the psychology of terrorism





September 11, 2001 now revives memories; thus the psychology of terrorism arises out of the need to make sense of, or to understand thewanton and murderous acts of terrorists. 9/11 was the epitome of evil. No excuses.

On first impression, looking at the Palestinian picture, it would appear that terrorism is a direct attempt to redress the balance ofpower. While Israel has wealth, military might and the backing ofthe American Superpower, almost unconditionally, the Palestinians havemore covert forms of support: tunnels from Egypt, actions by theHesbollah guerrillas, Iran, and past Iraqi payments of money to thefamilies of suicide bombers. So the psychology of terrorism appears toinvolve a re-balancing of causal power, plus attention focusingon the plight, the poverty and chaos, the suffering of a torn Palestinian people.

But there's a lot more to 'the psychology of terrorists' themselves.Desperation, fearing cultural loss and having nothing to lose,the terrorists are trained into believing that they have a 'heaven ofmartyrdom' to gain. Including numerous virgins. They believe they will become truly lovedas the beloved of Allah, fighting a Jihad (Holy War.) These socialbeliefs are very powerful as they produce real social reinforcement - e.g. attention, acceptance, approval, praise, affection - within the tight knit, integrated social circles of the terrorists and theirfamilies. So behavior is strengthened and it persists.. Like reinforced concrete. It is rewarded by affection. Unless one is a successful suicide bomber, of course.

The psychology of envy rears its ugly head in this context, too.The United States of America is the most successful civilization ever,as measured by monetary wealth, scientific and technological achievement, economic growth and global spread into the hearts and minds of humanity. The fall of theUSSR is perhaps marked by the presence of a red haired clown, RonaldMcDonald, in the center of Moscow. Hollywood, TV, The Internet, themusic industry, Boeing, Microsoft.. the list of 'channels of influence'is endless. American military might is applied in Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia,Iraq, Afghanistan and it is implied elsewhere. The peacemakersin their silos and subs keep the general equilibrium - globally - butstill, why do these terrorists bite and sting - to awaken the sleepinggiant? What can they gain by using terror as a strategy? As a tactic?

The psychology of terrorism is to shock, terrorize, disturb the senseof security and to create civil chaos, disorder. It is an attack onperceptions and beliefs. An attack on the equilibrium of your autonomic nervous system. But from there it has no future or long term viability. It is not wise or good. It is an appallingly bad strategywhich is doomed to failure. If you die, you are ineffective.

The western countries are organic and a little inflammation from a bee sting can always be treated. But once motivated, they seem to arise to stamp out beehives rather effectively, to prevent any mutation of their opponents into super bees. This is a biological war for survival of groups within a species. Diverse religious and cultural groups. Read more about the psychology of terrorism




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Psychology of terrorism and terror is NOT what SBI is about! Click to find out.