Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Case of Tashfeen M.

portrait of Sigmund Freud by Max Halberstadt
Human beings are maladaptively adaptive which is another way of saying they'll put up with almost anything. The only question really is, how far can you go before you either break their spirits entirely and turn them into zombies--or they drift to the dark side where the Shavian life force becomes a juggernaut of destruction as we’ve seen in the viral proliferation of terrorist movements? Sonderkommandos, concentration camp inmates, who survived by clearing the gas chambers and contributing the piles of glasses, gold teeth, and hair you’ve seen in famous pictures taken by liberators of the camps are examples of this perverse survival capacity. On the dark side, you have Tashfeen Malik and her husband Syed Farook, who forswore survival, in place of what they obviously considered a form of transcendence. We look at them as murderers, but they have supporters all over the world who regard them as heroes, if not saints. During the second world war allied intelligence created psychohistories of their enemies. If they were able to understand the character of the Goebbels or Heydrich then they would be able to defeat them. There's no doubt that military pressure has to be exerted on Raqaa and other ISIS strongholds, but if the Islamic state is more of a state of mind then a bona fide political entity than what must be first understood is the nature of the beast. You can’t fight effectively unless you know what you're up against and the coalition might take a cue from martial artists who don’t seek to overpower their opponents as to use their adversaries' own force against them.

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