Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Nurelhuda Asks about why people blow themselves up for "God"

So ok the profile of the bombers is out. Most of them are very young and they died doing what they did.

What is it in society that makes people believe it is holy to kill themselves for the sake of something? What is that something? Things just do not happen, they happen because of other things. It is easy to be angry with the terrorists but what can we do the remove the problem at its root?Terrorism is a systemic disease of society , it is not isolated from society and even if we pinpoint and say oh , they re Muslims and so it explains everything.

I am asking myself, what can I do to stop young people from thinking they have to blow themselves up to be saved and to save their people . Who are these people who make use of idealistic young people is sheer manipulation....but what is it that makes these young people such easy preys?Are their lives so empty that they have to find meaning in blowing themselves up?
Well, there is an answer to this question, but it is one that no one likes, it makes people uncomfortable to even think about certain truths about the human condition. In some ways every culture, and every organized religion has found ways to insulate people from these truths, and just talking about them will elicit violent reaction in large sections of the population.

The basic thing to understand, (and this knowledge is the real reason that the right wing fundamentalists on all sides are so fearful of Sufis and their like) humans, until they do significant work on themselves, are pretty much just stimulus/response robots that are having delusional dreams of free will to hide this fact from themselves.

That's right, my contention is that "free will" is, by and large, an illusion, a comforting lie that we tell ourselves, and unless we do significant and real work on ourselves we will never develop free will.

As G. I Gurdjieff commented:
The evolution of man is the evolution of his consciousness. And "consciousness" cannot evolve unconsciously.
Quotes By G. I. Gurdjieff, from P. D. Ouspensky from "In Search of the Miraculous" by way of MoonWoven (which is a very nice blog

I find this a telling statement, "consciousness cannot evolve unconsciously." And yet that is what most people try to do, or so it seems to me.

To be conscious requires that we rouse ourselves from the "waking trance" of everyday life, where most reactions to stimulus happen heuristically.

(I have written about this in a more oblique way in several articles here on "Slicing Time")

In Sufi technical language, we talk about a person operating from "Nafs al Ammara" or the "commanding ego". This commanding ego is what runs our heuristics, and unless we learn to break its hold over us it can and will override any "conscious choice" about what to do in a given situation. The commanding self can be seen as addictive in nature. How many times have all of us made a conscious choice "not to do something", such as over eating, or reacting to someone in a particular way, only to find ourselves doing exactly that with no real understanding of how we ended up doing such a thing?

That is the commanding self.

This is without a doubt the most powerful part of a human being, and is the faculty that must be brought under control if we ever want to be more than a stimulus/response organism.

When you find yourself "just reacting" to something, without thought or consideration, when you find yourself feeling some emotion about an experience that does not relate to the experience directly, that is Nafs al Ammara. Until we do significant work on ourselves, Nafs al Ammara provides emotional reaction to perceived events, and it does this mechanical and without any kind of choice on your part.

When you find yourself spending a significant amount of time going over past experience, having emotional upheaval about them, imagining how you would do things differently, having emotional reaction to people who are no longer in your life, this is Nafs al Ammara.

Nafs al Ammara operates entirely on an unconscious level and is almost uncontrollable by the conscious "Self".

It is also quite "programmable" by outside sources.

A very important moment in the work on oneself is when a man begins to distinguish his personality and his essence. A man's real "I" - his individuality - can grow only from his essence. It can be said that a man's individuality is his essence, grown up, mature. But in order to enable essence to grow up, it is first of all necessary to weaken the constant pressure of personality upon it, because the obstacles to the growth of essence are contained in personality.

G. I. Gurdjieff
One of the problems is that people mistakenly think that they have a "Self", an "I" that is us. This is just part of the comforting lie we tell ourselves.

In fact a person who has not done the work of waking up is no more than a group of "pseudo-selves", each coming to the surface of consciousness when the proper stimulus is applied.

We do not notice this because of three factors according to Mr. Gurdjieff;

One, because we have a small but powerful "base" set of habits that operate at a level even deeper than that of Nafs al Ammara, which influence behavior. Whatever personality fragment is at the fore in any moment, these habits are still operative.

