Terrorism

Interrogative Imperative Institute

Acts of terrorism are not primarily a function of: ideology, religion, politics, or economics.

Rather, terrorism is a toxic, delusional belief system that is imprinted on people through techniques of undue influence and is framed -- by the purveyors of undue influence -- as a coping strategy for dealing with the felt presence of impending dissociation. Terrorism gives expression to a dysfunctional attempt to control and shape the lives of other human beings in order to fight off the demons of dissociation: namely, fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, pain, stress, alienation, hopelessness, derealization, depersonalization, rootlessness, purposelessness, humilliation, uncertainty, lack of identity, depression, and anomie. The vulnerable person or citizenry is led to believe that only by inflicting terror on others will one be able to escape from the psychological horrors of either the presence of intensely felt dissociation or the perceived threat of such impending dissociation.

Overview

Three issues of paramount importance -- namely, terrorism, fundamentalism, and spiritual abuse -- are brought together in one volume (i.e., Unveiling Terrorism, Fundamentalism, and Spiritual Abuse by Bill Whitehouse) in a way that delineates the interconnected dynamics of these topics. Moreover, these central themes are engaged from a variety of perspectives ranging from, on the one hand, psychology, sociology and philosophy, to, on the other hand, history, political science, and religion. The author draws upon more than thirty-five years of experience on the Sufi path and as an educator to lend a unique perspective to the manner in which terrorism, fundamentalism, and spiritual abuse are explored and analyzed throughout the book.

A Fate Worse Than Death

Let us begin with an observation. Under many circumstances, there seem to be, at least, two sets of, seemingly, antagonistic forces at work in human consciousness. One set of such forces is given expression through our struggle to discover the truth of things, while the other set of opposing forces is a manifestation of a tendency to hide, distort, or rebel against whatever the truth may be.

Deciding which is which in any given instance is not always an easy or problem-free task. Consequently, various kinds of methodologies are sought and/or developed in order to deal with the problem of trying to differentiate that which is true from that which is not true.

There are philosophical, scientific, theological, mathematical, psychological, mythological, sociological, political, economic and mystical methods for engaging the challenge of determining the truth. We tend to derive paradigms of meaning through the exercise of these methodologies, and these frameworks organize, shape, color, generate, and orient our interpretations and understandings of where we feel truth and falsehood are to be located within the realm of experience. In addition to the aforementioned two, broad, kinds of force, there also is a third set of forces at work in consciousness. This involves a tendency toward dissociation - which is neither a function of truth nor falsehood, but is, instead, an attractor-like basin which constantly pulls at us like a maelstrom via the currents from certain facets of the horizons of our awareness.

Dissociation is an experience consisting of a pervasive sense of having lost essential contact with: meaning, purpose, direction, belonging, acceptance, identity, and reality. The presence of dissociation gives rise to intense, often overpowering and debilitating, feelings of anxiety, fear, depersonalization, de-realization, alienation, emptiness, disconnection, cynicism, doubt, depression, sadness, hopelessness, and anomie.

The foregoing needs to be distinguished, to some extent, from many of the traditional, psychiatric modes of referring to the phenomenon of dissociation in which so-called dissociative disorders tend, in a sense, to be considered synonymous with the experience of dissociation. I would like to differentiate between, on the one hand, the trauma of a dissociative experience -- as outlined in the preceding paragraph -- and the pathological coping strategies and defense mechanisms which may arise in response to the trauma of dissociation.

From this perspective, the so-called dissociative disorders are an individual's maladaptive responses to the continued presence of the intense pain of dissociative phenomenology. Dissociative disorders are the problems which arise -- such as multiple personality disorder, fugue states, and the like -- in reaction to the presence of dissociative trauma, but there is a difference between the trauma (over which the person may have little control) and the disorder which arises in relation to that trauma -- a disorder whose characteristics may reflect choices (such as they are) as well as individual vulnerabilities and/or inclinations of the person who develops such disorders. These disorders entail life problems for the individual because of their debilitating quality, but the existence of such problems seems to be a better proposition for an individual than the intense pain of the dissociative trauma which leads to the formation of symptoms inherent in a given disorder.

