A DEVELOPMENTAL LOOK AT TERRORISM
The Australian Taliban fighter David Hicks was interested in war. The conflict of the moment was the Serbian aggression in Kosovo, so he joined the Kosovo Liberation Army. After a brief taste of battle, at the end of that conflict, he returned to Australia and applied to join the Australian Army. He was turned away because he had left school before he had attained the minimum level of qualification. Feeling deeply rejected, he turned toward the faith of those who had welcomed him in Kosovo, Islam. Through contacts at a small Mosque in Adelaide he was sponsored to go to Pakistan to undergo religious training in Kandahar. Within a short time he was fighting alongside the Taliban. He had found the conflict he was looking for. In the aftermath of September the 11th it was reported that members of the al Qaeda network had met with members of the Russian mafia in an attempt to obtain the makings of a nuclear bomb. As it turns out al Qaeda had been tricked and the barrels of nuclear material were in fact fake. But why would a puritanical religious group consort with gangsters who trade in prostitution? Surely their moral beliefs would prohibit them from contact with pimps? There is a nasty underworld trade in drugs, illegal arms and mercenaries. Despite making a pretense to clean up the lucrative heroin poppy fields of Afghanistan the Taliban and al Qaeda actually used drug money to fund their activities.
In Colombia it is cocaine that funds both the criminal cartels and the guerilla movement. Sometimes the links between the cartels, guerilla movements and the army are extremely confused. The CIA has long been suspected of using drug money to fund a ‘black’ budget used in counter-insurgency, a secret cabal within a secret organisation. Meanwhile, three IRA members are captured in El Salvador and Libya has been linked with providing arms to several terrorist groups, some seemingly unconnected to the immediate strategic interests of that country. For David Hicks it didn’t matter what he was fighting for, just as long as he was fighting for something. It seemed to be the only place he felt needed and wanted. The psychiatrist Jerrold Post has suggested that, “individuals become terrorists in order to join terrorist groups and commit acts of terrorism”[i]. David Hicks is a perfect example of the type attracted to violent criminal, political or partisan based terrorist gangs. Post goes onto say that, “For many, belonging to the terrorist group may be the first time they truly belonged, the first time they felt truly significant, the first time they felt that what they did counted”. This may very well be the case, but why join groups that engage in tragic cycles of violence? In a letter to home David Hicks reports coming across the stripped and bloated bodies of Kosovar women and children, with obscenities written on their flesh. The Serbs had been through the village a couple of days before to commit the atrocities, but we know now that similar Kosovar militia retaliated in kind. Where was the justice in this war? We should not be surprised. This is the common thread that unites the blood brotherhoods, a life of outrageous violence. But what is the cause of these brotherhoods? Why are groups of men connected in networks of violent political, religious, ethnic and criminal brotherhoods, networks that transcend the original cause to integrate into a worldwide underground of death merchants; death through drugs, arms and terrorism? I do not want to understate the original conditions that give rise to such religious, political, ethnic or criminal terrorism. In many cases such terrorism has a first cause in genuine cases of political, social or economic oppression. This oppression may be at the hands of a state, a rival ethnic group, or as a result of economic inequity. But there is much more at work here. There is a deeper cause, and uncovering that deeper cause is the subject of this chapter.
