22 Oct 2008

Terror as Adaptation

Posted by jofr

Terror is an adaptation – a natural response to tyranny of selfish global superpowers. A superior imperial superpower cannot be attacked directly using large army troops, it must be attacked by single, disguised actors in sudden surprise attacks – acts of terror in a guerrilla warfare. For the forces of the galactic empire, the rebels who want to destroy the death star are clearly terrorists. The only niche a superpower leaves is the decentralized, non-profit “terror” network which wants to save the world. The terror network is an adaptation to this niche. Terrorism is the stateless fight against imperial power, and it exists because the imperial power or state acts unjust and ‘selfish’. Therefore I think the phrase “War on Terror” is ridiculous. You cannot eradicate terror with occupation and imperial behavior. Occupation of countries is the best motivation for terrorists attacks.

The “war on terror” – the conflict USA vs. terrorists – is a bit like the futile fight of Microsoft vs. Open Source. In both cases a decentralized, non-profit network is the response to a centralized commercial superpower. Microsoft is not only a world or market leader, it is a superpower in the software world. Many open-source fans condemn Microsoft in the same way as some terrorists hate the USA. The only niche a centralized superpower leaves is the decentralized self-organizing system in the nobody-owns-it niche. Microsoft cannot beat Linux, in the same way that the USA cannot beat Al-Qaeda. There is no clear point where you can attack and throw your bomb except the symbolic leader. If he hides, your goal vanishes, too. In Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden occupies a similar role as Linus Torvalds in Linux or Jimmy Wales in WIKIPEDIA.

The largest software company (Microsoft) and the largest army (the US Army) both have no natural enemies in their domains, but they have “complementary” enemies: The US warmachine is fighting against stateless terrorism, and Microsoft is fighting against ownerless open source software. As the US will never be able to stop terrorism, Microsoft will probably never be able to stop open source and Linux. If Google will start to act as a selfish global superpower, then we will probably see the emergence of a decentralized self-organizing system in the nobody-owns-it niche again.

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5 Responses to “Terror as Adaptation”

  1. […] and terror, it can be considered as a form of adaptation, too. We have argued earlier that terror is an adaptation to the tyranny of selfish global superpowers, while corruption is an adaptation to institutional […]

  2. I remember seeing a photo in the NY Times newspaper a few weeks after the U.S. Army invaded Afghanistan and crushed the Taliban-controlled government. There was a map on the wall in a Taliban “intelligence operations center”. The map was of the Middle East, and it showed United States flags in areas where the U.S. forces were (2002) operating. I recall Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Arabia, Somalia, Kuwait, Quatar, United Arab Emirates, probably a few more…Oman? Egypt?

    That map gave me a “Taliban-eye view” of the Middle East. The Arabs viewed themselves as under occupation by a foriegn government before 9/11, before we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. They probably viewed the WTC terrorist acts in NYC on 9/11 as retaliation for U.S. aggression, while we viewed it as Islamic extremist aggression. So both sides think the other is the aggressor. Not a great way to get to a peaceful solution.

    I have not yet seen a single statement from the U.S. government since Sept. 2001 that gives any evidence that they have tried to see the world from the other perspective. Instead there was a belief that “force” could prevail.

    The U.S. government does not seem very adaptive, do they?


    Ebenezer Tolman

  3. Good point, it is always helpful to see the world from the perspective of others. I guess it is one of the things that make us human. Harper Lee wrote “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” (in her novel “To kill a Mockingbird”).



  4. […] may they didn’t. And just stopped listening to each other. We wrote earlier about Terror as adaptation which can occur if people are threatened by an omnipresent systems or superpower, which can result […]

  5. […] of self, while the latter fight for their group. As we have seen earlier, terror can be seen as adaptation against the tyranny of a superpower.¬†Of course the terrorists don’t see themselves as terrorists but as rebels and fighters for […]


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