Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Understanding How the Privileged Become Violent Fanatics

Contents:

Author Info

  • Scott Atran

    ()
    (IJN - Institut Jean-Nicod - CNRS : UMR8129 - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS))

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    The great British biologist J.B.S Haldane counted monotheism's creation of fanaticism as one of the most important inventions of the last 5,000 years. Call it love of God or love of group, it matters little in the end. Modern civilizations spin the potter's wheel of monotheism to manufacture the greatest cause of all, humanity. Before missionary monotheism, people did not consider that all others could be pigeonholed into one kind. The salvation of humanity is a cause as stimulating as it is impossible to achieve. Nevertheless, all modern missionary "-isms," whether religious or in their secular post-Enlightenment guise, preach devotion unto death for the sake of humanity, including allowance for mass killing for the mass good. "The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare's evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology," wrote Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago. Especially for young men, mortal combat in a great cause provides the ultimate adventure and glory to gain maximum esteem in the eyes of many and, most dearly, in the hearts of their peers. By identifying their devotion with the greater defense and salvation of humanity, they commit themselves to a path that allows massive killing for what they think is a massive good....

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/docs/00/50/54/28/PDF/how-do-even-the-privi.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number ijn_00505428.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: 07 May 2010
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published, Huffington Post, 2010, 000
    Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:ijn_00505428

    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_00505428/en/
    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

    Related research

    Keywords:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:journl:ijn_00505428. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.