October 13, 2001

Vamik Volkan, M.D.

Fundamentalism, Violence and Its Consequences

VIVIAN PENDER, MD: Introduction

As psychoanalysts we are especially concerned with understanding human behavior; in the individual and in groups. As psychoanalysts we work with individuals who have experienced psychic trauma and we try to help them so that they have a chance to be happy in there lives. We are no strangers to ruthless and brutal hatred and violence. But when we are selves are traumatized, we become a more significant part of the process of healing. We are no longer outside observing the other. We perhaps feel disenfranchised by the recent events and we have a glimpse of the importance of identifications with groups. Even if they are cult like fanatical groups. Although there is violent religious extremism in Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim militant groups around the world, it is still difficult to understand the motivations of the men who court death in the name of God, and the mothers who donate their young sons to become martyrs. In 1989 Salmon Rushdie said, "a powerful tribe of clerics are posing as the contemporary thought police who insist that one may not discuss Mohamed if he were human, as if he were human, with human virtues and weaknesses. One may not discuss the growth of Islam as an historical phenomenon, as an ideology born of its time." He is referring to the Islamization of knowledge. If Rushdie is a typical product of 20th Century post-modern doubt, and an assault on the sacred as truth, then is not fundamentalism a panic defense? This said, we honored and fortunate to have Dr. Vamik Volkan speak to us today. Speak to us and with us. Born to a Turkish family on Cypress, he is an expert on political psychology and the impact of terrorism. His presentation is entitled, "Religious Fundamentalism, Violence and Its Consequences: A Psychoanalytic Review." His presentation will be in three parts.

Dr. Volkan is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, and Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction. He is at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia. The Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interactions studies large groups in conflict and its multidisciplinary faculty include psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, psychologists, historians former diplomats and political scientists. Dr. Volkan is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, a former President of both the International Society of Political Psychology, and the recipient of many awards for his work on political psychology. For his outstanding contribution to the psychology of racism and genocide. For his study of post-Ceaucesco Romania, and the Margaret Mahler Literature Prize for his writings on clinical issues. In 2000, he served as an inaugural Rabin Fellow at the Rabin Center in Israel. In 2001, he became a member of the ten member Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission. Dr. Volkan is the Founder and Editor of a quarterly journal, Mind and Human Interaction, which opens meaningful dialogue amongst the disciplines of history, culture, politics and psychoanalysis. He’s the author or co-author of 24 books, including The Need to Have Enemies and Allies, Bloodlines from Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism, and Third Reich in the Unconscious, as well as the editor or co-editor of seven more. His work has been translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Turkish.

I want to thank Dr. Volkan for coming to New York City, and thank all of you in New York City for the courage to come to this meeting. Dr. Volkan…



Thank you again Dr. Pender for inviting me. In the train coming to New York, I recalled giving advice to outside speakers who were on there way to traumatized societies around the globe. And obviously, descriptions of issues is very important, but my advice to them was that in a traumatized society everybody is traumatized, including the caretakers. So that one has to pay attention to caretaker’s own trauma so that they can be useful caretakers. On the way here, I decided that it would be better for me not to give an intellectual lecture, and talk to your hearts instead of your intellect. But, I’ll end up talking to your intellect most of the time. But help me so that you don’t lose our hearts. Hopefully, during discussion periods we can also speak about emotional issues. And of course I am not an outsider. Since when terrorism occurs the main characteristic of terrorism is to kill innocent people. It is a crime against humanity. Whatever your reason is, it is a crime. It affects me. It affects everybody. I will have 3 hours with you.

What I will be talking about. The main topics that I will try to cover are: What is a traumatized society? What is religious fundamentalism? What is Islamic fundamentalism? What is the psychology of terrorist and suicide bombers?

I will start with trauma and I will end with trauma so that we could package the intellectual understanding in the middle of this. And so, you help me.

For practical purposes, we could divide massive trauma into 3 sections. The first kind (1) is due to natural causes, like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions—I have to say that because my name is Volkan. I have not been to a volcanic eruption trauma, but I’ve been to earthquake trauma, and so on. The next (2) is manmade, like Buffalo Creek, Chernobyl, and the other one (3) is deliberately caused by others—here you’re talking about assassination of leaders, terrorism, genocide, war. That means somebody deliberately comes and hurts you. That kind of trauma psychologically speaking is very different than the other types of trauma.

