Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On the other hand...

OK, I'm hard on Israel, I admit it. And there is another side of the story that needs telling.

Hamas is perfectly aware of Israel's tendency to strike back to attacks with gusto. That's what Israel does, always has. Israel is surrounded by people who hate them. And Israel has the firepower to respond brutally. And they will.

So, Hamas lobs rockets into Israel that, to this point,  have done next to no damage, knowing full well that Israel will respond with a heavy hand. There is a sense in which Hamas is playing a cruel and cynical hand, provoking Israel to strike back, knowing many innocent people will die, hoping to garner world opinion against Israel's over-whelming response to the provocation.

I know that is true. The people of Gaza 'should' rise up against Hamas and trust in people who would carefully and painfully negotiate a  "separate state" solution to the madness in Israel. But, again, they probably won't turn against Hamas because people they love are being killed by the Israelis.

It is a cruel and cynical gambit by Hamas. But, ironically, cruelty and cynicism often prove successful.

I think it is next to impossible for any American to 'understand' the Middle East since we are so prone to apply Western psychology to any far-flung conflict. That's why I call it Western psychology--the only people who attempt to explain human behavior by psychology are the folks from Western Europe and North America. Psychological 'thinking' doesn't dominate in the rest of the world. No wonder we are so inept at figuring out what to do about issues in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe. the Arab world and South America.

Most of the world, beloved, doesn't 'think psychologically'. (Unfortunately for them, many Israelis DO! So they don't understand their enemies at all.) Our categories and evaluations are based on our assumption (false!) that everyone thinks like we in western Europe and North America do....And they don't.

The way the rest of the world thinks isn't less subtle or less sophisticated than we think--it simply doesn't have its foundation in Freud and Jung and Adler. ("Psychological thinking" is just over a century old...it is amazing how totally we in the West have bought into it!)

God help us if we ever meet intelligent creatures from another Universe--we'll start wondering about 'depression' and 'anxiety' and 'bi-polar disorder' and they won't have a clue what we're wondering about.

I think as psychologically as the next person--but I do recognize that as a defect when trying to understand people who don't.....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.