Some days ago I read an article quoting an Australian researcher who had come to my country, Canada, to compare the recruitment and attitudes of so-called home grown Jihadist fighters. Not surprisingly, in both of these relatively calm democracies, they seem to be young men who, while caught up in the doubts, indecisions, and let’s face it, lousy choices of early manhood, become attracted by an ideology which appears to simplify the complexity of world affairs into the cliches of profit-mad imperialism and the rigorous oppression and exploitation of Muslim centric cultures. From wheel spinning confusion they leap to the smug superiority of one who sees and knows: the wrongs that have been veiled by corruption and lies, and must, at all costs, be righted.
Their new found vision and one pointed passion drives them to foreign climes where wars are either already raging or the ground is fertile for the rabid insurrection made sacred by their recruiters. With their youthful idealism thus harnessed, they are not unlike other young men sent overseas to save the third world for the brand of democracy that willfully destroys in order to profitably reconstruct.
Yes, it could, and has been, argued that the naive and enthusiastic young have always been the target of the unscrupulous ideologues of religion and politics, yet the current crop, despite the benefits of education and the leisure time to carefully reflect, are as willfully ignorant of the forces which callously manipulate them as any earlier, less privileged generation duped into unswerving obedience. At least until they see, up close and personal, the ravages of explosive violence, for bloody death and dismemberment has a way of stamping out the illusions of supposedly noble causes.
Later that day I heard a radio interview with possibly the first drone operator to break ranks and confess his new found horror at his previously hypnotized self. The details of his sudden descent from manly warrior indifference are perhaps not so important as their high tech wizardry might initially suggest, but his realization that he could no longer “tell the good from the bad” is pivotal. For despite the ancient and tawdry lineage of his adopted belief system, his leap out of the envelope is the classic trap door exit all belief systems come equipped with. Releasing distinctions that either encourage worship or demonize is the key.
There is, always, ways out of the self defining illusions each of us has to deal with during incarnation. Whether a fanatical shopper sucked into every sale, a compulsive consumer of pricey pharmaceuticals to rearrange moods and mental states, a righteous class war radical ignorant of the karmic see-saw between victim and victimiser here on earth, or a closed minded follower of some fundamentalism taken root in one or other of the astral sub-planes, the soul thus enslaved can graduate, whatever the apparent cost.
We swim through seas of competing belief systems, each one insisting on its blessed preeminence. We can slavishly adopt, we can pick and choose, we can determindly ignore. But no matter what we do, there they always are, undulating, beckoning , seducing. Whether you lay back and enjoy it or resist mightily, I suggest you take notes on the inevitable unfoldment.