The idea of the hermit is one that has run through cultures for Millennia. The marginalised individual who isolates themself at the extremes of society to live a lonely, introspective existence, often engaged in the pursuit of quiet self-reflection and dignified contemplation. The Extreme was once a place where sound gradually diminished into silence. Not anymore: the modern Extreme is a place where it is necessary to shout extra loud in order to be heard.
Social media has given The Extreme a platform like never before. Whilst 99.9% of human behaviour remains predictably routine and so inherently boring; 0.1% is sufficiently extreme to merit recognition and comment and, more significantly in a social media world, shares. The result: extreme views and behaviour perpetuate; everyday morals and values are suppressed.
Behemoths of social media recognise this; fail to address this; profit from this.
The divisive opinions of The Extreme would once have been censored by a hard-working public, simply engaged on the task of attempting to build a safe and stable society in which to procreate. In a more affluent modern world, which has lost touch with just how prosperous it has become, increased leisure-time has permitted The Extreme to be indulged.
This potentially laudable tolerance of a minority community could be applauded if the distinction between The Mainstream and The Extreme can be maintained. But it cannot. Familiarity does breed contempt. Exposure to The Extreme inevitably lessens its impact to shock. The result? The proliferation of extreme views from the leader of the most powerful democracy on the planet being regarded as mainstream by half of the electorate.
It is often cited that evolution leaps forward due to a ‘happy accident’ occurring at the extremes of society. The mudskipper is a living, breathing example of this. However, it is no ‘happy accident’ happening at the extremes of society today. Social media giants and politicians are manipulating The Extreme for their own short-term profit and advancement.
Take a word of advice from The Mudskipper. My kin didn’t spend aeons of geological time adapting to be able to crawl out onto the land only to discover that it was full of crap.
Extoll the virtues of the everyday and the commonplace. They are the things, which unite us rather than divide us.
© The Mudskipper