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Why must there be a boogeyman?

I've done watching all sorts of videos that say Muslims are bad and that they destroy the very fabric of a civilized culture.They have somewhat turned into the boogeyman of our time.

So I asked myself, what was it like a few years ago?Well, I founded that it wasn't the Muslims who were the bad people during those days.You see, about 30 years ago, we had another boogeyman, they were the Communists.Going further back into the past, like 80 years ago, it was the Jews.

So my question would be, why must there be a boogeyman? wouldn't the world be a better and happy place if we would stop creating these illusions of having a boogeyman in our culture? Haven't we learned anything from our mistakes a few decades ago?

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    Mar 25 2012: The bogeyman that you refer to personifies the fears of our governments. The leaders see certain conditions that appear as a threat to the well being of the people that they have jurisdiction over. They feel that that threat needs to be addressed, so they give it a name and then seek to diminish its impact on society. Whether it is real or imagined is not always clear.

    Hitler saw the Jews as a threat to the financial security of his people and set out to annihilate them. The world saw Hitler as a threat and set out to stop him before he spread his psychosis to the world at large.

    The United States saw communism as a threat to personal freedom and set out to stop it in its tracks. Whether the threat was real or not is still being debated, for our country is now looking more and more like communism.

    Muslims are seen as a threat because of how they promote their religion. Predominantly Muslim nations are deeply involved with genocide. That any person could violate a commandment written in stone (Thou shalt not kill) to promote their religion and then declare that they have the blessing of Their God is a mystery to any Christian. This is herd mentality and not Godly wisdom. And God is raising up adversaries against it.

    As it is written in the scriptures; "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" (Genesis 4:7). I agree with you that we need to rise above the mindset of bogeymen. But so long as evil abounds, people will not ignore it. the problem is compounded when everyone only sees the evil in the other persons courtyard. This is why we need spiritual guidance to help us see the truth. I pray that we can find it.
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      Mar 25 2012: I'm a Muslim and you're a Christian.We have so many things in common.If only all Muslims and Christians could see that, we could at least destroy one barrier that divides us.And if Muslims and Christians could live in peace together, we could inspire every human being to live side by side in peace.So it starts from us to spread the love don't you think?
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        Mar 25 2012: Less than 5 minutes ago: I couldn't have said it any better. There have been times when soldiers sat side by side during a truce, such as at Christmas, and have told each other that they would not be fighting if it were not for their leaders.

        People breed out of control, and then the pressures of survival drive them to do terrible things. Love begins with responsible choices. How do you spread the love when there are too many people to feed? Religion was built on learning to live responsibly, to seek God's guidance in what we do, and not let pride or greed get in the way. It is when we lose respect for each other in defense of our own ideals that love breaks down.

        If Muslim and Christian could learn to live together in peace, and not blame each other for their troubles, then maybe God could guide them to finding peaceful solutions to the troubles each of them face. It is when one group decides to fight another to make room for their expansion or gain hold of the available resources for their own group, that evil abounds. It starts with learning to control oneself, to not spend beyond your means, to not procreate until you have made provisions, to give and take fairly, and to learn to think twice before you resort to drastic actions in drastic times. Often people are willing to help, but only when they know that you do the same. If you want to be loved, you first have to give love. Keep up spreading the message.
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    Mar 26 2012: Nationalism. Patriotism. Us and Them. These are all archaic ways of viewing the world maintained by the 1% (to use the parlance of our times).

    In short, there is a boogeyman because it suits the agenda of certain groups to have one. Of course, it's all propaganda, but there's nothing new there.

    Live and let live is a better view of the world.
  • Mar 25 2012: Sometimes people in power use fear to control behavior and perception of the masses. it can be seen throughout time: in the United States, from the Salem witch trials to the demonization of the American Indians in the 1800s to "weapons of mass destruction." The most powerful weapon against the boogeyman is always not to believe in him.
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    Mar 25 2012: Hey Salim

    That's why memories though buried and diffused over time can give an observer a unique perspective of that persons small world view at that age which should be brief flashes rather than running imagery though i suspect some people will be able to engage more.Even indoctrination would lead the person to only give a short explanation if one was honest in their descriptions,it would show through.

    Maybe it's better the muslims don't even try,it could be percieved as a fake?,i'm not here to raise the standard for some crusade for muslim rights i just don't like what i've seen in peoples eyes when you ask them"Where you from"?.I live on two little islands at the bottom of the world it's only natural for us to ask out of curiosity but it's strange to see fear,well for me it is.
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    Mar 25 2012: Muhammed,

    We not only have the ability to live together peaceably, those of us who are Muslim and Christian are clearly called by our shared Creator to do so.

