Militant ideology causes people to act in harmful ways. Radical beliefs cause people to believe militant ideology is necessary. People acting in harmful ways are treated poorly by others. People who are treated poorly by others find militant ideology necessary. This self-perpetuating circle of self-identification can occur in many ways. Some of the most common, or most talked about, forms of radical and militant behaviour are racism, misogyny, terrorism, and advocates for brutality. To boil the social equation down to its most basic principles, we can assume a certain dynamic. The person does not like you, and they have reasons that they believe are true. The natural response to the reasons, if true, would be to dislike, and so because the person wants to make the world a better place, they decide you must be stopped or harmed. The key factor is that if the reasons were true, the action would be understandable even if not reasonable.
Recommended read: Extremism: A Philosophical Analysis by Quassim Cassam
Before we ascribe criminal acts to the mentality of the act, it is vital to acknowledge human beings as sensitive and thoughtful beings. We can think and feel all manner of ways without breaking the law. It is only in action and the process of manifesting our wrong thoughts and hurtful feelings that we cross the line. To get an understanding of what this means, people who find themselves attracted to children and act on this attraction are criminals. Other people may become very angry and hold a desire to cause harm to this person. We have criminal thoughts, but only a true criminal would act on their thoughts to take revenge. The police system only works because we consent to it, and that means you have to stay within the framework.
Recommended read: Rethinking Social Media and Extremism
A radicalised person has to be given the information that makes the radical idea make sense. To their knowledge, a list of grievances and opinions can be layered into their perceptions of the target until the level of dislike boils over into hatred. This can be done with religious overtones thus making a person an enemy of God, political overtones thus making a person your polar opposite, comedic overtones thus making a fool of someone, or any number of other ways that create a dynamic of otherness and less than. We need to wait a minute here because it could be easy to protest innocence. It is a fact of life that you will be treated differently because of who you are. The law in modern nations prevents this from being professional behaviour but in the real world we all have our preferences, assumptions, and personal walls to climb.
Recommended read: American Extremist: The Psychology of Political Extremism (2nd edition) - Imperium Press
The modern world is also not as perfect as you might wish it to be. Especially for the white European nations, history is littered with wrong-doing harm, and reasons to dislike. The slave trade, the crusades, the colonisations, the looting and pillaging, and many more acts have given these countries a bad name. Now with the modern economic world where money is the new sword and shield, those with money have the ability to completely dominate those who do not. Rather than helping the world to catch up and find their own way in today’s century, many organisations deliberately refuse to let this happen. It is understandable that some people find this hard to tolerate in the developing world and those who identify with them in the developed world. Like FIFA boss Gianni Infantino said “We should be apologising for the next 3000 years”.
Recommended read: Terrorism, Radicalisation & Countering Violent Extremism: Practical Considerations & Concerns by Shashi Jayakumar
As mentioned, acting on our dislikes and issues can lead to criminal acts, but you can appreciate that we are all fallible human beings. We have good reasons to mistrust the governments if we take history as our example, we have reasons to mistrust the west in general if we take the history books as example. To appreciate the reasons for radicalisation in the anti-west sense, we need to be aware of this valid perspective but not to tolerate criminal action. The fact that the social world is made of human individuals with their own minds and ability to see the world as it is can show us how extremism can arise and how we can show it is misplaced.
Recommended read: Digital Extremisms: Readings in Violence, Radicalisation and Extremism in the Online Space (Palgrave Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity)
Young people are especially vulnerable to extremist grooming because they are less able to mentally defend themselves. Without a broad knowledge of the real world and a text-book only education, it can be easy to show lines of best fit that lead to just anger. This just anger can lead to harmful hatred. Teenagers have a specific part of the mind that looks for alternatives. The mind of a teenager is wired to rebel, not to get on their parent’s nerves, but because adaptation is how human beings advance in culture. The curiosity of the teenage mind and the adhesiveness to anti-authoritarian sentiment can be a lure too much to refuse. When led down the path of harsh judgement, assumption, and excited consequence, the power of the story and its moral structure can overwhelm the actual reality.
