We’ve let the mad men win for too long

Not every act we define as heroic is in fact heroic. Subsequently, those we consider our heroes are sometimes nothing but rogue mad men. In fact, with a few exceptions of true heroes, most rebels are unstable individuals expressing their anger and sense of failure outward. Those are the ones who cause chaos and complicate situations rather than find solutions. You cannot expect peace to ever take hold as long as they are in control.

Look around you and notice a steady rise in their number, heightened aggression in their rhetoric, bloodier violence in their approach and more madness in their overall behavior.

If life is a balance between positive and negative or a dance between builder and destroyer, I believe we’ve gone too far towards destruction of late. While most people are somewhere in between, the eccentric – crazy or genius – occupy either end of the spectrum and get most attention because they make noise with their loud expression. Sometimes, one extreme leads to the creation of another. With time, polarization pushes people to take sides, creating a tug of war until the situation reaches a tipping point and one side wins over the other.

Winning does not make heroes either. Nor does it make the winning side right and the losing side wrong. In a world of extremism, fundamentalism and fanaticism, hardly anything even makes sense to the normal person.

The mad men are getting the upper hand because we let them win for a long time. We were quiet under the pretense of nationalism, patriotism, religion, secularism, feminism, freedom, and many other slogans

Octavia Nasr

We live in a world of shifting energies. The mad men are getting the upper hand because we let them win for a long time. We were quiet under the pretense of nationalism, patriotism, religion, secularism, feminism, freedom, and many other slogans.

Wars were fought in our name and we were quiet. Lies were made to our face and we pretended to believe them as the truth. People are killed every day in the name of God, party, militia, president, cleric, a book, a land, border, occupation or freedom.

A thin line separates madness from genius. A hair separates heroism from cowardice. A breath makes the difference between life and death. It is that simple, yet very complicated.

Today, everyone wants to be right all the time about everything everywhere. That is extremely unnatural; yet, we are allowing this fanatic idea to become our reality.

Doing the right thing means admitting first where we have been wrong. We then must change things ourselves if we want anything to change at all!

This article was first published in al-Nahar on March 24, 2014.

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Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.
 

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