First of all when a trauma occurs, there’s anxiety and helplessness and so on. But if the trauma is caused by others, and if the affected people remain passive, then you got some shared emotion. Among them are helplessness, shame, humiliation and inability to be assertive. And that’s horrible. If you can not be assertive, you feel horrible. And of course, post regression which I will talk about. After such traumas, again you can divide three kind of processes. One, some of you are already involved in it, people develop what is now known is psychiatry, PTSD. I’m not going into discussion of PTSD. As you know we psychoanalysts have different ideas of what the American Psychiatric Association say about PTSD. Never mind that. People are traumatized individually. It’s the medical psychological condition you have to go and help people. At brunch I already met some of you who are actually doing it here in New York City. The second thing that happens after a massive trauma, is that societal political processes are stuck in the society. And the third one after the massive trauma is all over, the image of the trauma and the consequences go from generation to generation. Basically, you have individual reactions, there are societal political processes and transgenerational transmissions.

Today, I think that I will talk about the second one, because the first one you are already involved in a medical situation. And since I don’t know individuals and so on, it is useless for me. Probably, you are already more experienced than I am dealing with PTSD people in New York City. I cannot talk about transgenerational transmissions because it just happened. So it would be important to talk about the second one. Since trauma in New York City occurred due to others deliberately hurting you, and you are helpless it influences the identity. When a trauma occurs by others, enemies, it affects the affected groups identity—individual identity and large group identity. You see right away, Freud’s mass psychology coming alive. We identify with each other and rally around the leader. President Bush’s approval rate now is 90, 95, and so you see that kind of thing happen. Let me just digress here a little bit, and tell you about a psychological conceptualization which will be helpful to us as we go along. If you take Freud’s psychology of masses, and if you want to make it simplistic for our purpose today, and if you want to use a metaphor, it is like a may pole. You have a pole, and you have people going around it and people identify with each other and they idealize this pole and support it. As you know again, those of you who are psychoanalysts, we now know that Freud was talking about regressed groups when he wrote about his mass psychology. It really applies to regressed groups to one degree or another. What we did in our center as throughout the years we had been visiting traumatized societies and people, we changed this metaphor. We put a canvass around this pole. We made a tent out of it. As time went on we became convinced that the most important thing was the canvass not the pole. The canvass or the tent was the large group identity. It can be a religious group, ethnic group, national group or ideological group. There are differences but I don’t have time to get into them. So that when a trauma occurs, wear and tear is on the canvass. At that time everybody, including the pole, they have one aim, to make this canvass repaired or remain erect. This is why when you hear around the globe, then people are under moral stress. The more pressure you put on them the more they say I belong to such and such group. The large group identity becomes more important than the individual identity. It is just like we are wearing two garments. Under the tent there are thousands, hundred thousands, millions of people. Man and woman, rich and poor, blending into different groups, subgroups and so on. But they are under the same tent. So that under stress we began wearing the other canvass. We still got our own garment. The canvass becomes more important. In the society there is a shift in the investment of your identity. Your large group identity becomes prominent. I was away for about a month and a half and I came to the United States about a week ago. I could see flags everywhere. There is a group process indicating such a thing. When a trauma like what happened in New York City occurs, there’s anxiety. Again, let me make it very simplistic. If you go to a zoo, and the door of the lion cage is open and the lion is coming out, then you have fear. If you go to the zoo, and you know that there is a lock on the lion’s cage and the lion is in the cage and is not going to come out, but still your hands are sweating and you have palpitation that is called anxiety. In a situation like the Twin Towers disaster, you have a combination of that because as we know as of today and yesterday as I came to New York I heard about the anthrax thing, the lion’s cage is open. The possibility that actual danger exists is there. That makes things more difficult. When especially anxiety and fear, if they cannot be differentiated and they combine induces regression. So you have to have measures against this. There are two kinds of measures. One is realistic measures. I’m not going to dwell on them to much because you turn on your television and you constantly see realistic measures. Military measures, security measures, vaccination measures, going to pharmacy and buying drugs measures. Those are the realistic things. There’s also psychological protections. So as this, I’m talking to the group and my main identity as a psychoanalyst. I understand that there are people who are not psychoanalyst in this group; therefore, hopefully I am not going to use jargons. Excuse me. As I get older, I use less and less jargon. Seems like I’m just talking plain Turkish. What happens is that we also give psychological reactions. Psychological reactions are: 1)Regression. You go back to utilizing mechanisms that were available to you as a child and they protect you from plunging into fear or plunging into unbelievable desires of somebody’s going to take care of you. When the disaster occurred, I had a very busy year, incredibly busy because I constantly travel and I had only three weeks vacation and my wife and I were in Northern Cypress. We came