Recommended read: Insurgency And Terrorism (13 book series)
Being given a place or a group to belong in, a higher purpose outside of them, an anger-inspiring narrative, and lies about the scale and scope of the issue, young and older people can be drawn into hate groups and gangs. No one of these elements is responsible for the extreme action, however in partnership an individual can be drawn into hate. The source of the individual foundations need not be the same, relatively harmless narratives can coalesce to create a much more powerful and harmful story. A place to belong is attractive to people who feel isolated and separate from the wider world. Young people often find themselves looking for another group or family that will help them find their identity. They want another layer of life that can give them stability in a continually changing world. Arts and culture offer this and so do fraternities. A sense of something outside and bigger than the self draws people in as to feel connected personally with something bigger than you is a way to inspire positive self affirmation. People adhere to their nationality, to their religion, to an ethic of taste, or to many other things. Often, if the higher purpose is strong enough, people are prepared to take great risks and even die in order to strengthen the greater purpose. Laying down your life for your country in war is still today seen as a valiant thing to do, even though it creates sadness and suffering for many - often including the one who pulled the trigger. An angry narrative is primal and reaches into our core being. If we agree with the story, or even in part agree, we can quickly be conducted into a sense of anger and desire to take action. The arts offer a wide array of proper actions and politics can too, if democratic process is given a chance. Minds are changed by books and paintings more than leaflets and speeches. A lot of art draws on the angry narrative to make people pay attention. The majority of this is for a good reason too. A twisted sense of reality is what draws all these items together to form the opposite of right action. A sense of hate and the desire to act on it comes from a combination of the three things mentioned plus a deceptive and testing element. This is where people stumble, because they do not want to give up the other three things.
Recommended read: Extremism, Free Speech and Counter-Terrorism Law and Policy (Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy)
An extremist is therefore dangerous to you because they do not like you and they are prepared to act on that. These people are human beings, all the same, and their method is reasonable just like your own. The passion that causes their hatred and desire to act on it is the barrier we must break down. We can only do this by offering a genuine and understandable sense of the actual reality. By explaining in passive terms and demonstrating the ways things are and why, and by showing that we too are made of individuals who cannot be summed up by history, the idea of acting on the hatred can be whittled down. Without taking anything for granted, after-all, a strong mental signal to act on heroic or religious stimuli can be much stronger than conversation and inclusion. Risks must be assessed, and the individual cases need to be addressed considering everything we know. The idea is to prevent harm being done and to prevent young people from being drawn into hateful ways by demonstrating that there is more to the world than its previous crimes and the things that make you uneasy. In a nutshell, the idea is to be as likeable as you can. Isn't that what we do anyway? If we can offer a sense of belonging, a genuine and truthful story, and a connection to higher purpose, the hateful narrative will lose all of its power.
Will They Love It Or Not?
New products and techniques are appearing every day. Not all of them catch on, though, and this is what separates the success from the failures. Often the idea itself is good however the way it is implemented is not. If the process involved with implementing your idea is not intuitive and easy to use or understand then less people will be willing to put in the effort to learn. Intuition is the process of finding the path of least resistance for human behaviour. It is when the body and mind seem to already know what to do. It’s not easy to produce things that intuitively work, especially if we already understand and have designed the process ourselves. Just because we have spent a long time working on a project and have understood every branch of its structure, other people are completely in the dark to this. We need to make sure that a newcomer can walk into our idea and already have a good idea about what to do next.
What Makes Us Who We Are?
When we are born into the world, it is in its given state. Progress has reached so far on every level of our understanding. The moral and social structure is defined by the laws of the land, the rules given at home, and the ideals presented by our stories. The enemy in our stories serves as an example of what is wrong in behaviour and the hero is an example of what is right. Right action and wrong action are defined in the guise of fictional and religious characters who get the results their behaviour deserves. This is why we prefer it when the hero wins, and the villain is stopped. Human beings are a mixture of hero and villain in varying amounts. We are all capable of evil and of goodness. This is because of our psychology. It’s important to remember that the structure of our brain is much more ancient than the human being design. Our brains are built on the foundations of a wild animal with predators and danger. As animal kind is unaware of the passage of time and the cause and effect of build-up phenomena, it was very important for reactionary emotion to be powerful enough to save lives. Our reactional emotions have a hierarchy of activity, the more basic and primordial the activity, the less thought and the less power we have to intellectually intervene. What makes us human therefore is a compliment of biological and evolutionary design based on the truth about the world plus the input of our human language and conceptual idea building that helps us to understand the time dimension in the way we behave in order to manage social society. If you behave in the way of the villain, you we be treated by the world and other people in the way we have learned through stories. As we learn more about the world and the way the universe actually works, as we learn about the way people behave and think, we adapt and evolve culturally and biologically to ensure the best chance of survival. In one point in time, it is difficult to see this progression of understanding and structure, however a study in biology or the history of power will identify this process with a clear growth in the right direction.
