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NoME Part Three: Chapter 7: Session 850, May 2, 1979 6/38 (16%) idealists idealism kill shalt Thou
– The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events
– Part Three: People Who Are Frightened of Themselves
– Chapter 7: The Good, the Bad, and the Catastrophic. Jonestown, Harrisburg, and When Is an Idealist a Fanatic?
– Session 850, May 2, 1979 9:49 P.M. Wednesday

[... 13 paragraphs ...]

(10:14.) Fanatics are inverted idealists. Usually they are vague grandiose dreamers, whose plans almost completely ignore the full dimensions of normal living. They are unfulfilled idealists who are not content to express idealism in steps, one at a time, or indeed to wait for the practical workings of active expression. They demand immediate action. They want to make the world over in their own images (louder). They cannot bear the expression of tolerance or opposing ideas. They are the most self-righteous of the self-righteous, and they will sacrifice almost anything — their own lives or the lives of others. They will justify almost any crime for the pursuit of those ends.

[... 10 paragraphs ...]

Idealism also presupposes “the good” as opposed to “the bad,” so how can the pursuit of “the good” often lead to the expression of “the bad?” For that, we will have to look further.

There is one commandment above all, in practical terms — a Christian commandment that can be used as a yardstick. It is good because it is something you can understand practically: “Thou shalt not kill.” That is clear enough. Under most conditions you know when you have killed. That [commandment] is a much better road to follow, for example than: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” for many of you do not love yourselves to begin with, and can scarcely love your neighbor as well. The idea is that if you love your neighbor you will not treat him poorly, much less kill him — but the commandment: “Thou shalt not kill,” says you shall not kill your neighbor no matter how you feel about him. So let us say in a new commandment: “Thou shalt not kill even in the pursuit of your ideals.”2

What does that mean? In practical terms it would mean that you would not wage war for the sake of peace. It would mean that you did not kill animals in experiments, taking their lives in order to protect the sacredness of human life. That would be a prime directive: “Thou shalt not kill even in the pursuit of your ideals” — for man has killed for the sake of his ideals as much as he has ever killed for greed, or lust, or even the pursuit of power on its own merits.

You are a fanatic if you consider (underlined) possible killing for the pursuit of your ideal. For example, your ideal may be — for ideals differ — the production of endless energy for the uses of mankind, and you may believe so fervently in that ideal — this added convenience to life — that you considered the hypothetical possibility of that convenience being achieved at the risk of losing some lives along the way. That is fanaticism.

(10:53.) It means that you are not willing to take the actual steps in physical reality to achieve the ideal, but that you believe that the end justifies the means: “Certainly some lives may be lost along the way, but overall, mankind will benefit.” That is the usual argument. The sacredness of life cannot be sacrificed for life’s convenience, or the quality of life itself will suffer. In the same manner, say, the ideal is to protect human life, and in the pursuit of that ideal you give generations of various animals deadly diseases, and sacrifice their lives.3 Your justification may be that people have souls and animals do not, or that the quality of life is less in the animals, but regardless of those arguments this is fanaticism — and the quality of human life itself suffers as a result, for those who sacrifice any kind of life along the way lose some respect for all life, human life included. The ends do not justify the means (all very emphatically).

[... 8 paragraphs ...]

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