    Which is the entire point of the texts (many shared) which capture the historical, Koranic and Biblical stories of Jesus and Muhammed.

    Regards a reset. You know something? Call me idealistic (and I'll accept guilt). Though I am hard-pressed to prove how, I actually think we could. But it would take us all seeing our selves in the boogeyman's we imagine are such. Both the good and the bad of our deepest, truest selves.

    If we could create massive social contagions that hold and persistently illuminate this hidden humanity, and dilute the real "boogymans" we'd experience something close to a re-set. And I expect a few, but likely not all, of the real bad guys get it.

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      Mar 25 2012: True to that Andrea.Every time you write, you left me in awe.I admire your writings.But, I do have to ask you a question, as an individual person, what have you done to spread the word of peace? inspire me Andrea =)
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        Mar 25 2012: Muhammad --

        Very astute to ask what, if anything, I do to practice what I preach. Talk is cheap, action is rare.

        Which is a bit of a mantra of mine that reminds me to try to do in ways congruent with what I say.

        At this stage in my mid-career work and life, little I approach doesn't seek this balance. Though I wish I could do more and in moments of doubt wonder if anything I do changes much. But, I do keep up at it, with hopes that I'll get it right sometimes.

        It's hard to fully explain how integral this is in many things I try to do.
        But here are a few examples:

        I consult on cross-difference collaborations, in various different sectors of society. I have special interests in constructive civic engagement and citizen professionalism in this work. Both of which see the strengths and wisdom of all stakeholders as critical in solutions.

        And, I am founder of DynamicShift, the cross-partisan co=productive civic discourse initiative. With it I try to illuminate hidden humanity between otherwise "ends. Here is the blog for DynamicShift much of which I write from personal experiences:

        As for examples from conversations I engage in (like yours) in efforts to elicit non-violent co-relational change. Here are a couple of recent ones, if you're a glutton for weeding through much back-n'-forth:

        One from my community. It began as a debate about political protest tactics, and evoked into a charged dissection of the impacts the interplay between religions and history has (similar to your Q):

        Another here on global TED, re: US gun laws:

        What I know for sure is the ONLY time I get anywhere close to achieving the ideals of my efforts is when they are related and/or supported by, with or for others hard work and focuses, too.

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        Mar 27 2012: No, Muhammad --

        In fact, interesting to me is that it gets more visits from ex-pats than Americans. Which wasn't the original intent, but indicates interests in "hidden humanity" beyond our borders. And gives me hope that themes can be replicated in positive ways by people in their places and their ways. Which would really be heartening.

        So, Muhammad. Beyond your excellent Qs, what are you doing to reconcile these issues we care about?

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          Mar 28 2012: Andrea,

          I'm still young and naive.I try to make do with what I have ( limited abilities,ie).I can only pray to be like you one day.

          Firstly, Andrea, tell me how many Malaysians you know? Malaysia, being an undeveloped country boasts lots of people with "undeveloped minds".Don't get me wrong, I am not stereotyping my own countrymen.It is just that most Malaysians don't have the passion to read.When they don't read, they wouldn't know and when they don't know, then there's nothing to talk about.

          Plus, they sometimes can be afraid to talk to foreigners.They're afraid that they might get their English wrong and to them, that would be embarrassing.As for me, I came from an international background and I was raised in a manner different from others. I am comfortable with people like you.I don't mind making mistakes.Sure, there might be some grammatical errors from time to time and I don't use bombastic words at all.But what matters is the message that I am trying convey to you.Plus, how can I ever compare my English with yours? It's never possible because you're a native speaker of the language whereas I'm the opposite.

          Now back to the situation in my country, from time to time I would encourage my friends to at least pick up a book and read.Never be afraid of others.That's the seed I plant in them so that my countrymen will soon mature into individuals who are able to communicate intellectually with the rest of the world.That's the starting point I guess.

          Muslims in Malaysia are somewhat different from other Muslims around the world.Believe me, women rule here.Women's rights is never an issue in our country.

          My conclusion is that there's not much to do back here.The only time when I'm passionate about these kinds of issues is when I talk to people like you.

          Andrea, please come to Malaysia.It would be awesome to meet you.

          -Muhammad Aizat
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    Mar 25 2012: Nah,i was just being silly,i should delete it as it could be construed as misleading instead of just ramblings from a by gone era but then people wouldn't see how a conversation evolved.

