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why we listen and do not understand - aggression vs hostility

Reader comment on item: Denying Islam's Role in Terror: Explaining the Denial
in response to reader comment: When Islamists tell us the truth, can't we just listen?

Submitted by myth (Germany), Mar 6, 2013 at 06:57

Jeff,

you describe how we understand the words but miss the threat. When a phenomenon appears as widespread and frequent as this, it points to a deeper behavior. Our reaction of denial to direct verbal threats seems unintuitive. Let me assume the exact opposite. Let me assume it is intuitive.

A straight forward direct assault demonstrates aggression. However, aggression differs from hostility. Think of direct body-contact sports. Intensive aggression, but no hostility. A hostile aggression which communicates an attack often comes with a characteristic move. What is that move?

Many large predator animals attack from behind. They do have the physical strength to approach their prey face-to-face, yet they do not. A typical move looks like this. The predator first passes the prey, pretending not to notice. In a second move it suddenly turns around and goes for the prey's tail. This sequence triggers the sense of hostility in the victim. Try this with your neighbor's cat. If you approach it direct it will pretend not to exist. Pass it and then return will make the cat run away. Do not try this with your neighbor's doberman, it may consider itself the stronger party.

The direct approach in nature intends to scare the target and make it leave, not to kill it. A direct approach constitutes aggressive communication, not hostility.

I believe, our behavior of denial is in fact intuitive behavior, maybe a remainder of surviving in wild nature. Assuming this, we react to direct aggression by simply going away. By announcing assaults, making no excuses, the Islamists avoid us understanding the hostility. We simply increase the distance.

The "disconnect" Daniel Pipes explains, falls into the pass-turn-around-come-back move sequence. First the politicians pass and avoid conflict with muslims. Then law-enforcement turns around and targets the muslim community with profiling, investigation and arrests. That is an attack move. The muslim community understands that.

Submitting....

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