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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

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Email from a Muslim Student

It always delights me when ex-students and ex-tutees keep in touch after they have moved on to university (or wherever). One of those I’m most delighted by ongoing contact with is Yasmeen. She is bright, stunningly attractive and has a truly wicked sense of humour. She is also a Muslim of Pakistani heritage. Despite the fact we touched upon terrorism in our discussions for the World Sociology and Crime & Deviance topics, Yasmeen never let on to having any particularly strong political or religious views. Her father did, though. In an ‘Asian’ accent so strong I struggled to understand it at times, he described the Taliban as “very bad men”. He hated what they were doing to his country of birth. So I was intrigued by an email from Yasmeen the other day in which she wrote:- “Islam has a lot to offer in terms of spreading knowledge, living peacefully among others and just encouraging individuals to be good people and do the right thing. “I know things are really fragile now with Muslims, I’m sure you’re well aware of all that’s been happening in the news about Charlie Hebdo, the Sydney Siege, Peshawar Massacre (among other things) – it’s really… Read More

The Meaning of Charlie Hebdo…for Islam and the West

The power of the web has been demonstrated very powerfully the last 5 days in just how many cogent positions have been staked out so rapidly re the Charlie Hebdo murders. It also says something about how powerfully the shootings in Paris have touched so many Westerners emotionally to galvanise such strong responses. That in itself, though, is part of a disturbing narrative that feeds into the terrorists’ hate-fuelled ideology. Just 17 people are massacred in Paris and the Western media – formal and social – goes into meltdown. In comparison the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights documentation of over 76,000 deaths in 2014 in the Syrian conflict – the vast majority innocent civilians – warranted around one smallish article per newspaper – eg: The Guardian’s 28 lines – or one short item per news broadcast. The subtext of this comparison is that French lives are worth an awful lot more than Syrian lives – and this comparison is then easily meta-stated into the Western media being racist, anti-Arab, anti-Islamic, etc, etc. It’s one more piece of evidence to support such frames of reference from a line of evidence that notably includes the Americans counting Western lives lost in Iraq 2003-2011… Read More

No More Mosques!

On a walk this morning I was surprised to see a National Front (NF) sticker on a post box proclaiming ‘No more mosques!’ (The design was identical to the flag above .) Firstly I didn’t even know the National Front were still going – I thought they were long ago eclipsed by the British National Party (BNP). Apparently the NF are still in some kind of business – though they seem to be riven by the most egomaniacal RED-driven in-fighting! Check out http://www.national-front.org.uk/ to view their sorry state. Secondly I was surprised to see the sticker in the Greengates part of Bradford, close to where I live. While there was some trouble in the area at the time of the 2001 ‘race riots’, Greengates appears to have little or no racial tension.  It is a largely mixed area of lower middle class and upper working class. The population appears to be mostly white – though there are a number of Asians living in and around the area – as evidenced by the wide array of clothing and skin colours to be seen in the Greengates Sainsbury’s.  Everything from shorts and vests to shalwar kameez and even full burkas can be found in the supermarket… Read More

Meanings in the Blood and Turmoil of Egypt

BBC journalist Tim Whewell has posted a brilliant and provocative analysis of the current crisis in Egypt entitled: Egypt Crisis: does Political Islam have a Future? In it Whewell characterises the conflicts which have erupted in Egypt as first the demand for the removal of Mohammed Morsi a month or so back by secularists and since then the demand for his reinstatement by Islamists. The desperate determination of the Egyptian secularists is summed up in Whewell’s piece by the Royal United Services Institute’s Shashank Joshi: “What we’re seeing is a coalition of liberal, secular, youth, revolutionary groups…who have decided that what they value is secularism at all cost, even if the cost is the shredding of every other liberal value that they hold.” While the brutality of the military in repressing the Cairo Islamists is shocking and has drawn condemnation from right around the world, there is ambivalence towards it from many Egyptian secularists. There is real distrust of the Islamists; and the fear meme has spread virally, as Whewell indicates when he says: “President Morsi was removed as much through fear of what he might do in the future as anger over what he had done already.” The Egyptian crisis… Read More

The ‘Gay Cure’: was Spitzer right to recant?

Robert L Spitzer is one of the giants of modern Psychiatry, a scientific philosopher as much as a hands-on medical man. He’s been a fearless opponent of too-easily-accepted givens, notably challenging some of David Rosenhan’s conclusions in his 1973 study, On Being Sane in Insane Places. However, Spitzer really made his mark by leading the campaign to have homosexuality removed from the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) as a psychiatric disorder – which it was in 1973. So the news last week that Spitzer had ‘recanted’ a study he had carried out in 2000-2001 and had published in 2003 caught my eye – especially as I had referenced that same study in a lengthy letter I had published in Therapy Today, the journal of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy, in 2009. My letter, titled ‘An Imposed Etic’, was published as ‘An Imposed Ethic’ – presumably the editor thought ‘etic’ was a spelling mistake and didn’t get the sense I was trying to convey through the use of the term ‘imposed etic’. My point was that particular, localised values and norms were being applied as though they were universals, without empirical justification. I had been somewhat concerned by John Daniels’ article,… Read More

‘Lost’ in Purgatory?

