Like many folk this morning I have been trying to work out why Anders Behring Breivik murdered around one hundred people in cold blood in what he admits was an atrocity.
How could an educated, successful man from a settled culture, aware of the moral dimension, carry out such a despicable attack on innocent young people?
Events like this go beyond conventional decision-making and suggest the involvement of a deeper influence. My first thought was that a powerful archetype of the collective unconscious had been triggered by recent events.
It was hardly a coincidence that just four days ago the European Union agreed that northern states of the Eurozone should transfer massive sums of money to profligate countries in the south — in the middle of an ongoing recession. Many of the people who are paying for this largesse didn’t have a voice in the decision. It was a German-French stitch-up at the highest level cobbled together by Brussels. While Norway is not a member of the EU, the close affinities of the Nordic countries means it is affected by decisions in Brussels, especially by the free movement of people across Europe.
But, even so, the killing spree was beyond excessive. We need to look deeper for the motivation behind this inexplicable crime, for something that has been stewing for decades. The Nordic mentality is generally disciplined. It takes a great deal of pain to trigger an event of such horror and devastation.
What we know is that the brooding Scandinavian temperament has been awash with unease for years about the state of their countries and their ability to govern themselves.
It is closely connected with the continuing loss of national culture, sovereignty and a largely peaceful way of life. Oslo’s population is now twenty-five percent Muslim, thanks to the open borders created by the Schengen Treaty and a very generous welfare state.
The two policies are clearly incompatible. For the Norwegians, the end of the free movement of people around Europe is becoming the only option. Significantly, Denmark has recently reimposed border controls in defiance of Brussels.
The archetype finally made its appearance on Breivik’s social media websites: that old favourite, the Knights Templar.
The Templars were set up by crusading knights in the 12th century to protect the Holy Land, especially Jerusalem, from Islamic invaders. It grew into a mass movement throughout Europe, even reaching as far north as England and Scotland, then died out before being replaced by the Scottish Freemasons.
Events like yesterday’s can only be explained by the influence of apparently heroic causes and a sense of divine mission. All the elements were in place, it only needed a psychological mechanism for action.
Modern computers have a facility called Snap to Grid. It is the technology behind spreadsheets and CadCam design software.
A blank screen hides an invisible grid of small rectangles. As worksheets or technical drawings are prepared, new inputted data automatically “snaps” into the boundaries set by the hidden grid. The grid can be revealed by a keystroke. The facility can also be turned off completely. However, if you are not an expert, your work can appear rather messy.
The analogy in ordinary life is this: when we act with apparent freedom, our actions automatically, and without our being aware of it, snap to a grid. As we grow in awareness, we begin to discern the grid. A person with a high degree of inner awareness can turn off the grid and assume complete spiritual freedom. These are the three stages of psychological free will.
The “snap” stage is when we are ignorant of any predetermining factors on our actions. A powerful archetype can easily take over a person on this level of development, conferring an inflated sense of divine mission and absolute confidence. Adolf Hitler is the perfect example. It seems that Anders Behring Breivik was under similar “magnetic” influences during yesterday’s massacre of the innocents.
The second stage, the beginning of awareness (illumination), is when we can see the grid and, within limits, adjust its purpose. The third level (called unitive contemplation in the Christian tradition) is when we become one with the grid itself and are able to control it at will.
Real freedom is quite rare, which is why there are so many senseless atrocities in history. It is predicated on an ability to rise above internal and external impulses, which rests on the level of awareness attained by any individual.
Breivik thought he was fighting back against a culture of national decline, but he was just snapping to the grid of an ancient, tired mythology.
The only partial protection against such random outbursts is for a society to have a strong code of behaviour inculcated very young.
Norway has just such an unspoken culture of civility and good manners. That yesterday’s killing spree happened anyway shows just how far some individuals have been pushed.
I suspect this could be the start of many more incidents like this across Europe unless our feeble political class takes back democratic control of our nation states.
… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers. Muscular Mysticism is coming soon.
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