Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Offense is Committed in the Mind of the Offended

Update: This post has changed its wording (i.e. from "violent" to "aggressive") to better communicate its point as suggested in a comment below.

Why identify?

When we identify with a religious following or take pride in our nation, we cut ourselves off from humanity as a whole - antagonistically creating a false sense of other. When I say (without a qualifier like "scholar"), "I am a Hindu", or "I am a Muslim", or "I am a Buddhist", or "I am an Atheist", or "I am a Christian", I am thinking violently aggressively. This is then projected by several and called "a society". The identification with nation or religion (or the atheistic reaction) is an escape from fear - and it is avoidance of fear that breeds violence aggression. When we think in parts - seeking some sort of psychological security - society is needlessly fragmented.

Of course, those who identify will say this is not true. They will say there exists no contradiction when they proclaim the identity encapsulating their beliefs or take pride in a country. They speciously call this "faith" or "patriotism" and derive much personal satisfaction in doing so. They say it is the "extremists" - not them - who are the cause of violence aggressors. Them, not us. Those people, not me. However, the seemingly quiet molecule of water at the bottom of the ocean moves with, and is part of, the destructive wave crashing at the surface.

Why identify?

Other than the outward need to carry a passport, why have any inward sense of belonging? Why identify with the nation, a savior, prophet, or guru?

I heard this question the other day regarding the reaction to the Mohammed cartoons -
"Wouldn't you be offended if your religion was ridiculed?"
My religion?

The offense is committed in the mind of the offended.

Why identify?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with being proud of my country?

Blogger Gnuosphere said...

Anonymous, did you mean to ask - "What's wrong with being proud of some particular action that the country I was accidentally born in took?"

If so, then there is nothing wrong assuming you are thinking clearly and can justify your feeling of satisfaction regarding the action.

But why feel proud of "my country" in general? Is not blind patriotism a dangerous approach? Of course, few would ever admit to acting as blind patriots but surely it happens. We see it all the time. We see governments encouraging citizens (whether subtly or not) to feel emotionally proud of the nation in general. Is this not what is happening in the world right now?

Anonymous Mel said...

"However, the seemingly quiet molecule of water at the bottom of the ocean moves with, and is part of, the destructive wave that crashes at the surface."

Poetic. The so-called religious "moderates" enable extremism. Generally, you have to jump on a platform (identify) first in order to reach extremism. You keep repeating "Why identify?" which could be said, "Why build a platform?" It's a good question that deserves either a reasonable response or the abandonment of organized religion. Nationalism is a bit different though because you can't not be a citizen of a country. I'm guessing this is what you meant by "other than the outward need to carry a passport"

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a proud Christian AND a proud American but I dont go around being "violent" as you believe. Judging from your blog you look like you could stand to read a bit of the bible yourself. Christ doesn't tell us to be violent.Comitting violence IS NOT CHRISTIAN! Maybe you should consider that if you had more pride your country (whichever one in africa you are in) you might have a better life like us.


Anonymous Mel said...

I think that this idea of "thinking violently" can throw people off. I see what you mean but stubborn people will claim that thinking can't be violent and in a literal sense they are right.

Maybe you mean "divisive" instead of "violent"?

Blogger Gnuosphere said...

Mel asks:

"Maybe you mean 'divisive' instead of 'violent'"?

Division is necessary. Without division we could not function. We need division to name the street we live on so people can get directions. We need to divide that street from another. I need a name to divide myself from you so that that name can act as a reference. Therefore, I find the word "divisive" lacking in getting across the point of the post. But fine...then I ask...

Assuming "divisive" is of an inward nature, what action does divisive thinking produce in our world? When I am divided by pride of my nation or religion or race or what have you, what action is then produced?

A deep sense of belonging to a manufactured organization is clearly an avoidance of fear. We feel fearful and this deep attachment helps us escape our fear. What action results in the escape ("thinking divisively") from fear?

Anonymous Mel said...

Well what you are saying isn't really violent but it really isn't just divisive either (like a name as a reference) so how about something in the middle. How about "thinking aggressively"?

Blogger Gnuosphere said...

Yes. That word (aggression) is more accurate. I have updated the post to reflect this suggestion.


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