Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Robbing Jihadists of their Agency, denying them their shadow

Theories of causation and causality are everywhere, and no model of the universe is complex enough to describe ever fluid and ever changing reality. Most things have multiple causes, and its very hard to untangle them, as everything is causing and being caused simultaneously. The many attempts to link expressions of a carefully nurtured Islamic resentment* to Western violence in Islamic countries (for eg. the coalition's invasion of Iraq) may be part of the picture, but at the heart of this linkage is the "principle of false causation" - the false assumption that anyone can create hatred or love in the heart of another human being. Eleanor Roosevelt said it this way: "no one can humiliate you without your permission."

Large swathers of the Islamic world are characterised by a collective sense of inferiority re "the West", and a sense of resentment which is rarely challenged or called into question. Like "the West", the "Islamic world" is not so keen on owning its own shadow, its murderous underbelly, its aggression, its self justification. It prefers to see the evil in some other, rather than emenating from its own lack of integration and inherent contradictions.

While I personally lean towards the understanding that ultimately there is only One doer, and human beings do not have agency, in the maya of this world if we attribute agency to some human beings we "must" attribute agency to all of them. So paternalistic reverse prejudice attempts to deny the terrorists agency and explain that their resentment was 'caused" by some actor who does have agency - "the naughty West" - are discrimatory, infantilising, and do not allow people to take ownership of how they are thinking, and what they are creating or destroying. (You do acknowledge that "the system" seems to have a life of its own which makes us all victims of the momentum of the way things are).

Faisal al Mutar says it better - and more humerously - below:"

* Examples: Palestinians running over 75 year old school principles, or detonating bombs packed with nails and bolts in packed eateries in Israel, or Islamic supremacists mowing down randomly selected people in Kenya or Nigeria or Iraq or Paris or Lebanon. 


Menachem Mevashir said...

Are you the same person as Richard Suttner who studied at Ohr Samayach in Jerusalem in the early 1980s?

I received an email from someone in South Africa that mentions your book Cutting Through the Mountain: Interviews with South African Activists.

I'd like to forward it to you if you can write to me at:

Michael (Menachem) Korn

My photo is here to remind you of who I am:

Menachem Mevashir said...

It's by a person named From: Jason Collett
Sent: 31 May 2006 11:25 AM
Edom and Communism: the South African experience

Mano said...

Hi Menachem

Yes I am he