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Prophesy: Disproving or Co-opting ?

Reader comment on item: How Israel Can Win

Submitted by Teague (United States), Apr 6, 2006 at 20:57

Perhaps those who live by the 'sword' are doomed, indeed, die by the sword. If the 'best' consensus that fractious Islam can reach with itself would allow the rest of the unbelieving world to convert, pay taxes or die-- many in the West probably would consider at least that choice a diplomatic triumph. But Mr. Pipes is addressing a regional problem which he seems to believe can be managed apart from a wider religious conflict-- in which, I believe, the existence of Israel has become an 'existential' concern of the 'true' faith.

It would probably be unfair to assign responsibility to Mr. Pipes for the general tenor of the various comments which his proposition evoked. In the vulgar parlance, however, the precedents Mr. Pipes cites leads to just these triumphalistic conclusions. They are most gratifying, especially to those who prefer to live above all else--even if that priority inexorably leads to genocide-- that is, genocide for those whose faith is the most substantive human 'condition' to be preserved. In a world of the immediate future, even one person of uncompromising faith, with access to modern 'stores' of knowledge, can be a weapon of mass destruction. Is 'genocide' a stretch ?

Surely it must be money, or life, or some aspect of the Western value system which motivates mankind. Yes, and no. Secular minds have real trouble mastering the importance of 'myth' to practical behavior. Yale Zussman has some insight on how it the West is more likely to 'triumph.' But it will not be in disproving prophesy. . . rather, it will be co-opting 'prophesy'-- that is, as conventionally held by the multitudes.

I would hazard a guess that the West will dither and threaten until some apocalyptic fear is realized-- an eschatological nightmare advanced into daylight-- perhaps even, accelerated itself by the very notion of preemption. In a world of turmoil the thoughtful, the creative, the charismatic, the 'lucky' will seize upon the mythos to forge a transcultural faith-- one to catapult a reinterpretation of the diverse 'myths' of faith into that fertile chaos to grow and impose their new faith. Frightened minds (not just simple ones) can, and will, deflect 'rational' orthodoxy into the best means of survival at hand. In the subjective experience of a Ragnarok, an Armageddon, masses of all faiths will look for a Savior, a Mahdi, a (??????) . I am not a conspiracy theorist, so I can't fill in the blank.
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