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Today, there is extremism based in childish immaturity: US author

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 9, 2019  | 14:53 IST

New Delhi, May 9 (PTI) Extremism is emerging today on both the right and the left wings that is based in childish immaturity, an unwillingness to compromise for anything higher than oneself, and a narcissistic demand for the world to cater to one's own beliefs, says American author and blogger Mark Manson. According to him, these extremist mobs are then battled back by more mature visions of right-wing and left-wing politics - people who are willing to compromise, to make sacrifices and to admit that they are flawed and limited. He says the uncomfortable truth dictates that all must imagine some source of meaning in their lives. "Whether that source is God or liberal democracy or the cleansing power of juice fasts, we all seek out something to hold up as important and superior because the hope that superior something generates gives us hope and infuses our lives with a sense of meaning," Manson says. He defines religion very broadly, "because, ultimately, just about every value judgment and belief is rooted in some form of faith. Some religions are supernatural and of ancient origin. Others are quite worldly and grow and recede in real-time through the internet and social networking. In all cases, the result is the same: some faith-based belief that something is important, and therefore merits pain and sacrifice - both from oneself, but also from others". In "Everthing Is F*cked", published by HarperCollins, Manson turns his gaze from the inevitable flaws within each individual self to the endless calamities taking place in the world. Drawing from the pool of psychological research on these topics, as well as the timeless wisdom of philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, he dissects religion and politics and the uncomfortable ways they have come to resemble one another. In 2016, Manson published "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck", a book that gave shape to the ever-present, low-level hum of anxiety that permeates modern living. He dubs "Everthing Is F*cked" as a prequel to "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck" "It's the same core concepts and principles, just with broader and more complex applications. Whereas 'Subtle Art' focused on our personal struggles to cope with pain and make meaning out of adversity, 'Everything is F*cked' looks at these same dynamics on a cultural level. Whereas 'Subtle Art' gives people helpful questions to apply to themselves and their lives, 'Everything is F*cked' explores what happens to our psychological health when we fail to ask those questions at all," he says. He is of the view that "the fundamental schism of the twentieth century... (grows out of) maturity vs. immaturity." "The political schisms of the last few hundred years revolved around right-wing and left-wing politics. Today, there is extremism emerging on both the right and the left that is based in childish immaturity - an unwillingness to compromise or sacrifice for anything higher than oneself, and a narcissistic demand for the world to cater to one's own beliefs. "These extremist mobs are then battled back by more mature visions of right-wing and left-wing politics - people who are willing to compromise, to make sacrifices and to admit that they are flawed and limited," he says. Manson also argues that technology has been developed to capitalise on psychological flaws, rather than compensate for them. "Technology has evolved to make us more comfortable. But the way the body and mind are built is such that too much comfort makes us soft, weak and uncompromising. As a result, I argue that we should consciously pursue meaningful forms of pain, as that pain is the only thing that gives our life a sense of value," he says. On how one can learn to limit oneself and his or her desires, Manson says, "Throw away all your extra shit. Delete apps off your phone. Block websites on your computer. Set rules for yourself, then follow them. Decide for yourself what the most important people and goals in your life are, and then get religious about following them." He also believes that social media and the internet, while not causing psychological problems, have created a cultural environment that has affected everyone. "At this point, whether you're on Facebook or not doesn't matter, because the information you're receiving is still optimised for clickbait and maximises outrage," he says. PTI ZMN RB RB

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