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Trocaire College, Buffalo ​how comes it the humans make their greatest exertions not for their own gain family or lives but for an idea a moral conception of who I am and who we are and this is the privilege of absurdity to which no creature but man is subject of which thomas hobbes wrote in leviathan in the middle of last century Andre Malraux the great French cultural polymath said the next century has to be religious or it will not be there was a great clash of secular ideologies that almost led to the destruction of the world both in the end he felt were soulless one has won but in this globalized competition among individuals for dominance you can still hear me there seems to be left out a sense of community a sense of chant meant a sense of spirituality and the dark side of globalization is rearing its head both in terrorist movements and in populist political movements very much in the similar ways of what happened with the collapse of the long relative peace in Europe between the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic