On Bringing Sanity to an Insane World
Formulating a valid, clinical diagnosis
Before beginning treatment, a careful diagnosis is usually in order. In clinical psychology, it is considered unethical to diagnose a patient without direct interaction and careful observation. So let's look at the evidence that is produced by careful observation and interaction with modern, industrialized human society. As you will see, the inevitable conclusion is that, despite pockets of sanity and healthy functioning, the human world is fundamentally insane. The evidence is depressingly overwhelming and undeniable. While we present some of it here, the most alarming indication of the profound sickness afflicting humanity is that most people can read the following and essentially ignore it. This is one of the fundamental features of insanity, a delusion, or a hallucination: The patient does not know that he is sick and insists that the way he experiences the world and organizes his life is OK. After you have read the following, if it makes sense to you, try to answer this question: How can I turn back to participate in a world that ignores its own major, fundamental illness—even if I don't know what to do about it? And if we do essentially ignore the horrible truth we see, what does that say about us (and our world)?
We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
The only legitimate, acceptable reason to label people "insane" or to hospitalize people against their will is when "they pose an imminent danger to themselves or others." Since there is no mental hospital large enough for humanity, we have devised a version of outpatient treatment (see The Way of Yo). Time is short. Damage will occur despite our best efforts. Our hope is that we can administer an ameliorative intervention before the damage makes all past human horrors look like a picnic in the park.
The evidence for our diagnosis
The Holocaust of WWII and the genocides since then (Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur, the Sudan, etc.) that show that humanity has learned nothing. The only thing unique about the Nazi Holocaust was that it was highly organized in a technologically advanced culture, i.e., it was more "efficient," and it was carried out by a country with substantial military might.
Based on religious fantasies, the gravest threat to the world—overpopulation—is systematically ignored, as people are encouraged to produce more children than they can possibly support and they are actively prevented from having access to birth control and information about family planning.
The life sustaining biosphere of our planet is being stressed to its limits to carry the current "human load." Even under this load, the necessary resources are unavailable to impoverished billions. This, despite the fact that we are raping our mother earth and doing irrevocable damage to the ecosystem that we depend on to sustain our lives. We continue to refuse to face the environmental consequences because they will only become dire after a time delay (rapidly becoming a slight delay). This is infantile or insane behavior; only infants and seriously disturbed adults do things to obtain immediate gratification without thought of the severe repercussions that will shortly follow.
Starving people have a hard time standing behind a moral line (e.g., "Thou shalt not steal") when right in front of them—so close they can smell the food—obese people are ostentatiously gorging themselves, throwing scraps (that would feed a starving family for weeks) to their dogs, and allowing vast quantities of precious food to simply rot. All of human history shows that you cannot have a stable social situation in which a few people have enormous wealth while the vast majority of humanity has little or nothing, unless the few are willing and able to viciously subjugate the many. The response to this reality by the elite within the industrialized nations (who are in control of our world) is to ignore the inevitable, dire consequences of such gross inequities, to try to horde even more wealth and power, and to find more extravagant ways to indulge their desires and display their wealth to others.
We now have the greatest, most obscene disparity of wealth, with larger numbers of desperately poor people, than has ever existed previously. On top of that, various cheap forms of real "weapons of mass destruction" are being developed and are available to more and more "terrorists." These terrorists are, in turn, being rapidly produced in a world of skewed resource distribution whose stability depends on a system requiring violent repression for its maintenance. In such a constellation of factors—massive overpopulation, uncountable millions living in hopeless poverty, constant vigilance and violent control necessary to ensure that the hopeless impoverished don't follow some fanatic into a successful battle against those in power, rapid increases in our technology of destruction, incredibly rapid information transfer (including information that can be used to create weapons of destruction)—we are losing our ability to maintain social stability.
Thus, we directly bring into existence the following constellation of conditions.
By preventing birth control and protecting the right of the powerful to control vast resources of unlimited proportions, we ensure that—despite technological advances and economic "freedom" (that will enable a few of the poor to enter the upper classes)—the population explosion will always lead to greater and greater numbers of people living in abject poverty, while right in front of them, on TV screens, others bask in splendor.
