Fanatics don’t hold opinions – their opinions hold them
We sometimes find some people irrationally attached to their opinions – attached to the point of being fanatical. Their behavior may make us wonder: “What makes people fanatical?”
Fanaticism usually arises from fragmented understanding and, more fundamentally, a fragmented way of arriving at understanding. Normally, we form opinions based on the information we have and the reasoning we do thereof. Subsequently, if we are presented with additional information or better reasoning, we revise our opinions accordingly.
Some people, however, form an opinion based on partial information and some half-baked reasoning. And then, they invest their emotion, their ego and their very existence into defending that opinion. Such obsession with one conception is characteristic of knowledge in the mode of ignorance (Bhagavad-gita 18.22). Therein, people don’t see the whole picture – they see only one thing and equate it with everything. When they become so consumed by that opinion, they no longer hold that opinion; it holds them. Giving up that opinion seems to them as painful as death, and they fight to hold it as if they were fighting for their life.
Still, even if we feel that some people are fanatical, we don’t have to become judgmental towards them. We all are at various levels in our multi-life journey of spiritual evolution. According to our level, we think in particular ways. Who knows, we ourselves may be fanatical in some ways.
We all can expand our conceptions by studying the Bhagavad-gita. Its insights become our inner torchlight for refining both the opinions we ourselves hold and the disposition we bring into our interactions with others. Thereby, we understand that reality is much bigger than our conception of reality and that we can grow much more by improving our disposition to learn and contribute than by proving our position as learned and correct.
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