6 February 2005 | Draft
Thinking in Terror
Refocusing the interreligious challenge from "Thinking
- / -
Nature of terror
Complicity with terrorism
Elusive way forward
Fish-scale model of religious complicity
Mysterious practice of tolerance
Identification of clues to the mystery
A Wholly Trinity?
Petrifying abomination: personal complicity?
Thinking within a terrifying reality
Withdrawing into the stones
Prepared for publication in Journal
of the Interdisciplinary Crossroads
(2, 1, April 2005) as a reflection
on Thinking after Terror: an interreligious challenge
by Richard Kearney
(in the same issue)
Richard Kearney's valuable exercise explores some possibilities for interreligious
dialogue as a response to the terror of 9/11. The paper is valuable in shifting
the level and subtlety of reflection. What follows is an effort to work with
some of the arguments put forward, but to suggest that there may be some vital
dimensions that might be usefully added to Kearney's insights as Professor of
Philosophy at University College Dublin and Boston College -- and as a poet
and Irish cultural critic.
Nature of terror
A first concern would be with the identification of the nature of terror and
who is exposed to it in the light of the range of its forms as explored elsewhere
of Terrorism: extended to the experience of the terrorized, 2005). The
purpose there was to demonstrate that "terror" is not just what lends
itself to extensive representation according to media criteria. The media cannot
show the terror experienced daily by inarticulate "unimportant" people
subject to every form of deprivation and suffering -- or even the bullying,
intimidation and violence to which many are exposed in schools, housing estates
or on the street -- whether or not these result in obviously violent death.
Like the Holocaust, 9/11 dramatizes the challenge of terror but it does not
help understand its ubiquitous nature that many (if not all) are complicit in
sustaining to some degree. Avoidance of this challenge suggests that the "terror
of thinking" about these dimensions is as important as a particular stimulus
to "thinking after terror".
Kearney provides an excellent description of how religious imagery has been
appropriated to reinforce portrayal of the cause of some as an "evil"
infliction on the condition of others as innocent victims -- thereby framed
through binary logic as the "good". It is clear that this form of
argument lends itself to appropriation in support of particular political perspectives.
But he does not consider how the imagery of the standard fare of crime and espionage
movies has been similarly appropriated -- perhaps deliberately so, given the
documented relationships between the Pentagon and Hollywood.
Kearney also recognizes that those perpetrating "terror" have their
own way of framing themselves as the "good" and those they attack
as "evil" -- or complicit with it. Both sides feel justified in excusing
themselves a degree of "collateral damage" in the event of any violence.
Kearney however warns against the trap of moral relativism or equivalency in
envisaging the need for some other way of articulating the challenge. But in
doing so there is nevertheless a need to recognize that there may be dimensions
to the understanding and position of those righteously perceiving themselves
as representing the innocent or "good" that are as questionable as
the refusal to accept a degree of "good" in those framed as inherently
"evil". This radical polarization, the "dualist thesis"
identified by Kearney, excludes any possibility of dialogue. No doubt; no dialogue?
It even suggests that attempts at such dialogue would be tantamount to "supping
with the devil".
Complicity with terrorism
In his extensive exploration of this polarization, Kearney appears not to be
prepared to address explicitly the dimension of "I have seen the enemy
and he is us". The "invisibility" he acknowledges as characteristic
of the terrorist enemy is in no way related to any appreciation that it may
be a consequence of the implication of the failure of the perceptual/conceptual
process in responding to an Other. Kearney does not introduce the Jungian insight
into the Shadow, at a time when "terrorism" can to some degree be
usefully understood in terms of the shadow of humanity (cf Ray Harris, 2002).
He also avoids the issue of terrorism arising from the misappropriation of symbolization
of order of which gnosticism is strongly accused by Eric Voegelin (1968).