We seek meaning in our everyday lives and in relation to the big questions of existence because, among other things, if we don't, we tend to drift into the gravitational pull of dissociation. In fact, the experience of dissociation is so painful (and we all have had encounters with this condition) that, in many cases we may not care whether the meanings through which we run our lives are true, or not ... just as long as the howling, vicious dogs of dissociation are kept at bay. Philosophy, science, technology, hobbies, games, careers, television, athletics, politics, social relationships, shopping, war, religion, therapy, and addictions are among the ways we use to, on the one hand, avoid listening to the call of dissociation, by, on the other hand, seeking to invest our lives with meaning, irrespective of whether such meaning-structures may, or may not, have relevance to the truth in some ultimate sense. Truth may have priority in the scheme of things, but living in accordance with falsehood, whatever the associated problems may be, beats having to deal with the extreme unpleasantness and debilitation of dissociative states.

Whenever the promise of meaning enters our lives, we are induced to cross an emotional/physiological boundary which brings, -- to varying degrees -- feelings of direction, purpose, identity, value, pleasure, happiness, belief, and motivation in conjunction with whatever the nature of such meaning may be. The more essential we feel such a sense of meaning to be, the more intense tend to be the emotions which are experienced in conjunction with such meaning. In some instances (but not all) the rise of an interest in mystical pursuits (which may be scientifically explored through transpersonal psychology) may occur in individuals who currently are struggling, or have been struggling for quite some time, with the currents of dissociation. For such people, the usual array of meanings associated with society, family, career, education, activities, as well as relationships have lost their attractiveness or appeal, and, at the very least, are seen as being unable to provide answers to the great questions of life -- such as: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? How do I find the truth(s) about being? To what should I commit my time, energy, and resources? If such people are strong, they may have tried a variety of different things in a search to distance themselves from the intensely uncomfortable feelings of dissociation. Yet, in one way or another, if what has been tried has not been successful in assuaging the demons of dissociation, then they may be left with a taste of disappointment and a sense of promise having gone astray as they continue to try to manage the rest of their lives as best they can amidst the undertow of dissociation.

Some people refer to this quest in terms of a 'holy longing' -- a desire for direct experience of the sacred realms and the Divine. One feels within oneself a deep thirst and hunger for an ineffable 'something' -- something beyond the ordinary doors of experience and perception ... something more essential and satisfyingly meaningful ... something life-defining.

Quite a few individuals spend their whole lives in pursuit of this elusive, mystical will-o-the-wisp. When the quest gets bogged down in this or that way, they wonder if, perhaps, mysticism is all just a figment of the imagination. Then, it happens. They meet up, somehow, with a person or group which seems to offer an antidote to the poisons of dissociative trauma, and it is important to understand just how central and important such an event is in the life of an individual.

More specifically, all of us are a lot closer to dissociative dissolution than we may care to admit. We busily fill up the hours of our life with all manner of activity. Much of this activity is senseless. Moreover, there often is a frenetic quality to a great deal of our behavior in which issues of education, career, work, home, politics, hobbies, and leisure time become the basic sources of meaning-giving in our lives ... after all, if we don't derive essential meaning from such activities, then really, who are we, and what is life actually about, and what should be our true purpose? For most of us -- some sooner than others -- the capacity of normal life to supply us with the kind of meaningfulness into which we can sink our essence or soul begins to suffer from the law of diminishing returns. The more this sense of dissolution takes place, the more the threat of the pain of dissociative trauma looms on the horizon. Some people, when they face this Rubicon of life, retreat into ever more frantic commitment to the surface features of life -- such as career, politics, family, home, and community activities. Other individuals, however, cannot go back and need something deeper in their lives to provide them with a sense of essential meaning, purpose, and identity, and so they cross into a battle with the unknown.

With respect to the latter group of people, there tends to be a sense of urgency about their search. Part of this urgency comes from a vague sense of the enormity of the task in front of them and the concomitant realization that they cannot do what they need to do without some expert help ... someone to guide them through the unknown territory on the far shore. Another part of the aforementioned urgency arises from the ominous threat of dissociative trauma nipping at their soul. They have sailed into the unknown, and they don't know if they will find anything on the other side ... something which will help defend them against the maelstrom of dissociation which could suck them down into a bottomless abyss arising from a loss of meaning, identity, purpose, peace, and stability with respect to lived existence.

Yet, when someone who, supposedly, is a spiritual guide or teacher enters their lives, an apparently viable solution to the impending threat of dissociative trauma appears to take concrete, accessible form. When such an alleged guide appears to be charismatic, interesting, warm, friendly, compassionate, entertaining, wise, calm, and in control of her or his life, then this all seems like manna from heaven.

