The National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iran’s bomb project has stirred a great deal of controversy. Some say that there is now reason to abandon the war posturing and start negotiating a live-and-let-live deal with the Mullahs, since they have “abandoned” their quest for the bomb. At least that is what the not-so-reliable report seems to imply. Others, with good reason, remain skeptical of both the validity of the report and the ever-cheating, conniving Mullahs.
This controversy aside, the irrefutable fact is that the Jihadist belief of Islam itself poses existential danger to the world. Beliefs energize and direct actions. Beliefs are as indispensable as the air we breathe. Even an atheist is a believer, with his own system of disbelief. Not believing in anything is mental breakdown. There is something about humans that demands a belief. A belief can be anything or a combination of many things; it can be well-defined and even rigid, or a loosely put together hodge-podge with considerable latitude. It can be magnificent or the most abhorrent. But, it has to be there. Beliefs steer our vehicles in the journey of life.
A peculiar thing about beliefs is that they don’t have to be based on reason. Rationality does not have full charge of the human mind. Emotions, fantasies, misperceptions and a host of other operations make us the muddling fuzzy-thinkers that we are. A constant upheaval rages in the arena of the mind where all kinds of clashing forces and conflicting information vie for a place. All along, some mysterious housekeeper of the mind works at maintaining a semblance of coherence and order.
It is in the chaotic, fallible and conflict-ridden battlefield of the mind that beliefs are subjected to constant assaults as well as reinforcement. Somehow, usually in early life, the foundation for a belief system forms. Once this happens, the person tends to build on that foundation and protect it against anything that aims to change or undermine it.
The importance of early years in belief formation was recognized centuries ago by Saint Augustine, who said something to the effect: give me a child until he is seven and he will be forever mine. Sigmund Freud’s entire theory of Psychoanalysis is based on the primacy and importance of childhood experiences and education. The famed behavioral psychologist J.B. Watson went even further by declaring:
“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years.”
What Watson said may not hold perfectly in every case. Yet, the essence of his boast is indeed supported by numerous studies. Early environmental influences play the primary role in programming the mind and setting it on its course. In actuality, the brain seems to say: first come, first served. It is for this reason that Muslims are overwhelmingly born to Muslim parents, Hindus to Hindu parents, Catholics to Catholic parents, and so on.
This is not to say that changes, even major changes, are not possible after the early years. They are possible and they do happen in some instances. However, in order for significant changes to occur, major re-working must take place in the mind. Change is effortful and the law of conservation of energy also applies to the working of the mind and mitigates change unless the incentives to do so overcome the default mode of inertia.
The parents, other adults and children, as well as the prevailing culture are powerful teachers and trainers of the young mind. In the Islamic world, for instance, Islam permeates every aspect of life with overbearing severity. The young mind has little access to competing non-Islamic input. As the child’s foundation of belief forms, the mind works to protect it, further reinforce it, and bar, falsify, or dismiss any ideas that may clash with its already in-place contents.
As humans, we lack comprehensive pre-programmed software, instincts, to direct us in life. We, however, are born with predispositions which are the rudiments of software programs that will be further elaborated in interaction with life. We are, therefore, importantly dependent on how we and others, and in what fashion, further elaborate the rudimentary software. Somehow, there has been a trade-off. As our brain evolved both in size and power, what few instincts we may have had gave way. In a real sense, we took more and more charge of our own destiny.
As humans became more autonomous, a brain operation called “Confirmation Bias,” evolved to maintain internal harmony within the mind. Studies have shown that when Confirmation Bias is at work the brain areas ordinarily associated with rational decision-making are inactive. By contrast, an elaborate network of brain structures that process emotion and conflicts are highly activated. In short, confirmation bias has its own brain resources that shut out the reasoning parts in order to protect the already in-place beliefs and preferences.
The Confirmation Bias protects beliefs, values and ideas, be they political, religious, or of any other type; it is also helped in the discharge of its functions by the mind’s defense mechanisms such as rationalization (faulty reasoning) and denial (refusing to accept the reality of the irrefutable). Allocation of extensive faculties of the brain to content protection demonstrates the critical importance of the mind’s belief to its normal functioning.
The mind, concurrent with fiercely protecting its belief, actively seeks to further reinforce it with whatever supporting evidence it can muster. Total or major replacement of beliefs, particularly as one gets older, becomes less likely, yet it happens occasionally. Ideas, on the other hand, are much more amenable to change, replacement, or discard as long as they do not substantially undermine the integrity of the overall belief.
However, if a person’s ideas keep on changing gradually, they may swing the balance in favor of a total belief change. This is how Muslims usually become apostates, for example. Therefore, it is imperative that the belief of Islamofascism be challenged at every bend to make the Muslims start thinking and re-examining their ideas of faith.
