Loneliness is the common ground of terror and extremism | Aeon Essays

As Hannah Arendt argued, there is one common thread which connects individuals drawn to all kinds of extremist ideologies — This essay provides a deep look into the personal aspects of totalitarianism. Drawn from Arendt’s writing on the origins of totalitarianism, it makes the case that a profound loneliness– a disconnection from our common humanity– is what draws people to support these desperate philosophies.

She says the inability to countenance internal dialogue and see things from more than one point of view characterizes the true believers of this ilk. Longing for one single total answer to all of life’s dualities and struggles leads these people to seize upon a totalitarian system.

It’s a long but rewarding essay!

— Read on aeon.co/essays/loneliness-is-the-common-ground-of-terror-and-extremism

5 thoughts on “Loneliness is the common ground of terror and extremism | Aeon Essays

  1. Right now I’m preparing a video lesson on “exercise in wisdom” (one of the Three Highest Exercises constituting Buddhist practice: calmness, seeing/wisdom, discipline/wholeness).
    That essay happened to be very timely for me, interesting to read and to contemplate on. It’s exactly about false and true vision, i.e. clinging to a point of view or liberation from points of view.
    People try to hold to labels because that leads them away from the insecurity of not knowing what really is.
    True solution of the problem is realizing that we never know “what really is”; but still we don’t need to wander among guesses. We just take _what appears_ as what appears; and that’s the reality.
    We don’t need to attach firmly any “true interpretations” to _what appears_.

    • John Eden says:

      Indeed! Always good to hear from you! I appreciate your clear and direct interpretations of things. Reminds me of Suzuki Roshi’s “Things as it is.”

  2. erikleo says:

    Being a bit of an introvert and elderly I suffer from social isolation to some extent. The changes in society over the last 100yrs has certainly produced the ‘alienation effect.’ Some commentators think we are seeing the end of capitalism (which is perhaps the main driving force of this alienation)?

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