There are differences in how different scriptures work and (!) how they may be leveraged into religious or secular autocratic power.

I’m the editor of the blog cited, and for the idea that more human misery has to do with the character of leaders and their followers than with related artifacts — books, legends, poems, songs, etc. — I’ve used for dictators the phrase, “Different talks — same walk.”

In general, most people don’t like the “walk” — or strut — laid down by a strongman, but for the medieval of mind, the crowds or “masses” matter much less than relationships with similar powerful persons, their own inner circles in business, military, and paramilitary communities, and then the constituencies that have bought in with them. Out of that complex political community come the “evildoers” and those leveraged to cooperate with them.

“Different talks — same walk.”

The latest in polling has given us the “94 percent” figure: what is different then about the six percent who would endorse the violence against innocents that may be delivered with the cry “Allahu akbar”?

I think the true immediate axis in global conflict is that between medieval and modern conceptions of man and related concentrations or distributions of power in those who govern. How absolutely powerful a tyrant is compared to the leader constrained by institutional powers greater than himself.

Chatyping in social media dredges up a host of ideas familiar to BackChannels readers, not least among them the idea that a kind of personality produces for itself a political environment suited to its need for control of the surrounding world — and that to the point where it may mete out suffering to others with impunity.  Such power proves always deeply destructive and sadistic.

It’s best to catch it at the gates — in the truly functioning democracies, at the polls — but even then the popular will may invest in an egregious choice.

Addendum – April 16, 2016

Regarding narcissism, which may be malignant or reparative in its balance, one possible trigger for the malignant — those who seek absolute power over others and in the process lose their brakes (or “exceed limits”), an instance or pattern of “narcissistic mortification” may set off attempts at covering (hiding) and repair that lead to the barking, as it were, and the rejection of criticism.


The reinvention of the self that follows may include a verbal part that then serves to aggrandize, elevate, empower the narcissist, and when it gets going as a kind of cycle and dare, then develops the business that is a cult at the lowest level and a dictatorship at the highest.


One may infer such a development between Jim Jones, the mass murder by Kool-Aid guy, and Bashar al-Assad, the mass murderer by way of whatever means have happened to be at hand, but not find the incident or period of mortification as that resides in the narcissist’s memory.

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