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Fear leads to Hate and Suffering, Humor leads to Love and Flourishing

On Terrorism, Causes, and a Call for Diplomacy:

The absurdity of jabberwockys, bugaboos, snakes, rabid dolphins, and giant spiders from Mars (or, in Bush lingo, enemies of freedom) hiding around every corner is hillarious.  True...things do happen, and have happened to me:  being someone who has been mugged once and nearly mugged on three other occasions, and stayed in a place where someone was sexually assaulted at knifepoint I have my own modern day concerns with life and livelihood...at one time, those approached both a phobia and despair of my own, which I have faced and resolved greatly, though still am dealing with residually.  However, these are different than the kind of fears we were talking about originally.

    As for the end of the world...well...I have arrived at the point that we can't worry too much about the things that can't be prevented or known well in advance, and I don't think we should worry too much about those things that might happen that could, unless we want to live in a society where we constantly fear everything that could go wrong, and are willing to trade our basic freedoms for a security blanket that may or may not be full of holes anyway.  Not to say that I think we should be undefended against clearly forseeable dangers, just that we should protect basic things like freedom of speech and expression, political identity, sexual orientation, etc. along the way, which I think our society is on the verge of failing to do.  Can our country claim to be a democracy if we allow our fears of terrorism to create a "Monsters are Due on Maple Street" scenario?  I think not. "

What followed:

    Also, I think it is a mistake for our government to spend so much money on the national defense budget for things like weaponry, and related programs, when those deal with the effects of terrorist ideologies, not the causes.  Al-Qaida, and the combatants we face on the ground in Iraq daily, would lose their impetus if more funding and resources were allocated to diplomatic and humanitarian efforts, in combination with an combat engagement doctrine that was less prone to human and technological errors that cause civilian casualties and anger the population.  Our current tactics polarize at least a portion of the Iraqi population towards joining or tacitly supporting the rebels, or the citizenry of other Arab countries towards supporting their local chapter of neer-do-goods.  At this point, a more impartial-seeming peace-keeping and relief effort organized by, say, the UN would stand a better chance at winning the hearts and minds of the people in terrorist "strongholds" than that of a Western country that is seen by the local populace as a hostile invader less sensitive to their needs, and whose presence does not help diplomacy, as it can clearly be argued that our troops' interactions with local people are somewhat laced with overtures of ethnocentrism and a mindset of 911-vendettaness.(Note:  it is a UN, and not a US, force based in southern Lebanon...let's hope that works).  A UN force with a less antagonistic engagement strategy along military lines and a more interactive effort towards diplomacy in resolving ethnic tensions, building civilian infrastructure, and providing employment would go a long way towards eroding the opposition in any conflict zone away to nothingness (or close enough to for a stable government to take effect).  Paving the way for a UN force would also solve the issue of the somewhat suspect legality with which our country jumped UN procedure and, nearly unilaterally, went stomping off into the middle of Babylon (yes, that is meant to tie in the disrespect and lack of consideration for cultural sites and artifacts damaged by the occupation, much to the greater resentment of the local population).


    Philanthropic groups and other NGOs would also have greater access to conflict zones as the level of conflict deteriorated, multiplying the resource and logistical capacity available for resolving the issues underpinning the conflicts.  Peace is possible, but why are we not taking a more balanced, diplomatic and humanitarian approach?  Well, our country is the main organizer of the current attempt to win a War on Terror (again, how you win a war against a psychological concept while saturating the media with information that rachets up people's fears of the outside world and each other, and with a foreign engagement presence that feeds the fires of enemy recruitment is beyond me), and ours is the most powerful and influential country.  For the UN to have a major role, our current administration would have to be convinced that we cannot continue to bear the burden of doing it with everyone "with us or against us," which we will inevitably arrive at with an Iraqi civil war or the bungling of another Middle East conflict (Iran? Lebanon?  Syria?).  Even as rich as we are, we can't keep this up on our own in this fashion...it will continue to be an inescapable quagmire with worldwide ramifications for economic, political, and humanitiarian endurance...it would only be a matter of time before the tough times would cause strain on other conflict zones, and with a diplomatic vacuum where the world's only superpower should be standing casting off doves, those can only boil over too...then we have world war and a dark age....in other words, hell on Earth...ahh, now I'm fear mongering...but at least it's about fears that are resolvable, and with the methods that I outlined.  Nevertheless, enough fear, and now for...

The Cherry on Top:

    The key to avoiding the endless quagmire on the outside, and the gradual rotting of social and political cohesion on the inside of our nation, is educating people about this situation, speaking out, speaking up, not being afraid to question policy, promoting new policy.  We don't have forever...we have to start working together as soon as possible...and that's just for these issues, there's still the environment to worry about.  Altogether, we could still have peace and something resembling a paradise on earth if we synergized...I feel that part of motivating people, aside from education, is making things fun.  We are a society addicted to entertainment...we drug ourselves with gaming, television, and music daily in between long stretches of working (for most of us), and that doesn't leave a lot of time for being aware of issues of import to our nation and our whole world.  Now now, I am not knocking entertainment, I am just saying that that is the state of affairs with our society (I myself love computer gaming, electronic dance music and clubs, the occasional drink of alcohol, and season disks of some tv series *imagines the collective gasp from all the people in front of their keyboards reading this*). 

    To unite and motivate such a culture doesn't involve trying to change it first...that would take too long, besides I personally like technology, and hope to see a day when we can live a thousand lifetimes through virtual reality in one, or travel and experience the world in hologram form (without astral projection or lucid dreaming states) without having to travel bodily, not to mention regenerating one's physical tissue to be young as long as possible.  Well, anyways, I'll talk about technology in a future post...the first step I think to accomplishing this, as I have said before, is to not just have a few celebrities, politicians on board, etc., but to rally around a whole archetype that is capable of both educating and entertaining.  Humor does that...the era of the comedian hero is here (as I have argued before).  Humor is also the antithesis to fear, as you've discovered while watching that rag-tag documentary.  We may not be playing traditional tarotta, but the last trick is still coming up, and that, the comedian, will be the only card left to us as things stand now. 

The beautiful thing about humor is it is a universal human condition, is directly linked with health and well being (Patch Adams, anyone?), and the jangling of concepts related to most kind of humor is enlightening...even if it is used as a captivating device it has a wholesome quality to it (unless the delivery is off, or the context and meaning are spun somehow), but with enough people working together it would be a successful step to shaking off the dust and cobwebs of apathy and getting a message through...other entertainers joining together would of course be essential as well, and ultimately everybody else...if we built a nationwide sense of community, fear and hatred would be whispers on the wind.  It sounds so grand, but...these are my thoughts on terror, and the material and immaterial solutions.  Let's get working, ja?

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