The face of a smiling boy is prominent in the media today, the day after this teenage terrorist killed a Catholic priest in a church in Normandy.
You know the grim details, for it is an act of cruelty and spiritual defilement that has shocked all who care. Other similar pictures of young IS murderers living in Europe have been displayed also recently as the violence against the defenceless continues: in many cases, it seems that the perpetrators showed no signs of bad behaviour or potential criminality while at school or to their friends, and the discovery of their extremism has been a shock to many who knew them. What caused the change in them? The reasons are many and complex, but mind games are key among the possible answers.
The cleverness of the mind games employed by IS to radicalise potential recruits is startling and very worrying. A young British girl talked today about how, through Facebook and Twitter, she was radicalised to such a degree that she lost all sense of reality, convinced there was only one cause and one thing she must do, which was to fly to Syria. She bought tickets twice – as did the executioner of the French priest yesterday – but each time she was stopped, and helped. Now, she says, she cannot understand how she was persuaded, through charm, flattery and long persuasive argument to become a different person – and how easy it was. Her mind was, in every sense, changed.
Radicalisation now comes about more from the manipulation of an individual’s mind and beliefs rather than from blind obedience to a teacher, mosque or established religion – though there is an element of that still. All the security in the world cannot prevent future acts of terror if potential recruits can continue to be indoctrinated, through their computers in their bedrooms, to create chaos and fear around the western world. The main way is prevent the mind games through strict controls of social media, and the dark web, though stricter checks on immigrants and inhibiting free passage of weapons will help too.
The challenge for humanity in this fading spiritual era is to overcome the tyranny of the lower mind. It is no coincidence, that as we are witnessing the culmination of a dark cycle in our Earth history, the mind is being used by the exemplars of the dark as the key tool for their attack on freedom, love, innocence, beauty, and light. The more we can keep our own minds clear and focused, appreciative and uplifted, and the more we can help others to do the same, the sooner the shift from shadow to light will occur.
Let us play our own mind games, and then see terrorism wither.