Impoverished people, without prospects for a life worth living, will readily follow some fanatic leader or criminal who promises them a way out of their dire condition. Such a tendency is adaptive: When your prospects for marrying and raising a healthy family are poor, it makes sense to follow a leader who offers a dangerous, long shot chance to upset the power balance and enable you to grab a piece of the pie. History shows that under such conditions fanatic cults flourish. When they are successful, they change the course of human history. Examples we know about from the last century include the Nazi takeover of Germany, all the successful communist revolutions, and Islamic fundamentalist revolutions and terrorists. The fact is that countries with a large middle class of enfranchised citizens have rarely started a war. When people have something to lose, they are reluctant to turn to violence and risk their lives. When large numbers of people have nothing to lose, would be gurus and despots have the fertile conditions in which to sow their fanaticism.
The conditions in the territories produce a fool's cycle of violence in which Hamas grows stronger, we respond, and, as a result, the hardship in the territories grows and Hamas grows even stronger. If the situation continues, we are likely to be confronted with five terror attacks a day. Gen. Amos Gilad, Israel's military coordinator for the West Bank and Gaza (Quoted by Alisa Solomon in "Uprooting the Olive Branch," Village Voice, August 29-September 4, 2001, one week before 9/11)
We compound the problem further by violently repressing these groups. Though it may be necessary to forcefully oppose desperate, violent attempts to disrupt society, the repression of a massive, impoverished underclass inevitably creates numerous victims who yearn for vengeance. There is a normal human tendency to form potentially violent, identity groups organized around an ideology. The combination of hopelessness and rage makes this normal tendency extremely dangerous.
Mixed into this fertile ground, we place the additional nutrients for fostering effective violence. First, we continue to perfect the development of cheap weaponry of mass destruction. Via the Internet, we then make the knowledge of how to make and use such weapons simultaneously available to all parts of the world.
While there are those who attempt to manipulate the masses for their own ends, when such conditions are present the manipulators are superfluous. If one doesn't succeed, another will come along. It is like spraying gasoline over drought stricken grasslands and ignoring the situation. Eventually some source will produce a spark and the conflagration will be horrendous. Blaming the spark for the conflagration, after spreading the gasoline—or after passively watching others spread it—and then ignoring the situation, would be an incredibly insipid act of self-deception.
It is no measure of health
to be well adjusted to a
profoundly sick society.
The insane response of those who have the power to change things has been both to ignore and then to exacerbate the problem by failing to enable people to have access to existing, cheap birth control information and technology and by greedily trying to concentrate more and more resources in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Instead of dealing with the root causes of anger and violence against the United States, the U.S. poured money into "star wars" weapons and armies, despite the clear fact that such armies and weapons cannot fight the growing number of "terrorists" who can be armed with incredibly powerful, cheap weapons.
This response by those in power is insanity of much more dire consequence than someone who, for example, walks around claiming that the FBI is after him because he has the secret of time travel. Whether or not the FBI is after him, millions of people will not die because of his delusion. Yes, make no mistake about it, millions will die because of our leaders' failure to act rationally. Millions.
Indeed, all of these problems existed before 9/11. And, in the year 2000, the response by the American electorate was to place a religiously deluded dilettante in the presidency of the United States. Supported by people consumed with either bizarre greed or delusional paranoia—i.e., people who actually believed that, in the US, some of the wealthiest people in the world were being unfairly mistreated by having to pay too much in taxes (!)—he promised (and after reaching office, he kept his promise) to further skew the distribution of resources by giving a massive tax cut to the richest of the rich. His very first act—as the new "moral" president (replacing the evil, immoral Bill Clinton)—was to cut off aid to countries trying to respond to overpopulation by providing their women with choices. To respond to the increasing instability in the world, he promised to increase spending on military might that will be useless for controlling desperate, starving billions with access to new information and technology with which to make cheap, powerful weapons.
With this president, we watched as woefully inadequate environmental protections were further eroded so that corporations could more efficiently strip-mine our world of any resources left. Eight years of denial and inaction on global warming seriously exacerbated the problem. Meanwhile, the rich continued to get obscenely richer. Then they were given huge tax breaks because they were being taken advantage of!