THE STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
The human capacity for violence has been well documented in all civilisations. History is often just a tragic list of one ethnic, religious or political ‘brotherhood’ fighting and conquering another. Whether it is tribal warfare in the Highlands of New Guinea or the jungles of the Amazon, or whether it is the long history of war in Europe and the Levant, whether it is Genghis Khan, or Alexander, whether it is the Greeks, Romans, Assyrians, Huns, Goths, Vikings, or crusading Knights, Moors or Moguls, and in more recent centuries, Napoleon or Hitler, there is one common trait, the spilling of blood as a mark of initiation, a rite of passage. Even in so-called civilised nations it is a commonly held belief that war makes a man out of a boy. Even in so-called modern nations there have been scandals surrounding elite military academies that have turned a blind eye to ritualized abuse of new recruits, all as part of a covert initiation process – a ritual that mimics the violent initiation process of criminal gangs. What we have here is a clear pattern of behaviour and to understand that behaviour, to place it into context, we need to understand that people go through stages of development, even throughout adulthood. There are many models of the stages of development, from ancient systems to modern, psychological systems. The American philosopher Ken Wilber has outlined dozens in his book, ‘Integral Psychology’.[ii] Perhaps the first significant developmental psychologist was Jean Piaget, who outlined stages of cognitive development. Wilber states that, “ Piaget demonstrated that each level of development has a different worldview, with different perceptions, modes of space and time, and moral motivations….he showed that reality is not simply given but is in many important ways constructed.”[iii] As Wilber points out however, as great as his contribution was, Piaget’s system was confined to cognitive development. Other theorists have gone on to delineate several other lines of development. Returning to Wilber, “Through the basic levels or waves of the Great Nest, flow some two dozen relatively independent developmental lines or streams. These different developmental lines include morals, affects, self-identity, psychosexuality, cognition, ideas of the good, role-taking, socio-emotional capacity, creativity, altruism, several lines that can be called spiritual….to name a few of the more prominent developmental lines for which we have some empirical evidence.”[iv] Yet, something seems to unite these many lines. At some point people develop a core number of these streams such that they make a gestalt shift to a different psychological space, a different worldview. This has often been called a paradigm shift. It is a shift in the way we view the world; a shift in the way we make sense, or meaning, of the world. In the mid-eighties I developed my own developmental model, one that was inspired in part by the archetypal psychology of Carl Jung. It can be perhaps best described as a meta-system, one that seems to focus the other developmental lines into a series of meaning-making worldviews. Another way to describe it is as a series of archetypes that are found in the myths and symbols of all cultures, myths and symbols that point to a deep structure inherent in the human psyche. A structure that unfolds in each individual and in each culture. And when we look at this structure we find the story of humanity, from its beginnings as early humans struggling to survive in small bands, to the heights of spiritual wisdom and fulfillment. Along the way we find ample evidence of a stage of development that explains the blood brotherhoods. The good news is that it also explains how we might create a society in which men no longer need to turn to the brotherhoods to find purpose and meaning.
Temenos is an Ancient Greek word that describes a sacred place that is open to the celestial power of the gods. From it are derived the words temple, template and contemplation. One thing that is common to any culture that reaches the agrarian state stage[v] is the projection of a mythic cosmological order onto the tabula rasa of the night sky. There are many such cosmological systems, from the ecliptical Egyptian and Babylonian systems, to the circumpolar Chinese system and the equatorial Meso-American systems. All apparently different, yet all symbolic projections of the same archetypes found within the human psyche. Temenos revisions these archetypes and suggests simply that the true sacred centre, the true Temple, is the human psyche, and that the drama of the gods, the mystery of cosmogony, is in fact the drama of the human psyche. In many ways the various cosmological systems of the ancients was an expression of an archetypal need to find order and meaning. In many cosmological systems there is understood to be an evolutionary design. In Ancient Egypt the Scarab beetle was a symbol of transformation linked to the path of the Sun. This contained an esoteric message of the transformation of an inner light. In Sumeria there were seven steps on the podium on top of the ziggurat, each step associated with the planetary gods, the Sun, Moon and the five visible planets[vi]. As the priest ascended he was symbolically embodying the planetary powers. In China the Taoist priests developed Qi Kung, which uses cosmological symbolism and a system of stages to align the individual to the universal Qi. And in Alchemy this same transformative process is symbolized by both astrological and chemical processes. Temenos summarises these various levels into a universal system of twelve levels in all. As is common to all archetypes of cosmic order there are harmonic patterns within the overall system[vii]. One important harmonic is the pairing of these levels into six dyads that express energies of creative tension. As we shall see the resolution of these tensions is critical to psychological development. Another harmonic that is worth mentioning is the division of the six dyads into two groups of three. The first group of three are concerned with the development of the adult personality. The second group of three are concerned with the development of what Ken Wilber calls the transpersonal levels.