Did you see the extant in the picture above? Now try to imagine how the swirling winds a few years ago have brought a seed into this rock crevice. It was definitely not a very blessed seed, in terms of the place to fall into, and the quality of soil, moisture, etc. But, against all odds, that seed has not died; it has grown and developed into that big tree. Because of the great, and even, according to Darwin’s theory, the ultimate imperative driving power of all living things – the struggle to survive. Under any circumstances. And especially under extreme conditions, when, like the plant in the picture, you have no choice but to switch into a mode of action when anything is allowed and you can resolve to any means with the only purpose to preserve the spark of your life alight. Nothing seems to be more natural for a living thing than trying to stay alive.
And at the same time, we can observe a wide range of human behaviour and moves done intently with the clear sense of putting oneself into circumstances of real and immediate danger, with the full understanding of a highly probable result of ending one’s own life. If we disregard the psychiatrically certified deviations leading to suicidal attempts, even if such distinction is often disputable, we are still left with a vast area of cases where people are prepared to accept the irreversible termination of their human existence in the name of something which they perceive to be of a higher value. But what could have a value higher than the ultimate imperative itself? To find the answer, we need to open the imaginary gates and enter into the realm of Spiritual Values, or Causes, that seem to exist in the invisible subjective reality and that have the potential to take human behaviour beyond the physical borders of biological survival. Ideas and visions, associated with human dignity, freedom, love, family, religion, country, dreams and other imaginary constructions, dwelling in the limitless dimensions of the human mind, could be only vague shadows of those irrational powers. And yet, maybe it is these ghosts of self-destruction that create the type of people, for whom Hemmingway wrote: “A man can be destroyed, but not defeated”. In history, such self-denying heroes have inevitably been present in the epicentre of main stage developments whenever mankind needed, on its way to a higher level of civilization, a revolutionary change of course.
Already for many years, however, when we turn on the TV, we see in the news a never-ending serial of violence, shooting and destruction by explosions from suicide bombers, or jihadist militants cutting the heads of people dressed in bright orange robes, with the clear expectation that someone with bigger military power will come to do justice, or just for revenge. With that reality on mind, we cannot avoid the question: where do you categorize that type of people and what makes them the bad guys? My answer is simple and very distinctive: radical Islam, just as communism, or Nazi ideology, fanatically and violently denies the immanent right of humans to be different, to think in a different way, and to believe in different Gods. This is a Red Line defending the core civilizational values of Humanity, at which no compromise can be negotiable and no efforts or means can never be spared against anyone trying to cross this particular Red Line.
I remember, in a presentation at a partner state embassy shortly after 9/11, to have expressed my view that terrorism is primarily not a “hardware” phenomenon, and therefore terrorism related problems cannot be solved with guns and hardware instruments only. We can consider the way the Cold War was finalized a brilliant illustration – at that time the totalitarian regimes in the former Warsaw Pact countries ware not defeated by military power. The poor efficiency performance of socialist economies was of course an important factor, but its potential was significantly below the level needed to overturn the system. And definitely it was not the pampering social care system, which in many aspects remains unsurpassed worldwide even today. What eroded the communist totalitarian systems from inside and melted down the basic motivational texture of individual political behaviour in totalitarian societies at that time, was the sense of unrealisability of the dream to accomplish the basic civilizational values: justice, freedom and democracy. For most people it became unacceptable to spend their whole lives in a society lacking the features of human civilization. The values of justice, freedom and democracy, however, can have the power more destructive even than the power of nuclear weapons, only under one uncompromising condition: in order to function, and to mobilize the human energy of millions of individuals, these fundamental ideals of humanity must be preserved pure and untarnished. Because even the presence of a nano trace of impurity such as selective application, double standard, or non-impartial treatment in favour of some individual, group, corporate or state interests, can irreparably break the magic and degrade the precious diamond into soot.
What is to be done?
In my opinion especially today, when we read in the news about Jihadi John, UK teenage girls, young Australians, and about people from other parts of the world leaving their homes to join militant fanatic fighters in the Middle East, and when millions of young people on the planet, in their decisiveness, inexperience, passion of youth and eternity of time ahead, are on the crossroads what to do with their lives, we must be sure to have given a clear affirmative answer to one only question:
Have we done all that is necessary, so that when these young people start browsing the virtual shelves on the free market of political, religious and philosophical ideas, there they shall by no means not miss the vision of a global village built on fundamental civilizational values, in which human beings of different races and diverse thinking live in harmony?