October 30, 2004

Depending on Delusion I

26% of Palestinians believe that 9/11 was an Israeli plot to get the US wholeheartedly on their side. Now that Osama bin Laden has released a tape that clearly talks about how "we" took down the towers, what do they do? How do they integrate this new information into their worldview? This is a fundamental problem with the Islamic tendency towards delusion, you get a lot of very embarrassing moments where you have to revise everything you've been saying the past three years on the most important geopolitical issue of the day.

When such people are on the fringes, they just lose credibility and are simply not listened to. One quarter of the population is too big a proportion to do that with so you end up with people denying their past statements, their records, and a general understanding not to pry too closely into actual past history. Once that happens too often, historical analysis becomes a heavily sown minefield that is almost impossible to discuss. You lose the ability of the past to teach its lessons because you remind the majority of its shame in participating in past delusional episodes.

Frankly, I don't know the way out. What's sure, though, is that any analysis of present or past in Islam must take into account this enhanced incidence of delusional thinking. If it doesn't, no matter how compelling its conclusions might be, you're being led into your own false path.

Posted by TMLutas at October 30, 2004 09:50 AM