[viii] This discussion however, is only concerned with the first three dyads. I mention the other three dyads only to fill out the full context of the model. The first dyad is a tension between birth and death, or eros and thanatos, order and chaos. This is the impulse to growth and life contrasted with the dangers of the natural world. The growth of the forest depends on the detritus of dying trees. Childbirth and infancy are dangerous times; the young of all species are particularly vulnerable. In human societies this represents the stage of survival bands. In these groups the economy is based on hunting and foraging. Life is a constant struggle against and familiarity with death, whether through natural disaster, disease or accident. Infant mortality rates are high, and hunting, the act of killing, is a daily necessity. The spiritual expression of this stage is animism and may involve the ritual use of sacrifice. The birth/death dyad creates meaning around the idea of life for life and understands that life feeds off life. The core needs of the first dyad are the basics, food and shelter. The second dyad arises as a solution to the conflict of the first (as does each successive dyad). To protect against death both the child and the individual turn to others. There is then a tension between the security this provides and the discipline it involves. I call this dyad Mother/Father. The first adult the child knows is the mother, who is a haven of comfort, security and compassion. The second adult is the father, who in so many cases represents discipline, structure and punishment. In human societies this represents the stage of the first agricultural communities. These range from small village domestication to more complex chiefdoms and agrarian city-states. The early ‘maternal’ phase is concerned with notions of belonging, whether to a clan, tribe, or lineage, and can be quite varied. Some tribal groups are matrilineal, some patrilineal, some practice polygamy and so on. The spiritual expression of this stage is concerned with one’s place and with ancestral spirits (which may or may not be fused with the earlier animistic phase). The tribal group is closely knit and often lives in communal houses. As the ‘maternal’ societies grow in complexity there is a gradual shift toward patriarchal power and a society based on warfare[ix]. At an even greater level of complexity the society becomes stratified and individuals are identified by which class, or trade they belong to. Society becomes dominated by the ‘big man’, who eventually becomes a warrior king or chief. The spiritual expression of this stage is of a divine order headed by a male god, whether this is Zeus and the Olympian gods, Brahma and the Hindu pantheon, or the singular God of the Abrahamic religions. For the child this marks the phase when attention shifts from the world of the mother to that of the father. The core needs of the second dyad are the emotional needs of belonging, identity and security. It is this developmental phase that is central importance to this chapter and I will return to it in some detail. The tension between the comfort of the mother and the discipline of the father soon becomes constricting to the child. Whilst there is always a struggle for independence it is not until the teenage years that the child has developed enough to be able to separate from the mother and the father. When the child succeeds in doing so there arises a tension between individual expression and the pressures of his or her peers. The next dyad is called individuus/civilis. In society this marks the phase at which individuals within a stratified society demand freedom from paternalistic constraints. The civilis aspect marks the understanding that individual freedom is constrained by the demands of other individuals. It finds full expression in a complex society made up of interacting associations of free individuals. Its highest expression is democracy, although we must recognise that there are degrees of democracy. The individuus phase is best captured in the symbol of the Hero.[x] The civilis phase is most often symbolised by a female figure. Here we find such symbols as the statue of Athena in the Parthenon, the figure of Justice carrying the scales, and of course the Statue of Liberty (a representation of Marianne, the heroine of the French Revolution). The spiritual expression of the individuus stage worships a singular heroic figure, such as Jesus, Buddha or Arjuna. The spiritual expression of civilis is that of a free community of worshippers.[xi] The core needs of the third dyad are a sense of individual purpose and creativity, and finding one’s place in a community of equals. Here I would like to suggest to the reader that it is actually quite rare for a society or an individual to fully enter the civilis phase. In some societies it is only the privileged few who are able to do so. In fact, many modern industrial societies are still working out issues of individualism and citizenship. Many people are solely concerned with individual expression. In other parts of the world an oppressive state or a strong traditional culture acts to suppress individualism.