The dimension he does not therefore fully address is argued by others, notably
with respect to the natural environment, in terms of the participatory or embodied
mind (Francisco Varela, et al. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and
Human Experience, 1991; Henryk Skolimowski. Participatory Mind: a new
theory of knowledge and of the universe, 1994). Here it might be argued
in terms of cognitive participation in a psycho-social environment widely characterized
by terror. This appreciation might be contrasted with that of Eric Voegelin
Gnosticism: The Lust for Massively Possessive Experience, 1968). But
Kearney does take this up with regard to the dynamics of "the construction
of a demonic enemy as a projection of our minds". The question is whether
this is to be as focused on a singular Other, as he argues, rather than a general
characteristic of the relation to the psycho-social construction of a reality
imbued with terror.
Kearney makes the point that "one can never repeat enough how the slaughter
of 9/11 -- not to mention subsequent heinous acts of beheading hostages and
systematic suicide bombing -- is irrefutable evidence of just how far the 'terrorists'
themselves are prepared to go in the game of apocalyptic demonisation."
But to what extent does this focused emphasis on a particular period in time
obscure the existence of forms of terror that are distributed across societies
over extensive periods of time? Jacques Chirac warned the World Economic Forum
(Davos, 2005) of the world's chronic suffering from what he strikingly called
the silent tsunamis of despair and unemployment: "Famine. Infectious
diseases that decimate the life force of entire continents. Violence and revolt.
Regions given over to anarchy. Uncontrolled migratory movements. Rises in extremism,
breeding grounds for terrorism." [more]
Does this not raise the question of the distinction between blatant terrorism
and the insidious terrorism of structural violence -- possibly to the point
of demonizing the former and excusing the latter as somehow characteristically
"human"? Will the future see parallels between the definition of homicide
(as deliberately undertaken by the "evil"), and "involuntary
manslaughter" (namely that effected inadvertently by the innocent)? How
"evil" will the future judge the systematic negligence of the condition
of the deprived -- and the withholding of timely assistance to those in need?
Should that not also be associated with the "evil scourge of terrorism"?
Is the lifelong suffering caused by such negligence not worthy of Kearney's
citation of Mark Dooley: "Neither neutrality nor pacifism are luxuries
we can afford in our dealings with this particular monster, given its odious
ambition to destroy everything, even our children"? Again, to what extent
are we ourselves that monster?
Elusive way forward
It is in this context that Kearney turns for insight, using a form of religious
hermeneutics, to the "wisdom traditions" associated with the world's
religions. His purpose is to seek a way "out of war towards peace and justice"
-- "to a more peaceful, compassionate and just life beyond the rivalry
of power politics". This articulation appears to point to a condition whose
nature and dynamics are understandable and understood. Given the difficulties
over centuries in reaching or achieving this condition, it is useful to consider
the possibility that it is less understandable than is assumed and that it may
not even be possible to articulate its nature within the languages that we habitually
use. Such elusiveness is of course a characteristic of wisdom and the wisdom
Kearney makes good points in referring to the middle way and to the insights
of yoga, or other integrated perspectives, in embodying values appreciated by
many religions. With regard to non-violence, he argues persuasively to the point
that: "And this is not some naive piety. It actually works. The most useful
and practical way of protecting oneself and one's loved ones from violence is...
'to practice exchanging self for other, the great mystery.'" And further
that this quality of non-violence is not just an attitude "possessed by
'beautiful souls', but also a matter of efficacity."
The challenge seems to lie in the extent to which the successful application
is indeed "a great mystery". Kearney does not address the gap between
the widespread shared appreciation of the wisdom of such perspectives and the
practice through which religious perspectives themselves have long been at the
very heart of the process through which demonisation is cultivated and violence
is engendered. Somehow religions, with the greatest complacency, fail appallingly
to address this matter with any "efficacity" -- however often their
"beautiful souls" engage in inter-faith dialogue. It is not sufficient
to frame certain co-religionists as lacking in the necessary wisdom or understanding
of the requisite practice -- and therefore less "pure" in their understanding.
Fish-scale model of religious complicity
The fish-scale model of interdisciplinarity (D T Campbell. Ethnocentrism
of disciplines and the fish-scale model of omniscience, 1969) can be understood
to demonstrate the overlapping complicity of the disciplines in encompassing
reality as a whole. Given this model, it might be argued that religions overlap
in a similar way, both in encompassing the whole but also in their complicity
with co-religionists framed as "less pure" -- due to their more active
engendering of violence. It is after all extraordinary that "extremists"
of various religions should so actively favour violence against "evil"
whilst their less extreme co-religionists should consider themselves sufficiently
distant from that perspective to share in no responsibility for it and be in
no way tainted by it.