Of course, there was no money available to make sure levees were built to protect American cities. When the inadequate levees succumbed to an inevitable hurricane (that everyone knew would come sooner or later), there were no resources to come to the aid of the poorest Americans trapped in the flood. The Bush Administration actually made prayer the cornerstone of their disaster response plans! Massive tax breaks for the rich—who need them not at all—and prayer for the poor in their time of greatest need. And this was called "compassionate conservatism." In the minds of the religiously deluded folks who took control of America, was there no place at all for reality? How about morality?
Meanwhile, fantastic religious notions ensure that we deprive the poor of access to birth control so they inevitably end up producing more children than they can care for. And just for good measure, our overtaxed biosphere is wantonly destroyed.
Does all this sound sane to you?
The diagnosis: Psychotic Delusional Disorder
So, let's turn to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association-Revision IV (DSM-IV) to see what diagnosis applies. To make a long story short, the world doesn't fit the definition of "schizophrenia" because, while all of the above may entail significant delusions, there are no societal hallucinations that can be clearly verified and people in this world seem to function adequately in carrying out the activities of daily living. Likewise to a "psychotic mood disorder." However, as can be easily demonstrated, modern, industrialized society is best captured by the diagnosis of Delusional Disorder, a psychotic condition. Let's take a closer look.
"This psychotic mental disorder is diagnosed when prominent non-bizarre delusions are present for at least one month and the symptom criteria for Schizophrenia have never been met. Hallucinations may be present, but auditory or visual hallucinations cannot be prominent . . . Psychosocial functioning may not be impaired and any co-occurring mood episodes must be of relatively brief duration."
Diagnostic criteria for 297.1 Delusional Disorder
A. Non-bizarre delusions (i.e., involving situations that occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, infected, loved at a distance, or deceived by spouse or lover, or having a disease) of at least 1 month's duration.
B. Criterion A for Schizophrenia has never been met. Note: Tactile and olfactory hallucinations may be present in Delusional Disorder if they are related to the delusional theme.
C. Apart from the impact of the delusion(s) or its ramifications, functioning is not markedly impaired and behavior is not obviously odd or bizarre.
D. If mood episodes have occurred concurrently with delusions, their total duration has been brief relative to the duration of the delusional periods.
E. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.
Specify type (the following types are assigned based on the predominant delusional theme):
Erotomanic Type: delusions that another person, usually of higher status, is in love with the individual
Grandiose Type: delusions of inflated worth, power, knowledge, identity, or special relationship to a deity or famous person
Jealous Type: delusions that the individual's sexual partner is unfaithful
Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way
Somatic Type: delusions that the person has some physical defect or general medical condition
Mixed Type: delusions characteristic of more than one of the above types but no one theme predominates
From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth Edition. Copyright 1994 American Psychiatric Association
So, does our society qualify for being considered psychotic? If we look at each of the criteria, A through E, one by one, we believe it is not hard to show that it does.
[P]sychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of 'unadjusted' individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself.
——Erich Fromm, M.D.
Criterion A. Are there non-bizarre delusions?
"One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts." Bill Moyers: Democracy in the Balance
When life and death decisions (e.g., cutting off family planning aid to countries that allow women to have abortions) are based on religious beliefs that are unsubstantiated fantasies, we appear to be dealing with pure delusions, and dangerous delusions at that. However, like the federal government that considers religions tax exempt, DSM-IV also appears to give religions a "tax break": Our diagnostic manual defines "delusion" as "a fixed false belief (excluding beliefs that are part of a religious movement)" (emphasis added). Despite the fact that this diagnostic "religious tax-break" makes no real sense—a shared delusion is no less a distortion of reality—let's give them the benefit of the doubt and look for another delusion.
Lo and behold, we have no problem coming up with numerous delusions. For example, when the richest people in the world feel persecuted—and in dire need of a tax cut to make things more fair (!)—that certainly seems to qualify as a delusion (though it is hard to consider it "non-bizarre," as required in criterion A).
Let's look at the beliefs of those in the coalition of wealth and political power currently controlling the most powerful nation on earth as we enter the third millennium. In their belief system, an egotistical, philandering, but somewhat compassionate president (Clinton) was seen as the ultimate, evil betrayer of our moral values. Yet, an equally egotistical, lawbreaking president, with virtually no capacity for genuine compassion (Reagan), was considered a scion of virtue, despite the fact that he illegally used his power as president to have weapons sent to killers. Yes, it is true that, unlike Clinton—while aiding and abetting murderers—Reagan appears to have kept his penis in his pants.
What is going on here? The illegal provision of weapons and active participation in murdering people in Nicaragua was just fine and dandy. But taking advantage of an eager intern who got her kicks from the idea that she was "sucking off" the President of the United States was morally reprehensible. Let's get this straight: In the minds of the Republican coalition, the illegal supply of weapons to mass murderers is so OK as to go unquestioned. The perpetrator of this heinous act has the nation's capitol's airport renamed after him and he is proposed for inclusion on Mt. Rushmore.
Meanwhile, in contrast to illegally enabling mass murderers, encouraging a willing and eager young woman to suck on his penis was considered Clinton's crime against God. OK, Clinton appears to be a womanizing jerk and some moral reprobation seems in order. But c'mon! Murder versus consensual sex? And murder gets the stamp of approval? We think we have grounds to conclude that some rather strange moral delusions govern the thinking of the people who selected the last Shrub president.
We believe that even all this is an understatement. It could be reasonably claimed that the religious right in America, together with the religiously deluded Bush Administration, was guilty of INTENTIONAL mass murder of its own citizens!
One more delusion, just to be sure. The poorest workers earning the American "minimum wage" get paid more for one hour of work than most third world people get for a brutal 10 - 12 hour workday; many millions of Americans (anyone whose salary plus benefits is equal to $60,000) make more in one hour than those people earn in one week of virtual slave labor.
"[F]rom 1993 to 2002, the aggregate compensation of the top five executives in all public companies amounted to an astonishing $250 billion, equivalent to 7.5% of all corporate earnings." ——Journalist Unmesh Kher, "Inflated Pay," Time, December 5, 2004
To translate that quotation: Take the enormous "profit pie" baked by all American corporations. Cut it into 13 slices. Now take one of the slices and give it to just five people! That seems like a sane distribution of resources, right? In a world with limited resources and starving billions, five people should be allowed to accumulate so much? Did these five really add as much value to their companies' bottom lines as the full time labor of 750,000 US workers? That's what we paid them: Each one earned as much as did 150,000 average US wage earners during the same time period. Another way to view that simple fact: Each one of those corporate leaders earned more than ten million average Third world citizens during the same time period.
Welcome aboard Wall Street Executive
Air's nonstop flight to Economic Disaster.
We will be arriving slightly ahead of schedule.
How about this: After paying their taxes, the 400 richest Americans (or, for comparison, the 225 richest people in the world) have more wealth among them than the poorest 45% of the rest of the world (more than 3 billion people)! You're right. That isn't fair. That's why George Bush thought we'd better give the Fortunate 400 a massive tax break. To make sure they weren't being taken advantage of by paying too much in taxes?!?
And It's Getting Worse :-(
The truth underlying Stephen Colbert's black comedy in the video below should be frightening. Our corporate oligarchs are rapidly dismantling the economic system that enabled a middle class to thrive in the industrialized First World. If you disagree and think things are OK, then to you, more than anyone, Stephen says, "Your Welcome."
While in many circles, it is quite fashionable to blame America for this problem, that obscures the issue and makes finding a solution almost impossible. The historical fact is that once humans moved beyond tribal living, the skewed distribution of resources became more and more extreme. There was an Inca emperor with 10,000 virgin wives, not to mention King Solomon with his 1,000 wives and concubines. While there are those that would also be quick to blame Saudi extravagance on the artificial creation by the West of the Saudi family's dominance, there is simply no evidence that historical patterns in the region were ever any different.
The United States is simply the geopolitical-economic entity currently on the top of the heap. With corporate globalization, the distinction between the U.S. and the rest of the world is slowly dissolving. Yet, as this occurs, the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands is increasing. The new ruling oligarchy is becoming an alliance between those whose interests lie with the multi-national corporations they own and control.
The problem is that we need to come to terms with the normal, universal human tendency to try to acquire and retain control over wealth, over resources. This tendency has accelerated out of control as we have created larger and larger social groupings. When the population explosion is added to the increasing inequitable resource distribution, we create a situation that is increasingly untenable, unstable, and unsustainable.
