I am taking part in this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge. As a new blogger, I would really welcome feedback. This is my submission for F ...
Despite one being the diminutive form of the other, there is a critical difference between the two words. The dictionary describes a fan is as being 'an enthusiastic follower or admirer' whereas a fanatic is dubbed as having 'an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal.'
Now, like most of the population, I have described myself as an fan in the past - an ardent fan even. My particular fan experience is rugby. I support a team called Harlequins who are famed for wearing a very bright and multi-coloured shirt (not the one in the picture btw). When watching a game with just the single eye, we harlequins fans talk of ourselves as wearing multi-coloured glasses. By that simple fact, we are acknowledging that our judgement is probably somewhat biaised by our particular preference. _But I have never felt there was any danger of our tipping into the world of zealotry. I would be naive to suggest that no fans behave in a fanatical manner, but I've always believed them to be a small - if decidedly frightening - minority. But using a word as mild or as reasonable as 'fan' to describe a fanatic is so far off beam as to make one wonder how the words could ever have been connected.
I've no idea what it says of the world currently that zealotry and fanaticism have largely come to be used as descriptive words for extremes of any type of religious belief. In my lifetime, there have been two prime examples: the IRA - the zealots of catholicism, as ISIS are the current zealots of the muslim faith. My fervent hope is that social scientists and historians are working hard studying all examples of zealotry to establish the commonality, for surely there is one. Whenever zealotry has turned to violence, a pattern has emerged. Those violent individuals feel disconnected from society at large. They feel ignored, disadvantaged, ill-treated. I heard one commentator saying - in a somewhat smug tone - that they are the losers, the unpopular kids who grew up and stayed unpopular. I absolutely cringed ...
I'm not one for political correctness, but I do believe in inclusivism and understanding. Until the only thing we have to worry about is an extreme form of buddhism, surely we need to be working harder on these aspects in our society?
What are you a fan of? Do you hold views on fanaticism you'd like to share?