Two, because we have the sensations of the body which act as a sort of constant. No matter which fragment is running the show, we feel that we are in the same body.

Three, because we are habituated to respond to our name, no matter what fragment of personality is at the fore. All fragments are named "Joe" or "Jill". This is the real reason that name changes came with initiation into "The Work", a tradition that has been carried over into the various "holy orders" without any real understanding.

While Gurdjieff, (as well as several of the more interesting Sufi-like teachers) are the origin of this idea in the West, I have verified it to my satisfaction. In part I have used the tools of Ericksonian hypnosis which I have studied, practiced and taught for almost forty years as a main method of inquiry on this subject, but I have also used the sufi techniques found in "kalam al Batini" "the hidden conversation" to expand my understanding of this phenomena. In other words I am not talking from theory but from empirical investigation.

One thing that is very evident, when a person is operating from a fragmented "personality" they are, as I mentioned earlier, easily programmable.

There are basically three levels of constraint on the human organism (which can be expanded for more detail) that make openings for programming.

The first is biological. Our perceptions are limited to a certain "bandwidth" of reality, and our responses are determined by what chemical cocktails we are capable of producing. This is determined by genes.

The second and third constraints are determined by Memes. One thing I would like to stress here though is that what the West understands about "memes" is just a smattering of what has been available in the East for the last several thousand years. (And often Western researchers have gotten it very wrong).

The second level of constraint is cultural. Whatever society a person has grown up in, and the language that the person learns to speak will imprint a whole set of behaviors, and behavioral conflicts, on a person.

The third level of constraint on a human being is personal. These are all the habits and idiocrasies that any given person picks up unconsciously in a lifetime

To understand why an 18 year old boy will leave his wife and child behind and blow himself up at the behest of a "religious or political authority" you have to understand that he has been infected with a complex of toxic ideas of great power which lodge in the Nafs al Ammara like a killer parasite. He is literally hypnotized into a belief system that allows him to do stupid and self destructive things.

A considerable percentage of the people we meet on the street are people who are empty inside, that is, they are actually already dead. It is fortunate for us that we do not see and do not know it. If we knew what a number of people are actually dead and what a number of these dead people govern our lives, we should go mad with horror.
G.I. Gurdjieff
As a person gets older it becomes more and more difficult to break free from the patterns of robotic behavior that have been ingrained and reinforced over a lifetime. The potential for building a real I atrophies. There comes a point (usually around the age of 35 to 40 in modern cultures) where it is almost impossible to break free from ones programming.

These people are for all intents and proposes, walking automatons, and they can never be trusted to do anything that is not in the meme complexes that run what passes for consciousness in them.

From birth to around 25 years of age people are VERY malleable when it comes to accepting new memes. This is why in most so called "primitive" cultures initiation ceremonies were part of what every young person went through. It helped to insure that the culturally acceptable memes were the ones that were imprinted.

Why do you think the military takes people so young? Because a seventeen year old boy is more easily programmed into someone who will charge a machine gun nest than is a forty year old man.
The crowd neither wants nor seeks knowledge; and the leaders of the crowd, in their own interests, try to strengthen its fear and dislike of everything new and unknown. The slavery in which mankind lives is based upon this fear.
G.I. Gurdjieff
This is the crux of the matter. Most people, in my experience, though they may claim that they want to evolve past being an automaton, are just talking. When it comes to actually making the changes necessary to become a real human being with a single "I" most people (in my experience) would rather kill than give up their robot-hood.

So the answer to the initial question is simple (though not easy), Wake yourself up, free yourself from your mechanical nature, become whole, then teach others how to do the same. Start with young people.

One of the things that I have been seeing over the last several years is that the various Sufi orders are not attracting young people. The last Mevlevi Sama I saw, there was no one under forty among the semazens.

If a path cannot attract people who are still in their youth then that path has become irrelevant.

Oh, one other thing. If you embark on a course of action that will wake you up from your living trance, you put yourself into a bit of danger. You become much more of a threat to the "status quo" than any terrorist.


1 comment:

scott pearson said...

Okay -- I catch on slow, but more, please?