It is impossible to discuss global terrorism without referencing 9 eleven. Right or wrong, regardless of the identity of the masterminds behind the perpetrators… the attack on the World Trade Center is that "once in a generation" event that defines the era. Just as December 7th, 1941 defined the WWII generation, so does September 11th, 2001 define our info/digital generation. Nine Eleven is that crucial tipping point of reference that marks our entry into the (seemingly endless) "War on Terror" as proclaimed by then-US president Geo. W Bush.
Virtually overnight our planet's socio-political and economic landscape had been re-arranged into a nightmarish mix of archaic tribalism and multi-nationalism. Terrorism and covert operations suddenly replaced diplomacy as a political first option. Even as "terrorist cells" got their footing around the world, traditional global economic mechanisms began to break apart.
According to these ultra-conservatives, global conflict has devolved into a hard-line ideological clash of cultures. However, the fact that the current turmoil in the world is driven by a minority of ultra conservative extremists within Christian, Islamic and Judaic religious institutions is increasingly self evident. The narrative surrounding recent horrors in Nigeria, Paris, Syria and Iraq speak in terms of Global Terrorism and what is being defined as “Radical Islam.”
Currently in the US and elsewhere, an ideological debate is raging over “the naming” of global terrorism as distinctly Islamic. Some believe that it is important to “call a spade, a spade” in what is being represented as radical “Islamic” or “Jihadist” Terrorism, by popular media. They contend that, in order to fight Islamic terrorism, we must name it as such. This view supports a Crusades-like mentality that the powers of Christianity and Islam are in a global struggle for ideological supremacy.
Others contend that to name this perceived conflict, as it is made most damningly manifest by atrocities of the so-called ISIS caliphate… as Islamic, is an extreme disservice to the over 1.5 billion Muslims living peacefully on this planet today. The approximate 30,000 or so individuals within the ranks of ISIS are merely ruthless terrorists… and should be labeled as such. This is the apparent position taken by President Obama, in his Feb. 18th 2015 speech, when he declared: "We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."
Although less headline grabbing… cooler heads have called for a counter-narrative to such Islamaphobic rhetoric.
organized religion equates to politics… no difference. Both are successful examples of the many being manipulated by the few. Both leverage the perception of insecurity and scarcity, to greedy ends.
For purposes of a counter narrative to the Western-Christian/Near Eastern-Islamic paradigm, we at Tek-Gnostics offer a non-denominational yet not entirely secular proposition.
We believe the true paradigm of duality that is unfolding in the 21st century, is one between Love and Fear. We would further postulate, at great risk of being perceived as spiritual, that this dualistic interplay could also be categorized as a struggle between Light vs Darkness. This is, of course, the age-old principle known as Yin/Yang, the foundational principle of Taoism, Buddhism and other such systems of the Occident, as well as the Yoni/Linga principle of the Hindi sub-continent of India. We perceive love as a unifying principle and fear as a divisive one.
Those whose lives orbit around the principle of Love share characteristics of inclusiveness, generosity, joy, tolerance and compassion. Love is profoundly associated with creativity. The language of love is best articulated through music, dance and other expressive arts. Love brings with it all of the ecstasies of humanity… pleasure, happiness, delight… as well as the heartbreak of sorrow, grief and regret. However, love transcends the emotional spectrum and is, as such akin to evolution, as a positive agent of change. For in the words of Tennyson: "It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."
Those whose lives are governed by Fear are visited by exclusiveness, alienation, suspicion, covetousness and hatred. It could be argued that hate is the opposite of love, however we contend that hatred is a product of fear. Fear is associated with destructiveness. Unlike love, fear only produces isolating results. It breeds separation, distrust and misgiving. Although fear is certainly transformative, it is not transcending. Fear only and ultimately leads to aloneness… a sat situation indeed.
We would argue that to be born of this world requires us to experience a reality that is material in nature. To occupy a sentient body in 3-dimensional space-time necessitates participation in a dualistic universe: Light/Dark, Yin/Yang, Observer/Observed, etc. It would not be possible to bask in the warmth of light without the contrast of the shadow of darkness.
We would further argue that the fundamental nature of our dualistic material world assumes a role of contention that is characterized by a struggle between light and darkness, as identified above. We therefore postulate a counter-narrative that suggests that humanity, moving into the 21st century, ultimately must contend with a universal struggle between Love and Fear, Light and Dark. The friend or foe of the Western World or that of the East, are those who serve either the light or darkness. Our enemy is not religious or even political. The true struggle moving forward is between those who are consumed by fear, manifesting violence and hate... and those who are permeated with love, manifesting tolerance and peace.
This may seem naive of overly simplistic, the idea that the battle of our age is between those who Love verses those who Fear... the powers of light vs the powers of darkness. But when it comes down to you and me… it is simple… it should be simple. When all of the troubles of the world are seen through the eyes of the individual… each of us must decide what we are going to do about it. Remember… this isn’t business, where some bureaucrat says: nothing personal… this situation is very personal. This is each of us making a conscious choice.
The question we all must ask ourselves is: which do we choose to serve? Do we align with Love or Fear? This leads us to that other tricky premise of free will. Do we even get to choose? We contend yes. However, we don’t presume to know the subtleties of light and dark. We cannot fathom that which ultimately serves the light. We cannot determine the outcome of our actions or the end result. We do not know what ultimate purpose is served by the waging of war. In the words of JRR Tolkien’s famous character: “Many that live deserve death… and some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of judgment. For even the wise cannot see all ends.”
And so this is how it stands today. Each of us stands before the gates of chapel perilous. Indeed, our planet faces a global dark night of the soul. To this desperate situation, we would add one more premise… We contend that unlike Fear, Love is a force of nature that transcends the woes of humankind. Like gravity, Love is a universal force. Like gravity, Love attracts beings to its orbit. It is with this understanding that, at the end of the day, love will prevail. And as Gandalf said: ...That is an encouraging thought.