They experience -- and it makes no difference, at the time, whether such experiences are rooted in truth or falsehood -- a deep, powerful, intense sense of apparent (possibly real) love, acceptance, purpose, direction, honesty, compassion, kindness, generosity, identity, integrity, commitment, happiness, and community at the hands of a 'teacher' or those who are influenced by such a 'teacher'. Among other things that are going on emotionally and psychologically, enkephalins and endorphins begin to flow in such substantial quantities that one may feel an encompassing sense of joy, ecstasy, happiness, well-being, peace, and security.

One feels one has arrived at one's metaphysical, cosmic home. Furthermore, everything which is happening is framed in a way that suggests that what is going on is an expression of the presence of spiritual or mystical truth. Such a framing may be accurate, as far as it goes, or it may be false. However, in the beginning, the individual has no way of knowing for sure what is going on except that the demons of dissociation have dissipated, and the presence of a dynamic paradigm of meaning has entered one's life.

In the imagery of the 'Velveteen Rabbit' by Margery Williams, one feels that the presence of love, and associated qualities, has, finally, made one 'real', whole, alive, aware, and integrated. Whether this is really so, remains to be seen, but considerable time, experience, inquiry, and reflection will be necessary before one has enough information to be able to arrive at a reasonable assessment of the situation ... especially if certain facts are being actively kept from one's awareness, as is generally the case with respect to fraudulent spiritual guides.

There are people who claim that they could tell, instantaneously -- or within a very short period of time -- whether, or not, a given individual is an authentic, sincere teacher. There may be some people who are sufficiently gifted to do this, but there are, I believe, far fewer people who actually are capable of this than there are individuals who are making claims in this regard on their own behalf ... and, in the present context, I would eliminate from consideration those individuals who reject all such possibilities simply because they are inveterate cynics and skeptics concerning everything spiritual and/or mystical, and, therefore, are in no position to make a fair and knowing discernment about these sorts of matters since their perceptions are colored and shaped by the constant presence of cynicism and skepticism.

In the beginning, Hazrat Ahmad al-Alawi -- a Sufi saint of the 20th century about whom Martin Lings wrote -- did not know the difference between someone who was a snake-charmer and someone who was a spiritual sage. Similarly, Hazrat al-Ghazali and Jalal-uddin Rumi each took time to find their respective ways to the truth of things with respect to mysticism. For every rule of thumb one can come up with as a line of demarcation for discerning true teachers from false ones, there are exceptions to such a rule ... both on the side of legitimacy as well as in relation to spiritual charlatans. In instances where the quality of spiritual counterfeiting is poor, many of us may be able to gauge that some sort of fraudulent activity is going on, but when the quality of counterfeiting is high, distinguishing between the real and the false is very problematic.

Consequently, becoming entangled in a false modality of mysticism is not all that a difficult thing to do ... some people's opinion to the contrary notwithstanding. More importantly, once one's life has become immersed in such a group - one with the 'right' sort of dynamic 'guide'-- there are many emotional, psychological, and social forces which are capable of deepening such entanglement in very complex, subtle, and problematic ways.

For example, if one is faced with the prospect -- whether through personal choice or the decision of the group/teacher -- of leaving a given teacher or group, then an individual is very much aware that waiting for one on the other side of the boundary (which marks the boundary separating those who are within the group and those who are without) is the abyss of dissociation. Under such circumstances, the threat of the terrors of dissociation are even more ominous because of an intense sense of relative deprivation which is experienced in being disconnected from a way of life through which one previously derived the sum total of one's orientation to: God, meaning, purpose, identity, truth, reality, community, commitment, trust, love, self, direction, acceptance, peace, happiness, the world, and the life to come, as compared to the painful offerings of dissociation ... anxiety, fear, alienation, meaninglessness, purposelessness, depersonalization, de-realization, depression, sadness, grief, and so on which are beckoning to one due to one's departure from the aforementioned group.

When I first began to explore the dynamic character of the relationship between various kinds of meaningfulness and the threat of dissociation, one of the images which came to mind was the following:

Meaningfulness) | (Dissociation


The line in the middle constitutes the potentially neutral ground between dissociation and meaningfulness. This middle area gives expression to the activities through which we seek to determine the way to meaning, objectivity, and 'truth'. It is the area within which we struggle for understanding and knowledge about how best to proceed.