THE MATRICES – THE DUAL MOTHER AND FATHER
A few paragraphs ago I mentioned that the archetype of cosmic order typically contains harmonic patterns. Another pattern I need to draw your attention to is the division of the twelve into four groups of three.[xii] The first is called the matriarchal matrix and consists of the archetypal themes of birth, death and the mother. The second is called the patriarchal matrix and consists of the archetypal themes of father, the individual and civilisation. Many writers have commented on the historical shift from matriarchal systems to patriarchal systems. During the time of the Jewish Patriarchs all references the traditional consort of Yahweh, Asherah were removed from the Old Testament and her image was removed from every temple. In some cultures there was a dramatic split, as in the fiercely patriarchal Abrahamic religions, in other cultures the goddesses remained but were made secondary to male gods. It seems that only in India did the vestiges of the earlier matriarchal cults remain in some Tantric systems.[xiii] In both the matriarchal matrix and the patriarchal matrix we see the development of a dual aspect to both the mother and father symbol. We can call these dual aspects the Great Mother/Terrible Mother and the Great Father/Terrible Father. These dual aspects are frequent themes in all religions. We see the Great Mother in the Virgin Mary and in the many forms of the goddess. We see her Terrible aspect in the blood-drenched form of the Hindu goddess Kali. The Terrible aspect is usually associated with ritual sacrifice linked to fertility rites. This makes perfect sense, as the very act of birth is associated with blood, as is the act of hunting and preparing the kill. Often the worship of the Great Mother, in both her aspects, involved sexual ritual as well. The early goddess cults were associated with sacred prostitution, but even the act of sacrifice sometimes involved sex. Joseph Campbell tells of the fairly common act of sacrificing young couples in the act of copulating.[xiv] The purpose of the sacrifice is to continue the cycle of life for life. There is however, a dramatic change with the appearance of the Great Father. The act of sacrifice shifts from being a part of the sacred round of birth, life and death to being a way to realise a higher, abstract order. The Great Father is associated with grand visions, whether they are political ideologies, claims to ethnic superiority or religiously inspired attempts to build the divine order on earth. A great many of the world’s wars have been in the name of a greater cause, a vast murderous rampage of ethnic, religious and political conquest tied into the assertion of the core need of identity. In every one of these cases the Great Father sacrifices his children, particularly his sons, in the name of the cause. There is a dramatic painting by the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya that shows Saturn[xv] eating his children. This is the manifestation of the Terrible Father, the father who destroys his own children, just as the Abrahamic god promises to destroy the whole world if his children are not obedient to his higher order. A significant part of the patriarchal matrix is the appearance of the Son, or of the Hero, who represents the individual ego. Jesus is the good son who models obedience and offers a way for his followers to avoid the promised apocalypse. But just as there is the good son there is also the evil son. King Arthur was eventually killed by his own son, Mordred. There is a family tragedy at play here. It contains the awful reality of patricide, fratricide and incest. This drama is played out everyday as sons and daughters attempt to create a separate identity and escape the psychological games of the family. Some never make it and remain locked in a psychological inner family. This is an important point because it happens to cultures as well. The symbol par excellence of the final escape from the family is marriage. It is the union of male and female which allows a new round of birth to occur. In patriarchal societies the daughter is given away by the father into the care of the husband. The marriage ceremony is a rite of passage into full adult responsibility (and marks the taming, the civilising, of the wild youth). It recapitulates the ancient union of the god and goddess and it is a theme I will return to at the end of the chapter. The above themes develop the archetypes of the father, the individual and civilisation, the patriarchal matrix. Joseph Campbell explores these themes in his famous book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The psychologist C.G. Jung also elaborates on this theme.[xvi] There are many aspects of this grand narrative, sometimes the Hero is escaping the clutches of the Terrible Mother, at other times he is escaping the injustice of the Terrible Father. The Hero then undergoes a tremendous journey and through a series of challenges returns to the world with a greater understanding. The whole heroic cycle is a metaphor for the successful transformation of the psyche and it shows us what must be done in order to achieve the final goal. Unfortunately the whole idea of comedy and more importantly, tragedy, is that the Hero can also sometimes fail. These tales of error are important because they warn us that things can indeed go wrong, that if the archetypal pattern is not followed then there can be fatal consequences.