home, I turned the television on and there was a picture of the Twin Towers and it said a small plane hit it by accident. So I turned CNN on and we stayed glued to CNN all day and people came in. Tremendous people, friends and family came and stayed with us all day and all night. Due to other reasons, I couldn’t come here until just a few days ago. When I came, maybe because of that, I could also observe. It’s very difficult to observe when you are in it. But coming from outside I could observe. So I will call the regression that I observed in the United States, utilizing Heinz Hartman’s words, in saying that it was an average expectable regression. That is, normal. Thus, I will explain to you what are the signs and symptoms of regression in the United States, and why they’re average expectable regression. Before I do this, I will digress again. When psychoanalyst since when, we write about large group regression. You see this in our literature, regress group and so on. What in the heck is regress group? Certain signs and symptoms we’ll talk about them. Others, we’ll hit and run. The ones we talk about are the ones Freud wrote about—rally around the leader, and losing your individuality and so on. But we never sat down and wondered what are the signs and symptoms of large group regression. When the events occurred in New York, I was in the middle of writing a book about Taliban. It’s incredible. So, I have 17 signs and symptoms of large group regression. I will tell you what they are and then go back to America, and go back to Taliban to show the difference. First one of course, Freud talked about it, as Welder had said a long time ago, large group regression, individuality to some degree is lost. Second, you rally behind the leader to one degree or another, blindly vs. mildly. Third is that the "us and them" psychology starts. This starts between you and the enemy, and also sometimes within the society itself. Society also gets fragmented. I not giving examples here. Then a new shared morality occurs which becomes inflexible and often primitive and again, degree of it changes from group to group. Five, magical thinking and reality blurring occurs. Six, chosen traumas and chosen glories are reactivated. Especially with chosen trauma, I came to the conclusion that this canvass its large group identity is also composed of different components. One of the most important components of it is what I call a Chosen Trauma. That is something horrible happens to a group. People cannot mourn it, cannot reverse the helplessness, they cannot change the humiliation, and through certain mechanisms they pass this to next generation. Now the next generation shares the same image of the event. The image of the mental representation of the event change its function and become part of the groups identity. That’s called Chosen Trauma. When this happen, we recall other American traumas, we recall Pearl Harbor and others. Symbols become rather proto-symbols, like the flag becomes American identity, and border psychology starts. Border psychology is that the tent becomes the border of you. It can be a physical or psychological border. Since it is under threat you feel like it is a second skin. It evolve the psychology of the border. The best place to observe it is in Israel. Because there is real danger, the psychology of it is not really studied well. Here too we become border people. Border coming to this building, border entering the movie theater. Border anywhere. You get into where is safety and where my identity is under threat. I’m not only talking about the physical borders, but they also become highly psychologized. Like America’s border realistically protected, but also psychologically as part of our large group identity. Nine, we become extremely preoccupied with measure differences. The Taliban wear this kind of thing, we don’t wear that. Minor differences assumes tremendous importance because that is the last ditch of protection. How we are different from the other. Ten; I’m getting more and more malignant. Some of these things you will not apply to us. But I’m just telling signs and symptoms of large group regression that we are now writing about. The basic trust within the family disappears. The best example is the Nazi propaganda going into the family and breaking the basic trust between the children and the parents and replacing it with Nazi ideology. You see this kind of regression so that the basic trust in the family setting disappears. Eleven, there are shared introjected projected processes. There are mood swings in regress people. Suddenly you lay there omnipotent one day, and second day under threats and anxiety, and then omnipotence. Twelve, there appears to be new history. The leaders or some people make gaps in your history and they replace it with other things. Albania is the best example of that. It literally took fifty years to say that this is the Albanian history, and it took fifty years off and replaced it with something else. It’s a sign of regress groups. Then you begin seeing the enemy as aspects of waste material. They are literally shit, urine, whatever. So the symbolism that you project on the enemy becomes more body material. Fourteen, malignant regress groups become very preoccupied with blood. Literally, blood. As again you see in Nazi Germany. After the Armenian earthquake, Armenians would not allow Greek blood to be donated to them after the Turkish health minister said we don’t want Greek blood. So you see that after such massive trauma regression occurred. It is a fascinating topic. Then, you cannot differentiate between what is beautiful and what is ugly. You have to go to, during the Soviet period, certain places to see that. And then, you in fact add gray fickle material to the environment. You do something against your mother or so to speak. Seventeen, you get involved in purification rituals. Purification ritual is just like a snake sheds its skin. If the ethnic tent or religious tent or large group tent, ideological tent is shaken, as it gets reestablished it sheds off bad skin. It sheds off things they don’t want anymore. They purify themselves, and there’s threatening items that belong to it, they get rid of it. They purify the language or they can go into ethnic cleansing. So these are the seventeen items of large group regression.