The challenge appears otherwise if extremists merely represent scales at extreme
positions on the anatomy of the same fish! And, in terms of cultural memory
regarding demons and dragons, there is a certain irony to comprehending the
complete set of religions as the scales together protecting such a reptile --
thereby suggesting the potential for evolution into other models of the whole.
In this light, there is also some irony to a fish being an early symbol of the
Christian faith -- and, paradoxically, to representations of the anti-Christ
Mysterious practice of tolerance
Kearney usefully contrasts the relevant wisdom with the abstract propositions
of scientific and mathematical knowledge (theoria), arguing instead for
"a special exercise of practical wisdom" (Aristotle's phronesis)
"capable of negotiating a medial position between the claims of universality
and particularity". He calls for the recognition of a "God, in short,
of radical non-violence". It is a wisdom of "embodied action which
subsequently called out for an endless hermeneutics of attentive interpretation
and translation." He then asks whether if "something analogous to
this hermeneutic tolerance...were to be applied to the opposition between Palestinians
and Israelis... might it not be possible to imagine such intractable hostilities
coming to an end"?
The problematic key operator here is associated with the term "applied".
The challenge is more readily seen in more familiar conflictual psycho-social
contexts. The politics of who acquires or assumes the power to "apply"
is fundamental to the ability of any human relations consultant / therapist
to bring their particular skills and wisdom to bear -- even in family therapy.
In large corporations this requires the sanction of the CEO. In the emerging
context of faith-based governance, one can indeed imagine efforts to "apply"
religiously inspired insights -- and one can imagine the nature of the resistance
to such efforts. In the case of the Parliament of the World's Religions (Chicago,
1993), the organizers were obliged to deprive the multitude of consultants,
offering distinct group dynamic insights and wisdom, of the key roles they sought
in ensuring the emergence of harmony between the religions represented. It might
even be argued that many religions are in fact waiting for God to "apply"
hermeneutic tolerance to humanity.
Kearney appeals elegantly in support of interreligious attention to the practices
in support of the requisite hermeneutic tolerance. He points usefully to five
- an ethic of narrative hospitality
- an ethic of narrative flexibility
- narrative plurality
- transfiguring the past
- pardon (and its poetics)
But such appeals have been made in other terms for decades, if not centuries.
This should suggest that some dimension, or ingredient, is missing in the way
the challenge is framed. The mystery of how indeed remains "a great mystery".
Identification of clues to the mystery
The challenge is to locate clues to what has not been effectively addressed:
- Why are there different religions? To what in a person's (or a group's)
psychology do they variously appeal in offering spiritual insights claimed
as the most profound? Namely are these differences engendered and sustained
by psycho-social (pre)dispositions indicative of the necessary diversity of
- Beyond fish-scale models, are there more meaningful ways of determining
the anatomy of the symbolic creature that can hold that variety? Or are there
several constituting an ecosystem and determining its dynamics?
- How can the profound originalities of spiritual insights of different religions
be reconciled if they are understood as facets of a larger understanding beyond
expression through any form? How is the scaled dragon to be understood?
- If a facet of a spiritual whole is necessarily a more limited frame (of
lower dimensionality), how can the range of facets be fully and appropriately
acknowledged, configured and separately honoured so that there is no sense
of their being individually "demeaned"? Are some of the more abstruse
branches of mathematics capable of pointing towards the nature of a form (of
higher dimensionality) that might interrelate such facets?
- In effectively appealing for the "hegemony" of particular qualities
in the hermeneutics of tolerance, what is the role of those qualities that
are thereby suppressed? How is any failure to appreciate the merit of the
higher (dimensional) qualities to be integrated into a multi-dimensional understanding?
