Recognize our own dysfunction in terrorists

We’re the Boston terrorists. The strong streak of insanity running through the collective human psyche has been around since we decided to support the illusion that we are separate from one another – that there is not a common thread, creating the unreal division by thinking “our God, religion, tribe, belief, country, ethnicity, gender” and that “ours” is superior to “others.”

The madness is not just out there but within every person’s mind. Considering the Boston terrorists’ act, we might ask, how is it possible that the other can inflict such suffering on another while not seemingly feeling? It is possible because the terrorist has conceptualized a large group of people as the enemy. Once we’ve made labels and judgments, we no longer see them as human beings. This is one of the dysfunctional mental processes used in warfare, be it military or personal. In this state of mind, we are desensitized and unable to connect with this other human being.

Hunting down and eliminating the terrorists is not the answer. Before we quickly condemn the terrorists, we might pause in order to thoughtfully consider that the manifestation of this dysfunction exists in everyone, albeit not as extreme but definitely present in me. The enemy now has a human face, as I do. Once the enemy is recognized as a human being, there is the opportunity for me to act with compassion and not react with the violence of the terrorist.

David Krest


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