In America, we had average expectable regression, thank God. We saw some of the elements. It is not malignant; it is normal. Rallying around the leader, flags. Proto-symbols chosen from a reactivated border psychology. At the peak of some anxieties there were some purification. As I understand, there were some attacks on people that they looked like the enemy, and some killings. I’m very appreciative of the American government’s effort to stop purification and racism. I heard that Bush’s idea of telling American children to give a dollar to Afghan children I think was clever. Psychologically it is very important. Never mind that it prevents the purification ritual, but it also make the children active. The worst thing after trauma is to remain passive. If you remain passive, then you have humiliation, shame and other things. If you are not passive, then you deal with the trauma much better. So giving a task to children, I think for that purpose is extremely important. Now when we come to Taliban, you will that the regression that we describe there is not an average expectable regression. It is a malignant regression with malignant consequences.

Now I want to ask two questions: 1) Is our understanding of the other psychic reality helpful to us in the long run? When we are doing the realistic thing, the military, the security, the money? But, in the long run, we are talking about some ten years or so. If we are going to do this for ten years and so on, it is going to be beyond military, beyond economy. It’s going to be understanding what is the enemy’s psychic reality. My answer is YES. It is important for us to understand the psychic reality of the enemy. 2) Are we ready to do that? I do not know. We are still in a very acute phase, and therefor e, we may not be ready to do that. But since you invited me and since I believe the answer to the first question, I’d like your help so that we could at least try to understand what’s going on in the world. Therefore, my next topic will be description of religious fundamentalism. Both descriptively, psychologically, psychoanalytically and otherwise.

Then I will go to what is Islamic fundamentalism. Before we go to Islamic Fundamentalism, let’s understand the generic beast—what is religious fundamentalism.

This is Section 1 of my talk. We can have 5-6 minute dialogue.