- In terms of a "participatory" understanding, are the reprehensible
qualities associated with demonisation and violence carriers of a vital dynamic
that is inadequately expressed in contemporary understandings of the sensitive
appeals for tolerance? Is the polarization of violence and tolerance subject
to the same critique as that of "evil" vs "good"? Why
do such polarizations carry some of the limitations of that between "dynamism"
- If the purpose of interreligious dialogue is not to have some syncretic
outcome, then what is exchanged in that dialogue between complementary perspectives
so as to sustain that complementarity -- and how can the growth of insight
be perceived as a result? Does each pair of complementaries engage in a particular
kind of eternal "dance", having a particular aesthetic quality?
- In envisaging the above-mentioned five "moments" in the hermeneutics
of tolerance, what is the nature of the dynamics between them? How are the
skills they represent integrated in practice? Where are those who claim to
have acquird such skills tested?
- Does inability to embody that integrative dynamic result in the projection
of understanding into a dialogical space of lower dimensionality in which
learning can take place with greater "efficacity"? One characterized
by demonisation and terror for example?
A Wholly Trinity?
The relation between religion and terror suggests three complementary totalizing
approaches to achievement of coherence and order -- perhaps fundamental to any
future faith-based governance that may together bring the terrifying existential
challenge of humanity to a focus:
- through religion, in the search for spiritual order, and holiness
-- notably through the accumulation of merit guided by understandings of "God's
- as a preemptive response to the terror of the afterlife and the judgement
- in fulfillment of any "Great Commission" to proselytize the
world, irrespective of the terror that this may engender in other cultures
- through totalitarian politics, in the efforts towards imperial hegemony
-- notably through the accumulation of power guided by understanding of (Machiavelian)
- as a preemptive response to terror of possible failure of protective
(national) security measures
- in fulfillment of any sense of Manifest Destiny, irrespective of the
terror engendered in subordinated populations
- through economic globalization, in efforts towards global integration
-- notably in order to achieve accumulation of wealth and control, guided
by understanding of the law of the market:
- as a preemptive response to terror of poverty and dependency and the
need to safeguard resources essential to a lifestyle through which cultural
identity is defined
- in fulfillment of convictions concerning the most appropriate economic
model of benefit to others, irrespective of whether they are terrorized
(or left in terror) in the process
The interaction between pairs of these three complements may each be understood
as imbued with a degree of terror:
- religion (a) and wealth (c):
- given the terrifying challenges to the rich of seeking entrance to heaven
(of "passing through the eye of a needle")
- given that promotion of "spirit in business" ("God is
good for business", doing business with co-religionists) may be reframed
as ensuring "my spirit in your business" or praying for wealth
to avoid the terrors of poverty
- power (b) and religion (a):
- given the central political role of religion recognized by neo-conservatives,
theo-conservatives, and religious political parties in seeking to impose
a new order
- given the inspiration of destructive initiatives by religious fundamentalists:
(self) immolation, suicide bombing, and their righteous use of the "cleansing
power" of fire
- wealth (c) and power (b):
- given the use of terror (intimidation, "dirty tricks", etc)
to extend economic control, and notably the terror of being uprooted and
displaced, of losing the connection to the natural world on which individuals
had previously centered their being
- given the willingness to "think the unthinkable" in considering
the design and use of ever more terrifying weapons of mass destruction
Petrifying abomination: personal complicity?
This comment has been entitled "Thinking in Terror" to suggest that
there may be an abomination more terrifying than the terrors of the Holocaust
and 9/11. How might this feature in the "great mystery"? There is
the possibility that the terror is unconsciously recognized as so great that
thinking about it is set behind the most rigid forms of denial -- petrifying
those that consider its implications (as suggested by the Gorgon
Medusa and other myths) [more].
This may effectively give rise to a "terror of thinking". What might
cause such terror?
One possibility is that it is intimately associated with our degree of personal
complicity as active causative agents in events such as the Holocaust and 9/11
-- and in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Our personal and group identity, in
reality, may be both as terrorist and as victim. We may evoke such abuse --
"thinking in" terror as a form of invocation -- as is suggested by
the nightly proclivity of our civilization for the most extreme forms of media
dramatizations of violence and horror. We may indeed be the "monster"
to which Kearney refers. This monster not only manifests through such mediatised
events. It also manifests in the many insidious forms of terror inflicted on
others -- for which media violence may effectively programme us with the greatest
efficacity. We may well be rightly perceived as demonic by others -- however
angelic we would like to assume we are.
