Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: fundamentalism, joy, Salman Rushdie
The most dangerous fundamentalism today is banking. Nevertheless, there are other fundamentalisms that harm us, as there always will be: religious, political, racial etc. Salman Rushdie has a beef with the religious variety; he wrote a book which caused a fatwa and sent him underground for at least a decade. He wrote the sentences below.
Fundamentalism comes from fear and increases it. The fundamentalists I have known are fearful; some see the world – and themselves – as hopelessly sinful, and act out of this corrupted, helpless milieu. They learn codas and truths – which are perfectly useful for moderate lives – but eventually make them too inflexible, too hard, to be useful for real life with real living people. The effects of fundamentalists in our communities are legion. They’re not just killing with bullets. The net effect is reduction of freedom and joy. We can all testify no doubt – to a different degree than Mr. Rushdie – to this loss.
The solution is to allow joy to reenter our lives; joy will stamp out fear; joy is our normal state of being which has been usurped by fear. Rushdie makes a short list to start us off below; it’s expandable of course: don’t believe what they tell you, love the world, act out, dance, say what you think, wear what you like, demand justice, indulge, flirt.
Here is Rushdie:
The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them. How to defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized. Don’t let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: blame, Oliver Burkeman
I’m going to try this one. Best wishes for the new year everybody!
resolve to cut everyone a massive amount of slack, including yourself. That’s the overarching conclusion of social psychology: we’re all staggeringly imperfect organisms, prone to making bad decisions when stress, busyness or poverty robs us of “cognitive bandwidth”. We habitually excuse our own bad behaviour as the result of special circumstances, while blaming others’ misdemeanours on deep-down nastiness. Or we torment ourselves with how much more accomplished everyone else is, when really it’s just that we lack access to their inner monologues of self-doubt. So: ease up.
Oliver Burkeman: New Year’s resolutions worth making, The Guardian