The “collected works” of Bin Laden (aka speeches and letters) is recently published in Norwegian, and its been interesting to read the responses from the public…!
I assume most see the value in knowing the workings of the mind of Bin Laden, and gain some insight into where he is coming from. But as usual, some equal understanding with approval: if we try to understand where he is coming from, we approve of what he is doing.
To most of us, it is an obviously a naive view coming from emotional reactiveness, and indefensible intellectually.
At the same time, it is a mirror for all of us. It is what we all do, at least until there is a full release from identification with any story and identity (and then, there is the full receptivity to the possibility of it happening anyway).
Where do I equal understanding with approval? Where do I want to silence someone because I hold onto an opposing and fixed view? Where do I experience my identity being threatened, and seek to avoid what appears to threaten it?
For myself, I find this most easily in daily life and with (apparently) smaller things. She should do her dishes. He should be more considerate. They should quiet down. They shouldn’t be so naive and reactive. I should have made a different choice back then. I am wasting my time. My health should be better.
In each of these cases, there is an identification with a particular view and identity, which creates a boundary where on the other side I find the reversals to these stories and identities, and the world when it arises outside of these shoulds created by identifications with stories.
Back to the book with writings and speeches by Bin Laden, I can see several gifts in publishing it…
- It helps us understand where he is coming from, which can only be helpful.
- It may help us (a) deal with the threats from his supporters, and (b) find ways to diffuse the tension between the modern western world and the many that sympathizes to some degree with his views.
- He may even have some good points, and we can acknowledge those without agreeing with his conclusions, strategies or actions. Again, this may help bridge the gap and diffuse tensions between those in the modern western world and the many who sympathize, to some degree, with him. (For me, I find that I agree with his concerns about traditional cultures being run over by globalization, and I think his descriptions of Bush is often right on.)
- It helps us see him and his supporters as more human and reduce the dehumanization of them. A dehumanization of them only leads to ugliness in our own behavior, making our own actions into mirrors of what we see in them (the US government’s wars and treatment of suspects are a couple examples.)
- It helps us find in ourselves what we see in him and his supporters. What, specifically, about them triggers reactivity in me? And then, how are we doing the same, collectively? How am I doing the same, in my own life? This leads to more clarity, which in turn leads to more effective and appropriate actions, including using international collaboration and laws to prevent violence and diffuse threats. (Acting from being blindly caught up in projections, and specifically the shadow, tends to only fuel resistance and aversion, which we see clearly in the international responses to the Bush administration. When we act from more clarity, it instead tends to attract sympathy and support.)
- It helps us notice what comes up in us when others, or we ourselves, try to sincerely understand where he is coming from. Which beliefs and identities appear threatened? What are we afraid of? Is what we are afraid of likely to happen? What are our patterns of defense?
Now, this is all coming from a more worldcentric view, one where our circle of care, concern and compassion is universal and even includes those whose actions clearly triggers suffering in others. And many are not at worldcentric, or this far into worldcentric.
So, to be practical, we need to be sure to include responses that makes sense to people at the different levels, whether egocentric, ethnocentric or worldcentric. Obviously, this means including acting decisively to prevent and diffuse violence and threats (makes us more comfortable at egocentric and ethnocentric levels) while also following and supporting international cooperation and laws, including human rights (makes us more comfortable at worldcentric levels).
And as the European governments (at least in the west and north) are more solidly at, and further into, worldcentric, that is exactly what we see in their responses (with the possible exception of the UK).