imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

What is our Tent?

by Vamik Volkan Friday, Jul. 14, 2006 at 1:58 AM
mbatko@lycos.com

the suicide assassin fancies himself as a victim and as almighty because he knows God is on his side..Interdisciplinary non-political groups could develop common strategies for countering regression.

WHAT IS OUR TENT?

The ethno-psychoanalyst Vamik Volkan on the psychology of large groups, war and a new Renaissance

[This interview published in: Freitag 24, 6/16/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.freitag.de/2006/24/06241101.php.]

[Vamik Volkan comes from a Turk family in Cyprus. He studied medicine in Ankara. In 1959, he immigrated to the US where he was trained as a psychiatrist and analyst. He was an advisor in many crisis areas of the world for international organizations from the UN to the American Psychiatrist Association. He is a professor emeritus for psychiatry at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville where he founded the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction. He is currently working in Vienna. His 30 books have been translated in more than twelve languages. Psychosozial Verlag published his latest book “Blind Trust, Large Groups and Group Leaders in Crisis Times” in 2006.]



Freitag: You recently organized a forum “Psychoanalysis and Politics. Violence, Aggression and Regression.” Do you seek to strengthen the role of psychoanalysts in dramatic international conflicts?

Vamik Volkan: Our goal was to extend Freud’s thoughts to so-called “large groups,” religious, ethnic and nationalist groups. We raised the question: What is the relation of large groups and aggression? When Sigmund Freud wrote his texts about war and aggression, he concentrated on the inner world of individuals. When large groups were discussed, he asked what these groups mean for the individual. Today we strive to explain a psychology of large groups. Psychoanalysts pursuing field research in the worldwide trouble spots should bring their experience in diplomatic processes. Our goal is bringing together psychoanalysts familiar with ethnic and religious conflicts with diplomats interested in new forms of communication.

Can psychoanalysts really contribute to better understanding in the world?

Psychoanalysis can only contribute little. In their practice, psychoanalysts are exclusively involved with individuals. However I am also occupied with “enemy groups” outside of my own practice. Leading representatives of these groups could be moved to dialogue. For example, I visited Palestinian refugee camps several times. On the basis of this experience, I could study the factors in the readiness for violence of ethnic or religious groups.

The following example may be helpful. Imagine a huge tent. In it, thousands or millions of persons are assembled – a all individuals with their own psychic conditions. The tent rests on one pole, a leader. The people are all individuals; they wear their own clothes and have their own identities. Still each one also has a piece of the tent canopy as a second, common article of clothing. That is the large group identity of Arabs, Jews or Christians. If a crisis arises – when the leader is weak or someone slings mud at the tent from the outside -, the same conduct always occurs: People give up their own identity and protect and repair the tent canopy. When one enters a refugee camp or enemy group to discuss the people’s problems with them, the same behavior can always be observed. They will do everything to preserve their large group identity.

In many places, Moslems feel attacked by western conduct. Do you think conflicts will grow between Arab and western cultures?

Unfortunately problems will increase since the regressive tendencies are advancing worldwide. As a psychoanalyst, I prefer the following description: there is a battle between the id – exaggerated emotions, sadism, masochism and murder – and the super-ego – the “you may not do that,” “I will hit you.” In all this, there is no place for the ego to wonder: “What is happening in the world?” There is no chance for dialogue.

How can dialogues arise between hostile parties?

While these questions can be played through intellectually, in reality the emotional blockades are immense. I hardly know how these dialogues begin. One thing I can say with certainty. The gain would be enormous if one refused building five bombs and gave the money – perhaps a million dollars or less – to an interdisciplinary group, like the group I have led for nearly 20 years in the United States and began the dialogue between the antagonistic parties. Everything depends on opening a dialogue, creating a communication space between the fighting parties. In this way, people could understand their psychic realities. Errors can be uncovered in an emotional dialogue, not an intellectual dialogue.

Let me give you one example. Since September 11, enemies have always adjusted to one another when crises become permanent and hopeless. This happens everywhere. I do not think the United States will change into the Taliban and perpetrate ghastly attacks. Rather enemies assimilate in the course of certain processes. At present there are no interdisciplinary and non-political groups that turn to the pressing questions and create an empathetic vision and a healing language. I see my task as supporting this development.

You have grappled for years with the phenomenon of suicide assassins in the Islamic world. How did this potential danger develop?

Suicide assassins are chosen on account of certain experiences, inflicted humiliations and traumas and drilled for two years. This systematic training aims at making them spokespersons of the large group. Finally religion creeps in enabling them to cling to the illusion of not really dying after the suicide assassination. Rather they will find the suitable woman for the marriage ceremony in heaven.

Nowadays the Islamic tent is shattered. Islamic suicide assassins cannot be understood from their individual psychology. They act according to large group psychology. Normal persons threatened by suicide have a weak self-esteem. In contrast, suicide assassins have a high self-esteem because they climb to be spokesmen of the large group… There is no point going to one, two or perhaps a hundred suicide assassins before they kill us. The strategy must be: “How can we understand the nature of the tent canopy? What cashes exist there? How can we strengthen the tent canopy?”

Why is it hopeless for a psychoanalyst to do therapy on individuals?

We must recognize how large group psychology functions and can be led out of regression. I also studied the life of Osama bin Laden. There one can see how historical processes influence the psyche of leaders under certain conditions. Bin Laden’s childhood circumstances make understandable his development into a revengeful person. Today tens of thousands of Moslems emulate him. Why do these persons follow this madness? What wounds do they have? How can we not humiliate them? We need a new vision to understand the world and persons who do horrific things. If we simply condemn evil, the acts of these persons will never be studied. In looking behind the acts of these persons, we could explore what makes them so dreadful. We could develop strategies that aim at bringing peace.

How do you judge the decision of 40,000 members of the Iranian revolutionary guard to sacrifice themselves as suicide assassins if the Americans carry out a military attack?

This does not surprise me at all. You have to understand what drives these persons through their religion and culture. How does masochism appear in this situation? When religion mixes with politics, the result is deadly everywhere. In an extremely regressive process, people feel themselves omnipotent and as victims. The suicide assassin fancies himself as a victim and at the same time as almighty because he knows God is on his side. Then he develops a psychology that allows him to commit sadistic and masochist acts. This psychology underlies radical Islam.

These things must be taken very seriously. They cannot be settled with bombs. Since September 11, 2001, Americans and other parties have not built interdisciplinary, non-political groups to develop common strategies for countering the psychology of worldwide regression.

Fundamentalist currents are growing in Islam and beyond Islam. In the United States, a return of religion with massive fundamentalist tendencies is manifest. Is this a universal phenomenon?

As I said, when politics mixes with religion, the result is deadly. When George W. Bush speaks today of a “crusade,” this shows the universality of this phenomenon. We need a new renaissance to escape this danger. A new thinking and development of earnest, peaceful initiatives are imperative.

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy