How our own collective irrational responses, dictated by tribal traits embedded in our human nature, aid and abet terrorists in their aims
Editorial by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD, DLFAPA
The amazing fact is hiding in plain sight, and yet we have ignored it completely! A minuscule number of murderous fanatics insure their success by recruiting our own irrational tribal traits.
They manage to play havoc to our societies and they are doing it with our help! Think of it; please, rationally this time. One or two fanatics kill a number of our fellow citizens. We react with sadness and compassion as expected, like we do when we witness a deadly tragic automobile accident.
But then, irrational reactions are setting in: prolonged fear, rage, avoiding public places, the flaring up of incipient in all of us xenophobia, demand for stringent measures — the later endangering our civil liberties. We also become “paranoid” of fellow humans with odd dress or huts! Just what the one or two terrorists are hoping for, and we fall for it. We do that thoughtlessly and reflexively by setting aside rationality and facts.
Here are the facts: In the USA, 40,000 individuals die yearly in automobile accidents. In addition, there occur 40,000 deaths due to gun-related events. Significantly during the year, just 200 die due to terrorists acts in a population of 330,000,000! The arithmetic is similar for all the western democracies. The chance of being killed by lightening is many times greater than by a terrorist act.
Our governing leaders themselves become victims of tribal reaction — mobilizing hundreds of police officers, and vowing revenge, they increase massive surveillance of all citizens.
Some of the leaders do it cynically for power or gain. They often, specifically, fan the flames of tribal incipient xenophobia and irrational fears. They proclaim imminent catastrophes or invasion of marauding thirsty killers. They invariably promise retaliation by bombing the enemy, building thousands of miles wall or banning “those people” in this case people of Islamic faith — who comprise one billion eight hundred million people worldwide, while the terrorists claiming same faith — albeit distorted to suit their fanaticism — are only a few thousand!
It is like after the racist killer in South Carolina who killed nine innocent people, we declare as a result that all white people in the USA are potential killers!
Humans have done it many times before. We should know all that and resist our irrational reactions, including the on-and-on blaring of the tragic event over-and-over again by the news media. It is all like a sad ritual. We end up ironically, but tragically, accommodating the few fanatics in accomplishing their aims.
Here what the few terrorists with their rare and sporadic murderous acts have already accomplished by the resultant rise of pathological xenophobia and widespread fear which were also promoted by the influx of immigrants especially in Europe:
- The decision for Br-exit in England which if actually take place it will almost surely bring economic havoc to their country.
- The rise of extreme nationalist leaders in France and other European states, backed by a significant portion of population.
- Pressure on the current German leader, who is intelligent rational, humane and with foresight as she is trying to remedy the lopsided demographic curve there, by welcoming much needed young people to support the aging population.
- The collapse of the Tourism in Egypt and Turkey.
- The accumulation of unwarranted power by the leaders in these two countries.
In addition, they perhaps aided the election of a self-declared nationalist as president in our country whose proclaimed aims in governing, if unmodified may bring havoc to the country and the rest of the world due to the importance of our country (but who also and fortunately besides being intelligent appears flexible and pragmatic).
Leaders should be made to point out these facts abating irrationality for their people.
But then as Schiller said, “Against foolishness even gods will contend in vain.”
Copyright © 2016 by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD
For more information on Dr. Pediaditakis and his Raleigh NC mental health clinic, visit his Facebook page.
Dr. Nicholas’ blog may be read at chroniclersofthesoul.com.
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