Radicalisation and the life script

This comes from the Australian Psychological Society

“Most people don’t join violent extremist groups for ideological reasons. Instead, they join for social reasons – with someone they know, to connect with other people or to find a sense of purpose.

Questions continue to be raised as to why Australians are joining violent extremist organisations to fight overseas or threaten peace and order at home. Lots of people assume that things like poverty, poor education or mental illness cause terrorism, but research shows it’s more about identity, injustice and finding a sense of belonging.

It isn’t what you think…..

Research shows people are more likely to join groups if people they know are involved. And for many new members, simply being part of the group is much more important than the ideology itself – religious, political or otherwise.” (end quote)

I am surprised this is even written. Of course it is, what is said here. It’s called a life script.

There seems to be this belief that if a person joins a violent extremist group or have become radicalised then they must have a strangely distorted and contorted personality. They are some kind of salvia drooling, knuckle dragging type of organism.

Of course they are not, psychologically they are just like you and me, they have a life script that they are living out. We all make a series of decisions over our life time where we end up in situations and in relationships where our life script will be played out.

Many people join other kinds of groups such a outlaw motor cycle gangs, organised crime groups or become ‘gang bangers’. People who do this have decided on a suicidal – homicidal life script. So they surround themselves with people who are very violent and potentially murderous and will engage in murderous and violent activities. Just like those who join so called violent extremist group. They are no different.

Most of us don’t have suicidal – homicidal life scripts but we do the same as those who do. We surround ourselves with like minded people to us and we live out our life script.

And of course terrorism is a very viewer centric concept. One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. I now see the press referring to radicalisation and now there are even ‘deradicalising experts’. I saw one interviewed on the telly the other night.

What is radicalisation? Consider this quotation in the latest edition of the TAJ (October 2016) by Helena Hargaden:


“In that session with Marianne, I found myself musing on my work with two male clients with whom I have been working, both over a period of 18 years. These men had been to high-ranking boarding schools. I had learned not only concrete knowledge of how these institutions worked but had witnessed, and at times absorbed, the traumatic experience each had suffered in the British boarding school system (both came to me three times a week for many years). The material conditions were akin to a type of penal servitude. Heating, food, and beds were normally kept to minimal standards. Any expression of vulnerability occasioned severe humiliation, disgust, and punishment (Schaverin, 2015). The reasoning behind such institutionalized torture was apparently to make men who would fight for, and defend, the British Empire.”(end quote)

Is this radicalisation? I can already hear people huffing and puffing at such a suggestion. Consider this photograph. Is this radicalisation?


Again I can hear people already saying it isn’t. Instead it is us psychologically preparing our young adult males to defend their country. We don’t radicalise our young adult males like the bad guys do.

And of course the leadership of the bad guys over there are doing exactly the same thing. They are telling their people that we radicalise our young adult males and they are psychologically preparing their young adult males to defend their country.

Once upon a time there was thing called the anti war movement, it happened with the Vietnam war. With the anti war movement people didn’t believe the propaganda that is constantly being flogged by the press of either side. When this happens people end up hating the war more than they hate the enemy and then the war stops, as it did.

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