From: William Bloom
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 5:08 AM
Subject: Airplane Terrorism
Watching the television news about the planned terrorist attacks on flights between the UK and the US, my first feelings and thoughts are, strangely, ones of gratitude. What a blessed fifty years those of us in western Europe have had since the end of the world war. In the background, of course, was the hum of the Cold War and nuclear threat, but what a party and transformation it has been for us. Peace and parties. The 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. And now we hit reality.
Our cultural revolution - feminism, multiculturalism, the death of patriarchy, the creative dynamism of y! outh, the freedom of gender and sexuality, the spiritual revolution - have been profoundly meaningful. These great social changes have yet to play out fully on the global stage, but they will in time, for we are an evolving species and the future will bring freedom and fulfillment for all humanity.
But during these decades, so enjoyable for many of us, 30,000 children a day have been dying of starvation and malnutrition; genocides, wars, abject poverty, brutality and repression have been continuing for the majority of our global community.
This terrorist attack on our freedom to travel was aimed at hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocents, and it can bring home to us that the party-party and bling-bling of our culture cannot continue oblivious to the wider suffering. This is no apologia for the terrorist mentality, but only to suggest that we are indeed part of a global community and it was naďve to think that we c! ould continue to avoid the crises.
For me, the fun of the western life style has in recent years reached an apex of vulgarity in the cult of celebrity, spin and reality tv. As a society, we have been like Nero fiddling. The shallowness of today's media stuff, crass commercialism and so much new age spirituality, especially the banal narcissism and escapism, are bad enough. But in the face of the global crises, they are an affront. We need to awaken from the comfortable spell. Enough of stuffing our faces, stuffing our cars, stuffing our planes, stuffing ourselves with happiness. Enough of ignoring that self-gratification is damaging.
Of course there are many voices of goodwill fully aware of the need for social and environmental justice, but few of us have felt the pain and crisis of our wider global community. In the drama of this current crisis, we are so close to all those children, women and men who might have died, that today many of us can feel it. The solution to the crises lies in our passion for healing, justice and transformation - not in a lukewarm interest and occasional charitable gesture.
We know by now that through the links of history, commerce, spirituality and ancestry that we are all implicated in every aspect of global events.
So we wake up to greater mindfulness and engagement of the heart.
Mm. Is this preaching? Perhaps. Or maybe it is just noise. If so, minimally its the noise of a brother connecting and affirming our community.
A response to this interesting view:
nice view. Still, it needs to be said that our culture became decadent. So it seems other culures, aggressive in a different and dispersed way are taking hold of our "Western" cultural region. Every culture up to date, was having an accent on its own needs. This is a severe shortcoming, but is also the seed of its future self anihillation (it seems to be a logical need from evolutionary point of view). You know, if we start from the premise that the Earth can be made inhabited by only nice/cultured or positive people, we forget that Bhuloka is one of the lowest planes of existence and that the number of destructive elements is proportional to our status as a place of existence. Thus suffering is inevitable. The question is only how we cope with it and how far are we becoming wiser as a humanity. If you compare the accounts of life in human cultures about which we have documents, I think it is fair to say that we increased in numbers, but not really in wisdom. We tend to make similar errors. So we tend to meet similar fate.
Thus those interested in humane development (or whatever way we term it), can concentrate only on that fregment of humanity that is interested in humane/spiritual development and/or is willing to take steps towards self-development. Even here the role of anyone truly interested in spirituality is more in keeping the way and the knowledge available, than to market the access to it, as spirituality is not so much about quantity than quality. Preachers may get large following, but that has almost nothing to do with quality and self-development. That mainstream religions became enmeshed in power struggles and politics is a logical consequence of the policy oriented towards quantity. That, in turn is logical if we look at it from the point of view that the views of those in minority tend to be severely overlooked. No one likes to be overlooked. So growing seems to be the solution. Still, that is the beginning of the end. After some time the grown-up unit has to die. This is also an underlying difference in "policy" trends between the mahayana and hinayana Buddhist way, the mainstream Islam and sufis, the mainstream Christians and mysticsm, etc.
So terrorism is a logical outcome of our way of dealing with "others", as you rightly pointed out. We are too big so cannot be defeated through regular warfare. But a dispersed warfare - "terrorism" brings our system to a halt. It is like a virus that send thousands of messages from stolen addresses. It chokes the information channels and breaks down the system. Similarly terrorism chokes our security system and makes life (in our habitual way) very uncomfortable and sluggish. It operates on fear. If the probability of loss (of life, financial, etc.) is high, people and institutions tend to withdraw from that activity or area. If this effect reaches a significant portion of people and/or institution, it disrupts the usual function of the society. And this is I think the strategy of terrorism. The real danger is that it tends to evoke a military or "Big Brother" type of regime. The technology is already there. To avert that happening is the REAL social challenge of terrorism.
Terrorists count on our unwillingness to change. If we would be willing to change, we may find a solution.
G. M. Timcak