People feel alone or lack meaning and purpose in life Show more Show less
Isolation and loneliness can be the leading cause of why people turn to extremism. Extremists have groups and organizations where like-minded people gather, giving lonely people a community and purpose.
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Feeling upset, alone, or lacking meaning and purpose in life
Being emotionally upset after stressful events can lead people to seek out the safety of group thinking. Extremism is a form of group thinking that can make an individual feel more secure.
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Being insecure and unstable in a person's life can lead that individual to make all sorts of rash and impulsive decisions. For example, a study showed that men who felt insecure about their masculinity were much more likely to become violent than men who were secure with themselves.  Extremism gives people a sense of stability and belonging to a community of people who may feel similar to them. Community and group thinking makes people feel more confident in their decisions and leads to more swift and decisive action without taking risks into account, leading to violence.  People who feel upset and alone may find comfort and community through the internet. Online platforms give extremists the ability to disseminate information and recruit other extremists from the comfort of their own homes. The rise of cyber terrorism and online violence has caused concern amongst government officials around the world.
Loneliness is not the root cause of extremism. Extremism is caused by multiple factors and is mostly driven by hate and personal bias, not by internal insecurity. Insecurity is not a strong enough emotion in itself to drive extremism and violence bred from extremism.