FANATICS & ERIC HOFFER’S ANALYSIS

http://ghandchi.com/57-Fanatics.htm

 

 

What is different on SCI (soc.culture.iranian newsgroup) today in contrast to 1994, beside the fact that fanatics are losing their base in Iran itself?

 

I think in the past, the majority of the presence on SCI were people who were *not* really fanatic about supporting IRI, or supporting MKO, or supporting Monarchy, or supporting Baha'i Faith, or supporting Islam, or supporting the West, or supporting Communists, etc.

 

In contrast, my observation now is that the majority of postings are by people, who are fanatically against Islam, or are fanatically pro-IRI hardliners, or are fanatically pro-MKO, etc.

 

I think being in its current conditions, SCI is more like Lebanon, where no fanatic group can control the whole country and they are constantly  competing, but this at the same time does not mean democracy would form. The result will be more of a chaos.

 

In contrast, when a wide-base of non-fanatic presence exists, such as what one sees in the U.S. as a whole, then the existence of small fanatic groups, such as skin heads or Nazis, etc, without the ability to control, cannot determine the life of the group, and democratic environment survives, despite the presence of the fanatics.

 

Of course, the third case is when that wide-base of non-fanatics does not exist, and one fanatic group takes over, then one will neither have chaos nor democracy.  This is what each of the fanatic groups hopes to happen one day, like what Nazis won in Germany, in 30s.

 

For fanatics, it is very hard to even comprehend the ones who are liberal, indifferent, neutral, etc.  For a fanatic Muslim, it is easier to deal with someone who calls himself an atheist, than to talk to a Muslim who says he is not that religious and thinks of religion as a private matter. He likes an atheist, who is as fanatic as him about destroying the religion.

 

Fanatics wish others to be fanatic Jew, Baha'i, whatever, even an atheist would be fine, but are so uncomfortable if they see someone indifferent by their fanatic standards.

 

In the EYES of the fanatics, people who have no holy cause are without backbone and character- a pushover for men of faith.

 

In their half-minds, they prefer to deal with someone who would be an outright atheist than a geej, because the former has made up his/her mind and has one definite fanatic label which these fanatics understand. I will separately post a passage from a book called "The True Believer" which shows my point from analysis of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.

 

Sam Ghandchi

Oct 14, 1998

 

P.S. Below is a  passage from an interesting old short book called "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer (1951).  This book was recommended to me by the late Dr. Karim Sanjabi in 1983, and I recommend it to everyone to read.  It is the result of the experiences of the author with NAZIs and STALINISTs during 30s and 40s.  It is a real great overview of fanaticism.

 

Eric Hoffer writes the following:

 

"... Dostoyevsky puts the following words in Bishop Tihon's

mouth: Outright atheism is more to be respected than worldly

indifference ... the complete atheist stands on the penultimate

step to most perfect faith ... but the indifferent person has no

faith whatever except a bad fear."

 

" All the true believers [fanatics] of our time-whether

Communist, Nazi, Fascist, Japanese or Catholic-declaimed

volubly (and the Communists still do) [i.e.. 1951] on the

decadence of the Western democracies. The burden of their

talk is that in the democracies people are too soft, too pleasure-

loving and too selfish to die for a nation, a God or a holy cause.

This lack of a readiness to die, we are told, is indicative of an

inner rot- a moral and biological decay. The democracies are

old, corrupt and decadent. They are no match for the virile

congregations of the faithful who are about to inherit the Earth."

 

THE TRUE BELIEVER by Eric Hoffer, 1951, P.147

 

 

 

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* The above article was first posted with the subject heading of “Fanatics & SCI”” on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on Oct 14, 1998 .

 

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