A terrorist is made not born. No new-born baby comes from the womb with the desire to kill innocent people and create terror in a population. It is the programming of a system of beliefs, or ideology, into the subconscious of that child that forms the mind of a terrorist, and all ideologies have that horrible potential. The danger of believing is hardly understood, because we have been conditioned to accept that it is a good thing, but it rarely is. In fact, all belief systems are potentially deadly, especially in the new world we are now living in that requires nations to live with evaporating borders and in tight relationships in which our mutual survival is determined.
We can all see how fast our world is getting smaller, how quickly we are becoming a global community, like it or not. Blending a family isn’t easy, because the most critical piece of putting together a blended family or global community is our personal belief systems and how they affect our relationships with individuals and nations.
Belief systems are such an integral part of who we are that they are barely visible on the conscious level. Every belief system is alwaysconnected to some degree of emotion. Because of this, every belief system contains the seed of violence. There is no such thing as an innocuous one, just as there is no such thing as an innocuous gun or can of gasoline. Under the right circumstances, they can all destroy.
What are beliefs, and how do they affect ones mind?
1) A belief is the acceptance of someone or something solely based on the word of another who is seen as
having more authority.
2) A belief system is a cohesive, fixed set of beliefs that has a life of its own within a group and gives life to
3) A belief system is not based on proven fact otherwise it would be
considered knowledge; and so, by its very nature, it must be systematically defended and protected.
5) A belief system, at best, can only tolerate non-believers, because to do
more would jeopardize its own integrity and existence.
6) By its nature, then, any belief system is potentially divisive and volatile.
Religions, nations, and other ideologies have very different systems of beliefs that guide and govern their daily live and have often clashed with each other throughout recorded history. Because of this, the possibility that the peoples of the earth can actually develop a working relationship in the intimacy of the small space in which we are increasingly finding ourselves is very limited without a fundamental change in how we view our beliefs.
The news has been dominated for a week now with the horrific slaughter of soldiers by one of their own, and on their on soil. The evidence is increasingly pointing to the distinct possibility that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the accused Fort Hood gunman, acted out of some kind of religious motive, either because he was defending his religion, or because he was bullied because of his religion. Here is clear evidence of the deep-seated addictive force of beliefs in even the most highly-educated and highly-trained in our society, and this is only one of an increasing number of terrible examples.
Beliefs have developed from what is commonly viewed as the necessity of parental control to protect children in their early development. The human infant is the most vulnerable of mammals and must be protected for an exceedingly long time before it can defend itself. So, societies have developed systems of beliefs designed to guard and protect their young. Unfortunately, these systems are generally not replace with the self-confidence of knowing that every individual has a self-actualizing ability capable of guiding and protecting itself. From birth, children are systematically focused outside of themselves to seek experts for answers instead of helping them understand that they have their own. What happens is that individuals reach physical maturity without emotional maturity, and so continue to seek the guidance of outside authority which is commonly found in organized religion or government.
The basis, then, of all belief systems is psychological fear, the fundamental, subconscious fear that one is fundamentally ignorant and cannot know what is for ones best interest. So, vast numbers of people continue to look outside of themselves for authority figures and a community of like-minded individuals bond together by a system of beliefs, that make them feel secure and safe. It is also this fear that demands that a group’s belief system be defended even to death, if need be, because without their ideology its very existence would be threatened. So, we have the examples of the martyrs and all the many religious wars throughout human history. One of those wars, first fought in the tenth century, is still being waged today only with modern, devastating weapons and with possible unimaginable consequence for our global family.
Ideologies are not needed by balanced, integrated, emotionally free individuals who know who they truly are and what they are really capable of. These people are the ones who know that every precise answer they will ever need in their lives is already within them exactly when they need it. They know that they can protect themselves from danger and provide for their basic needs and more. They have no need to convince others to believe as they do, because they have no ideology to promote. They are capable of free and open relationships because they have nothing to defend. They live lives free of fear and the dangerous and demoralizing prejudice that, by its very nature, is part of every ideology.
The good news is that there are ways to release ourselves from damaging beliefs and stand together as emotionally mature adults who are ready to mobilize our common resources and stand by each other to protect and defend. This kind of world is in our future if those of us who are here now begin the process of cleansing our minds and teaching our children how to use the natural wisdom within them.
Copyrighted 2009, Stephen G. Scalese