What Is Intuition?
When a person is able to intuitively navigate a new product or process, it is because they instinctively know the right course of action. Like knowing a ball will fall when dropped, we automatically put our hands in the right place to catch it. This intuitive approach uses both the laws of the world and the laws of human behaviour to navigate the next step. If catching a ball was not part of our human behaviour, we might not put our hands out. If we did not understand gravity, we might not catch it either. Animals understand gravity, and some social animals understand catching, humans can turn this into a game with clear rules and a score. The way the rules manifest fall into intuition quite easily as they all serve a purpose to keep the game fair. This cultural adaptation is able to become as automatic as the physical function. As method and reality meet in the middle, human beings are able to go ahead and behave appropriately. The two sides of the truth of life are rooted in the natural world, which is unforgiving, often harsh and cruel, and the human world which is striving for balance, safety, longevity, and peace. The two world views are alive in all of us and our intuition is the path that runs through the middle.
The Way Things Are
We’re all pretty much veterans of the world. The processes and products available to us have particular ways of working. When you cross from one product to another or one service to another, the method of use remains similar. That design of human interactivity is almost the same for all things, provided they have relevance to one another. A television works the same way with buttons and wires no matter what brand it is or what country you are in. We have things in our culture that are ancient such as language itself or religious ceremony and in this case the cultural thread is highly established. These cultural phenomena are much older than us and have been designed and perpetuated by long lines of individuals through time. To decide to change this in any way is therefore controversial because we are just one individual trying to change the work of many. This principle is called the schema. The schema of a thing is the way it is thought about and used in stories to bring about certain results. It relies on the universal properties of the object and of human behaviour to create life-like thoughts and associations that match. Heuristic processing is the action of using what we already know to define and use something we do not know. We rely on the schemas and stories that we remember to find positive function in new things.
Put This To Good Use
The idea of designing something for intuitive use therefore rests on our ability to appreciate the way people think and the way the world actually works. If we can mirror this truth about the universe in our product by utilising the natural psychology of human beings that stems from prehistorical times with the modern and make-sense ideas of the era we live in, the end result will seem a natural fit for those who use it. It is not easy to design intuitively, we struggle to guess and estimate without first gaining the appropriate knowledge. We need experience and understanding in the areas we want to affect before we can pose a useful speculation or creation. Often a lot of tests and trials are needed alongside wholesome research into the areas we want to be part of. We need to appreciate the way those who came before us went about the job at hand so we can follow in their steps. The steps walked by our ancestors are the same steps that instructed everyone alive now so we need to provide a path that can be walked. To create something that can be used easily and naturally, the individual user must have a good idea about what they’re doing before they begin.
To celebrate the start of their 15th season on TV, the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race strutted their stuff around the usually quiet and well-to-do Brooklyn Museum. This was only the half of it, their costumes had been influenced by the work of Thierry Mugler. Since November last year, the Brooklyn Museum has been showcasing the Mugler exhibition, namely Couturissime. All 16 drag performers from the Drag Race show took to the corridors in outlandish costumes to raise hairs and whiten faces while giving the rest of us a great time.
RuPaul’s Drag Race is a show about finding the best and most impressive drag queen to become a celebrity on American TV and beyond. A talent show like The X Factor, each drag queen must entertain and impress with a splendid and fabulous foray of fantastic performances. Only the best will do, which is why each one is eager to make themselves known. The parade of cross-dressing men was led through the entire exhibit by Mugler’s Head of Archives Marion Bourdée. She said “The art of transformation is what connects drag and Mugler together” Vogue. As well as the iconic fragrances that sell all over the world, Mugler created hundreds of designs during his golden era between the 1970s and 90s. The clothes worn by the drag queens all drew heavily on the influence of this iconic designer.