THE DEVELOPMENTAL TRAGEDY OF THE BROTHERHOODS
We have only briefly explored the developmental scheme of Temenos. It is a vast subject with a massive amount of supporting literature and the length of this chapter simply does not permit me to explore the subject further. Our task now is to apply this model to the problem of the brotherhoods. Essentially the brotherhoods are caught in the early stages of the patriarchal matrix. Each member is in effect, a son attempting to appease the Great Father. Unfortunately the brotherhoods largely play out the tragic aspect of the story, they actually never leave the Great Father’s home and in the ensuing frustration the guiding hand of the Great Father turns to the wrathful hand of the Terrible Father. The path ahead should see them rebel against the Terrible Father, find their own destiny and return to take their place in civilised society. Instead they end up as sacrificial victims to the Father’s cause. Mark Juergensmeyer says of the funerals of Hamas suicide bombers. “These events were not really funerals, a fact symbolized by the drinking of sweetened rather than bitter coffee, the distribution of sweets, and the singing of wedding songs. A cross between marriage and a religious festival, these affairs were a modern example of an ancient religious ritual: the sanctification of the martyrs.”[xvii] Juergensmeyer goes on to describe the age and social standing of the members of the brotherhood. “The very youthfulness of most members of the movements makes them socially marginal. A tabulation of the ages of Sikh extremists killed by police indicated that most of them were in their early twenties…..Hamas has consisted largely of ‘urban males in their teens’. In most societies, young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two are in a liminal state between life stages. They are no longer children in their parent’s families and they have not yet created families of their own. Their marginality is especially acute in traditional societies built around family units, in which one does not find the highly developed youth cultures of modern urban and industrialized societies. These activist youths are family members without a family, for whom religious movements provide a home and extended kinship.”[xviii] In this last statement Juergensmeyer is recapitulating the theme of the tragic journey of the Hero. Unable to find meaning as an individual these vulnerable youths turn to the many ideologies of the Terrible Father. And when we look at the structure of the brotherhoods we do indeed find the archetype of the Terrible Father. He takes many forms. He can be a god, he can be a mythologised historical figure such as Jesus or Mohammed, or he can be an ethnic, religious, political (we see this shift in communism as the shift from Marx as the Great Father to Stalin as the Terrible Father – a pattern repeated in other political organisations as well) or criminal leader. In every case the psychology of the brotherhoods removes them further and further from the original cause and they descend into the archetypal tragedy of patricide, fratricide and incest. To protect himself from challenge from younger males the dominant male must deal fiercely with any dissension. Jerrold Post says this of terrorist groups: “The wise leader, sensing the building tension, will plan an action so that the group’s members can reaffirm their identity and discharge their aggressive energy. Better to have the group attack the outside enemy, no matter how high the risk, than turn on itself – and him”.[xix] As the decline continues the group starts to turn on its own members and demand even greater obedience. Michael Wieviorka has argued that extreme violence is a sign of the collapse of the original cause. He argues that “Indeed, it has become counter-productive” and it “bears little relation to the expectation and experience of the people in whose name it is carried out”.[xx] As the group descends further it begins to turn inwards. In normal development the individual turns to the archetype of the bride, to the idea of civilisation[xxi]. In the brotherhoods this is turned inwards to a powerful ritual of male bonding. Juergensmeyer quotes the revealing words of the Sikh martyrs, Sukha and Jinda. “Sukha and Jinda were said to have stated in their final address that they imagined the hangman’s rope ‘as the embrace of a lover’, and they ‘longed for death as for the marital bed’. Their own ‘dripping blood’ would be the ‘outcome of this union’ and they hoped it would ‘fertilize the fields of Khalistan’.