasantly eccentric who have a passion and imagination for discovery. Much of the worlds truth have come from such individuals and sadly it was uphill living for them all.

    In human history every time somone gets enough courage to venture outside of the box, there are always the ones that will call that person crazy and foolish for doing so. They are always on queue.

    -Sab

    M thetrueone posted Thu, 05 Apr 2012 16:58:00 GMT(4/5/2012)

    Post 5690 of 5528
    Joined 9/18/2006

    I wonder if part of the equation is providing/nurturing atmosphere of safety. Cults exploit feelings of insecurity/fear.

    Absolutely, cults or fanatical religious groups like the JWS are purposely trained to seek out venerable insecure people who

    could become a potential target for indoctrination into their selective cult family.

    In this alluring process the person starts to break down their sense of rational critical thinking.

    This sense of insecurity is exploited by implying safety from danger tactics by joining are (their) organization, which in doing so will

    remove them from the imposed danger and put them into a place of safety, love and a wholesome social environment.

    M thetrueone posted Thu, 05 Apr 2012 17:24:00 GMT(4/5/2012)

    Post 5691 of 5528
    Joined 9/18/2006

    The next thing you know, we think we have "PROOF" that something is true when it actually is NOT.

    I think what Terry is trying to imply here Sab. if that if there is a implementation of fear through constant mental indoctrination,

    that it can erode cohesive rational thought. Fear is the catalyst that can exploit human ignorance, to what means this exploitation will

    create is subjected to those whom impose the fear. Sometimes good things will come out of that imposed fear and other times not so good.

    whathehadas posted Thu, 05 Apr 2012 19:31:00 GMT(4/5/2012)

    Post 111 of 288
    Joined 5/29/2009

    Mr. Terry, I've always appreciated your musings. Simply put, if we are in a weak emotional state for dependency and leadership. You will be a easy prey to be put under control by a group or individual.

    sabastious posted Thu, 05 Apr 2012 20:51:00 GMT(4/5/2012)

    Post 7331 of 9407
    Joined 2/3/2010
    I think what Terry is trying to imply here Sab. if that if there is a implementation of fear through constant mental indoctrination,

    Hey True, Terry's statement about feeling we have proof about something set off a red flag in my brain that in turn created my response. If I get abducted by aliens I am going to have proof of something that may be impossible to translate even to people close to me. The second someone experiences something they cannot explain they are immediately thrust into a journey of self discovery and possibly something more than a personal discovery.

    The topic title is "Tendencies toward fanaticism." I think we have imagination for a very specific reason. If someone genuinely wants to spend a serious amount of time developing an idea, then that is their choice. Whether or not the time is worth spending actually cannot be decuded from outside of the mind who chose to spend it; only conjecture can be made on the choice. However, if they want to develop the idea soley for the purpose of using it as a missile against an enemy that could be a problem. The dysfunction (fanaticism) lies within motivations, not the actions, so it's impossible to hold such an absolute view on the actions of people with strong beliefs.

    -Sab

    M thetrueone posted Thu, 05 Apr 2012 23:47:00 GMT(4/5/2012)

    Post 5693 of 5528
    Joined 9/18/2006

    Religious fanaticism is purposely created and developed by absolute intension by organizations like the JWS to create a constant source

    of support by people toward the organization. The tactic most obviously and commonly used is a bias structured information control, supplemented

    with an implementation of fear and you could very well create a religious cult similar to the JWS.

    The problem with religious cults is that they get concentrically and apathetically more concerned about the supporting stature of the organization

    with less concern about individuality or people outside of their cultish family (tribe).

    In regards to the JWS subjective fanaticism, it's intensionally developed by an underlining cause and effect with the distribution and proliferation

    of the WTS. own published goods. Those sometime seen devastating illustrations of an atomic bomb exploding on the cover the Awake magazines

    are put there for two important reasons, one being to attract the publics attention and to also remind people who are JWS what is supposedly to come

    soon. When people are confronted with a life or death situation its amazing what you can persuade people to do, even to a state of Fanaticism.

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