Eight mad men are all it takes to bring a strong, proud nation to its knees. No army or police can guarantee the safety of citizens against determined, brainwashed radicalists whose only aim in life is to kill as many non-Muslims as they can before they die. Now that millions of migrants are pouring into Europe, it is clear that Europe as we know it is gone.
The Islam is not fighting with guns or cannons. You cannot seriously compare the military power of say, ISIS, against that of any Western country, much less that of NATO, the US or Russia. But ISIS is making headway wherever it sets foot because today wars are won not with weapons; they are won with spirit, and with an ideology to match that spirit.
The ideology of radical Islam is very simple: Either convert and become one of us or die. They are not afraid to die because they believe that becoming a shahid (one who dies while protecting or promoting Islam) will award them eternity of bliss in heaven. In the painfully empty post-modern Europe, which idolizes the Euro instead of the Europeans, such a seemingly simplistic idea can have very strong appeal because it offers meaning to life, and the certainty of ultimate bliss.
To win the war against radicalism, of any kind, not just Islamic fundamentalism, the West must offer a viable answer to the question about the meaning of life. The lack of purpose drives millions of youths toward the edge, be it religious fundamentalism, hard drugs, the extreme right, or depression and suicide.
Currently, the West worships the winner-take-all approach. Those who have risen above all others are idolized regardless of how many “corpses” they have left lying by the wayside on their path to fame and fortune. We have to change this paradigm into one that embraces people rather than eliminates them.
The world is already irreversibly interconnected and interdependent, so all we need is to learn how to tap into our integration and benefit from it. We are already a single entity on every level—social, economic, and emotional—but we are acting as though we’re not. We’re condoning a self-centered attitude and actually behave the same way cancer cells conspire against their host organism until they kill it along with themselves.
The solution to our woes is not to fight against terror. This must be done as a first-aid measure only. But the real solution will come when we offer unity above differences as the solution.
Unity among people triggers good feelings because it unleashes the pro-social element in us. Just as alienation and suspicion strengthen the self-centered element in us, the opposite conduct, even if fake at first, sets free prosocial feelings in us, which relish connection and thrive on it.
Connection is the basis of life. We wouldn’t exist were it not for the connection among our cells and organs. Our planet wouldn’t thrive were it not for the connection among all parts of our global ecosystem. Humanity will not exist if it keeps condoning separation as opposed to connection.
Connection gives meaning to life because it furnishes us with a vast perception. When we condone unity we are endowed with a broad perspective, one that cherishes the prosperity of all of humanity. In such a state, liberty is maximized because people contribute their unique skills and abilities to the common good, thereby benefitting themselves and the rest of the world. Imagine a world where everyone is inclined this way and conditioned to understanding the benefits of such an arrangement.
True unity does not require becoming similar, but rather that we each demonstrate our uniqueness, while at the same time caring for others. People that exist in an environment that encourages exploring and realizing their full potential will never be unhappy, and will never seek extreme solutions of any kind. In such a reality, they will be respected and praised for contributing their talents to the common good.
So the way to win the spiritual war against fundamentalism, of any kind, is to endorse the spirit of unity above differences, and encourage uniqueness for the benefit of all.
Featured in Huffington Post