Sunday, 15 November 2015

Nothing But Mind Games

Hi guys, welcome to Orygyn.

There have been quite a few attacks over the last few years. An inordinate amount in the Middle East. A few in the West, one quite recently. The Joker was right, when it's not part of the plan, everyone loses their minds, and it's not "part of the plan" for attacks like this to happen in the West. What "part of the plan" really means of course is that when something horrific is a routine occurrence, we can't invest constantly in all of the tragedies, but when one happens in a place we think is safe, stable, even friendly, those 3 traits are suddenly challenged, so we react. This is what we're seeing with Paris: all the French flag photos, the scapegoating of Muslims, the people (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) condemning these generalizations, and the inhabitants of unstable countries outraged that an attack not in their region is getting so much more coverage than they ever will.

The other thing that'll happen, of course, is that those affected will want action. What I want to examine in this post is whether anything can actually be done?

We saw what happened with 9/11. 2 wars: one of which had nothing to do with the attack, both countries destabilized, both countries despising the US and providing a pretty handy narrative for would-be terrorists to recruit and justify THEIR actions.

The problem here is that it's not like WW2 where the enemy had a shared national identity and could only advance in physical space. A side effect of the wonders of the internet is that battles can now be fought in virtual reality. No I'm not talking the Oculus Rift. I'm talking YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. ISIS have said they want to "conquer the world" and this guess at their strategy is loosely adapted from the one you can find on Al-Qaeda's Wikipedia page

1. Provoke a western country into turning on Muslims.
2. Recruit from the inevitable backlash (since it's a generalization, many innocent Muslims will be affected, and some will do something that no longer makes them innocent).
3. Stage more attacks and attempt to destabilize Western countries.
4. Western economies will collapse trying to defend themselves and their neighbours and they install their caliphate.

Now let me be very clear. I don't think there is ANY chance of this happening. However, I'm doing my part here and now to make sure it doesn't come even close. There is no country to attack, no scapegoating that can simplify the issue, and no way of knowing who will be radicalized next. It's an ideological battle, and the only way to fight something like that is with an opposing ideology. No I'm not talking about atheism, a more moderate Islam, Christianity, or anything like that. I'm talking about not being a dick. The average person doesn't think that murdering people is OK, but they can be led to believe it's justified if they are given a strong enough reason to. We need to NOT GIVE THEM THAT REASON. We do this by NOT turning on the refugees, NOT talking about war, NOT demonizing 1.5 billion people, but instead going about our lives doing what we can to make people's lives better.

Talk to the weird kids in school.
Open up a dialogue with someone from somewhere very different to you.
Listen to what people say before, or even instead of, butting in with what you have to say. You can say your piece, just give the other person's perspective genuine consideration first.
If someone does wrong you in some way, respond in a considered, proportional way, and learn to forgive them in time.

They want us to think one way so we'll destroy ourselves. Let's think the other way so we actually improve the world.


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