A World Astir|Mar 15, 2006 11:39 AM| by:

The New Face of Terrorism

The phenomenon of “terrorism” has taken many masks and claddings in the history of mankind. Mercenaries of old, self-proclaimed “warriors of god and truth” throughout all ages, certain kinds of “anarchists” and totalitarian governments alike have used and abused high ideals like duty, righteousness, justice, nationalism, freedom, security, order and law as a cover-up for spreading violence, terror, fear and fanaticism as an expression of a rawness and brutality, unworthy of a mankind that strives for a higher purpose in evolution and the Divine Life on earth.

In recent years the forces of terror, or rather those working behind the scene, to impose the concept of terror on man seemed to have withdrawn into the background. Small groups in Germany, France and Italy, quite active in the 60s and 70s have been more or less dissolved, ETA in Spain and IRA in Northern Ireland have more or less withdrawn from their “path of force” and entered the political stage to achieve their goals through a policy of negotiation and understanding. Although the situation has always been volatile, we were witnessing a relatively encouraging process of political, ethnic and religious reconciliation in many parts of the world. In a parallel and – in a way – interconnected move, totalitarian regimes and their means of organised “state terror” and torture have been on retreat throughout the world and are gradually disappearing from the map of mankind. A new era in mankind seemed to have dawned, in spite of all remaining “hot spots”, the door to an international community based on the ideals of peace and understanding seemed to be wide open.

Recent events, however, have cast some doubt on this rosy picture of a “progressing mankind”. The globalization of terror through Al-Qaida, the degrading atrocities in Iraq, a new method of “suicide bombings” and tactics of “blind hits” giving the impression that anybody can be a victim at any time, in any part of the world, have given a new mask to the face of terrorism – or may simply have removed the ones still remaining to reveal its true face. The shocking frankness of recent political statements against Israel by the Iranian government and the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian election, its apparent refusal to renounce violence, have left the world somewhat stunned.

Are we currently witnessing a setback in the development of man into a higher species? An advance of aggressive and hostile forces? An increase in inhuman, or rather sub-human concepts and emotions? Does terror once more claim its territory in an even more widespread and perfidious way than ever before in the history of man? Has it become so powerful that it can dare to expose itself in its original form, without any need to cover itself with justifying arguments, simply be “terror” in its naked shape?

At first sight it seems indeed to pursue its aim quite successfully, which is neither political nor religious in a particular sense, but global, psychological and more profound. “Terrorism” has become “issue no.1” in international news and media. Everybody talks about it, has concepts, ideas, solutions, feelings connected with it, independent from political, cultural, religious, social or national backgrounds. It has entered the minds and hearts of practically everybody and thus managed to establish a certain nebulous fear everywhere in the world. And by establishing and constantly nourishing that fear, that paralysing helplessness, it provokes a similar mental, emotional and physical reaction: violence, rejection, defence, distrust, suspicion, segregation, even hatred towards anybody who is different, behaves different, even looks different. This new form of terrorism aims not only at physical destruction. It aims at changing a general atmosphere of confident progress into a psychological setback, stagnation, if possible into regression, a recourse to old habits of defensive confrontation instead of a courageous step towards compassionate and understanding collaboration, towards a multiplicity in human unity. It aims at turning back the wheel of evolution. Behind the outer scenario of “war against terror”, on a psychological level, this disintegrating spirit seems to advance considerably. Are the progressive forces withdrawing, even helpless against such kind of brutality and human ignorance? Where is the intervention of the Divine?

Answering questions about when the supramental descent would take place Sri Aurobindo stated around 1935: “I find that the more the Light and Power are coming down the greater is the resistance. You yourself can see that there is the tremendous resistance.” (A.B. Purani: Evening Talks, p. 317)

This simple statement may dissolve our doubts, answer our questions and may well lead us to the conclusion that the upsurge of these archaic and darkened energies from the depths is not a sign of their potentially growing strength, but an effect of the Divine Truth-Consciousness exerting its pressure on these planes, shedding light on this dark spot, tearing apart every kind of cladding surrounding it with a nice and even fancy romantic or adventurous look (as assumed with the Assassin in ancient Iran or piracy in Elizabethan Europe), exposing its true nature to the naked eye of everybody who was tricked and veiled by all the justifying mental and emotional arguments surrounding the mystery of terror, showing to all the world the simple truth that this kind of perverted violence is not divine, not a “force of kali”, but sub-human and with no right to remain or to last in the ascending path of man to Divinity.

In this light the increase of terrorism is not necessarily a sign of a victory of terror, but rather of the final exposure and defeat of the forces behind it. But how can we participate in this process? What can be our attitude? Can we do anything after all? Referring to difficulties in the sadhana Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have constantly given the advice not to concentrate on the negative forces and on the obstacles to be surmounted, but on Her Light and Love that dissolves them. Thus, it may be helpful not to concentrate on the phenomenon of terrorism, on the amount of the resistance and on the fear it creates nor to rely on old structures and habits to defend us and the world against it, but to constantly remind us of the cause of it: the work of the Divine Truth-Consciousness, its irresistible and invincible power of transformation now active in the earth atmosphere, active in the physical manifestation. It may be helpful not to get involved in or be excited about the news of another video tape of Osama bin Laden, but to aspire for Her Love and Light constantly poured into creation by Her Divine Grace.

In this light, the resistance, this new “outbreak of terror” may take its temporarily considerable yet limited place in evolutionary transformation: a shade that has always been there, at present appearing ugly, as for the first time utterly exposed to the true Light. In fact, it could even be considered as a visible “proof of progress”, the Truth-Consciousness entering more and more, deeper and deeper into levels left untouched up to now – an unfolding and dismantling that is bound to continue until the Divine Realisation is fulfilled and “Nature shall live to manifest secret God, The Spirit shall take up the human play, This earthly life become the life divine.” (Savitri, Book XI)

Georg Stollenwerk

(Georg Stollenwerk is from Germany. His work has taken him to all parts of Germany and to many countries outside and also given him the opportunity to watch at close quarters the evolving political, economic and social situation. Being a spiritual seeker he attempts here to look at these from a deeper insight.)

  • http://Website Maja

    This is so interesting; the only opinion I want to hear is from you people. I love both your thoughts and style. There is more TRUTH in the articles than I find elsewhere. Positivism, hope and faith, too. And last but not least Knowledge.