The terrorist attack in Paris on Friday 13 November, killing at least 130 people, is clearly a tragic event the likes of which have not been seen in France since WW2. With the country in a state of emergency and soldiers in the streets, an historic tide has turned, washing up on the shores of every freedom-loving country in the western world.
What drives a group to perform such a heinous act of terror (if indeed it was not just another false flag), using bombs, automatic rifles and suicide belts to mercilessly kill, maim and torment random civilians in a busy street or concert hall in a European capital city? “This is for Syria” one was heard to shout, and it seems this was another retaliation from Jahadi Muslim extremists, a retaliation to the encroachment by the western world on their territory, their sensibilities, their standard of living. For indeed, they too have sensibilities. It is we who are seen as the uncultured ones, the unholy, and that is why they wage war, campaign for world domination and propagandize for the mindset of the west, attracting recruits to the new Caliphate. This heinous terrorist act in Paris is seen as justified in their eyes. And although totally condemning such an act of war, I can personally understand, at least partly, why we in the west are seen as such villains. I can empathize, put myself in the shoes of the other. It is a clash of cultures. Both of these two opposing cultures have raised their members to see their way as the best, the norm, the correct way to live. To us freedom of expression and freedom of choice are the overarching tenets of our democratic, progressive, “mature” civilization. We would want all the world to live like us, and therefore in the name of democracy we regularly invade their countries, topple a tyrant or dictator, and try to free the people from oppression. However, when donning the spectacles of introspection or self-analysis, in the light of a global and historical perspective, what do we actually do in our first world civilized democracy? We live out an absurdity. We actually celebrate and practice freedom above even good behaviour. But because we are brought up with it as our norm, we cannot see life in any other way. Our farcical play at civilization was spoon fed to us by our ignorant parents, and by unscrupulous propagandists in the media, who themselves are pawns of our own capitalist “tyrants” who run our very own countries.
Let’s look at the words of Swami Prabhupada, not a Muslim fundamentalist, but a Hindu brahmana scholar. In a lecture given in French-speaking Mauritius on 2 October 1975 he says “When one becomes very much addicted to sense gratification… The symptoms are very prominent in this age… For example, throughout the whole world there are so many breweries manufacturing liquor. Especially in the Western countries you will find so many advertisement, liquor advertisement, whiskey advertisement, cigarette advertisement. And what to speak of slaughterhouse. And innocent animals are being killed all over the world unnecessarily.” In other words, from a real civilized point of view, from an outsiders point of view, we westerners are actually living a rather degraded lifestyle, but we are calling it civilized. Because we don’t know any better. Actually it is worse than that. It is because we have been taught to glorify freedom of expression, “liberte, egalite, fraternite” above actual civilized life. We would rather allow media the freedom to brainwash us into accepting degraded practice as the norm, than impose healthy limitations on our expression. Swami Prabhupada goes on to say “So many things are selling in the market in huge quantity by advertisement, by victimising the customer…But they are unnecessary things.” I would take it a step further and say they are “damaging things”. In the name of free speech and capitalism, the media is allowed to advertise a product that will actually cause great violence, and also cause great harm to the mental or physical health of the user, simply because it turns a profit. And we grow up seeing these things as normal and so we use them in our lives, ultimately dragging ourselves down into ruination. We are living in a distorted world. And when you look at it from the outside, you can see where others also on the outside of this western system are coming from, why they have such zeal in wanting to change our ways.
Now as I mentioned in the beginning, their manner of retaliation at our so-called civilized ways is also abhorrent. One cannot justify bad behaviour in the name of trying to correct other bad behaviour. That is not the point of my insight here. The point of my insight is that we need to take a cold hard look at ourselves as a civilization here in the west, and indeed on the planet in this current age, and weigh up our actions by looking at the results. What is it that we are promoting when we condone freedom of expression and freedom of speech, and capitalism for example. We are condoning the right to firstly brainwash the masses into degraded behaviour. We are promoting the right to make profit off the exploitation of the poorest. We are promoting the right to starve to death – in the name of capitalism – those poorest so that we can make more money than we will ever need in a sane society. We are promoting greed, exploitation, gross abuse and ultimately we are like a blind man leading the rest down a path of ignorance, illusion, forgetfulness and self-destruction, all in the name of “liberte, egalite, fraternite”. And that is why fundamentalists will look at us and see overwhelming degradation, animal mentality and actual criminality all advertised as progressive, civilized and healthy behaviour. In our ignorance of the bigger picture, and in our inability to control our base animal propensities for sense gratification, greed and indulgence, we bring such terrorist attacks on ourselves. We cause this atrocity ourselves.
There are other angles, namely religious, political, economic, etc from which one can view this Paris attack, but I am looking at the foundational root cause of the entire malady, and I see our own ignorance as the cause. Swami Prabhupada says in his Mauritius lecture “If we really want to be free from these material clutches, then we have to learn how to control the senses…That is the purpose of human life. Human life is not meant for imitating the cats, dogs and hogs. That is not human life.” But we will rather allow the media to brainwash us into grossly abusing our senses, becoming total slaves to our senses, and even killing other living entities for the pleasure of our senses, until we cannot even remember what it is to be human because we are degraded to the point of animal life. We are merely polished animals. Yet we think we are so sophisticated in our Parisienne restaurants and concert halls. Our systems have been hijacked by unscrupulous leaders who train us up from birth to be consumers and exploiters and we will never attain our true potential as sentient beings as long as we fail to see through the propaganda and illusion of the freedom of expression and modern capitalism that is fed to us as it has been to our forefathers for many generations already. We will thus either be suppressed to the level of debauched animal life, or we will fall victim to still more terrorist attacks by those we oppress or denigrate due to their attempt at civilizing us in their own distorted way.
The only solution is a total paradigm shift that will awaken us to who we really are, what our dormant potentials are as a human species, and how we could be living in paradise here on earth if we only remembered what is really going on by taking back the power from our tyrannical and devolved political leaders, and reset our course for the original goal of life – consciousness awakening in bliss for all.