The Psychology of Terror & It’s Aftermath

(Ibrahim Halawi)

The idea of death and its undying mystic nature has an a influence on one’s psychology. The fear of death is manifested in the need for security – which by itself is classically exploited in contemporary politics and business (mainly advertisement). It is commonly thought that seekers of religious martyrdom are those who fear not death. However, it might be the extreme opposite. In contrary to this popular impression, it is dread of death and its daunting ambiguity that fuels religious extremism. One’s urge to get rid of this incessant nuisance excites the individual to blindly endorse a claim of an afterlife and impatiently seek it. If this impression is to be permitted, the courageousness of religious martyrs becomes largely undermined. From a different angle, the terror of death has a viral impact on individuals and societies as a whole in times and places of excessive violence and/or frequent death scenes. Popular discourse would be affected by excessive radical ideas; word choice and terminology would reflect the imminence of death. A more tangible outcome is productivity. The fear of death would inspire individuals to fulfill and pursue their needs and desires rather than compromise that for communal benefits. The dominance of fear in one’s mind is always at the expense of wisdom and rationality. The consequent effect of that is broad and manifests itself in almost every aspect of one’s life.

In Lebanon, Iraq, and recently in Syria, the ascendancy of danger and the overwhelming collective insecurity will bring out a psychologically unbalanced generation where reminiscences of war and terror will appear with every minor coincidence or event. It is anachronic to speak of ways to collectively deal with the aftermath of war while our region is still in the midst of one of its most brutal ones. However, someday the war will be physically over. But, as we Lebanese have learned, war is not only about blood and bullets. The aftermath of war is as nerve-racking as war itself.

Ibrahim Halawi

Published in Mish Jareedi September/October 2013 Printed Edition – click here to view original publication

(Featured Image: “Beirut 1982” by Steven McCurry)