This page lists references to ideas surrounding the term "radical" or "radicalization."
The term radical is from the Latin "radix" which means root. This multifaceted term is often used to describe efforts to achieve dramatic change in society by manipulating the foundations of society or by manipulating the rational style of society, i.e., the way people think.
The term "radicalization" is often spoken with negative connotations. For example, there are efforts to label the elements in the Middle East who who seek to transform the world through terrorism as "Radical Islam."
The term is not always spoken with negative connotations. There is a large number of people who wish to play the role of agent for change. Such people would proudly wear the label radical.
The term can be used in an objective sense as well. For example, the discovery of America radically changed the view people had of the world.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
"Radical" is a multifaceted term. To avoid the negative aspects of radicalization, it is worthwhile to draw a distinction between the good and bad aspects of the term radical.
There are many cases in history where radical change was positive. One could argue that any time radical change results in the improvement of society, then it is good. However, such a definition is dependent on hindsight or blind trust in the radicals.
IMHO, The good approach to radical change is to examine the foundations of reason as is done in Plus Root Theory.
The negative path to radicalization is to blindly cut at the roots of a society in some nebulous call for change. A nebulus call for change might result in something better, but is a shot in the dark.
The worst form of radicalization is a thing I call "Foundational Dialectics." In foundational dialectics, the intelligentsia injects paradox or conflict into the root of a system of thinking.
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- How Radicalization Works (added 2008-05-19 by kd) I make the argument that radicalization changes a system at a subliminal level and that a statement of the form "radicalization takes over" a group is not a generalization.
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