There are addictions that you enjoy and there are those that you don’t. There are helpful addictions and there are the harmful ones. Some would disagree – any addiction is harmful they would say – but that’s another story.
Mutterings that Matter have become thinner on the blog and fatter on Facebook, but let the record show that he used the dreaded A-word regarding Facebook. It reminded me of the addiction I used to have for this blog, and how I had escaped, once, to ensure that I remained addicted to blogging. Somewhere along the way, I got rehabilitated without wanting to, and now I blog in moderation.
Many messiahs moralise moderation.
But, like extremism even moderation should be exercised in moderation. (And I speak of extremism in its absolute sense, not with the contemporary attribute of politics, violence or terror) Else, it seems, our lives will permanently hover around the zero on the number line. I often toy with the theory that age has something to do with moderation. Age and second-hand exposure, actually.
As we grow old, most of us give birth to a tendency to be drawn towards the zero. It is a crowded place, and it offers some sense of safety and mob security and identity. When Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, “The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary”, I think he was referring to the zero of the number line. They are comfort zones, spiritual, physical, and psychological.
Second-hand exposure, enhances our need for this safety. Contemporary society tends to share terrible and scary news faster than good news. With more means for sharing, we share plastic bottle warnings, gory pictures of dolphins being chopped, and conspiracy theories of how everyone is out to get you. Such information causes armchair-excitement – you tend to spread the information even more. To click a forward button is an effortless exercise.
Extremism (in my sense of the word) is exploratory. It is a first-hand exposure to the things that don’t drop in your inbox, never get pasted to your Facebook wall. To traverse the number line of life, left or right (again, in a non-political sense) is to be exposed to an experience. It is the power to sift through your inbox and know what is real and what is sensational.
It is an effort itself to even get to 3 or -4 on the number line, but if you do, it is amusing to watch the crowd at zero. You can sometimes see an image of yourself reflected in someone at zero and you will smile to yourself in a heady mix of amazement and amusement, that once, this was you. That mix, helps you get further away from zero.
So, +1 to me.