Thursday, 13 July 2017

Understanding the minds and motivations of the Jihadist bombers

'I have been made victorious with terror!'


I wrote this original analysis of terrorism as a contagious mental illness  four years ago.   The situation has continued to deteriorate since then, with the attacks becoming ever more frequent, and the latest one specifically targeting children, leaving little girls killed, maimed, mutilated and disfigured for life, with faces ripped apart by shrapnel deliberately added to the bomb for that purpose.  Ever since the Beslan attack, the jihadists have been particularly keen to murder and maim infidel children. with more attacks planned for the future.   (For an explanation of the jihadist attitude to child murder/abuse/rape read this)

Saffie Roussos, youngest victim of Jihadist human sacrifice

The well-intentioned but dangerous delusion of the 'Religion of Peace'
It is dangerous and deluded wishful thinking, no matter how well-intentioned,  to claim that every major world religion, including Jihadism,  advocates peace, love and compassion at the heart of its teachings, and that all violent manifestations are a corruption of the original faith. 

- It is wishful thinking, because we 'kuffars', as they call us, are vainly wishing that all the jihadists, and their supporters and enablers, are mistaken about the true nature of their faith. 

- It is deluded, because half-an-hour's investigation of the teachings of Jihadism, the character of its founder, and the history of its expansion, will demonstrate that the jihadists are correct. The ideology is indeed powered by hatred, intolerance, ignorance and aggression  Jihadism is an arrogant, expansionist, totalitarian and supremacist faith, commanded to world domination. It always has been and always will be.

- And it is dangerous wishful thinking, similar to the well-intentioned 1930's propaganda that the Nazis wanted 'Peace in our time', which lulled the civilised world into complacency, and allowed the forces of evil to gather strength. Hitler could have been stopped much earlier, and with far less bloodshed, if the appeasers had not deluded themselves, and most of the gullible public, about the true nature of his ideology.  

Malware of the Mind
Perhaps if we were to reclassify jihadism from being a religion, to being a contagious form of insanity, we might find better ways of dealing with it.  Maybe if we regarded jihadism as a public health problem, we could use some of the epidemiological approaches to eradicating it that have been so successful against other contagious scourges of humanity, such as smallpox and polio. 

Using the public health analogy, we could employ immunization. We could deliberately spread the metameme (a meme about memes) to give immunity to more pernicious supremacist memes by stimulating critical thinking in would-be jihadists, much like the harmless cowpox virus can block out the lethal smallpox virus by stimulating the immune system.

The mental infection of jihadism is transmitted by a collection of memes (mind-viruses), which when they come together in an organized, mutually-reinforcing system such as religious supremacism are known as a memeplex.  A malignant memeplex takes over the normal mental processes of its host, just like a virus takes over the normal biochemical processes of the body to ensure its own reproduction and spread, even if it means destroying its host in the process.

As Nobel-prize winning author V.S. Naipaul pointed out, hatred of kuffars is the pivot of supremacist existence, and this is the central meme around which all the other components of the jihadist memeplex revolve.   The hatred is so psychopathically intense that the host will destroy himself in order to further the purposes of the memes.  

Jihadism, like Nazism, is what political scientists classify as an 'otherising' ideology. Both Nazism and Jihadism derive their energy from dividing the world into them versus us. For Nazism this conflict is Untermenschen versus Ubermenschen, for Jihadism it is Kuffars versus Ummah. Despite the differences in terminology, the results are very much the same.  This divisiveness leads to the classical liberal dilemma of tolerance of the intolerant, or how do you avoid otherising people who insist on otherising you from themselves?

This isn't to say that all supremacists (and especially heretics such as Ahmadiyyas and Sufis) automatically hate us. It's just that 'Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them' is the pivotal commandment of the Koran, with the phrase 'wherever you find them' presumably including children's concerts.   The jihadist hostility towards kuffars is obsessive, about one third of the Koran consists of fulminations against unbelievers!

So the devout supremacist will always have this genocidal commandment ticking away at the back of his mind, ready to explode into Sudden Jihad Syndrome as soon as he becomes mentally unstable.   

For mentally unstable people who have been brought up in Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or Hindu cultures, the internalized commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' may have a restraining influence.    But for the mentally disturbed supremacist, the commandment 'Thou shalt kill!' has the opposite effect. 

This seething hatred of all infidels, whether men, women or children, provides much of the motivation and justification for the jihadist rape gangs and pedophile networks who harass women and girls in Europe's cities. As with the caliphate, the relevant verses in the Koran and hadiths are quoted to justify their sadisticly depraved and perverted lusts, but that's another story.

From the Buddhist point of view, jihadists such as the Manchester bombers deserve compassion just as much as their victims, for their lives are also being ruined by this contagious viral memeplex of self-reinforcing delusions. A rabid dog suffers from the rabies virus just as much as the people he bites. 

And perhaps Buddhism might offer some hope of treatment for potential jihadists. It may be possible to use Buddhist meditation techniques to cut through delusions and weed out malignant memes even after they have become established ( more here)

And finally, another intellectual weapon against the ideology of jihadism is the theory of evolution itself (from which memetics and the metameme derive).  Jihadism is incompatible with evolution. If evolution is true then the Koran is false, and consequently all its incitements to violence are revealed as nothing but the rantings and ravings of a psychopath, rather than the commandments of God.   

Of course evolution is no threat to Buddhism, though Darwinism does raise some interesting questions about what experiences our body censors from our mind. 

See also Malignant memes, memeplexes and the metameme.