[xxii] This last quote provides an interesting reference to the purpose of sacrifice in the matriarchal matrix. However, this should not surprise us if we remember that religions often contain remnants of earlier developmental stages. We need only remember that the Sikh cause also conforms to the psychological process of the brotherhoods. I would also like to remind the reader of the earlier quote regarding the singing of wedding songs at martyr’s funerals. What this points to is the simple appropriation and inversion of the final developmental phase of the patriarchal matrix, civilis as symbolised by the wedding of the male and female principles. What of women? How do they fare in the world of the brotherhoods? Unfortunately not well at all. As the brotherhoods turn in on themselves they turn against women. The women of the brotherhoods do not become equal members; they become servants. In extreme cases they are reduced to being breeders of even more sacrificial sons. Amongst societies caught in currents of Islamic extremism it is a high honour for a woman to give birth to a martyr. The tragedy however, does not end there. The brotherhoods further dehumanise woman and their greatest crime in that of rape. As the cults of the Terrible Father descend into darkness the good sons become archetypal bad sons. When they encounter the women of their enemy (this is particularly vicious in ethnic conflict) they resort to rape, and rape of a particular kind. In the worst cases daughters are raped in front of their parents and mothers are raped in front of their children. Of all the images of the war in Afghanistan the one that I recall vividly is the blank sadness and terror of three girls of the Hazar ethnic minority. The largely Pashtun Taliban had raided their village. They told how their mother had been killed in front of them, what they would not say is that each of them had been raped. The youngest was six. This is simply psychological incest, a deep attack against the structure of the family and the symbolic destruction of the feminine, as sister, daughter and mother. It is the same inverted pattern, from the pack rapes of ‘gangsta’ culture to the belief that martyrs will be rewarded with a heavenly harem of compliant sex slaves.
CLOSED AND OPEN META-NARRATIVES
Every culture and society has a story it tells itself. A comparative examination shows a common thread that recapitulates individual psychology. The structure of the dyads outlined above is universal. Every culture has stories and myths that point to the full potential of all the dyads. Unfortunately at various points in time, at various critical transformative points, a culture or society will deny itself this potential. Just as individuals get stuck at developmental levels and retreat into repetitive cycles and complexes, so to do societies and cultures. To live a fulfilled life one must be able to negotiate one’s own path through the developmental stages. The same applies to societies and cultures. This is not the imposition of a certain set of cultural norms onto other cultures. Each culture has its own stories, its own myths that map out the universal path. There are profound similarities in the myths of quite diverse cultures. As Jung has pointed out, the archetypes can be found in every cultural variation. The archetype of the Self for example, can be found in the mythologised figures of Jesus in the West, of the Buddha in the East and of Quetzalcoatl in the Americas; the feminine archetype of compassion as Mary in the West, Kuan Yin in China and White Buffalo Woman for Native Americans. When the full potential of all the archetypal dyads can be accessed and realised the culture can be said to be in an open state. It is equally possible however, for cultures to close down and fail to provide a way for individuals to progress through the developmental stages. History has often been the struggle of open systems against closed systems. It is as if there is an evolutionary impulse toward open development. But what causes open systems to turn inwards and close down? The answer is not actually all that difficult. As I mentioned above, each dyad has a set of core needs it must meet. When the core needs are stabilised then both the individual and the society naturally evolve to the next stage. The first core need is food and shelter. An individual who does not know where his or her next meal is coming from is hardly concerned with other things. And it is only when a society has developed a resource surplus that it develops from the foraging band level to the next level.