Forming a religious belief is primarily an emotional undertaking. Therefore, reason must work extremely hard to override the emotion-based belief. Yet, it can be done.
There is nothing inherently wrong with religion. Religion can be a tremendous force for the good. However, when religion, this feeling-based belief, is filled with superstition, intolerance and hatred, then the observer of that religion embodies those qualities and becomes a menace to the self and to others. Feelings energize actions. Destructive feelings energize destructive actions.
Muslims living in theocratic states, in particular, are victims of their religious brains. Their religious brains are indoctrinated from the moment of birth by an extensive ruthless in-power cadre of self-serving clergy who are intent on maintaining their stranglehold on the rank and file of the faithful who are their very source of support and livelihood.
The mullahs and imams, as well as parents and others, envelop the receptive mind, feed it their dogma, and shield it from information that may undermine or falsify their version of belief.
Islamofascism is a pandemic fiercely-promoted belief system that enjoys a huge advantage over the competition. Some of the reasons for Islamofascism longevity and success are listed below.
* It is a crusading belief. Early on, it forced itself by the sword and as time went on it employed any and all schemes to promote itself while destroying the competition.
* It mandates prolific procreation on the faithful. It allows a man to have as many as four wives concurrently, in part to cater to the lust of the men and in part to produce more children who would, in turn, swell its ranks.
* It gets the first crack at imprinting its dogma on the blank slate of the child’s mind from the very first day of birth. The imprinting is usually deeply engrained and makes it difficult for the person to fully erase it, or replace it altogether. Even when successful, an ex-Muslim, or a “cultural” Muslim retains on his slate some traces of the early imprints. It may take more than one generation to fully erase the Islamic imprints.
* It does not allow anyone the choice of leaving its fold at the penalty of death for apostasy.
* It holds that the earth is Allah’s and no non-Muslim is entitled to the same rights and privileges reserved for its own members. Even the “people of the book,” Jews and Christians, must pay the religious tax of jazyyeh to be allowed a subservient place under the Islamic rule.
* It campaigns ceaselessly at propagating itself by any and all means, while banning other religions from so doing. Islamic proselytizers invade the lands of the unbelievers and work relentlessly to convert others while non-Muslim faiths are even barred from having a place of worship in lands such as the cradle of Islam, Saudi Arabia.
* It is anathema to many of civilized humanity’s values, such as those enshrined in the first amendment of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights.
* It is a caste system where the male believer enjoys valued privileges denied to all minorities, women and slaves. This discriminatory provision guarantees generation after generation of avowed in-power adherents who would shirk at nothing to maintain their privileged status granted to them by Allah.
* It is a powerful carrot-and-stick system of belief. It maintains its stranglehold on its obedient followers by promising them unimaginable compensations, if not in this world, then assuredly in the next, while anyone who strays from the mandated path is threatened with a raft of unending horrid torture from a vengeful Allah.
* The extortion-high oil prices that oil-rich Muslims extract from the addicted and oblivious non-Muslim world fuel the Islamic jihad throughout the world. Muslim kings, emirs and sheiks enjoy opulent life and aim to have it the same in Allah’s next world by funneling a portion of their huge parasitic income to madresehs (religious indoctrinating schools), mosques, storefront recruiting centers and charitable outlets that would enlist and hold masses of choiceless and fanatical believers. By funding these activities in the service of the jihadist Islam, these in-power Muslims believe that they can have it both ways: a material existence of great enjoyment here and an eternal life of hedonism in Allah’s promised paradise. In the bargain, these ringleader menaces of the world, aim to assuage their guilt feeling resulting from oppressing the impoverished exploited masses of Muslims with the delusion they are furthering Allah’s cause.
The danger of the bomb in the hands of the Mullahs has not disappeared, in spite of what the mainstream media and the Useful Idiots claim by misrepresenting the NIE report. The NIE guesses that the Mullahs seem to have ceased the construction of the warhead in 2003. How can the CIA be sure that this is the case and that the Mullahs are not secretly constructing it? Yet, the IRI, by its own admission, is on a crash program to develop long range missiles and operates cascades of centrifuges to make enriched weapon-grade uranium needed for the bomb.
The handwriting is on the wall. Huge numbers of Muslims, overwhelmingly poor, under-educated, and deeply indoctrinated in the jihadist belief are invading the world. It is this human bomb that must be diffused as well as keeping a vigilant eye on the other one that Iran’s Mullahs are relentlessly pursuing.
In short, never mind the nuclear bomb, if you like. But, we must do all we can to erase the suicide-homicide belief-vest that Islamofascists straps on their masses of the poor, the undereducated, and their deluded followers.
“Think globally, act locally,” is the rallying cry of the environmentalist movement. The same exhortation even more urgently applies to the fight against the deadly spread and menace of Islamofascism.
Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani is a columnist, literary translator, novelist and an essayist, who has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website at www.amilimani.com.
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