FOUR WAYS TO NOT REMAIN A VICTIM OF TERRORISM
“You can’t have a war on terrorism because that’s not an actual enemy, it’s an abstract. It’s like having a war on dandruff. That war will be eternal and pointless. It’s idiotic. That’s not a war, it’s a slogan. It’s a lie. It’s advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented in America. And we use it to sell soap, wars and presidential candidates in the same fashion.” –Gore Vidal
“”Support our troops” and “What about Hitler” aren’t invitations to actually discuss either subject. They’re magic words intended to shut down further discussion, because the “Team Violence” part of our brain reacts to criticism in the exact same way that Muslim extremists react to cartoons mocking Mohammed.” –David Wong
「支持軍隊」, 「希特勒會怎麼做」, 不是真正在廣邀討論, 那只是個魔術語言, 試圖關閉更多討論, 因為群體暴力, 我們頭腦的部分, 以同樣方式回應批評; 就像穆斯林極端分子在回應他們對穆罕默德不敬的卡通
Violence begets terrorism. Terrorism begets war. War begets more terrorism. It really is that simple. But we just can’t seem to help ourselves. We’re a young and fallible species in an otherwise ancient and fine-tuned universe. All too often our animal reflexes kick in and we just want to kick some ass. Our inner-monkey wants to start throwing shit just because it’s upset. Without thinking, we holler “Bomb em’ all!” from the comfort of our La-Z-Boys. It’s too hard to think, so we go with the primitive and outdated default: fight or flight. But this is the immature, lizard part of our brain doing the talking, not the mature seat of consciousness that is trying to make the world a better place.
Sadly, because of the typical lizard-brain reaction, the so-called “war on terror” has actually weakened national security and increased terrorism. Why is this? It’s because violence begets violence begets terrorism begets more terrorism, and round and round we go. Where it stops nobody knows. But if you fill a room with unthinking pissed off monkeys throwing shit, then everything is going to end up covered in shit, or worse. Best to avoid shit altogether. Best to think first and act conscientiously second. Here are four ways to trump our lizard brains and dig out of the hole of terrorism we all seem to have dug ourselves into.
可悲的是，因為蜥蜴般的大腦反應，所謂的對恐怖主義宣戰，只會弱化國土安全，引來恐怖主義。為什麼呢? 因為暴力產生暴力，暴力產生恐怖，恐怖再生恐怖，一直這樣循環下去。到哪裡停？沒人知道。如果你讓猴子把香蕉皮丟滿一個房間，所有事情到最後就是香蕉皮。(原文是寫大便 哈) 為了避免到處是香蕉皮，最好能先想，然後再有意識地行動。這裡有四個方式重整我們的蜥蜴腦。
1.) Simply Stop Participating in Terrorism 只要停止參與恐怖主義
“Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: stop participating in it.” –Noam Chomsky
Easier said than done, I know. Especially when the majority of us live in hyper-violent nation states that xenophobically skirmish over illusory border lines. Ignorant of the disease, we dumbly focus on the symptoms. We thrash about in our nation-secured state-subscribed cribs. We lash out. We flail like whiney babies in a dark room. We cry “terrorism!” not realizing that most of the time we’re just crying wolf. More often than not we don’t even realize what we’re saying. We’re too busy being bombarded by cultural conditioning, political propaganda, and religious banter to even get a thought in edge-wise. Meanwhile, nothing ever gets done about the disease itself. Ignorance and apathy rule while awareness and empathy play second fiddle.
Here’s the thing: People are weak. The toughest among us have transformed their weakness into strength. They didn’t do it by ignoring it or placating it or pitying it, but by embracing it for what it is and building courage on top of it. When it comes down to it, we’re all soft animals in a hard desert. That “hard desert” is the Desert of the Real. Many of us simply can’t handle the down-to-brass-tacks of truth without a buffer. It’s just too damn scary, and we’re just too damn weak. So we need something to lean on: religion; political factions; fill-in-the-blank. We use them like crutches to get us through the hellfire of truth that rains down on us in a harsh and unforgiving universe.