    The central issue here is how would one wipe the suicide bomber from the word muslim? well i'm afraid one can't but in twenty years it will return to being just muslims and the fear i see in my neigbours eyes will hopefully be gone by then as they are recent refugees from afghanistan,after a while they will relax once they realise we don't care what they are.

    Look to the future,the western view is not the only view on this planet.Here's what i thought of the world when i was nine.

    American=Michael jackson and ronald reagan's funny voice
    Australians=kangaroos and V8's
    Indonesians=dark skinned men in ethnic skirts?women in ethnic traditional red clothes performing ethnic dances.
    vietnamese=asian communists
    N korea=-communist
    India=ancient guru's
    Africa=Masai and Apartheid
    Spain=guitars and spanish dancers
    French=The pink panther
    The british=Margaret thatcher and Faulty towers

    Show us what you thought of the world when you were nine? I would say it will be a hell of a lot more than mine.
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      Mar 25 2012: Russian = huge people
      American = people in the tv
      Australians = koalas
      Indonesians = people who work for us
      Vietnamese = relatives of the Chinese people
      South Korea = nothing
      North Korea = nothing
      China = where grandparents of our friends came from
      India = Bollywood actors
      Africa = kids with big bellies
      Spain = telenovela
      French = snail eater
      British = people who once ruled us ( well, I was a little bit influenced by my grandma)

      Some of them may sound bad and racist but hey, I was just nine back then.Believe me, all of above were just innocent thoughts.

      I think we should create another conversation like this.A nice way to know what people used to think. =)
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        Mar 25 2012: When we are nine our views are innocent,i would like to know how a tamil tiger child soldier saw his world at that age,i don't think religion would come into it.The question you have posed here is not a bad question because it confronts a preconcieved generalisation of all muslims.You have the lead Muhammad if you want to create another Question on views,go for it.

        Kids with big bellies,that one strikes a chord from within but that's exactly what it is.
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          Mar 25 2012: When Tamil Child was converted in to Tamil Tiger Soilder .....neither s/he remained a child anymore .....nor her/his view anymore her/his own.

          Majority of world population seems continously are being treated like a child (not innocent really as it includes Adults) by propanganda of pwerfuls using Media. & create a view , partial view turning into worldview to create war , havoc ....claim of supremacy etc etc....

          I wouldn't discount Muslims as they are not working hard & smart enough to change their image.....
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    Mar 24 2012: Peace and individuality? Can the two co-exist on a large scale....If we look at our track record as a species we would have to say not likely. We like to blame our problems on others.
    One thing that would get rid of The alien invasion! then we would probably all get a long and look past our differences.
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    Mar 24 2012: Muhammed,

    A timeless and terribly important Q. Which goes back to the dawn of humanity. A Q with many answers, but, sadly far too few solutions.

    For lack of either, I'll share with you all I have to offer -- a Hope (Inspired by ugliness on another conversation):

    One hopes leaders will take lessons from the painful experience of our history when nepotistic, nihilistic episcopate forefathers got in bed with nationalistic ethnic cleansers and bigots. And used reductio ad absurdum to rationalize (or distract others from seeing) their hypocrisy and inhumanity.

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      Mar 25 2012: Oh Andrea.Sometimes I just get mad upon understanding how history is currently moulding our lives today.Can't we just reset and start all over again but do it nicely this time? ooh these thoughts that i have...*sigh*...I mean , why must there be a wall between us? Muslims and non-Muslims.Eastern people/values and Western people/values.Yet we're all the same.We're humans.We have the ability to live together in peace.It is really that simple.Why make it all complicated? right?
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    Mar 24 2012: Good question Muhammad and I don't have a scientific answer to it, but I think it's a combination of reasons.

    1) Propaganda/media
    2) looking to blame somebody for ones own problems
    3) envy
    4) ignorance
    5) political agenda

    There are probably more reasons, but those were the first that came to mind
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      Mar 25 2012: And it happens in both teams.Throughout Muslim countries, we've been fed by the media to believe that Western people are the worst kinds of human beings.I sincerely don't believe in that.Just look at how many wonderful people I met here on TED. =)
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    Mar 24 2012: Yeah,your right and in the not too distant future all this muslim bashing,jew bashing will disappear,i grew up in the 70's watching the dreaded commies on the the old tv set, hammering afghanistan and then the wall came down and now it's consigned to history.

    But in a strange way my mind tells me that the cold war is back on, just with different players.I don't know why but it's the feeling i had as a kid.