When the methodological and hermeneutical activity of this middle area is successful, it helps to serve as a defense against the threat of being pulled into one, or another, state of dissociation. When such activity is not productive, then we struggle to resist the slide toward dissociative states involving anxiety, alienation, anomie, overwhelming stress, fear, loss of identity, and so on, which, in turn, may open us up to more pathological states such as P.T.S.D, an anxiety or dissociative disorder, or some other problematic condition.

With respect to the foregoing diagram, it is important to understand that meaningfulness and/or altered states do not necessarily equate with the truth of things. Rather, we may seek meaning and altered states in order to protect ourselves against being consumed by the ravages of one species, or another, of dissociation.

Furthermore, the phenomenology of going across the boundary into the realm of meaningfulness and/or altered states is experienced as being very pleasurable, if not given to ecstasy. In addition, this boundary crossing is also felt to be tremendously liberating ... as if one were 'born again' or had come to see 'reality' for the first time.

Once one has undergone such a boundary transition, one seeks to maintain it or re-invoke it because this realm -- when it is intensely felt (as often is the case in many experiences of conversion or initiation into a new spiritual tradition) -- brings one into a state of awareness which tends to dissolve a variety of concerns or worries. One feels like one is in a dream-like state which is both very real and, yet, somehow removed from the rest of life.

Similarly -- but in an opposite, antagonistic manner -- the phenomenology of traversing the boundary into the realm of dissociation is experienced as being extremely painful and debilitating. In many ways, the emotional, existential, and spiritual pain, together with the dysfunctional life, which arise through conditions of dissociation -- such as alienation, anomie, de-realization, depersonalization, stress, confusion, uncertainty, loss of identity, purposelessness, and anxiety -- is so intense that for many individuals, dissociation is a 'fate worse than death'. Moreover, many people prefer the problems of becoming pathological -- in the form of a maladaptive coping strategy -- to the presence of dissociative pain simply because in such pathology there is a certain buffering quality against the felt presence of dissociation.

In phenomenological terms, when an individual travels from within the arc of meaningfulness noted in the previous diagram back across the boundary toward the center portion and, possibly, toward dissociation, this process is felt to be quite disorienting, difficult, stressful, and emotionally painful. Alternatively, when one journeys from within the arc of dissociation toward either the center portion of the diagram or toward the boundary-arc of meaningfulness, this process is experienced as being very positive, liberating, and happy.

Given the choice between having meaning, even if possibly false, and being engulfed in a dissociative condition, not everyone will opt for the latter possibility -- even though the latter option might appear to be closer to the current truth of things than is the former. Given such difficult choices, one may wish to linger over the decision and not rush to judgment.

In view of the bleak nature of the alternatives facing one, an individual might desperately try to reconcile seemingly disparate experiences, events, or pieces of information in a manner that favors perpetuating meaning (even if false) over the possibility of sliding into dissociation. Confronted with such extremes of emotional consequences, a person might be forgiven if she or he wished to extend a few degrees of freedom to the inexplicable and, as a result, give the current framework of meaning -- problematic though it may be -- the benefit of a doubt, rather than plunge into the cold, dark waters of dissociation ... even though the latter action may be the step which is most courageous, honest, sincere, and truthful.

In the face of such diametrically opposite considerations, one lives in the interstitial shadows of ambiguity, uncertainty, doubt, ignorance, the unknown ... a harbinger of things to come if one should move further across the emotional and psychological boundary which marks departure from the teacher and/or group. This is an extremely painful position to be in, and the motivational forces are extremely strong in relation to inducing one to not only refrain from crossing the aforementioned boundary, but, as well, to get rid of the doubts and suspicions one is entertaining, for occupying a state of emotional limbo is almost as bad -- but not really -- as entering into the state of dissociation on the other side of said boundary.

In most cases, unless a person can be motivated to trust the reasonableness of moving into dissociation -- and the move is very counter-intuitive for most of us -- then there is a strong likelihood that a person will stay with a paradigm of meaning which, though flawed in substantial ways, seems to be more emotionally satisfying than does the prospect of dissociation ... especially if an individual sees no readily available hope for finding a worthwhile exit from the condition of dissociation once the current source of meaningfulness is left behind. Furthermore, the threat of continued dissociation is one of the primary reasons why some individuals -- even after they manage to escape from a environment of thought control and spiritual abuse -- will tend to seek out further abusive relationships, just to get another fix of the emotional and psychological 'Baba juice' (see the next paragraph) that often is associated with the crossing-over of the boundary which separates meaningfulness from dissociation ... the same boundary which, when re-crossed in the opposite direction (i.e., from meaning to dissociation), causes withdrawal-like symptoms due to the debilitating character of the dissociative symptoms that are encountered by an individual.