How do such dimensions relate to Kearney's interreligious challenge? Is the
form taken by the Other effectively a "petrification" of some understanding
of ourselves? For many religions it is therefore intriguing that some form of
stone is used to signify their most holy dimensions. In the case of the Abrahamaic
religions, this focus was preceded by the central role of the omphalos in the
Mediterranean basis (akin to the lingam
in Asia) [more | more].
Islam has the Ka'aba as its focal point in Mecca, Judaism has the Temple Wall,
and for Christianity Peter is the rock on which the Church is built (Matthew
The three religions at the heart of so much violence are intimately associated
through the rock of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem -- and dissociated by their
divergent understandings of its significance. Is it that such stones hold, locked
in stasis, the fundamentally terrifying dynamic of spiritual experience -- safely
celebrated by rituals around them? But to what extent are the existential questions
raised by interreligious dialogue themselves experienced as petrifying -- with
each encounter involving a humbling (if not humiliating) loss of identity and
Another special kind of "stone", potentially a keystone to transforming
the relationship between religions in dialogue, is the "philosopher's stone".
Described variously, it was sometimes said to be a common substance, found everywhere
but unrecognized and unappreciated. It has been claimed to signify the force
behind the evolution of life and the universal binding power which unites minds
and souls in a human oneness. Finally, it represented the purity and sanctity
of the highest realm of pure thought and altruistic existence.
Thinking within a terrifying reality
Kearney positions his reflection in time as "thinking after terror".
This temporal displacement has unfortunate cognitive consequences, effectively
favouring a preoccupation with a terror-focused variant of Post-Traumatic Stress
Syndrome -- focusing on the terror as trauma after the event. There is
nevertheless a strong case for "thinking in terror" -- within
the actuality of the moment when terror is experienced. This may be the continuing
lived reality for many. Religions may even be said to emerge as a response to
terror of the unknown and inexplicable -- to be nourished by it, especially
in nourishing terror of the afterlife (cf Charles K. Bellinger. Religion
and Violence: A Bibliography, 2004). As such they might be said to thrive
in terror. What apostate has failed to remember a prayer in a moment of direst
On the other hand, it has been presented as an axiom of spiritual experience
that no one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear
of God [more |
more]. This knowledge might
in some way be understood as internalizing the terror that is otherwise projected
into an engendered superficial world of petrified relationships with the Other.
This then accords with the irony of the similarity of pronunciation of "terror"
Such participatory internalization (explored through enactivism)
suggests the possibility for "thinking in terror" as a means of relating
to a "God of radical violence" -- the neglected pole of the duality
set up by Kearney's valuable call for recognition of a "God of radical
non-violence". It is through this aspect that the interreligious theological
challenges of the terrifying horrors of the Asian tsunami of 2004 might be better
addressed after the fact [more
| more]. Recognition
of both would also help to reframe the sterility inherent in contemporary thinking
about the duality of war and peace -- and the vain effort to promote the latter
without being able to express through it the terrifying dynamics that are therefore
better articulated through the former, and perhaps through gnostic insights
[more]. The tsunami has already
evoked the comment in Asia that links it to the destructive Hindu female goddess
Kali. Muslims and Baptists, amongst others, have claimed the tsunami to be an
Act of God against Asian sex tourism [more].
The dynamics between aspects of a deity may well be better understood through
the pantheons of non-Abrahamaic religions. As a design challenge, how could
the complementary insights of different religions then best be embodied in the
structure of a single "interreligious temple" -- whether of real or
virtual stone? What is the most facilitative design of an interreligious dialogue
This raises the issue of how the non-Abrahamaic religions celebrate insights
beyond the "mechanical" duality of violence vs. non-violence.
They tend to achieve this by a more natural acceptance and honouring of the
significance of the feminine and the symbolism of the relationships between
the sexes. These are exemplified in the process of making love -- which is treated
so simplistically in Abrahamaic theology. The challenge, as notably celebrated
in Celtic nature religions, lies in the complex dynamic through which potential
spiritual violation is transformed into fruitful mutuality and consummation
to enable reproduction and sustain community.
