The Dark Side Dialectic of Religion, Culture and Politics…

isis

ISIL wages war in the Mideast

We cringe with horror at the antics of ISIL, but they’re very similar to those employed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR aka ‘Russia’) before them, that previous political entity with objectives almost exactly the opposite. The fact that the USSR crashed almost simultaneously with the rise of fundamentalist Islam is almost too coincidental to be ignored—almost.

It’s almost like there IS indeed a dialectic of history—thesis, antithesis, synthesis—as theorized by Hegel, regardless of whether it ultimately has anything to do with the means of production, as theorized by Marx. In this scenario, something at least has to be offered up as an alternative to the dominant capitalist-consumerist system, or whatever system happens to be on top at any given time.

In this view, therefore, there is no one specific dialectic going on at any one given time, but more of a random one—something anything. Sounds a lot like evolution, doesn’t it? Yes, it does, but more like a cultural evolution, a dialectic of ideas, as theorized by Hegel, in which we seem to be subconsciously struggling toward something else–always. Or is it a function of language itself?

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Josef Stalin

Without getting into the question of which came first—thought or language—let’s just say that, on an entirely different level, once established, language mutates, just like the DNA of genetics. But does that imply some sort of back-and-forth call-and-response mechanism toward a better end result? It would seem that language like DNA merely crawls along in a zig-zag path toward no certain goal, UNTIL you add consciousness.

Consciousness seems to crave centrality, and from there the dialectic would seem to start its process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, or on an even more basic level: simple rationality, cause and effect, or logic. These are all functions of an analytic consciousness, which I believe exists with or without language, in that stage likely more similar to Boolean computer-like logic than the more language-oriented Euclidean style.

But what does this have to do with ISIL? Maybe more than you might think. Conventional wisdom has it that if the Western world responds to terrorist attacks by changing their way of life in the slightest, then ‘they’ have somehow won. (pause for dramatic effect).  Really?  The response to naked aggression is, like–nothing?

Of course not.  So why is the slightest conciliation viewed with such suspicion, like maybe dropping the Muhammad cartoon-coloring contests?  But that’s heresy.  I beg to differ.  The response to aggression should not necessarily be more aggression in response.  There’s a word for that: war.  There is nothing wrong with some conciliation, especially when it’s packaged with equal parts understanding and compassion.  It just might be worth a try—before it’s too late.

ISIL is a wake-call, albeit a rather rude one, but it’s too easy to assume that they are simply ‘the bad guys’ and we are divinely ordained. That is a rather simplistic world-view. Without going into all the details, I’ll cut to the chase scene: they aren’t the ones destroying the world with global warming: we are. And on the subject of terrorism: maybe we should resolve the conflict in occupied Palestine, or… what else you got?

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