'Baba' means spiritual father, and the phrase 'Baba juice' is a term I have coined to allude to the trance-like state of ecstasy, liberation, contentment, and sense of well-being which occurs in some people when they are in the presence of a fraudulent spiritual guide. It is a very pleasant altered state of consciousness to be in but it is not a spiritually constructive condition ... in fact, quite the opposite.

Patterns of attitude formation, motivational networks, and habits tend to be rooted in what operant learning theorists refer to as a variable, intermittent schedule of reward contingencies. That is, something of a rewarding nature occurs in conjunction with a certain kind of activity, but, in subsequent life experiences, such rewards may not occur, except occasionally (if at all) but one continues on with such activity in the hope that a hoped-for reward will be forthcoming. Once established, such learning linkages are very difficult to break. The gambler who rolls the dice one more time, the addict who seeks to recreate the first high, the promiscuous lover in search of the chemistry of that initial encounter of intimacy that came through the gaze or touch of another person, the seeker who longs for the return of an earlier feeling of ecstasy, well-being, peace, innocence, purpose, and meaning that occurred in relation with the meeting of a given 'teacher' - these are all potential examples of the principle of a variable, intermittent reinforcement contingency in action.

Although, ultimately, the only thing which can extricate someone from such forces is Grace' of one kind or another, nonetheless, if one looks at the dynamics of the phenomenon from a lesser perspective, then oftentimes, the only way to break free of the gravitational pull of such a set of circumstances (that is, the presence of variable, intermittent schedules of reinforcement, together with the desire to retain a sense of meaning, even if false, over the threat of impending dissociative states) is through the experience of traumatic events. In other words, if something happens between an individual and the teacher and/or religious/spiritual group with which that person is associating that violates -- in no unmistakable way -- the trust which ties that individual to the teacher/group, then the trauma of that betrayal of trust may supply enough impetus to help an individual to cross the boundary into a dissociative condition and accept the reality of the latter state rather than continue on with a meaning system which has become spiritually bankrupt.

The process of traversing the border that demarcates previous meaning (false though it might have been) and present dissociation is marked by a profound sadness and depression. This tends to occur when a person begins to disengage from a teacher and/or group and is an expression of the individual's sense of having been disconnected from the feeling of being 'real' and in touch with the truth ... if only in a passing, indirect, and limited fashion.

At times, the pain which is felt in this condition of essential, dissociative betrayal is so intense that a person may become vulnerable to being induced to re-crossing the boundary back into what is perceived as the framework of meaning which, previously, was associated with the alleged spiritual guide or group. Oftentimes, one will see an individual bounce back and forth across this boundary line before some final context of relative stability is achieved on one side, or the other, of the boundary line which separates continued association with the teacher and/or group from emotional and psychological disengagement.

The techniques which are used by fraudulent spiritual teachers and/or groups to induce people to not cross the boundary line that demarcates being initiated into a framework of such pseudo-meaning (as opposed to the real and essential meaningfulness of truth) from a condition of dissociative vulnerability are numerous. These include: Ericksonian-like hypnosis; trance inductions or other forms of altered states of consciousness; love-bombing; isolation; sleep deprivation; neuro-linguistic programming; various forms of variable, intermittent schedules of reinforcement; re-framing; misdirection; disinformation; prolonged conditions of ambiguity or tension; disruption of normal forms of social support; as well as the use of one's dependence on processes of consensual validation to undermine one's sense of reality. The foregoing are but a few of the techniques that are employed to open up unsuspecting people to the 'joys' of being released from a condition of dissociation, The term "joys" is a collective way of referring to the administering of the 'Baba-juice' which takes place when one is given a new paradigm of meaning in an apparently extremely attractive package by someone: who claims to be an authentic spiritual guide (but who is not, in truth, genuine); who seems to be the best friend one could ever have hoped for; and who appears to be an immense 'blessing' which has come to one which is so great that, heretofore, one could never have imagined it possible for such a person to be in one's life.