Both radical feminism and anti-cult movements are vigilant regarding "spiritual
rape", despite the challenge of reactive, sterile "celibacy"
it is the feminist theologian Sally McFague (Metaphorical Theology: Models
of God in Religious Language, 1982) that has offered widely cited organic
models of greater acceptability to Abrahamaic theology: God as mother, as lover,
as friend, and finally, God as embodied by the universe itself.(see also Imaging
a Theology of Nature: The World as God's Body, 1990). Sex, however,
whether in practice or through its spiritual connotations, may remain a truly
terrifying reminder for some of the fine and complex balance between violence
In discussing religious dialogue, Arthur
Leichnitz calls for attention to the contrast between "rock logic"
and "water logic" made by Edward de Bono (I Am Right -- You Are
Wrong: From Rock Logic to Water Logic. 1990; Water Logic, 1993).
Rock logic is based on concepts effectively "cast in stone" -- rigid
categories, absolutes, argument and adversarial point scoring -- characteristic
of much interfaith dialogue. He contends that such traditional logic is static,
based on the solid foundations of "is" and identity. He proposes "water
logic", based on "to" and the flow of the mind: "What does
this lead to?" as opposed to "What is...?". This accords with
the inner spiritual discipline of the Taoist exercise of T'ai Chi Chuan that
is specifically inspired by the flow of water. Is it possible that the significance
of "holy water", held in chalices in temples of stone, derives in
part from this phase transition?
Withdrawing into the stones
As an Irish cultural critic, the mytho-poetic status of configurations of standing
stones should also be of significance to Kearney, given the traces they offer
of the religious worldview and deities of earlier cultures in Ireland. As noted
Isdom of the Wisdom Society: Embodying time as the heartland of humanity,
2003), mytho-poetic folk legends, and modern fictional explorations, serve to
sustain and echo the archetypal insights in many cultures relating to elder
"ancestral" races who "withdrew into the stones" -- or to those that may have
been "trapped" therein, like Merlin and the proverbial geni in the
bottle. Most curiously, one of the most popular and best known Christian hymns
has as its opening lines: Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself
in Thee [more | more].
To what extent is this process evident in the profound psycho-cultural association
of both Jews and Palestinians with "their land" -- as with the many
indigenous peoples, like the Australian Aborigenes, for whom it is the very
essence of their identity? (see Darrell A. Posey (Ed). Cultural and Spiritual
Values of Biodiversity, 1999). How real is the terrifying perception of
spiritual rape when one religion invades, with a new construction of stone,
the sacred stone-demarked place of another?
It is curious how widespread are the tendencies to invest cultural memories
in commemorative stones. And, ironically, how should any "withdrawal"
of an ancient civilization into stones (composed primarily of silicates) be
compared with the progressive embodiment of all that is significant in modern
civilization into computer silicate memory (characterized by its phase transition
properties) -- with some already set on "uploading" their own personalities?
[more | more
| more]. The elites of some
countries have made provision to withdraw into secret underground bunkers in
the event of national crisis [more
| more | more].
Some Christian fundamentalists see this as appropriate preparation for the final
battle of Armageddon. Curiously there is also the widespread drive to "get
stoned" -- in part to numb the existential experience of terror.
Perhaps there are clues to more appropriate dialogue in the interplay in nature
between "rock" and "water", rather than in favouring one
over the other as suggested by de Bono. An intriguing lead is that offered by
the use of sound in sustaining the sacred -- from temple chants to "singing
the land" (notably by Australian Aborigenes). The role of vibration in
that interplay has been given force by investigations into "vibratory revitalization"
of the "memory of water" (Masuro Emoto, The Hidden Messages in
Water, 2004), especially following interaction with stone silicates in watercourses
| more | more].
The dynamic forms suggest the possibility of new, and necessarily "more
fluid", patterns of dialogue. There is however the tragic possibility that
the "songs" of many species in process of extinction by human activity
may well have an as yet unrecognized function in revitalizing both stone and
water in ways vital to human well-being. Whales may in some way be "singing
There may well be learnings for the interreligious challenge of terror and
dialogue from earlier understandings of stones and their fruitful configuration.