But, and here’s the real kick-in-the-pants, the majority of us are also ignorant to the “hellfire of truth.” Like Noam Chomsky said, “The general population doesn’t even know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.” Which is even more of a reason for the general population to lean on a particular faith, faction, group, or whatever. And that’s just to get through the day without going crazy with fear and trepidation.
I understand that the meaning of Chomsky’s quote was political and not spiritual, but the point is that both ignorance and weakness must be addressed before we ever get to the point to where we can consciously choose to not participate in terrorism.
2.) Practice High Courage Not Submission to Fear 培養高度勇氣不屈服於恐懼
“There’s a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with possession. I think your possession exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.” –William Wallace, Braveheart
The enemy isn’t terrorism. The enemy is our need for revenge, our compulsion toward evening the score. We seem to believe that an eye for an eye is justice. But it’s not. As Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
How does it make the whole world blind? Here’s an example: Let’s say you and I are from different tribes with opposing worldviews. One day we get into a heated debate and I get pissed off and poke out your eye. So you retaliate and poke out my eye. But then I retaliate and poke out your other eye. Now you’re blind and really pissed, but you just get your brother to poke out my other eye. But now I’m blind and really pissed, so I have my brother poke out your brother’s eye. So on and so forth, until both of our tribes are blind. Now apply this to two nations with opposing worldviews (cue Palestinian-Israel armchair quarterbacks), and change the “eye-pokes” to “bombs.” You can see how it won’t be long before the entire world is vengefully “blind.”
That is until somebody, an individual or group of individuals, has the wherewithal to tap into their higher frequency thought processes in order trump their lower frequency knee-jerk reactions. That is to say, until someone has the common decency to tell their lizard brain to shut the hell up. Telling your base, low-frequency, lizard-brained self to shut up and allow the mature, high frequency, evolved-minded self to do the thinking, is true courage. This is tapping into high courage. This is drawing a line in the sand and declaring to the powers that be, the universe, God, other tribes, or whoever else is listening, that you will no longer be a victim of fear, let alone terrorism. That from now on you choose a lifestyle based on high courage and high humor rather than one based on fear and paranoia.
3.) Reinforce Humanity Not Nationalism強化人性面而非民族情結
“If you can find money to kill people you can find money to help people.” –Tony Benn
Contrary to state-driven propaganda, people with different worldviews can coexist. We’ve been doing it since the dawn of humankind. And we’ve actually gotten better at it. Sure, we’ve gone over some horrific speedbumps like the Dark Ages, the Crusades, and WWII, but we’ve actually gotten much better at coexisting. Subtracting the World Trade Center attack, the Paris attacks, and minus a bunch of cowardly douchebags flying drones and dropping bombs on hospitals from comfortable cubicles, the last twenty years haven’t been so bad. It just seems worse because of the internet and the spread of information.
The point is: we’re getting better at coexisting. The challenge is: we need to get even better at it. A lot better. The problem is: nationalism and patriotism have our brains scrambled up into exploitable mush. The other problem is: religion, politics, and racism are still creating divisiveness. The other-other problem is: there are still way too many people acting from lower frequency, lizard-brain, knee-jerk reactions to what they believe; and way too few people acting from higher frequency, evolved-mind, thoughtful interpretation of what they think they perceive. In short: there are way too many people believing, and way too few people thinking. Which comes down to this: there are way too many people who believe they have answers, and way too few people asking better questions. Which breaks down even further to this quote by Paulo Coelho, “A wise person is full of questions. A dull person is full of answers.”
重點是，我們對共同相處的能力，正在變好當中。挑戰是，還要更好。愛國主義，民族主義讓我們的大腦生菇、打結；另一方面，宗教信仰、政治與種族主義，仍然在製造分岐爭端。另外還有一個問題，太多太多人的振動頻率仍然很低、蜥蜴腦。總之: 太多人一股腦相信；太少人真正在思考。帶來的結果：太多人自以為有答案，太少人提出真正的問題。更進一步講: 一個智者充滿疑問，一個笨蛋卻裝滿了答案。
By reinforcing humanity instead of nationalism, we turn the tables on both our lizard brains and the powers that be. By becoming worldly patriots instead of patriotic nationalists, we turn the tables on both xenophobia and apathy and we become more compassionate and empathetic toward others. When we celebrate diversity instead of trying to cram the square peg of cultural affiliation into the round hole of colonialism, we turn the tables on the monkey-mind’s one-dimensional moral tribalism and we usher in Joshua Greene’s multi-dimensional metamorality. Like he says in Moral Tribes, “We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality. We need a moral system that resolves disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests.”