[xxiii] The next core need is that of belonging, identity and security. The individual finds that in his or her family. Societies provide this by creating tribal and ethnic identity; meaning is found in complex narratives of relationship. When one is confident and secure in knowing where and to whom one belongs then the next need arises. That need is to develop a separate and individual identity and to establish that identity in a group of equals. If any of these core needs are denied in any way then the individual or society reverts to the psychology of the related level. The brotherhoods usually arise in societies that have been denied a sense of identity and belonging. Can it be as simple as that? There is no doubt that a crisis of identity can have many causes. Some may be caused by the actions of others; some may be caused by natural disaster. But if you look at people in areas of natural disaster where the core need of shelter and food are being denied you do not find the brotherhoods. If you look however, at the conflicts in which the brotherhoods arise you find an attack on the identity and security of a people. The creation of Israel displaced many Palestinians and threatened their identity. Similarly the Palestinian call for the abolition of the State of Israel is a profound threat to Jewish identity. Basque separatism arose out of the fear that the economic advance of the Spanish and French would swamp Basque culture. In Fiji there have been several coups caused by the perception that Fijian identity and power was being lost to the Indian immigrants. Juergensmeyer quotes the political head of Hamas, Dr Abdul Aziz Rantisi as saying that the very nature of Islam was about the “defence of dignity, land and honour”.[xxiv] These are issues of identity, not of fundamental physical survival. In fact many writers have commented that the rise of fundamentalist Islam is due to a crisis of identity and that America is considered the enemy because it has attained what Islam has not, thus humiliating Islamic pride. Regrettably the rise of influence and power of one ethnic, religious or political entity usually results in the often careless and sometimes deliberate oppression and humiliation of other groups. The fratricidal war in Rwanda arose out of the humiliation and subjugation of one tribal group by another. During Jesus’ time the brotherhoods were known as zealots and the reaction of the Jews to humiliation by the Romans gave rise to the extreme Essene sect whose apocalyptic vision so greatly influenced Christianity. Examples abound across all cultures and all periods of history. In many ways the life of the Australian Taliban fighter David Hicks was a simple repetition of the same tragedy. He was restless at school and never quite fitted in. Being poorly educated he was unable to find a sense of belonging in a career. He drifted from job to job. The more his discontent grew, the more he became alienated from the normal process of development and the more he became fascinated in warfare. In a letter to a flatmate he wrote when he was in Kosovo he remarked that he felt really welcomed and needed. On his return his rejection by the Australian army was a final humiliation. What then of the humiliation of the thousands of unemployed youth in the Middle East?
THE WAY AHEAD
The full and open expression of the patriarchal matrix ends with symbolic marriage of the masculine and the feminine. Jung called this the conjunction of the opposites.[xxv] I say symbolic because it is not really about the actual marriage of man and woman. In fact the ceremony of marriage is a symbolic acting out of the greater mystery of harmonising the inner male and female principles. Each individual and each society must allow this narrative to reach its final and full conclusion. I mentioned that the most common images of the civilis stage are feminine. The statues of Justice that adorn many a court entrance, the goddess Athena Polias who gave name to the city-state that first developed democracy. It is simply no accident that the so-called arts of civilisation are symbolically associated with the feminine. In India it is the goddess Saraswati who developed language and who guides education and the arts. Even amongst certain Islamic sects it is Fatima who is the true founder of the sacred line of Imams. Wherever the feminine is denied we find a closed system, a