Collectives, fear and the clothes we wear

Is the root of racism and gangs simply fear?

These thoughts come to mind as I re-read a book I had finished a while ago. I'm referring to "The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice," by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis (Free Press, a division of Simon and Schuster, 2003). The book focuses on how the power of choice changes people's lives.

In the second chapter, which focuses on the law of attraction, the authors write about collectives. They define these as groups of individuals who share similar experiences.

Zukav and Francis make me pause for reflection when they write that "the glue that holds collectives together is not language, skin color, belief or common experience. It is fear. " (page 28, paperback version, 2004.)

They go on:

"That is why collectives cannot unify humanity, but can only divide it further. The more frightened an individual is, the more he will identify with his collective, and the more violently he will defend it. Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and fundamentalist movements, for example, are collectives of individuals who are so frightened they cannot tolerate even minor differences. " (page 28.)

So, I'm wondering, are terrorist groups made up of people who are so afraid of something that they then choose to strike at it to keep their collective together? Are nations bonded by a certain fear that requires protection from what is outside their borders? (One might argue this is the case with many countries or large collectives: Serbia and Kosovo, India and Pakistan, North and South Korea, the United States and Iran being some examples.)

But does fear also explain how individuals respond to the world? I'm not a psychologist, but if I analyze some of the darker moments of my own life, I think I'd probably agree.

Zukav and Francis advocate adopting an open mindset, accepting the world and making choices based on employing positive thoughts instead of adopting a negative stance. These are choices we can make.

They say it like this: "When you assert the superiority of your way over others, that is fear, and when you value the way of others as much as your own, that is love." (page 29). They explain that valuing others does not get rid of the fortress mentality, the urge to protect. However, history and ethnicity, differences in general, became like the "clothes you wear, not the person you are."

I think this is an important distinction that we can keep in mind as we go about our daily lives.

For more information about "Mind of the Soul," see here.
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