This is an open letter to political, religious and human potential thought leaders in the wake of Paris’s version of 9/11.
I believe the following words by Les Brown reflect the highest intentions of perhaps most political, religious and human potential thought leaders, as well as the sentiments of perhaps the majority of humanity: “May we explore ways to create peace within ourselves, and to build a world where our common humanity is much greater than our differences. May we also work together to endure that this type of senseless violence never happens again!”
Like most of us, my heart is with Parisians at this time, and with all those everywhere whose hearts and lives have been affected by the 11/13/2015 attacks. What weighs most heavily on my heart, however, is a deeper concern that I’ve continued to have since 9/11. Noble calls for humanity to unite and collaborate to end this kind of insane behavior will remain “true but not useful” until we understand and intervene with the psycho-cultural root causes of what enables what I call Fanaticism Disorder to emerge and take hold — and until we are actually using the skills that convert collaboration from good intentions into effective procedures.
Solidarity among world leaders about the Paris terrorism attacks – like the clips you can watch in this brief video, http://nyti.ms/1kUXlWX – is of course valuable at this time. However, I have this to say to world leaders and citizens who believe that military intervention and covert operations ALONE can eliminate terrorism: devoting the vast majority of money and effort to these tactics will remain as fruitless as believing that the “war on drugs” can be won. Just as we’re finally waking up to the fact that the drug trade can’t be eliminated by a “war on drugs,” the time has come to also wake up to the fact that conducting a war on terrorism will not produce any better results no matter how much money is thrown at it.
So, if neither noble intentions nor military operations by themselves will not produce the results we seek, what will? As part of my own healing from being in the New York area during and immediately following 9/11, I wrote “A Declaration of Global Responsibility.” Its ten integrated psychospiritual principles for responding to all forms of extremism, and the terrorism this so often leads to in today’s world, seem as relevant today as it felt to me back then. Contact me if you’re interested in reading it.
Until political leaders finally turn the bulk of their behind-the-scenes attention – and their public messages – to substantially reducing the root causes that breed Fanaticism Disorder (I describe some of these in my Declaration of Global Responsibility), they will continue to throw trillions of war dollars into a never-ending money pit. And they will continue to have nothing lasting to show for this… except for more terrorism.
Now, don’t get me wrong here: the socipathically insane ring leaders of Fanaticism Disorder absolutely must be contained as quickly as possible, and by whatever means proves necessary. However, this must not be done as an act of vengeance or as an end in itself, but instead as on piece of a much more comprehensive strategy (again, refer to my Declaration of Global Responsibility). In addition, woe unto humanity if we continue to insist that an entire religion (in this case Islam) — and therefore by extension all of its adherents — are fundamentally mentally ill. Doing that is fighting Fanaticism Disorder with Fanaticism Disorder. And that tactic is doomed to fail.
It’s instead time for leaders and citizens to at last realize that this insistence only fuels Fanaticism Disorder; it doesn’t reduce it. Non-Muslim political leaders – and their supporters – must instead be willing to free ourselves from our own forms of ideological rightness addiction. Until we do, the strategies that citizens advocate and leaders implement to deal with terrorists abusing religion as a shield will only continue to aid the insane in accomplishing their agenda of destruction. It will not restore sanity.
The same goes for religious leaders. Just as it falls upon Muslim leaders to teach their flocks that they have a moral obligation to stop tolerating, justifying or protecting fake-Muslims suffering from Fanaticism Disorder, so too does it fall upon spiritually wide leaders of all faiths (Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, and so forth) to teach their flocks the same thing: it is our job to stop justifying tolerating or protecting those within our OWN religion who have been perverting it into something it isn’t, because of their Fanaticism Disorder.
And the same goes as well for human potential thought leaders. Calls for love, compassion, reconciliation and compassion are noble and worthy. Creating peace inwardly, building a world where our common humanity is much greater than our differences, and working together to ensure that this type of senseless violence never happens again, is a set of intentions that I wholeheartedly support. But the time has come to move beyond good intentions to understanding and intervening with the root causes of the psycho-cultural dysfunctionality that makes it possible for Fanaticism Disorder to take hold. And the time has come for us as human potential thought leaders to teach the world about the dysfunctionality of coercion and compromise, and how to walk the talk of collaboration instead of simply believing that it’s a good idea.
Now is the time for political, religious, and human potential thought leaders of ALL stripes to stop ignoring, downplaying, and remaining silent about, the monumental impact of the psychological dynamics that have been causing culture deterioration around the planet. Now is the time to instead start boldly calling these dynamics into the open, and to start intervening with them in psychologically potent ways. Now is the time for us to proclaim as a singular voice that without addressing these psychological and cultural dimensions, military force and covert operations by themselves will remain doomed to fail.
Until political, religious, and human potential thought leaders join together to do this, they will remain a part of the problem instead of leading the way toward a sustainable solution. And until citizens start demanding this of them, these leaders will remain reluctant to do what needs to be done to turn things around.
You see, the problem is NOT that cultural psychological factors can’t be altered. They most definitely can be. It’s that we haven’t yet collectively accepted just how vitally important it actually is to address these factors, and how suicidal it is to ignore or downplay them.
I therefore call upon world leaders in politics, religion, human potential to replace noble-but-empty rhetoric with no-nonsense citizen education about the issues I’ve raised in this piece. The two keys are: 1) Understanding and repairing the psycho-societal dynamics that make it possible for Fanaticism Disorder to take hold; and 2) Replacing coercion and compromise with the only problem-solving skill that produces sustainably positive outcomes: collaboration. I call upon world leaders to bring THIS clarity to those they serve and lead. This is the kind of backbone we most need from leaders today.
As a human potential thought leader who understands the dynamics of Fanaticism Disorder and who provides training in the skills necessary for effective collaboration, I stand ready to help.
If you are with me in calling for these changes, I hope you’ll share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, And if you happen to know anyone who might have the ear of a world leader in politics, religion or human potential (or who has the ear of someone who does), I hope you’ll also send them a private message with this information, and to encourage them to Private Message me directly (or via my contact options at www.DrGruder.com). Thank you.