For the moment let’s forget those who are clinically-defined as depressed, or suffer from frequent panic or anxiety attacks, or have hallucinations. Let’s talk instead about the people – predominantly men, sad to say – who are emotionally and psychologically ill in a very different and perhaps even more severe way.
These are the folk who’ve come to believe that committing murder is doing ‘God’s work’, who’ve gone way beyond being merely emotionally ill, to instead become emotionally dead … dead enough to put someone in a cage and then burn them alive.
I’m talking, of course, about the supporters, members and fellow-travellers of the death-cult known as ‘Islamic State’, who evidently believe that the purpose of living is to kill as many people as possible and to enslave and/or rape the rest, children included. And I’m talking about the emotional and psychological illness that leads such people to believe that, in return for committing or supporting such heinous crimes, ‘God’ will be bestow eternal blessings upon them in Paradise.
It’s no accident that such men come from a patriarchal, even misogynist culture which marginalises and oppresses women … because by such oppression it destroys the socialising and emotionally educative effects that women otherwise tend to have on men and thereby sows the seeds of its own severe psychological and emotional illness.
Life thus becomes an abstraction for such men and they drift into a world of delusions and emotional sickness, separated from many normal human feelings … just as they segregate women, whom they see largely as abstracted objects, mere possessions. They come to believe in the abstract teachings of other psychologically and emotionally ill men who tell them that an abstract ‘God’ offers an abstract Paradise, separated away from this world, as reward for denying all feelings of empathy with other human beings.
And of course, in common with many forms of emotional and psychological illness, their sense of logic and reason shrinks away. So they ignore all the deep contradictions inherent in their delusional and irrational beliefs. For example, Allah, despite being supposedly all-powerful, still evidently needs them, feeble humans, to kill on his behalf. And Allah, despite again being supposedly all-powerful (and all-knowing), still evidently decided in the first place to create the non-Muslims – and the ‘heretical’ Muslims – that he now apparently relies on Islamic State members to kill.
Yet more. Despite Allah supposedly being all-knowing, such men are not content to let judgement take place in the hereafter as to what is (or is not) ‘blasphemy’ or ‘heresy’, but instead prefer to take judgment into their own hands through kangaroo courts and swift sentences of death.
A death cult attracts some of those who are emotionally and psychologically ill, including a good proportion of psychopaths and sociopaths. Should we be surprised at this? Of course not. But we should recognise the deepest forms of such illness are not confined to those categorised (often with no clear foundation) in the diagnostic manuals of psychiatrists.