Terror and the Spiritual Community
Unfortunately, terror and living with it is a fact not seen as unusual for Turkey as a community today. Yet worldwide, especially after September 11, 2001 (9/11), acts of terror brought and continue to bring other nations to a condition similar to Turkey’s—a condition where you expect to live with terror. Beginning with 9/11, trains bombed in Spain, school massacre in North Ossetia to Istanbul HSBC Bank, Neva Shalom and many more acts of terror big and small spread in between demand that the many facets of terror and resulting conditions should certainly be investigated, and more importantly, discussed. And the world is doing so. My aim here only focuses on the spiritual community.
Before and After
We find it rather easy reading to be infatuated with spiritual articles and forward them to one another and satisfaction with all of it. When faced with the real situation, the true state can only be perceived by attitude. Following acts of terror, I witnessed two approaches in mail groups: Those that either curse or condone these acts and those filled with shock and fear.
Friends! Wasn’t everything perfect in the universe and happening because it was meant to be? When we were forwarding emails, did we not promise that no matter what occurs, we must keep our balance and stand easy to keep our senses?
Let’s return to the 90’s when channelings informed us that only those with higher frequencies would survive and establish the new order. We thought we were the ones who possessed that knowledge, and hence, would establish the new order?
Or rather, did we feel everything would be much better as long as we sent all that light to others, kept grounded and performed cleansing activities? When all others were in panic and fear, were we not to show the “true path” and the “truth”?
What happened to our unique knowledge, our neutral standing, our guiding characters, our unifying characteristics?
With so much condemnation and questions, we wonder “how can they do this” and yet, our looks reveal something else. Sorry to remind you! We are still here and such acts will continue. No one will ascend from the heavens and change it when there are so many here on this earth with the power to change.
So What Are We to Do?
Attitudes, such as let us love them, hug them, and send them healing light, do not sound realistic to me—more like fantasies. When we get to the root of the situation, the fact remains that all is ONE and everything is as meant to be. Yet, I do not think that anyone has such insight and tolerance among those I know or whose articles I have read. In reading many articles, the authors write as if they have this insight, but there exists either a repetitive spiritualistic attitude or a concealed fear.
Furthermore, we must accept the fact that above all our identities, we are HUMAN and humans have feelings, strong and weak sides. Spiritual knowledge becomes necessary in that it should provide someone with the insight and ability to observe themselves, their environment and their life in a wider sense. What I mean by spiritual knowledge is the self-knowledge one gains after a blending of philosophy, history of religions, sociology, mysticism, psychology, biology, channeling information and the like. As one becomes knowledgeable, you know yourself, begin to use your strong sides positively, and get the chance to develop your weaker sides with stronger observation. To do this it is absolutely necessary to be mercilessly truthful and employ your mind; otherwise, you can only be a “copy-paste” personality, and upon facing the first obstacle (which will certainly come), you will collapse. Undoubtedly, problems will arise, but a person who realizes they have the potential to overcome these issues will not panic and will experience no paralysis.
Note: Of course, a person will be frightened or hurt. After all, we are human, but there is the fact that courage is not the state of being fearless but the power to be able to act in spite of the fear.
In the Time of Crisis
No wonder companies have crisis management departments. A company is bound to crumble if upon the first crisis those in a department cry out “What are we to do; we are a big company and such things are not to be…Damn it!” Hey, the company trusted you and put you in a position knowing some crises are bound to occur. But now, another department must rescue you from this fear.
Thus, “knowing oneself and being aware of one’s power” is in a way what brings natural responsibility of crisis management into life itself. We need people who can first think “whatever is done is done, what we need now is to re-organize and bring back order.” Once the wounds have healed, everyone reflects on “why all this has happened and how can we prevent it in the future.” This thinking occurs at the same time many run around in panic! Yet, another difficulty faces them to stay calm when those who panic keep asking them why they don’t panic! I am not sure whether we are in a stage of such tolerance.
Conversely, we must accept the following: We cannot say anything to those who were in the midst of these acts, to those wounded or even to their loved ones lost in these acts. And it is a fact that all of us are affected and hurt by these acts. If we all fall into an “oh my god,” attitude, then the terrorists will have reached their goals. Ahmet Taner Kışlalı states this fact on terrorism: The main goal of terrorists is not to kill people but to terrify them!
Even though acts of terror have been huge and it’s impossible not to be affected, the fact remains that those “spiritual” people who should not have been affected were. This shows that much is still needed to be done within ourselves, and we all should be self-critical. This should not in the least be understood as “I am successful and hence I am self-critical.”
