Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Really Radical

I realize that the roots of the word "radical" are, errrr, just that - going back to roots. But I really dislike the use of "radicalization" to describe the brainwashing of poor western muslims back to the stone age (except, ironically, happily toting 21st century western weapons).

The idea of being really radical for me summons up the re-wiring of ones roots - the subtle, and careful replacement of medieval assumptions with more nuanced behaviours and affordances, permissions and obligations. There are plenty of examples - having just come back from China, I caught up on some of their history (from 13/14th century) and it is a similar story to ours - highly hierarchical societies with a very strict caste system, a priesthood and a royalty, and 11 strata - every detail of behaviour prescribed - penalties for breaking rules could result in everyone from the top 9 strata in your family/entourage being executed - reading about the Peasants' Revolt in about the same time in England, much the same here.

Moving on through the "Englightenment, the 19th and 20th century saw may radical ideas enacted.
People could take the weekend off.
People got a say in how things were run.
The definition of people included folks from any walk of life, men, women,
We got the right to a fair trial (innocent before being proven guilty).
We got to live in peace without interference in your behaviour in your own home.
We got to expect a fair go at education, health, safety, entertainment, fulfilment.

Along with these fundamental rights (and there are a lot more we enjoy)
we got the right to talk nonsense in public. We got the right not to expect the Spanish Inquisition (literally and figuratively). We got Satire. We got to enjoy (or find excruciating) difference. Diversity. Tolerance. Misdemeanour. Letting your hair down. Eccentricity. Daftness.

Long may we persist - I like to think we were heading towards Iain Banks "Culture" philosophy, and a jolly good thing to.

Meanwhile so-called "radicalized" religious "fundamentalists", hear this: you aren't fundamental or radical. You are superficial, ignorant and lacking in any human spirit.