Western Zen: Equanimity in the face of brutal reality
It is now part of the First World consciousness that many of the goods we consume are produced by those Third World people who are living and working in slave like conditions, or worse. Yet, we apparently believe (at least, we certainly act as though) we can ignore the fact that so much of the world lives under such crushing poverty. Furthermore, we appear to believe that we can even afford to ignore the gravest threat of all, the continuing population explosion, that ensures that the situation will get much, much worse.
"You're overreacting," we are told. "Corporate Globalization is a Rising Tide that Will Lift All Boats."
We wish it were so. However, the rise of the middle class in First World economies cannot be repeated under existing conditions in Third World countries, even with corporatization. The circumstances are profoundly different. The data shows that, while there are exceptions, on average, citizens of industrializing Third World countries are suffering from increasing poverty. Despite the claims that this is just a painful phase, there is no evidence to suggest that things will get better in such countries. Indeed, if anything, the middle class is under siege in the industrialized world; worldwide, the middle class is shrinking, not growing as the new economic world order skews the distribution of wealth more than ever. Meanwhile, we are distracted by technological baubles, spectacular media extravaganzas, and confusing debates between idiotic soundbites.
Press 'Play' to start
[While playing, right-click the center of screen to enlarge.]
In addition to the bizarre notion that things can continue like this without tragic consequences for all involved, there is another delusional belief in all this: We have little or no responsibility for the horrors we condemn. That is, we actually believe that in such an impoverished, overpopulated world, genocide, terrorism, vicious exploitation of millions of people are all due to bad people or people with bad ideas. This is an example of a clearly delusional belief: Access to resources can be so severely skewed and the world could still live in peace (without extreme violence and exploitation) if only they stopped misbehaving.
The fact is that a world in which so many people live in such painful poverty—while being bombarded with television images showing people all around them indulging in incredible abundance—is a world that will always generate extreme violence, whether it is the violence needed to maintain the obscenely skewed distribution of resources or the desperate attempts of groups of fanatic criminals to upset the balance of power. Violence, in such a setup, is inevitable even though the particular bad people who direct it will come and go.
But realizing this would mean we would have to realize that the decision to take advantage of our position at the top of the human pyramid struggling to obtain (and consume) more resources is directly related to the horrors that we insist on believing are caused by those other, bad people. So, we refuse to face this reality. More than just being selfish, this is delusional denial, as a painfully unpleasant aspect of reality is blotted out of existence.
Criterion B. The patient does not meet the criterion for Schizophrenia.
We accept this criterion and, anyway, it works in favor of those who would argue that our society is sane.
Criterion C. Apart from the impact of the delusions, functioning is not markedly impaired and behavior is not obviously odd or bizarre.
While we can accept this in the sense that those who run our society seem to have no trouble with ADL (in psychiatric jargon, that means "activities of daily living"), given the dire consequences of their actions, their functionality is highly questionable. Would you consider such behavior "not markedly impaired and . . . not obviously odd or bizarre" when you contemplate where our society is headed? But OK, we can accept Criterion C because the truly odd and bizarre behavior is, indeed, fairly directly due to the delusions. Criterion C attempts to differentiate Schizophrenia from those suffering from a psychotic Delusional Disorder; in the latter, the breakdown in functioning is more circumscribed and focused on the narrow area of behavior specifically related to the delusion.
Criterion D. Mood episodes are relatively short and are a result of, not the driving cause of, the delusions.
Criterion E. The disturbance is not the direct result of a substance, e.g., a drug of abuse.
Thus, we clearly have the conditions for diagnosing the psychotic condition, Delusional Disorder. But to complete the diagnosis, we would have to specify type. Arguments could be made for erotomanic, grandiose, or persecutory type. Therefore, our final diagnosis would have to be 297.1 Delusional Disorder, Mixed Type. A psychotic condition.
All this would be well and good as humorous satire. But it is no joke: Insane people are running our world. We tend to lock up insane people when it is necessary to make sure they can't do harm to themselves or others. Without the capacity to lock up the deluded, megalomaniacal egotists who are running our world, we are in grave danger. This is not satire. It is a call to arms: We must join together and oppose the insanity that surrounds us. There is no time left to say, "But what can I do; I'm just one person and I don't believe you or anyone else will make a difference." We are all in the same boat. We're on the "Good Ship Niagara" drifting along on the Niagara River and we don't know if we can get our lunatic captain to stop acting according to his religious dogma (he keeps babbling something about "going with God's flow").
