Abu Abdallah is in an Iraqi prison, awaiting execution for recruiting suicide bombers. In the following Guardian interview he remains adamantly committed to his cause, firmly resolved that his actions were Allah’s will, and that even collateral damage in the attacks he orchestrated were Allah’s will. Abdu perfectly illustrates the “embedded thinking” that I have been writing about the past week, “thinking” which has such an emotional (and unconscious) investment that the body of thought appears to be completely autonomous. He is not thinking, he is being “thought.” This is the “dis-embodied word” that, carried to an extreme, leads to pronounced evil. Abu Abdullah is enslaved by ideology and this “enslavement” is so complete that human experiences like regret and remorse are not possible. Those “bothersome” human qualities are laid aside for the accomplishment of Allah’s will. (See full article in following link: http://www.businessinsider.com/isis-mastermind-describes-suicide-bombers-2015-8
Certainty is usually not toxic like Abdullah’s. Most human beings live daily with the comfort of certainty that their way of viewing the world does not merit any introspection and the doubt it would create. Give everyone the “pauser reason” that some of us have and the world would collapse immediately. But for some individuals, and groups of individuals, the need for certainty becomes pathological and the consequences are often severe. This need stems from deep-seated fears, an unconscious uncertainty that can be assuaged only by investing inordinately in a vein of thought that provides the illusion of certainty. This “illusion” might appear delusional to outside observers but to those who are deeply embedded in an “illusion” it is the right way of viewing the world; and, so often this assuredness is attributed to a Supreme Being.
Life is fragile. We are merely dust of the earth, “quintessence of dust” to use Shakespeare’s term, that has miraculously managed to gain “consciousness” and find the power to create human culture. But beneath this thin veneer of consciousness, that reptilian brain still percolates and sometimes it “breathes out threatenings and slaughterings” and overrules the “pauser” that our forebrain was designed for. One poet had this in mind when he wrote, “Only a tissue thin curtain in the brain shuts out the coiled recumbent land lord.” (Eugene L. Mayo)
Pathological certainty is like a cancer in that it cannot be contained and always needs to “convince” others even at the point of the sword. For those embedded in their own ideological certainty need to swell their ranks for the end purpose of making the world “the way it should be.” And inevitably this “way the world should be” will be “God’s will” or “Allah’s will” and the end will always justify the means. And as long as there is anybody in the world who does not subscribe to these “noble” and “true” ideas, the fear-based ideologue will be threatened. The fear-based ideologue seeks to obliterate difference or “otherness”.
Mental illness is a reference problem. This clinical bromide grasps the pathology of this “embedded thinking” which at a certain point of “embeddedness” becomes incapable of realizing that there are other ways of viewing the world. One who feels certain that his tin foil hat will keep intrusive thoughts from outer space away is not insane in a community of like-minded souls. And one who believes that President Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist is not “nuts” in a group that firmly believes this to be true.