In the early 1990s, Bennett Simon and his wife arranged the Children of War meeting. I was asked to come to Jerusalem and talk to them. Then I got a call from the FBI. They invited me to see some Palestine orphans, and said when I go to Jerusalem talk about Palestine orphans. Do I do it? I called the Israelis and asked should I do it. They said do it, then come and talk about it. This was during the days when Arafat was in Tunisia. I went to Tunis and it took them three days to check me before I could go to the school, Home of the Steadfastness. It used to be a woman’s hospital in Tunis, turned into a Palestine orphanage. They had 58 children there, 6-18 years old. After they graduated, they left. this was not a jihad factory where they raised the kids to be suicide bombers. Europeans would come and see what happened to the kids. Arafat came often. Most of the kids did not know there parents and where surnamed Arafat. They were treated nicely. I wrote about it in various publications. My first understanding of how somebody may become a suicide bomber was there. In the yard, five children were playing together. These were victims and survivors of terrorism. I studied these kids. I sat with them and played, as a group and then individually. When separated, they went crazy. They tore apart the room, hallucinated. They could not have individual identity. When you put them together, they appeared normal. This is when I began to understand how, in some people, individual identity is replaced with the large group identity. They were all Arafats and perceived as the groups symbol. When together, normal. Separately, they were not. I began to study how you take the individual identity and replace it with the group identity. When you study how the mujahadeen train suicide bombers, you see this happen. In order to do this they utilize what psychoanalysts know as Adolescent Passage Psychology. We go and examine our important images of people and reshape them. If you are normal, you withdraw from your mother’s image and you develop a Marilyn Monroe image. It is a continuity from my good, idealized, beautiful mother to Marilyn Monroe. They break the break the continuity as in Hitler’s Germany, and replace it with ideology, religion or both. Then the text comes in. in order to do this, it is very systematic. There are scouts who go out and find people who were hurt or humiliated. Some who become terrorist had some humiliation to themselves or their family. They collect these people and separate them into small groups. Then they teach them specific text in a very confusing way. They repeat like root learning. They get into ritualistic behavior. Generically, they train them as such. They choose from the Koran. When Mohamed was alive, he was born into a tribe; they were against him at first. He escaped to Medina. There were famous battles. Mohamed tells his followers if you die you go to heaven. One thing they chose from the text to teach these kids. You get a reward if you die. The kids are deprived from any sexual stimuli. They are taught that the angel will take care of them after they die. Accordingly, whenever a suicide bomber dies, that night is declared a wedding night. The kid dies and marries so many angels up there. This particular type of teaching became extreme in Pakistan, the Taliban group. Let me speak of the mujahdeem. For a while they had baseball cards. The person that died would become a hero and have his picture placed on a card for other kids to carry around. Meanwhile, Russia invades Afghanistan during which time they do carpet bombing. As this was done, the American government, in order to do something against the soldiers, ally itself with the Pakistan president and allowed the opening of two thousand religious schools. Some are small, twenty students. Among them, we have information on how they raise theses kids. They have kids from different groups—Pakistan, Afghan, etc. The kids first go, for three years, in a room without windows, reading the Koran. Most don’t know Arabic, so there is root learning. From there, they go into higher classes where they do like the mujahadeem; various indoctrination. It’s a long process. They are not allowed to see any women during their lifetime, only after death. Family basic trust is completely broken. They are not allowed to see family members either. They constantly replace with this indoctrination. They also have from the early days of Islam. Mohamed would not have a regular army. Taliban’s fight in the same way. Afghanistan is not a homogeneous country; there are many tribes. When they fought with the Soviets, they had different kinds of groups. Taliban withstood us. They began getting some support. To make them very important was magical. This was a country so regressed due to the Soviet invasion and so on. There leader went ; he did something real magical. Let me digress. Afghanistan has not been like this all the time. They have a fantastic history—good, bad, like any other country. One of their kings captured Mohamed’s cloak (large group symbol). Brought it to Kandahar mausoleum, and then takes the cloak and wears it. Two things could happen here: 1) they kill him because it’s a sacrilege or 2) he would become an extension of Mohamed. Accordingly, if he doesn’t show his face, because prophets don’t show their faces, the guy now assumes certain characteristics of so it becomes unknown and mystical. In regression, people look for omnipotent leaders and create one. Information that now come up is that bin Laden, sent by Saudi Arabia to help with American money, bought all these people. In the regression of this country you create an omnipotent leader who interprets or you make a proto-symbol of the symbols of the country. This makes it extremely difficult to negotiate with them or have a logical discussion. The mentality that develops is so different than the mentality you and I have. I’ll explain. Mohamed’s first followers were women. His mother died when he was young. He married a forty-five year old woman at twenty-five. In the psychoanalytic way, you can say he was looking for a mother figure. This woman was very important in his life. When she died, he married many women including small children. Again, from a psychoanalytic view, he searched for a good mother. He goes to Medina, back to Mecca, and this time his Kroash (sp?) family becomes his followers. There’s a myth in Islam that only if you belong to the Kroash family (a descendant), you know the real secrets of the Islam world.

