What you can do to stop terrorism

What you can do to stop terrorism

While the authorities’ prepare themselves for more unpredictable terrorist attacks maybe the rest of us should pause and think about what is our contribution to reducing and eliminating terrorist activity. What has led to a world of such violence, such disregard for life and such sad hatred that we have lost sight of the amazing opportunities 100 years on earth provide?

Vigilance, of course, and some people’s small but valiant attempts to reduce the outrageous imbalance between rich and poor. These count as effort even though they are a drop in the ocean of tsunami. But there are other reasons why the world is so violent, and six issues we can each do something about if we are minded to.

[1] Violence is portrayed by the media as entertainment. The endless use of guns, the pornographic display of body parts torn apart in conflict or dissected on the mortuary table, the non-stop abuse by special effects, all contribute directly to the violence in Brussels Airport and the Metro – and all the other horrendous attacks. You and I directly cause these when we watch atrocity hyped up to provide an orgasmic shock. We can stop it.

[2] Excessive aggressive noise is a serious cause of unbalancing our sense of decency. It yields a temporary thrill to some but at a terrible price. We become deaf and have to shout at each other – an aggressive act inviting retaliation. It makes us think that the response to all upset is violence. We can shun unwarranted noise, insist on volumes being turned down and refuse to patronise places that put our health and welfare at such risk. We should do that.

[3] Learn to be curious again and discover the beauty of quality versus the ugliness of quantity. The means to explore the planet and cosmos are there for even the most restricted person on earth. Joy of life is captured daily by great film makers and explorers. Those who fail to educate their children and their fellow human beings to the wonder of life are terrorists of the very worst sort – for terrorism is committed as much by negligence as by force.

[4] Teach ourselves and everyone else to think more about the other person than about ourselves. As it is we are sliding back into a survival approach to life where self-preservation and personal instant gratification are being imposed by physical threat and tiny limited horizons. How are we showing that we are building a world for future generations?

[5] Develop a new standard of ethics to replace the old history-and-myth bases of good behaviour. Let all believe what they want; the basis of life is your neighbour not yourself. If ten percent of the effort devoted to religious studies were directed at a new morality we would have it within ten years. That is soon enough to save the species. Longer may not be.

[6] I hesitate to use the word love because it has become so demeaned. The best definition of love – “The Gift of Self” – says it all, but you will find many politicians and bosses today saying it is too ‘touchy-feely’. It is time we got over that childish embarrassment and realised that love is at the heart of civilised behaviour. Darwin might have described it as the humanisation of an animal. I would describe it as the Tree towards which mankind stumbles.

No solution to where the world is today is going to solve its problems unless everyone takes action. Those who do are the builders of the future, the harbingers of sanity. Whether they succeed for the rest of humanity, they succeed for themselves and their loved ones.

You cannot do more than that in 100 years.