I merely repeat this as we all must practice our spirituality much more as well.
Upon such acts of terror, the public reacts through various demonstrations and a lot of thought should be given to these reactions. As a person who observes and scrutinizes much more than some, I merely want to show primarily my own duties as an individual. Would someone not ask me how come you, who know so much, yet act in this way? And, there are also those situations when those outside “don’t know” more than those inside “who know”!
Let us observe the dark spots within ourselves and also observe the contribution we make to the dark energy on earth. Darkness brightens when we show the courage to face it. Then let us look at the power we have, the power we still cannot perceive, and the tools we have yet failed to use and only talk about. Let us first end the terror we have created towards ourselves and be honest while doing so. When we can do this, there will be one less spirit feeding the chaotic energy of the earth, and the balancing side enhanced.
Let’s use our power to use our intellect and our power to act despite our fears and without panicking when faced with crises. With such acts we might contribute to change. Instead of being someone who sends light, performing meditations, etc., on special days, I would rather walk on earth being love and peace itself.
Ahmet Taner Kışlalı on Terrorism
Let me comment on Ahmet Taner Kışlalı. He was my Political Science teacher in the Faculty of Communication at Ankara University. He was one of the prominent teachers of political science and a very well-known columnist. Unfortunately in 1999, we lost him in an act of terror. He is still remembered well through his writings.
The Latin root word “terror” means great fear or shaking with fear. Its goal is to create a common fear or rather to spread horror to pacify the public, and hence its leaders.
Terrorism is a means of political terror chosen by those who are weak. It tries to hit and run in an unexpected place and time because the security forces of the state are stronger both in arms and numbers.
In simple violence the goal is to hurt or eliminate a person, but for the terrorist, violence is not the goal but the means. For example, a murderer kills because he wants to kill that person. Yet for the terrorist, the person or the people killed are not important. What is important is the effect that event will have on people. When a bomb is placed on a train, the identities of the people who die do not carry importance. That is why there can be no terrorism without violence, but violence alone is not terrorism. As underlined by Ahmet Yayla regarding acts of terrorism, psychological results are more important than the physical targets.
Terrorism is calculated violence. It ensures that masses will be terrified and that they will think giving in to the demand of the terrorist as the only remedy. (P36-37)
A Terrorist’s Thought Process
What are the individual factors that orient the terrorist? How does the terrorist perceive “truth”?
To start with, the terrorist perceives himself not as the attacker but as the victim. He thinks that the one who is responsible for terrorism is not himself, but the “enemy,” and that the act of terrorism is not an individual choice but an historical obligation. He believes that he acts not on his free will but as a soldier of a holy authority. He might even feel “guilty” for living when his comrades are dead or arrested. (p. 41)
What to do?
What should be done against terrorism?
In the fight against terrorism three principles can be considered:
A military war alone can never bring a solution, yet there is no solution to terrorism without arms. In the words of another expert “no concession will satisfy a terrorist.”
There is a wide gap between the world as it is and the world of the terrorist. As conflicts between real events and the terrorist’s beliefs become more concrete, the resistance of the terrorist will weaken.
It is a mistake to try to change the beliefs of terrorist groups. It can only be effective on the individual terrorist alone. Accepting the demands of the terrorist only means bowing to blackmail. It will only help encourage new acts. But just as it is a mistake to show that the public has bowed to demands, it is just as wrong not to take democratic measures to change the conditions that created the terror.
The attitudes of the official or private mass communication tools carry a great weight in the war against terror. The news should be based on truth, but it should never be perceived as the success of the terrorist or revealed as panicking. Expressing terrorism as “war” would be the most rewarding factor for the terrorist. Such a description would increase the respect the terrorist has towards himself and his case.
There are two basic factors that would lower the resistance of the terrorist: The terrorist’s doubts about their basic beliefs and his awareness in the impossibility of armed success. News and interpretation on terrorism will be effective as long as they emphasize the following principles:
Terrorism harms “innocent victims.”
Goals cannot be achieved through terrorism.
Peaceful means are more effective and respected in achieving political ends.
And lastly, let me conclude: Over time, terrorism blocks democratic means of communication and results in polarization. In an environment where emotions rather than logic rule, the public is usually on the side of the authority and backs the strongest measures. These conditions—especially in communities that lack democratic experiences—find favor that give rise to totalitarian regimes. (p. 42-43)
(Ahmet Taner Kışlalı, Siyasal Sistemler: Siyasal Çalışma ve Uzlaşma, Ankara: İmge Yayınevi)
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