The Kroash family migrated to Afghanistan. So, Afghanistan is not a homogeneous place. There’s also in the regression the mythology that there are many sacred places. After the Soviets bombed Afghanistan, the Taliban came in, regression continued with the religious mythology replacing all the gaps. This is the kind of thinking that is not logical in our logical thinking so it is impossible to negotiate. In the long run, they are already thinking of what to do to recreate Afghanistan. Bring the king back which will be very difficult. To bring democracy will probably mean that somebody lives there a long time. It has to be an outsider who is not a Christian to allow them to evolve.

These are issues that psychoanalysts can help in the long run. To cover up, remedy some of the long term psychic images of these people.


Related to religious fundamentalism, we have to ask the question what is religious fundamentalism? As Dr. Pender said, religious fundamentalism is in every religion. Despite the substantive differences among them. In terms of doctrine, cosmology, social composition, size, organization, scope and influence. Some of them are associated with violence and some are not. In this country the word fundamentalism has become a bad word. Not just because of September 11, but because of a long time ago. It became more associated with concept of Muslim and terrorism. Before September 11, the biggest terrorist attack in this country was on April 19, 1995. Arthur P. Murray building in Oklahoma City was bombed by McVeigh. The first thing was that Muslim fundamentalist bombed it, turned out it wasn't so. This McVeigh happening was very much connected with what was happening with Texas, as you all know. There was questions about what happened in Waco whether or not the Federal government was to be blamed about killing 168 men, women and children by burning the compound. Because of that House Judicial Committee and House Oversight and Reform Committee met. As you recall, they were all discussing this. Janet Reno, Attorney General at that time, was very disturbed by this. It came down to a division within the FBI. The FBI have a behavioral sciences division. Which by the way if you look at their books, unlike our general psychiatry and psychology books, they are more psychoanalytic. FBI books are extremely psychoanalytic. I was amazed by that. There profiling thing you see in movies now and so on, they use certain psychology concepts knowingly and unknowingly, like repetition compulsion in someone. They profile these things. They had the bureau of sciences group and they had the people with guns. What happened in Waco was that bureaus of sciences were going this way, and FBI agents with guns were going the other way. They wouldn't communicate. Upon this one day, I got a call to chair a select advisory commission to the FBI critical incident. I was amazed and surprised. I asked, why me? And they said, oh we know about you. I was also very taken by it because they were asking a psychoanalyst to chair this commission. I chair it; there were 10 members. We gave some suggestions. This was the only time that I worked for the FBI for $250. We gave suggestions that we created to positions for the FBI. One position was given to somebody that worked for my center, a psychiatrist, who's at the university but is liaison between the psychological types and the shooting types. They did extremely well during the Montana thing. It was therapeutic. The other one we call a futurist. This is a political scientist who got the job. This job is to scan the horizon to see what kid of dangers may be coming to America. A new czar is involved for security. Even then during the two months I stayed at the FBI hotel. When this thing happened in New York City, I was in Germany and I was told, with some authority, that Nazis wanted to do it; the same thing. But they didn’t find ways to do it. The Twin Towers were not present then. They were going to attack the Empire State Building. Also, there was another incident in 1995 which was the same scenario. Let me digress some more. Muslims don’t have a pope or somebody like that. Arabs started the Islamic movement. They found the big empire renaissance of Islamic time when Europe was in the dark ages. Then my ancestors came and took over the Islamic world and they became the ___ and so on. After 1000 years, the Empire collapsed. When the New Turkey was born, all the Muslims came to the founder, and said you’re now a khalif. Turks took khalif away from the Arabs. When they came in 1924, they left Turkey as a secular country, abolishing the khalif. Now looking back, what a mistake. There’s no spokesperson; no absolute top authority in the Islamic world since 1924. There were talks of recreating it, but with legalistic complications. There is no khalif. Only in the movies. When the Islamic revivalism started three decades ago, there were also the fundamentalist groups. They have so many little prophets and khalif sprung all over the world. This is not printed in the American press. Human rights started. There are processes with human rights. One was that a great deal of people with crazy ideas, in a personal sense, were put under the protection of human rights. They were able to flourish. One khalif was sentenced to death in Turkey, but escaped to Germany. Germany would not send him back to Turkey because the European Union had no death penalty. If a country had a death penalty, you can be a criminal and be in Europe, but you are not sent back to your original country. One plot was to bomb a Turk mausoleum in 1995. This is very well known and documented. One way or another, the Futurists we could not predict because what happened was so unbelievable. I began to study fundamentalism because of my work in this commission. I met a professor from Syracuse who was introduced to me as the number one guy who knows about Christian Fundamentalism. According to him, 25-35% of Americans are Fundamentalist, and 5% are Millennialist. These are the ones that may be violent. The violence has been happening in these Christian Fundamentalist movements. One of the things that started Waco was the belief that Armageddon was going to happen in Texas, not Israel. You know; there’s going to be seven years of tribulation. The first three and a half years, horrible things will happen. The prophets have signs, and so on. After three and a half years, the devil comes to the earth and rule the world for three and a half years. Then Jesus comes and rules the world for a thousand years. There are so many variations of it and some aspects of it leads to violence. Through studying these things, I began coming up with twelve items describing religious fundamentalist; whether they’re Muslims, Christians, and so on.

