Sunday 4 December 2016

Kevin Myers: The good never inspire us the way evil does

Published 26/07/2011 | 05:00

The word "psychic" has come to mean "supernatural" in popular usage, but in fact it merely means "of the mind" -- which obedient medium can often transmit ideas and emotions with astonishing speed. None is more potent than hate, which can pass through a community like plague rats, spreading the bubonic toxins of irrationality and murder.

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This is no new discovery. It is as old as Cain and Abel. And we saw the psychic power of hate with a paradoxical synchronicity last week. On Thursday, Mark Stroman was executed in Texas for the random murders of two Asians in "revenge" for 9/11. The same day, the remains of Adolf Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, were dug up in Wunsiedel, Bavaria, to prevent neo-Nazis treating his grave as a shrine. The next day came Norway's Calvary, the greatest one-man act of unadulterated wickedness that has occurred in my lifetime.

It is hard to believe now, and 20-somethings might not even understand it, but 15 years ago, suicide bombing was regarded as a bizarre and almost unanalysable act of lunacy that could only be the very rare deed of either the clinically insane or the demented zealot. The Israelis, being the first to assess what made a suicide bomber, initially assumed that there were certain predictable psychological, domestic, or social conditions, involved. They soon made a shocking discovery: the very existence of the phenomenon was sufficient for it to become self-sustaining. No "type" of person became a suicide bomber. Suicide bombing was what made a suicide bomber.

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