Can one thrive in a terrifying dialogue? As the most precious stone, the light-refracting
facets of a cut diamond point to the possible relationship between the contrasting
insights of the religions -- perhaps implicitly celebrated by the Diamond Way
school of Buddhism. For example, elsewhere (Patterning
Archetypal Templates of Emergent Order: implications of diamond faceting for
enlightening dialogue, 2002) it was argued that:
Previously widely held amongst Celtic peoples, the belief survives of an
invisible realm to which an other-worldly ancestral race, the Daoine Sidhe,
has withdrawn -- after living ... as the highly cultured Tuatha Dé
Danaan "in the age before this one" [see extensive web references].
Originally an aristocratic, warrior race of heroic proportion, they dwindled
in size after retreating underground, to become the Daoine Sidhe or diminutive
faeries of Irish folklore. The description of them as "gods and not gods"
and "something in between" is consistent with a form of transcendence of duality
reinforced by attribution to them of magical powers -- akin to those associated
by Buddhists with achievements on the Diamond Way. Their withdrawal "below
the surface", or "underground", into an "invisible realm", "beyond the veil",
could well be understood as an effort to describe their unusual relationship
to space-time and to the conventional objective world whose surface they live
"behind" -- "fading into the hills" and into the fabric of reality. This same
"in-betweeness" is evident in their creation myth describing them as born
of the union between the great Creatrix (Dana) and the stars themselves --
again reminiscent of the Vajrayana goal of identification with the bonding
of "light and void".
There is a challenge offered by terrorism from a spiritual perspective -- and
by the scientific innovations offering ever more horrific means of causing terror.
The challenge lies in whether the theoretical advances in the fundamental sciences
regarding the nature of reality offer cognitive guidelines and templates through
which dialogue can transcend the dualism separating religions. Pointers are,
for example, offered by physicist David Bohm (Wholeness and the Implicate
Order, 1980) and his subsequent deep involvement in dialogue processes [more],
or by mathematician Ron Atkin (Multidimensional Man; can man live in 3-dimensional
space?, 1981) [more].
People might thereby be carried into the "fabric of reality" -- into
"the stones" -- through a process that may hold a key to the "invisible"
character of the ubiquitous "unspeakable, inexplicable, unlocateable terror"
to which Kearney refers.
Charles K. Bellinger. Religion and Violence: A Bibliography. The Hedgehog
Review 2004, 6/1, pp. 111-119 [text]
D T Campbell. Ethnocentrism of disciplines and the fish-scale model of omniscience.
In: M. Sherif and C. W. Sherif (Eds.), Interdisciplinary relations in the social
sciences. Aldine, 1969. pp. 328-348
Edward de Bono. Water Logic. Viking Penguin, 1993
Edward de Bono. I Am Right -- You Are Wrong: From This to the New Renaissance
: From Rock Logic to Water Logic. Penguin, 1990
Franz Fitzke. Das Geheimnis des Wassers / Histoire d'eaux. Film (ARTE, 3. Februar
Lee Griffith. The War on Terrorism and the Terror of God. Grand Rapids, William
B. Eerdman's Publishing, 2002 [review
Ray Harris. The Blood Brotherhoods: a developmental look at terrorism from
the perspective of mythos (Paper for Society for Research in Adult Development
(SRAD) conference, New York, 2002) [text]
- Is God a Terrorist: Definitional game-playing by the Coalition of the Willing?
- Spontaneous Initiation of Armageddon -- a heartfelt response to systemic
negligence, 2004 [text]
- Errorism vs Terrorism? Encroachment, Complicity, Denial and Terraism, 2004
- Global Strategic Implications of the Unsaid: from myth-making towards a
wisdom society, 2003 [text]
- En-minding the Extended Body: Enactive engagement in conceptual shapeshifting
and deep ecology, 2003 [text]
- Patterns of the Past: Christian Complicity in Global Disorder, 2003 [text]
- Transforming the Encounter with Terrorism, 2002 [text]
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