4.) Attack Ideas Not People攻擊那個想法，而非攻擊那個人
“Hate hatred but don’t hate the haters.” –Rob Brezsny
Hate terrorism but don’t hate the terrorists. This is a tough one. Or, at the very least, it’s a double-edged sword. On the one side we have anger and rage verging on wrath, in reaction to terrorists and their plots. On the other side we have love, compassion, and understanding for the hypocrisy of the human condition. Guess which side is functioning from the lower frequency of the lizard brain?
This is not to say that we shouldn’t get angry. We definitely should, and righteously so. And it’s not to say that we should just lower our defenses and offer the bomb-strapped terrorists a warm hug. We definitely should not do that. No. This is to say that we should reinforce love not violence, compassion not blind passion, forgiveness not vengeance. We should seek reform first and annihilation second, defense first and offense second, and we should focus on the disease instead of the symptoms. Because the symptoms will just keep popping up until the disease is cured.
So what exactly is the disease? Quite simply: bad ideas. Which is to say: immoral beliefs. And when it really comes down to it: belief. Full stop.
Like Robert Anton Wilson said, “I regard belief as a form of brain damage, the death of intelligence, the fracture of creativity, the atrophy of imagination.” He seems to be speaking directly to the reptilian mindset here. Do we remain in the lower frequencies, a mere puppet to the lizard brain, close-minded and closed off? Or do we rise up into the higher frequencies and place our lizard brain in check, open-minded and unblocked? Like Gerry Spence said, “I’d rather have a mind open by wonder than one closed by belief.”
我認為「信念是大腦損害的一種形式，是智慧的死亡，是創造力的分裂，想像力的萎縮。」他這段話，似乎直接講給爬蟲動物聽。我們還要繼續活在低頻成為蜥蜴腦的玩偶? 還是我們能提升自我到高頻，觀察自我的蜥蜴腦，打開心胸? 我寧願因為好奇打開自己，也不要因為信念而鎖住自己。
Here’s the thing: belief is easy. It’s thinking that’s difficult. Belief is blinded by “answers.” Intelligence is opened by questions. Belief fractures creativity and attempts to keep everything in a single box. Imaginative thought publicizes creativity and thinks outside the box. Indeed. As Ursula K. Le Guin said, “Belief is a wound that knowledge heals.”
So how do we square this circle? Love, compassion, and understanding. And a shitload of education. But the first step is to attack ideas and ideologies, not people or groups of people. We shouldn’t fight dumb people, we should fight the ideas of dumb people. We shouldn’t fight terrorists, we should fight the ideologies of terrorists. Sure, if terrorists are terrorizing us, we should use every means necessary to dispose of their terrorism. But a war on terror is not the way. Defense against terrorism is the way. And the best defense is love, compassion, understanding, and a shitload of education.
所以我們要怎麼把方形釘子打進圓形洞裡? 愛、慈悲、與理解，與一堆再教育。第一步、如果要攻擊，攻擊那個想法、那個意識、而非那個人、那個團體 。我們不能攻擊笨蛋，但我們能攻擊笨蛋的理念；我們不應該攻擊恐怖分子，我們應該攻擊他們的想法。當然，如果恐怖分子震懾到我們，我們仍要用每一個必要的方法，來擊退他們的恐怖。但還擊恐怖而發起的戰爭，不符合這樣的面貌。抵抗恐怖才是。最好的抵禦武器是愛、慈悲、與理解、與一堆再教育。
Like Guy Harrison said, “Hate the belief, love the believer.” This means striving toward those higher frequencies with all we’ve got, because that’s where forgiveness is. That’s where unconditional love eternally burns its Agape furnaces. From this sacred state we can then do as James Levin advised, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection; from the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” Educate; meditate; repeat. Eventually there will be more thinkers than believers. Then progressive evolution can really begin. And terrorism will just be a disappointing relic of a bygone, lizard-brain way.
About the Author
Gary ‘Z’ McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.