Tuesday, December 06, 2005

In the middle or the side: Where do you lean?

A growing tendency that one observes in many western countries today involves the loss of balance or, when it comes to bargaining, of the 'happy medium'. Such extremes can be of various types. Examples? Sure there is an abundance! In the US for example where a big part of the population is suffering from obesity, one can find some of the most obsessed-with-calories and gym-freak people in the world. Similarly, you can have the world's unhealhiest foods and snacks (i will spare you from naming some, particulalry those non-US friends of mine) and at the same time you see the law requiring nutritional information charts on everything including water and fruits. Of course one may argue they serve different purposes (i mean by that that a nutritional label chart on a water bottle is to explain the minerals included such as sodium etc). Then there is another type of extremism, one which operates in the realm of decisions and choices.

I have no problem with that. I don't have a problem either with the fact that different people choose different styles. After all, diversity is a good thing to occur. However, the fact that one sees on so many issues such stiff opposition, and no possibility of convergeance, is in itself problematic I believe for many reasons. It is not by coincidence that 'balance' and 'happy medium' are glorified across countries and cultures. If it were not for its benefits, we would refrain from using 'happy', right? Also, the truth of the matter is that when you have extreme polarization it is also quite difficult to reach consensus, and some things do require reconciliation or agreement (here I am not refering exclusively to food).

So, am I arguing that extremism is bad? No! In fact when it comes to such issues as ideas, viewpoints, politics etc it is good to have voices or behaviors or whatever is not complying with the majority reach the surface. This is very healthy, because homogeinity is also unhealthy. For this reason, and in order to avoid confusion, it is important to examine and analyze the different types of extremes that one can encounter, and, more importantly, the causes that justify such behaviors. What I am saying is that the people standing on the extremes, and as such differ from the ones in the middle, project their difference and they do so with a purpose in mind. Or else they are victims.

Victims? This brings to a core concern of mine whereby the cases of extremism that we experience are not resolute choices but, rather, are consequences of what is close to 'controlled behavior'. And this diversity I don't like. And i don't like it in particular when the extremes grow stronger than the rest. Whether it concerns marketing strategies that promote unhealthy snacks or rhetoric about an 'X' ideology, extremism that comes as a result of pressure, of whatever kind, is to be despised, because it violates our liberty, one of the most cherished of all our rights. And one should be particularly cautious nowadays when employing either freedom of speech or of market to justify otherwise questionable actions and motives.


ΠΡΕΖΑ TV said...

Αν εγραφες και τα κειμενα σου στα Ελληνικα τι καλα που θα ηταν!!!

the_return said...

Nice blogcorner...interesting thoughts, keep up the good work, Anastasia.

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