Editor’s Note: The essay below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated.
Jim Wood, 54, begins his biography like this: “It was a stormy night in 1947. An unnamed hurricane smashed against the eastern Florida coast then crossed the entire peninsula and tossed Tampa Bay like a salad. Suddenly, I was born into the malevolence. I was spewed from the womb thinking that I would be the most powerful and important entity in the Universe. Shortly after came reality, the first in a serial multitude of disappointments that I call my life.” Jim’s bio ends with this pointed remark: “After all of these years, I am still not the most powerful and important entity in the Universe, but I think I know where she lives.”
As for Jim, he lives in Muncie, Indiana, where he works as a counselor. He has a bachelor of science degree in administration and a master’s degree in counseling psychology and education. He’s taught high school and college courses and led numerous seminars on thinking and behavioral management. Jim, who served in Vietnam, has visited more than 20 countries and has traveled throughout the United States. He was in Muncie when he heard about the attack and wrote his essay Sept. 13. It is titled, “Evil: The Spawn of Belief Itself.”
People all over the world celebrated the September 11 attack upon theWorldTradeCenterinNew Yorkas if it were a good and great miracle of God. Those people were mostly Muslims.
Other people all over the world were frightened, angry, and grief-stricken and perceived the attack as evil incarnate. Those people were mostly Judeo-Christians and/or part of the World Corporate Bureaucracy.
These two opposing perceptions of the same event serve to show that good and evil exist – are defined – in the mind of the believer.
Many people regardless of their religious, political or economic standing perceived the attack as an act of psychopathic fanatics who are neither good nor evil but whose actions stem from remorseless, inexorable belief.
As so much historical evidence shows, once belief constructs or defines evil in the mind, the mind then believes it is okay to destroy the creators and perpetrators of said evil without remorse or compassion. Thus, a fanatic automaton is turned out on the loose.
The fanatic terrorists seem to want to disrupt the fabric of Western Civilization, destroy the World Corporate Bureaucracy and, some say, replace it with a World Islamic Caliphate.
In response, fanatic Judeo-Christians and World Corporate Bureaucrats appear to want to suspend freedoms, compassion, empathetic understanding and human rights in order to kill any potential terrorist for the purported reason of protecting the very freedoms, compassion, empathy and human rights they believe are threatened.
In the reality of those living and trying to survive on Planet Earth, it does not seem to make any difference what is true or not, nor if truth even exists. What is “real” to each individual are the perceptions held in his/her mind. In each person’s mind, what matters is the “meaning” of each event as perceived by the individual. Belief Itself*, by its nature and definition, seeks to control the mind, its meanings and perceptions. When a person truly believes anything, that person then establishes the option to become a mind-controlled automaton – much more dangerous than any zombie from Hollywood – with the potential to cause remorseless suffering because of, or for the cause of, that belief.
Do you know what beliefs control your thinking? Would you kill for your beliefs? Would you cause suffering for your beliefs? Do you let your beliefs supersede your compassion and understanding?
When a CEO lays off employees because s/he believes layoffs will boost stock prices, is that not a devastating belief-controlled act? Do corporate and bureaucratic leaders consider potentials for suffering when they make decisions? Many people wonder. Some people believe that the World Corporate Bureaucracy is evil because it does not seem to care if living entities suffer.
Believers tend to make the assumption that all who do not hold the same beliefs as them are “bad” or “wrong.” True believers tend to see but one perspective. Open-minded thinkers try to perceive not only both sides of a dichotomy, but also other possible alternatives.
To react through belief without compassion or understanding is to become as mindless as a terrorist, not to mention acting with really stupid tactics. Think about it – self-defeating acts, like blowing yourself up to make a statement, do not seem too intelligent.
Terrorist acts tend to polarize believers, which also seems to be an underlying purpose of the Islamic terrorists. As believers intensify their beliefs, the world gets closer to a Holy World War, the Mother of all Oxymorons, waged by and for Belief Itself, the father of evil.
(*Belief itself is defined as: A firm habit of trust in a concept, fact, or person. To have hope and faith by trusting with or without some quality or quantity of proof and questioning. To conform to a fact. A revered and/or excessively followed concept, fact or person. Belief itself is neither bad nor good, but by its nature and definition, belief seeks to control thinking.)