In contrast to our captain's acceptance of our ship's course as being "the will of God," we need to face Reality and take control of the ship, to get our destiny out of the hands of the insane. Before we go over the falls, we need to turn on the engines and get the boat pointed upstream so we can eventually get to a safe mooring at the shore. When you open your eyes and look around and see that we are headed for a massive waterfall, can you then simply order another anesthetic martini, sit back, and watch the passing scenery?
We need to act, to join together make a fuss and to find effective solutions. You shouldn't be afraid of "making an ass of yourself" and "joining a cult." You shouldn't be afraid of being "too grandiose," and thinking you can join with us and together we can make a difference. Instead, you should be terrified of "playing it safe" and not doing anything. Terrified of not daring to act. Terrified of not being grandiose enough! The time to act is now before it is really too late. Join us: Let's see what we can do.
I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world. (Howard Zinn)
Too late for September 11, 2001
Apart from the opening letter and a few quotations, the above diagnostic formulation was written in February 2001, well before 9-11, as we watched the tragi-comedy about a religious Shrub who assumed the office of the presidency of the United States. W may not have been stupid. (It was really hard to tell.) But when such a "leader" eagerly put aside the use of his limited intelligence and replaced it with religious, faith-based, intuitive thinking, the result was insipid policy.
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. (humorist H. L. Mencken, 1880 - 1956)
Back in February '01, as we watched the ceremonies celebrating the dumbing down of the presidency, we certainly weren't anticipating the particular horror that the new president would have to face. Who could have predicted such a nightmare? Yet, when we think about it, that is exactly the sort of thing we were in fact predicting. The problem is that when it actually happens, the horror is so great that it still seems unreal; it truly defies imagination. So, let's pause and be clear: September 11 was just the beginning.
A more unified world response may bring about a reduction in the frequency of terrorism. (Let's hope so.) But if we are correct in our understanding of the existing conditions and how they tend to breed insane fanatic groups—and we are certainly correct about the fact that we continue to see advances in the technology of destruction and that access to that technology is more widely available every day—then we are predicting something else will happen that, when it occurs, will be equally unimaginable and shocking. After what we've seen happen, can we continue to close our eyes and pursue our immediate self-interest and, in the process, continue to ignore our true self-interest? Do we act now or do we wait until the body bags need to be ordered for us or for more of our loved ones? Do we wait until global warming or other environmental destruction has gone too far to reverse without terrible devastation?
If you believe that stopping gays from "doing it" is more important than the melting of the polar ice caps, then you're the boogeyman! (humorist Bill Maher, on ignoring global warming in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, 2005)
We are not blaming the US for the actions of evil ones. The blind are not evil like the intentionally vicious. But once our eyes are opened and we can see the phenomena that influence such tragedies, are we not incredibly sick or stupid if we then ignore the problem?
Osama Bin Laden was a profoundly hateful, evil, religiously deluded monster whose execution could not have been brought about a moment too soon. But he was merely the spark that set off the gasoline-soaked, drought-stricken grassland. In part, it is our gasoline that is polluting the grasslands. If Osama Bin Laden didn't exist, another spark would have come along. Others are on their way.
In addition to punishing—which may include exterminating—the perpetrators of unspeakable evil (including those who harbor and aid the actors), must we not take responsibility for whatever contribution we made to the conditions that help turn men into mad dogs? If we don't take responsibility for our role in creating and maintaining the current human trajectory—and as a society and a culture we show no sign of doing so—then we will continue to reap what we sow. It is too late to prevent the tragedy of September 11. But how many September 11ths do we need? How bad do they have to get, before we face up to our responsibility to change the conditions that generate such horrors? And if we never face our need to face our responsibility and act sanely, if we never overcome our Delusional Disorder, God help us.
this will be replaced by the SWF.
Click here to see a video on how they turn innocent children into insane fundamentalists.
And if and when this all feels too overwhelming, remember the wise words of Gandalf the Grey: