Fan time 2023/10/18 | Excelsior
Horror is being experienced these days in Israel, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These are fanatic times. The extremists are imposing their conditions. From one side and the other, hatred feeds on itself. The wisdom of the center has been lost. The radicals are winning.
Amos Oz He has been, perhaps, the most important writer in Israel. Unfortunately he has already passed away, because today this voice of one of the figures with the greatest intellectual weight in the Jewish State is missed. Since the sixties of the last century he became one of the most prominent figures in favor of peace with the Arabs, including, of course, the Palestinians.
For Ozthe Arab-Israeli conflict was, in essence, a territorial dispute that, unfortunately, had become a battle where fanatics on both sides prevented any attempt at recognition and reconciliation.
Beyond this Middle East conflict, Ozin a fantastic essay titled Against fanaticismgives us a very accurate portrait of what a fan is.
In these dark days in his beloved Israel, it is well worth remembering:
“The seed of fanaticism always sprouts when adopting an attitude of moral superiority that prevents reaching an agreement.”
“All fans feel an attraction, a special taste for what kitsch. Very often, the fanatic can only count to one, since two is too big a number for him or her. At the same time, we will discover that fans are often hopelessly sentimental.”
“Conformity and uniformity, the urge to 'belong' and the desire to make everyone else 'belong to', may well constitute the most widespread, although not the most dangerous, forms of fanaticism.”
“Having said that conformity and uniformity are moderate but widespread forms of fanaticism, I have to add that, frequently, the cult of personality, the idealization of political or religious leaders, the adoration of seductive individuals, may well constitute other widespread forms of fanaticism.”
“I believe that the essence of fanaticism lies in the desire to force others to change.”
“The fan is a great altruist. Often, he is more interested in others than himself. He wants to save your soul, redeem you.”
“The fanatic is more interested in the other than in himself for the very simple reason that he has a rather meager self or no self at all.”
“In the end, the fanatic is never happier or more satisfied, whether he dies or becomes a jester.”
“I have never seen a fan with a sense of humor in my life.”
“Fans are often very sarcastic and some have very clever sarcasm, but no humor. Having a sense of humor implies the ability to laugh at yourself.”
“Fanaticism begins at home.”
“As far as a sense of humor is concerned, imagining the other, recognizing the peninsula that exists in each of us, can constitute at least a partial defense against the fanatical gene that we all carry inside.”
In his essay, Oz argues that imagination, literature and humor are quite effective antidotes to fanaticism.
That is what the essay by the Israeli writer is about, which not only offers a magnificent portrait of the fanatic, but also solutions to this problem. I highly recommend reading this essay, a small book published by the Siruela publishing house, now that fanaticism, unfortunately, continues to prevail in so many regions of the world, not to mention the Middle East.
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