Monday, July 25, 2016

RELIGION, POLITICS AND PSYCHOPATHS -1

Are suicide attacks to end in the foreseeable future?
More than a century ago, we also had decades of assassinations and bomb explosions. People doing that were not called terrorists, but anarchists. They were more politically inspired than religiously. How did this this spate of anarchist bombings and shootings end?

By the First World War. A new World War may do the same. Not a perspective to look forward to. A remedy far worse than the present ill - and nobody can guarantee that this remedy will work.

The Second World War had its own unimaginable terrorism in the wanton killing, enslaving and raping of civilians, in the industrial scale of forced prostitution, in large-scale torture and cannibalism - and in persecuting and eradicating whole categories of people and whole peoples like the Jews.

And now we have religious terrorism, largely Islamic. Pitirim Sorokin already pointed out that civil wars are more cruel than regular wars and that religious wars are the most cruel of all. Why?

Religion is about the more-than-human, transcending our ordinary day-to-day existence. Religion is a booster. It makes broad-minded people more broad-minded, it makes narrow-minded people more narrow-minded. It attracts people of good-will, noble, spiritual.

It also attracts psychopaths.

The inhuman finds a natural hiding place in the superhuman.

In Europe, Christianity was at its zenith when the only place for smart and decent people was the monastery. Because the crude people had taken over. When slowly cities started to develop and competent people could flourish in commerce and administration, the average level of entrants in the religious life diminished. Till slowly the petty-minded again became dominant there.
The Islamic culture at its heyday was much more civilized than the Christian culture. The Crusades were mainly an invasion of barbarians into a reasonably developed society. And those barbarians were incredibly cruel. One priest wrote home that God rejoiced in heaven, because the blood of men, women and children flowed till the ankles of the victorious knights.

When an enlightened society is religious, the religion is enlightened and adds to its enlightenment. When a dark, crude society is religious, the religion adds to its cruelty and darkness.

Should Islamic people and Islamic institutions distance themselves explicitly from Islamic terrorism? I think they should. Maybe they should do even more: seek the terrorists out. Because it is their religion that is poisoned. Also: Islamic terrorists kill more Muslims than non-Muslims.
It is like communists who had the deepest revulsion not for the capitalists, but for the socialists who got it wrong. False friends and supposedly false friends are more dangerous than enemies. especially when outsiders hardly see the difference. That is why Erdogan is more bent on destroying the G├╝lenists than the secularists. Or the Kurds. History is boringly repetitious, almost anywhere, almost anytime.

Blowing yourself up and kill as many people as possible is the ultimate manifestation of making a difference, of overpowering others. It is a reaction to impotence, deep frustration, personal insignificance. Religion gives an extra glow. And it over-shouts the fear of death even psychopaths still have lurking somewhere.

There is one thing unrelated to religion, that facilitates people to go on a killing spree: recent well-publicized killing sprees. Unfortunately, me-too and religion are not mutually exclusive.

Expect more of all this for quite some time to come. Unless some nuclear blasts destroy millions of lives. This time most probably in Asia.

The dark mind poison that manifests itself in suicide bomb attacks and other mass killings, and spread itself through them, won't go away because we desperately want it. And certainly it won't go away by sending good vibes of love and noble spirituality. Pumping up hope is just delaying despair. That may even grow in the meantime.

Cui bono? Who benefits? As always: the psychopaths. Fortunately, they all die. Unfortunately, few of them by suicide. We have to defuse them, starve them or kill them. without becoming psychopaths ourselves. There is no way to do that outside political and military machinery. Two worlds that contain their own psychopaths. So it takes a generous supply of prudence - and good-luck - to apply that machinery effectively.  Machiavelli hs wrestled with this problem extensively. I will come back to that in a next blog.
The only fundamental approach is to discourage the making of new psychopaths. That long-time perspective may be food for one more blog.

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