Islamic Terror: Conscious and Unconscious Motives

Islamic Terror: Conscious and Unconscious Motives

Islamic Terror: Conscious and Unconscious Motives

Islamic Terror: Conscious and Unconscious Motives

Synopsis

Independent scholar Falk analyzes the genesis of Islamic terror from many standpoints, including religious, cultural, historical, political, social, economic and, above all, psychological. Drawing on his training as a clinical psychologist, Falk's writings specialize in psychohistory and political psychology. Here, he examines topics including infantile experience and adult terrorism, the meaning of terror, terrorists and their mothers, narcissistic rage and Islamic terror, and whether terrorists are "normal" people, as some scholars claim. He also describes the infantile development of terrorist pathology, non-psychoanalytic theories of terrorism, globalization's effect on terrorism, and the notion of the clash of civilizations. Other topics addressed in this reader-friendly analysis include history's first Islamic terrorists and three important cases--two recent, deadly terrorists and a primary figure in our current "war on terror."

Excerpt

This book is an interdisciplinary attempt, with psychoanalysis at its center, to understand one of the most striking, most dramatic, and most dangerous human phenomena of our time. It applies the insights of psychoanalysis along those of psychology, psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, and Islamic studies. The subject of this book being the psychology of Islamic terror, it also discusses the religion and culture of Islam, the psychology of religion in general and of Islam in particular, the Muslim family and the Muslim society from which the terrorists originate, and the psychological origins of the emotions that fuel terror, which, as we shall see, are not only rage, hatred and fear, but also, surprisingly, love and longing. The book also studies the psychology of those who wage a “global war on terror.”

One of the basic ideas in this book is that one’s attitude to terror and terrorism, as well as whether or not one becomes a terrorist, or whether one wages a “global war on terror,” have to do with one’s terrifying experiences, or personal terror, in one’s infancy and childhood. This terror, which is first experienced in one’s earliest relationship with one’s mother, is symbolically expressed in fairy tales and myths about terrifying witches and female monsters. Further terror may be experienced in one’s relationship to one’s father, and also in various traumatic experiences occurring in one’s young life. In addition to terror, there are feelings of helplessness, shame, humiliation, and boundless, overwhelming narcissistic rage.

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