Over 2 weeks later it’s still being remarked upon in the internet fan forums about just how similar in theme were the final episodes of 2 of the biggest TV dramas of the past few years, Ashes to Ashes (21 May) and Lost (24 May). The Life On Mars/Ashes to Ashes story arcs ended with ‘rough diamond’/’Neanderthal throwback’ [take your pick!] DCI Gene Hunt revealed to be a Christ-like figure living in purgatory to work with the souls of dead coppers to help them accept their untimely demise and move on to the afterlife proper. Hunt even got to fend off the devil-like Discipline & Complaints investigator Jim Keats’ attempts to steal the dead coppers’ souls. Truth to tell, I wasn’t much impressed with the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ finale, ruminating that the purgatory explanation was something of a cop-out, saving the writers from having to come up with some kind of science fiction story of alternate realities/dimension shifts/etc, etc. But – blow me! – just a few days later a near-identical theme was acted out in ‘Lost’s’ 2.5-hour grand finale. This time around it was Jack Shephard being Christ-like to save the island from the darkness brought on by the devil-like ‘Man in… Read More

The Curious Case of being British

by Jon Twigge I am thrilled to be able to publish another contribution by Jon Twigge, an ardent Spiral Dynamics Integral enthusiast and supporter of the Centre of Human Emergence – UK. Jon wrote the piece for his own blog and has graciously consented to it being published here as well. Unusually for me this post contains a little bit of my personal history… Jon What exactly does it mean to be British? Well, for most of my life I lived without really knowing what it meant at all.  At least, not consciously. I have been brought up in a rather sterile environment from the point of race and the world.  I lived most of my young life until I was 18 in a small village in rural Derbyshire in England.  The local village school, that I attended until I was 11, was a Church of England school, nominally at least, and I don’t particularly remember any overt racial, cultural or religious content to my first years at school. I have to admit to having a terrible memory for facts but I don’t recall a single non-white face from my years at infant and junior school.  Perhaps that is not too… Read More

Is restricting Immigration discriminatory?

At last, it’s starting to become OK to talk about immigration. Of course, it’s been a hot topic for the British National Party (BNP), their British National Front predecessors and the far right for years – in fact, decades really, stretching right back to Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech back in April 1968. The GREEN vMEME’s staunch opposition to anything that could possibly be associated with prejudice and discrimination has inhibited rational discussion of these issues. Now, thanks to the emergence of the cross-party Balanced Migration Group (BMG) , led by Frank Field (Labour) and Nicholas Soames (Conservative), the barriers to acknowledging the problems that immigration is creating for the United Kingdom are at least beginning to crack. Over the past year, from interacting with Jon Freeman and Rachel Castagne at June’s A Regent’s Summit on the Future of the UK to dialogue with staunch BNP supporter Man of the Woods in the comments on Should the BNP appear on the Beeb?, I’ve come to have much more of an appreciation of how a number of people feel really passionately about this kingdom…as Man of the Woods calls it, ‘my ancestral land’. The real eye-opener for me, though, with… Read More

Just how many Homosexuals are there really?

This week, in discussing Sigmund Freud’s views (1923a) on homosexuality with a class of A-Level Psychology students at Guiseley School in Leeds, the question was raised as to just how ‘normal’ gay and lesbian relationships are. When I stated that most recent surveys – ie: in the past 10 years or so – have tended to average around 2-4% of the adult population in the Western-ish world clearly identifying as gay men or lesbian – ie: verging on the statistically abnormal – I was quite taken aback by the sheer vociferousness of the class that the true number was at least 10% and, therefore, normal. 2 things struck me about this response:- How accepting the class were that homosexuality was ‘normal’ – quite a contrast with a Psychology class in Goole 3 years previous, in which the class had insisted that Evolutionary Psychology ‘proved’ that homosexuality was abnormal and a perversion Where this mythical number of 10% of the population had come from and how strongly it was entrenched amongst the Guiseley students In and amongst the praise heaped on my book, Knowing Me, Knowing You, by Integral Review in 2007, I was castigated for ignoring homosexual relationships; I had 3 chapters… Read More

‘Britishness’ at the Regent’s College Summit

Down in a basement meeting room of the Holiday Inn Oxford Circus…that’s where the Centre for Human Emergence – UK (CHE-UK) was born on the afternoon of Friday 26 July 2009. Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck, Jon Freeman (author of ‘God’s Ecology and the Dawkins Challenge’), Rachel Castagne, Lynne Sedgemore CBE,  Ian MacDonald of the Integral Life Centre,  the veteran activist and author Rosemary Wilkie and myself harmonising an intent – creating a spirit, if you will.  That intent is to build MeshWORK alliances to design natural solutions to local problems in the context of a globalised world. The next 2 days, Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th, saw CHE-UK host its first event, ‘A Regent’s Summit on the Future of the UK’ at Regent’s College. Don, Rachel and Jon led the event and old HemsMESH colleague Christopher ‘Cookie’ Cooke flew in from Switzerland to lend his talents to a task-and-feedback session on the Sunday.  About 50 people joined us to get a feel for what the real issues are confronting the UK and what we might do about them. The general consensus was that in the UK a lot of the positive influence of the BLUE vMEME has been diminished by… Read More