By emulating the visual effect of a good looking and well-dressed woman, these delightful drag queens are able to show that so much of what we call attraction and feminine is all a trick of the eye. Hopefully it can teach a few of us a lesson about looking for the person behind the façade when choosing friends and lovers. It can also perhaps show some of us that there’s more to life than binary choices.
Check out the Vogue Magazine showcase of what they all wore and why.
WHO WAS THIERRY MUGLER?: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE FRENCH FASHION ICON
Creativity, Conflict, and Connection - How Cross Community Communication Requires More Than Simple Respect
Progress For Positive Change
Creative output has the unique ability to transcend borders. No-one has seen it before, so no-one is in a better place to judge than another. We can reach a wide range of individuals with new concepts if they can be shown at first hand how they work. Our new ideas, opinions, perspectives, and histories are the tools we have for bringing people together, gaining mutual understandings, and allowing the best of a situation to flourish over the worst. What about if we disagree with a person? Or what if the thing they are saying evokes a sense of repulsion or revulsion upon hearing it? Now we have entered a dangerous territory, one that can easily end in some form of conflict and an eventual halt to progress. In order to progress with a building of ideas to reach a mutual agreement, the interested parties must feel heard and safe to make themselves heard. The safety of the people involved must be recognised and respected in the physical and emotional context. Your responses to information that you do not like can create an unhelpful opening for further escalation. Our words and our tone of voice can be our enemy when attempting to create positive change.
Take Responsibility for The Connection
It’s in our best interests to keep people talking and prevent them from walking away. Sometimes other people may take a turn towards negative conflict which results in others feeling shamed or humiliated for their stance. It is vital that we make an effort to be the glue between these two opposing poles. If we can mediate the tenuous situations and validate the sociable ones, then the whole is a lot less likely to fall apart. Isolation of communities or individuals prevents them from having their say in the way we all move forward.
Reinforce The Group With Empowering Language
Keeping everyone interested is a lot more than just listening to what they have to say. If there has been conflict or apathy in the past then bringing them to the table for discussion can be one of the hardest things to do. In order to keep everyone interested we must constantly reinforce the group mentality with language that creates bonds, fraternity, and mutual appreciation for each other’s time and energy.
7 Winning Conflict Resolution Techniques: Master Nonviolent and Effective Communication Skills to Resolve Everyday Conflicts in the Workplace, Relationships, Marriage and Crucial Conversations
Keep Conflict Civil
Not everyone will agree, we’re all different. Our cultures and beliefs contribute to how we feel about the world and the problems that present. The things we understand or believe we understand will shape our reaction to various things and in many instances, we have different knowledge and different viewpoints on these items. We will not always see eye to eye. This must be welcomed and cherished and not hidden away. The areas where we disagree are where we learn the most about each other and the reasoning behind our perspectives. Refraining from aggressive and judgemental language is the key to communicating our views without building over other people’s views. If we find that others begin to use negative language about opposing views, then we can work to refrain an escalation by accepting the statement and then offering a calm counter-response that takes notice of other interested people.
It’s easy to jump to conclusions or to repeat harsh opinions. We can fall into culture shock and start moralising about various things. This fails to create a forward direction. It is in our best interests to hold back from any form of negative projection. We can create a hypothetical situation and in this literal sandbox allow the human situation to play out, show how others may judge, show how others may get frustrated, and let the group add to the role-play in the safe environment. If we detract judgement into a make-believe situation, we can avoid giving other people reasons to stop the communication.
Step Back From The Lead
We might be preventing others from having a full say on the subject by always taking charge. We have only good intentions but there are times we forget to be fair. It is important to be as inclusive as possible and to give space for others to talk among themselves and come to their own conclusions before joining in with our thread. Sometimes other people need a lot of time to think things through or learn about the things that matter. It’s vital that we stop any form of pressure to move forward and listen to our agenda. We need to allow the community to work in a fluid sense with no one individual taking charge on the way forward.
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