“Protecting the inner level
By: Nicolai Sennels, psychologist
Faced with Islamic terrorism and Muslim crime, many people in the West are preparing themselves for living in more violent societies. In Sweden there is an increase on weapon sales, pepper spray has been sold out in Germany, and still more women and men learn self defence. Hopefully many will join their country’s national guard.
One can not go wrong with any of this, as long as it happens within the frame of democratic law.
However, focusing on outer protection and activity is not enough. We should also remember our inner values and development. What we are and what we become inside, will shape the future of coming generations.
Countless things can be communicated through letters and media. But transmission of values and outlook on our inner and deepest levels is only possible through a human-to-human connection: From person to person, from parents to children, from one generation to the next.
Therefore we not only need to protect our outer society and culture, our democracy and humanistic norms. We also have to protect our inner life, and here anger and fear can be serious obstacles. A professional policeman and an angry or fearful policeman are two completely different things.
Irresponsible politicians and our own laziness and attachment to a comfortable lifestyle has let things get out of hand to a degree, where we might feel the need to brutalize ourselves in order to restore freedom and safety.
But if we come out of this clash of civilisations with more anger in our minds and less respect for human dignity, we will have lost the very basis for what we are fighting for.
Therefor we should not only see ourselves as outer protectors of society. We must also remember that we are carriers of an important human transmission of inner values and outlook on very deep, psychological levels, that has taken centuries to develop and to crystalize into culture.
It is a psychological fact that our emotions are the strongest driving factor for our actions. In other words: people behave the way they feel. When people behave bad it is a sign of painful inner states or wrong ideas leading them into filling their own lives with even more suffering and confusion. This does not mean that we should take pity on misbehaved Muslims and remain passive while they try to compensate for low self-esteem, rid themselves of the pain of anger or sexual frustration, or strive for divine reward, by harming others. One should stop their behaviour effectively and hopefully with the maximum amount of pedagogical effect. But always with the minimum amount of harm, and – for the sake of precision and our own mental state – with as little anger as possible. We can do that by wishing that they will be happy in the future (possibly far away) and find surplus and an outlook that can be the basis for a behaviour, that will fill their own lives and their surroundings with more love and happiness.
In short: There is an omelet to be made, but it must be made with the least amount of broken eggs and with the continuous wish for long term win-win situations. This leaves no space for unnecessary brutality or feelings of revenge or hate.
Keeping the style in difficult times takes a calm mind, unsentimental and foresighted compassion, and a very broad view. So while doing what is necessary on the outside, we consciously protect our own human development and our ultimate wish for the happiness of all beings. If one should find oneself in a situation where aggression is needed, the best inner support is probably to think that one does it for the benefit of others and in order to stop one’s opponent from inflicting further harm on others and himself. Of course mental stability in conflict also depends on trust in one’s own strength, which should be trained and can be expanded through breaking personal illusionary limits.
Claim and live up to your’s and your generation’s responsibility. And be that courage, joy and love that you wish to pass on to future generations for them to experience and build their lives and societies on.”