The above characterizes one's experiences until one learns otherwise. However, coming to know the ins and outs of this 'otherwise' may be quite a few years down the road when, once again, one stares into the abyss of dissociation ... an abyss which has been made deeper, darker, and more hostile by the fact that one seemed to be so close to the truth only to find one has been kept far from the truth of many things -- including the actual nature of the teacher and, most importantly, one's own relationship with one's essential potential since a fraudulent guide cannot help one realize that about which such charlatans are fundamentally ignorant, though they pretend otherwise, and, for a time, one may have trusted that such people were telling the truth.

For lack of a better phrase, the foregoing approach to the issue of spiritual abuse is known as the mirror image theory. It bears this name because of the character of the dynamics that occur at the boundary marker of demarcation between meaning and dissociation.

As one goes from relative dissociation into meaning, there is a gaining of a sense of freedom, release, peace, security, purpose, identity, acceptance, belonging, commitment, and so on which was not present in the condition of dissociation. As previously indicated, this is experienced as being joyful, happy, ecstatic, unburdening.

However, as one crosses back across the boundary in the opposite direction -- that is, from meaning back to relative dissociation -- one experiences the pain of losing a sense of freedom, release, peace, security, purpose, identity, acceptance, belonging and commitment. Instead, one feels shame, anxiety, guilt, depression, grief, sadness, depersonalization, de-realization, loss of identity, purpose, motivation, and the like. In other words, one's feelings and condition in this situation of dissociation are the mirror image of, or a direct reversal of, what was experienced as one crossed over into the so-called meaning side of the boundary marker.

When an individual comes to understand the nature of the spiritual abuse which has been perpetrated upon him or her, there is a certain, new realization which occurs ... however inarticulate and vague this sort of realization may be. In this awareness, there is a sense that by having permitted oneself to be induced to cross the boundary from dissociation, or threatened dissociation, to the promised land of meaningfulness in the form of a relation with a certain alleged teacher or guide or group, one has made a maladaptive choice in coping strategy vis-à-vis the issue of dissociative trauma. Moreover, from a certain perspective, one's situation is worse than it was prior to one's encounter with the fraudulent teacher ... one has gone from the frying pan into the fire.

Prior to the appearance of the so-called teacher, there was a certain innocence, and, perhaps, naiveté, to one's search for meaningfulness. Once betrayed, however, in an essential way, one feels cast adrift in the middle of nowhere with nothing to defend one against the breaking storm of dissociation. One is left with a feeling that there is no safe harbor to protect one and no direction which one can trust. These are intense, destabilizing, and debilitating emotions which were not there prior to the advent of the so-called teacher.

Any program of counseling or therapy which does not take into account the profoundly intense dynamics of this boundary crossing phenomena described in this essay (and what is entailed going in either direction) will have a difficult time helping a person to develop survival strategies with which to cope with the condition of dissociation. Moreover, failure to take such boundary dynamics into account may do considerable spiritual damage to the affected individual by leaving unaddressed the essential dimension of the grief which is at the heart of the re-entry process involving the condition of dissociation.

Although the mirror image theory which has been outlined above has been applied to a context of spiritual abuse, the potential relevancy of this framework does not end there. In whatever set of circumstances the issue of abuse arises -- spousal, sexual, political, educational, or spiritual -- the dynamics of the mirror image phenomenon are present, and if one wishes to gain insight into the nature of such abuse one should look at the way the threat of dissociation plays off against the struggle for meaning -- even of a pathological kind -- in the structuring of relationships.

Finally, from the perspective of this mirror image theory, there is a potential vulnerability in all of us with respect to the possibility of being induced to flee from the threat of dissociative trauma and into the embrace of paradigms of meaning. On the surface, such frameworks of meaning may appear to be a God-send, but, in reality they may turn out to be just another expression of the sort of problems which arise when we are trying to elude the undertow of the maelstrom of dissociation which haunts consciousness, and, as a result, we do not clearly see the nature of the alternative we are selecting as our way of responding to the presence of dissociative pain in our lives.

Under the right set of circumstances, almost all of us are vulnerable to committing such a mistake in judgment ... and not necessarily because of any personal failing within us, or due to stupidity, or insincerity, or any other defect of character. Rather, we are all vulnerable to such a possibility, because of the very nature of being human -- a nature which is constantly being stalked by the very real threat of dissociative trauma, and with respect to which, we are constantly under pressure to discover viable ways of dodging such an existential bullet.

The essay to the left is an excerpt from the book: Unveiling Terrorism, Fundamentalism, and Spiritual Abuse by Bill Whitehouse. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, please go to:

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