Where do you want to look? Popular culture? ‘Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo’ just earned record ratings by going to new extremes of trashiness, mental incompetence and borderline child abuse. Sports? Extremes of machismo, scandal and homophobia abound. Violence? Please. A teenager massacres 22 elementary school children with a rifle he swiped from him mom, and what’s the response? Let’s arm up even more! Meanwhile, the top-selling video games are screamingly juvenile, ultra-violent first-person shooters for 10-year-old males who never go outside and twitch themselves to sleep.
Extreme postures, extreme politics, dogmas, piercings, sex, degradations, styles, sounds, wealth, resource annihilation, antagonism – for millions, the message is clear: radical positions and hardcore reactions are the only thing that “work” anymore, that shock or inspire feeling or action, that get you noticed, make you money or get you your own embarrassingly awful TV show.
But of course, that all pales in comparison to the grand champion of extreme, hostile posturing, the GOP, who shamelessly take untenable positions on everything from the economy to God, rape to calling the president a Nazi. Science is a hoax! Gays are repulsive in the eyes of God! Rich people should never be taxed! You win, GOP. No one is better at taking the messy, wondrous tapestry of the human experiment and stabbing it with the ice pick of monochromatic fear. Well done. You’ve changed the conversation. For the worse.
It begets the ancient equation: Extremism implies disconnection. And more extreme = more disconnection. But the good news is, it also begets the opposite: more compassion, education, distinction, discretion, patience, quiet, inner focus also equal calm, stability, peace. Does it make sense? The old gurus only smile at your panicked expression: Why are you so freaked out by stillness?This old guru laughs out loud at the funny parts and rages out loud at the bad parts. As far as the GOP goes, the funny is starting to outnumber the bad, and that's good. Actually, they're pathetic but that's funny to me.