system still struggling to secure the core need of identity and security. And if this core need continues to be denied the system regresses into the psychology of the Terrible Father. The history of Islam provides a prime example. In the first phase of Islam the new faith had to struggle to maintain its identity in the face of challenge from pagan tribes. Mohammed’s message was at first denied and he had to flee to Medina. In the face of a war of survival he developed a belief system that encodes many of the values of the brotherhood and it was during this time that he developed the idea of jihad and the rewards of martyrdom. In the second phase a triumphant Islam expanded and secured its core need of identity (unfortunately, as always, at the expense of others). At this time Islam was able to absorb other influences and the feminine arose in Sufi tradition, particularly as Sofia, the Greek feminine principle of wisdom. During this period Islam was the pre-eminent culture. Moorish Spain was a thriving and tolerant society that gave birth to the Sufi mystic Ibn ‘Arabi and the Jewish mystic Moses de Cordovera. In fact it is worth noting that Ibn ‘Arabi had been the student of two female Sufi’s or shaikha, Yasmin of Marchena and Fatima of Cordova[xxvi]. In the third phase of Islam a resurgent Europe saw the gradual decline of the Islamic empire. In reaction the puritanical Wahhabi sect gained support in Arabia. As Islam further declined and its values were challenged by modernism, it further retreated into the psychology of the Terrible Father. The Taliban and al Qaeda are the inevitable and predictable consequence of developmental regression. And rather than embrace the feminine they shun it. What all this teaches us is that each individual and each society must be allowed to openly secure its core needs. It demands a new political wisdom, a wisdom that understands the importance of the free and open development of all individuals and cultures. It demands that careful attention be paid to the archetypal story of humanity. The signs are always there, they just need to be heeded.
[i] Post, Jerrold, ‘Terrorist psycho-logic: terrorist behaviour as a product of psychological forces’, in Reich, Walter, Origins of Terrorism, John Hopkins University Press (2001) pg 22 [ii] Wilber, Ken, Integral Psychology, Collected Works, Vol4, Shambhala (1999).
[iii] Ibid, pg 455
[iv] Ibid, pg 461
[v] For a detailed explanation of the anthropology of human evolution see, Johnson and Earle, The Evolution of Human Societies, Stanford University Press (2000)
[vi] Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn
[vii] Campbell, Joseph, The Mythic Image, Chapter 5 – The Revolving Sphere of Space-Time, Princeton University Press (1974)
[viii] Integral Psychology, op cit.
[ix] Johnson and Earle, op cit.
[x] Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Fontana (1993)
[xi] It is interesting to note that many protestant churches are based around a strong idea of equality in faith and that the Puritans were instrumental in anti-establishment rebellions in England and America.
[xii] In fact Temenos contains several interesting harmonic patterns, each with distinct meaning. There is the standard division of 12 by the factors, 2, 3, 4 and 6. This is also a mirror harmonic which reveals a symbolic connection between 1-6, 2-5 and 3-4. There is also the disharmonic of 5 and 7, with 5 symbolic of descent and 7 of ascent. But these are all subjects for a larger work.
[xiii] Through the worship of shakti in the form of Kali/Durga
[xiv] Campbell, Joseph, The Masks of God, Vol I. Penguin (1964).
[xv] What is interesting is that the Hebrew for Saturn is sabbatai, from which is derived the word Sabbath, traditionally held on Saturday – Saturn’s day.
[xvi] Jung, CG, Symbols of Transformation, CW Vol5, Bollingen, Princeton University Press.
[xvii] Juergensmeyer, Mark, Terror in the Mind of God, University of California Press (pg 161).
[xviii] Ibid, (pg 191)
[xix] Quoted from The Terrorism Reader, Editor, David Whittaker. Routledge (pg 19)
[xx] Ibid (pg 131).
[xxi] This occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships
[xxii] Juergensmeyer, op cit. (pg 203)
[xxiii] Johnson and Earle, op cit.
[xxiv] Juergensmeyer, op cit. (pg 167)
[xxv] Jung, CG, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW Vol 14, Bollingen, Princeton University Press.
[xxvi] Corbin, Henry, Alone with the Alone, Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi, Bollingen, Princeton University Press (pg 40).