Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Weeding out war

Someone with tech smarts sent me an email suggesting that terrorism and war should be subjected to Root cause analysis. Find the root causes, fix that problem, and your more superficial manifestations may fade away. It makes sense to take that time to do just that.

Why did bin Laden form al Qa'ida? Why did we invade Afghanistan after 9.11.01?

Deeper roots might be common. Why do we think violence is the way to respond to anything?

A student once told me about her life as a heroin addict. She said, I saw everyone only as a functionary for me or as useless. My binary system was simple: I can use this person or I cannot. I am interested or I am not.

The cold and gruesome slippery slope of this logic leads the heroin junkie to robbery and murder to serve the habit. So we are addicted to oil, to power over others, and violence is easy. Some of our queasy ones speak against it, but, as we learned in the Frontline episode, The Persuaders, we need to understand the real motivating root, our limbic, lizard part of our brain, according to psychiatrist/marketing researcher and consultant, Dr. Clotaire Rapaille.

CLOTAIRE RAPAILLE: We have to understand the unspoken needs of the people. It works. Good marketing research works. When we say it works, it mean that marketers understand the real need of the customers – sometime unspoken – and they deliver. "Give me what I want."

So the level of analysis is important, as is the level of attempted fix. If we are determined to go all the way to the root and work only on that, the house will be burning down while we install more flame retardant drapes. We need to assess how to sequence fixes and how to prioritize resources at particular levels. That is partly how we can think about how to solve these difficulties threatening our species, our ecology, our economy and our society.

At some point, hopefully in time to afford an opportunity to work on deeper levels than mere firehosing (or weedwhacking), we will at least recognize this need for root cause analysis and pursue that project even as we keep our firefighters busy. The Thich Nhat Hahn contemplatives and the Gandhian swadeshi ashramic root solutions could address the bin Laden/oil/military addiction roots, but before an addict can get help, that addict has to admit a problem and seek a solution. We see nothing like this in America yet. May it come soon.

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