Guns and bombs will not win any war with terrorism because terrorism is not kept in one geographical place. The potential for terrorism – and its solution – is found all around us… within each of us.
It’s up to each one of us to choose whether we want to fuel terrorism or deflate it. Our own healing and personal growth are crucial factors to the solution to terrorism.
An important part of self-directed healing includes reflecting on our interactions with and our thoughts about others in the world around us. Why do we react the way we do? Why do they react the way they do? What guides our decisions?
These days, three subjects can create knee-jerk reactions in many of us: terrorism, Muslims and immigrants. I’ve been reading about the psychology of terrorists to expand my own understanding of this growing issue. Below is an excerpt from “Beyond Fear: The Psychology of Terrorism – Fueling Extremes” in Scientific American MIND (May/June 2016, p.34) written by two psychology professors:
In particular, we are learning that radicalization does not happen in a vacuum but is driven in part by rifts among groups that extremists seek to create, exploit and exacerbate. If you can provoke enough non-Muslims to treat all Muslims with fear and hostility, then those Muslims who previously shunned conflict may begin to feel marginalized and heed the call of the more radical voices among them. Likewise, if you can provoke enough Muslims to treat all Westerners with hostility, then the majority in the West might also start to endorse more confrontational leadership. Although we often think of Islamic extremists and Islamophobes as being diametrically opposed, the two are inextricably intertwined. And this realization means that solutions to the scourge of terror will lie as much with “us” as with “them.”
Every person’s reactions and thoughts has an effect on terrorists and the radicalization process. Every you and every me.
When we fan the flames of mistrust, fear and hate with our thoughts and interactions with others, we help to grow terrorism and radicalization. The rifts we help to create between groups increases the marginalization felt by individuals within those groups.
When we refuse to succumb to fear and hostility and to, instead, embrace the humanity within each individual, no matter who they are, what religion they follow or from where they come, we help to diffuse terrorism and radicalization.
Take the time to reflect on your reactions and thoughts to terrorism, Muslims and immigrants. Ask yourself, “Why am I reacting this way? How does it serve me? How does it serve the people directly around me and those farther away?” Begin the process of exploration.
Guns and bombs will not win any war with terrorism because terrorism is not kept in one geographical place. The potential for terrorism is found all around us as well as within us. It’s up to each one of us to choose whether we want to fuel terrorism or deflate it.
Only our individual explorations with our inner beliefs and the discovery of our true voice will determine the outcome of each threat of terrorism.
Whether or not we want to play a part, our own healing and personal growth are crucial factors to the solution to terrorism.