Emanuel Savant wrote a great deal about Muslim Revivalism. He compares religious fundamentalism with the historic Communist Movement. He says that in Communism, you look for new visions; you look up. In fundamentalism, you look down from old ideas. By analogy, one is progressive and the other regressive. If you look very closely, you should not use such words. You know what happened to Communism. Everybody ended up being the same—regression.

You ask, what important process takes place?: Progressive Movement and Regressive Movement. Nevertheless, they are: 1) Pessimistic; 2) Centered around specialness; 3) The specialness is centered around: 4) Divine text—every fundamentalist group has one. (There are exceptions to it, i.e. Solar Temple), 5) An absolute leader. The leader is the only one who interprets the meaning of the text; 6) Christian Fundamentalist leaders interpret signs of world events, world issues according to the text and to prove the truthness of the text; 7) They create, in the groups, a lonely omnipotence with the dominant feeling of victimization; 8) They create borders. Borders can be literal barricades or symbolic borders, i.e. dress codes; 9) Magical Bliss—interpretation becomes reality; 10) Danger of Outside—you have to protect yourself constantly because you’re going to be attacked; and 11) less understood: they include very negative feelings among outsiders, i.e. what psychoanalysts call countertransferences. They insist so much of their glorious omnipotence that they know the truth, and they’re victimized so much. They constantly pursue you as someone who is going to hurt them. They induce in the outsider negative feelings so that their expectations become real. Of course, elements of regression from mild to malignant occur. The mild ones or non-violent characteristics, don’t induce negative feelings in you, i.e. the All Believers group. When the fundamentalist group has a mission according to the text, it may reach to violence.

So what makes violence? Psychoanalysts have not studied it. Social psychologist and sociologist are studying it. They come so close, but they cannot know everything. Among them is a new book written by Katherine Wessinger. She divides these groups into three types when they become violent. A fragile group. When the leader becomes rich, these groups can become violent because of hierarchical. Only one person knows his text. He has his lieutenants and then everyone else are the same. In Christian Fundamentalism, the prophet also owns all the women. Echo of Freud’s Perception of pre-oedipal taboo. Like in Waco, David Koresh was a product of a fourteen year old child, and all his life he repeated the same thing. He kept marrying twelve and fourteen year old kids. He said all the women belong to him. When asked what do you do with the men on the compound? He responded, my character also has a feminine element. Therefore, men could marry me. So, they create charismatic leadership which is total parenting. Without knowing Bin Laden, we have some idea about what kind of people seek prophetship. When the leader becomes weak, then there is disorganization in the group, i.e. Solar Temple where the violence was turned towards themselves. They burned themselves.

What’s not done in the study of the psychology of leaders and followers, comes from us.