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^ three bodies hang over a road in ISIS-controlled Raqqa in Syria, proof to this clique of self-appointed gods that they matter — and you don’t

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As the news from France moves from initial shock to ineradicable reality, the Western world faces what we now know will be a terrifying era of horrible ambush, unexpectable death, and suffering wherever it lashes.

This era of terror is not going to end soon. it is going to worsen, to aggravate, to change the way Europe lives. For us in America, the prospect of Arabic terror isn’t as grim — yet — because are so very inaccessible, protected by the oceans that have always been our moat and berm. Yet the terror will occasionally reach even us — when we travel overeseas, as many of us do occasionally or, in some cases, often.

As the war in Syria grinds on, and as insurgencies in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Chechnya, and Sudan wreak their pains, fighters will go there to kill and return home to kill some more. European nations can be vigilant 24-7, and it won’t be enough to stop every terror attack.

This we know. the question is, why is this happening ?

Many want to attribute it to Islam. I disagree. Yes, the terrorists whom we see the most talk loudly about the Quran this, the Quran that. So what ? Anyone can quote a book for anything. Not do all of today’s terror killers talk the Quran. Every week in America sees a mall shooting, every few months a school shoot-up, and often enough, killings here, killings there, by selves armed to kill those who get in ego’s way,.

What all of today’s terrorists, Arabic or mall-grown, do have in common is a fanatic smell of self. As Pope Francis has said, they assume the role of God himself.

As God, the terrorist is the ultimate tyrant. He ior she decides the fate of the entire world. Other people ? They don’t exist, or are inconveniences merely, obstacles to the self’s monopoly of all power.

Community ? That’s a “western” concept. What god needs community ? Gods reign supreme. Community means not one opinion but many. To the self-made god, there can be no ‘many.’ there is only the One — “I am the Lord the God” as the commandment put it. And if you are, in your own mind, the only one who matters, why not be god ?

Nothing proves a self to be god more than killing “others.” Killing a person is the ultimate establishment of power. To murder someone is a kind of ritual by which one grabs hold of one’s status as a god.

That is why ISIS has huge attraction to so many. ISIS invites selfed-up people to become god, all of them god, the same god, identical god twins, as it were.

In the selfie age, with the internet and social media according every selfie person a gallows on which to hang mere mortals (see the photo above again), is it any wonder that selfies from all over are taking on the beards, costumes flag, names, and rituals of an ostensibly Arabic/Islamic god cult in which what really matters is the ability to be god, the Arabic/Islamic details being a kind of kinship code in which 10,000 identical self-gods serenade each other ?

One thinks of Beowulf and of the “heroic” age in which warriors led followers on booty hunts and slaving sprees. Those warrior bands were no more ethnically unified than today’s ISIS. Attila the Hun’s “hordes,” for example, included Goths, Vandals, Celts, Scythians, even renegade Romans as well as Asiatics. How did these disparate men who couldn’t even understand each other’s languages come together ? The answer is the same as for ISIS or Al Qaida : they came together as self-gods.

It seems a pardox to advance the self as god as an organizing principle. But a paradox it is, as is so much of human nature. Only in a horde of killer self-gods can an individual self god wreak his uttermost. On his own, nothing. In the horde, he has it all.

Human nature doesn’t change. We all want to matter. Most of us, in the modern world, have accepted that we can matter most, and most effectively, by allowing others into our mattering. Thus we are able tn matter for a lifetime, and maybe our posterity as well. The self god, however, refuses this compromise. He or she wants the whole godhood, and he wants it now. We of civilisation share power with community; the self-god shares nothing. He has comrades, not community.

These are profound matters. The grievances that today’s self-gods of terror talk of are nothing but pretexts for what really matters to them. Pretexts : all of us in the West are that now. We are to the self-gods of terror millions of excuses — ready at hand ! — to slay and rape, burn and behead, as they bellow, inside their coccon of ego, their bloody importance.

We are at war with the most dangerous evil mankind has in it. and we will be at war with it for a long, long time.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere