The World’s Largest Democracy is Under Threat

Corruption will go when the large number of persons given unworthily to it realise that the nation does not exist for them to exploit but that they exist to serve the nation.

                                                            Mahatma Gandhi

The heritage of India’s freedom movement and its leaders, particularly Mahatma Gandhi, provide ideals that are still capable of inspiring India and the world. Gandhi’s uncompromising moral strength and his tactics of non-violence have guided Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, Aung San Suu Kyi and many others.

But endemic corruption in the police and the judiciary, along with the capture of India’s democracy by elected officials facing serious criminal charges, is undermining the world’s largest democracy.     Continue reading

Political Paranoia’s Fatal Attraction

‘Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.’    Eric Hoffer

Paranoid personality disorder is one of a range of personality disorders classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association. It is characterised by pathological suspicion and an obsessive need to eliminate enemies, both real and imaginary.

Pathological paranoia played a dominant role in the mindsets of those responsible for the worst atrocities of the twentieth century.

In our contemporary world, reeling from global financial crisis, turmoil in the Middle East, and Russian aggression in Ukraine, the world is reacquainting itself once again with this deadliest of mental disorders.     Continue reading

Cult Leaders Aim To Detach Their Followers From Reality

‘Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.’

For students of the human condition, Eric Hoffer is an indispensible guide. A self-educated dock labourer, Hoffer’s book ‘The True Believer’ is regarded as a classic of political psychology.

This blog post outlines Hoffer’s views on the power of mass movements, including his explanation as to why many ordinary people are willing to give up everything to sacrifice themselves to a ‘greater’ cause – even when that cause involves the slaughter of millions.

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The Middle East’s Endless Wars Part 3

Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda secured their place in infamy with the attacks of 9/11. Within one month U.S. and U.K. forces had invaded Afghanistan. Within two months both the Taliban and Al Qaeda leaderships had been forced into hiding across the border in Pakistan. With the Taliban deposed and Al Qaeda on the run, George W. Bush announced a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Afghanistan, promising substantial assistance for state building and democracy. That promise was soon forgotten, however, amidst the furore of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.    Continue reading

The Middle East’s Endless Wars Part 2

This post is the second of three which look at thirty five years of conflict in the Middle East, and seven steps that have led to the emergence of ISIS.

The Iranian Revolution in 1979 triggered Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran and the beginning of the eight-year long Iran–Iraq war. It also marked the escalation of the battle within Islam between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims, as Saudi Arabia began to spend billions of dollars to export its fundamentalist form of Islam across the world.    Continue reading

The Middle East’s Endless Wars Part 1

The rise of Islamic State (IS) and its seizure of large parts of Iraq and Syria have caused alarm in the West and across the Middle East. Harrowing images of mass killings and beheadings of soldiers and journalists have sparked calls for renewed U.S. intervention in the region.  Alarming as it is, Islamic State has not risen in a vacuum. In fact IS can be seen as an outcome of thirty five years of continual warfare across the Middle East. This post, the first of three, looks at those thirty five years of conflict and the seven steps that have led to the emergence of ISIS.    Continue reading

Psychology of Evil – The Role of Religion

After watching the evening news, it’s hard to make the argument that religion makes us kinder to one another.

ISIS in Iraq is murdering Christians and Shia Muslims alike under the guise of a Holy War. Israel’s merciless bombardment of Gaza has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of women and children- the youngest to be killed was ten days old, the oldest was 100. In Uganda, evangelical Christians are vowing to campaign to reinstate the death penalty for gay men. And in Burma, Buddhist monks preach hate against that country’s persecuted Muslim minority.

Amidst this whirlwind of sectarian hatred, it is time to finally recognise that not only is morality possible without god, morality is infinitely better without god.    Continue reading