But do read the comment left by Spartacus — a reason to keep rather than delete the post.
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imagine all kinds of people with all kinds of belief systems. then strip away their ideologies, values, norms, etc., until you get down to the most fundamental notions they have that still amount to social cognition, before you end up with a quivering mess of emotions, impulses, and instincts.
what’s there is a layer or module in the mind that consists of people’s basic orientations to social space, time, and action. by space, i mean how people see their identity in relation to others, and how they perceive objects as being structured, distributed, and linked -- or not. by time, i mean how people discern past, present, and future, and relations among them -- or not. by action, i refer to people’s sense of whether and how they can affect things -- or not.
all three kinds of orientations are essential. this module takes shape in childhood, and it’s always there from then on. it is rarely analyzed on its own, yet no mind can work without it, and most everything that people think and do gets processed in it. it amounts to a set of cognitive knowledge, and i suppose it sits between rational reason and irrational emotion. some major ideas -- like the shift from believing in “fate” to believing in “progress” -- owe to shifts in the beliefs that end up in this module.
what might this have to do with terrorism? people who have made statements about becoming a terrorist often refer to having lacked identity, feeling small and humiliated, facing obstacles and barriers, feeling lost after moving abroad, feeling a new sense of worth from finding new connections and understandings, etc. curiously, these are mostly spatial referents. thus, the keys to understanding the attraction to the terrorist mindset may lie more in the recruits' spatial than in their time or action orientations. this may also apply more broadly to the nature of the tribal mindset, which is so emphatic about upholding solidarity, respect, pride, honor, and dignity.