Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mind of Terror

Who would blow up two buildings killing himself, his friends and regular people?

I have given some thought to this question. Part of me says "a crazy person, that's who." How can you define crazy? This is one reason I think the insanity defense is insane. By definition, you are not mentally sound when you feel angry, wronged, desperate, whatever enough to snuff someone else's life force. (For the foggy-headed out there, I DO NOT put this in the same catagory as a soldier defending his life and the lives of others by ending someone elses. Two different things. Two different motives. That some soldiers like that part of the job a little too much--now that is crazy, too.)

So, the homocide bombers (if they are successful) are insane. Let's just accept that premise. But they are insane in a very methodical, diabolical way and that is what is so unnerving. Their "sacrifice" is planned days, months and sometimes years in advance. Do they know of their demise? Or are they given the game plan at the last minute to avoid the probable "what the hell was I thinking?" problem.

Let's just assume they have time to reconsider, because this prospect is more likely and more interesting. Here are my thoughts:
  1. They're young. You notice that they haven't recovered the blown-off head of a 60 year-old professor. Why? It takes a certain naivite to buy the ideology of a cult and Al Qaeda is a cult. Read the list of traits and you'll see. Most cults are made up of YOUNG idealists looking for black and white meaning and answers to their life.
  2. They're educated. This seems counter-intuitive, right? Why would terrorists be educated and have money and therefore, have something to lose? This is NOT what they believe. See, they believe that their mission is a way to gain for the whole. With their narrowed view of life as part of a cult they have little historical or sociological perspective that time on this earth and broader understanding gives you. That is not to say they are stupid, just to say that their information is NARROW. An ignorant person wastes few hours of his day pondering his existence, little less his fellow Arab's existence. But an educated, frustrated young person, has had it up to here with the impoverished, desperate state of the majority of his or her people. Something MUST BE DONE. In the cult member's idealism and inflated sense of self (mantra: you are God's special tool, you can make a difference for Allah, you alone are an Ambassador for the TRUTH and the TRUTH must be shared and Allah must be avenged--you get the picture), the individual's purpose blends with the groups and it ALL MAKES SENSE for the first time. "My life finally has meaning," he says to himself as he slides toward doom.
  3. They are angryat God. Many people attach themselves to absolutist systems in response to the age-old "life is not fair." And life is not fair, so for the Timothy McVeighs and Osamas of the world the obvious answer? Get mad at God. Since He doesn't make himself immediately available, the next best thing to destroy? The symbolic: the most powerful authority figure in the world who they feel needs to be punished. Now here is the interesting thing: these clowns do their evil business in the name of God. In fact, they believe they are doing God's work. Which brings us to...
  4. Their arrogance knows no bounds. It takes a fair amount of chutzpuh (sorry to use the Yiddish and further offend the infidel-hating among us) to believe that your hand is the hammer for God, but that doesn't stop these people. Christian scriptures like, "vengeance is mine saith the Lord" doesn't make a dent in it. The Islamofascists have more inciteful (rather than insightful) scriptures to rely on, so the terror is "justified". I'm not saying that self-proclaimed Christians haven't "twisted the word to their own destruction" as the Apostle Peter says, they have. But they have had to twist the scripture. Anyway, the unifying theme here is that to believe that you are God's paddle requires a bit of hubris and these guys possess a lot of it as only a 20 year old idealistic guy can.
The terrorists, like all cult members, feed themselves with bile, exclude themselves from society that they believe they are better than, and possess a long nihilistic streak. This wouldn't be so unusual, in fact, I don't think it is at all unusual except for this small problem: they die before they can grow up.

Lots of young people attach themselves to weird groups. PETA is made up of young, angry, idealistic, intelligent and arrogant people. Eventually, these kids will grow up, get married, have families, get jobs, and become part of the establishment while still voting for the Green Party, but what can you do?

The key is to grow up, mature and gain more of a world view. Some view that as "abandoning your ideals". Bull.

The most mature people realize that the most difficult transformation isn't cultural it's personal. You can spend copious amounts of energy trying to change the world but the most difficult conquering isn't what Napolean did or what Osama is trying to do, the most challenging state to conquer is our own.

You must be the change you want to be in the world.
Mahatma Ghandi

To distract from that messy, difficult job, why not try to save the world by destroying it? Makes sense in a completely insane kind of way.
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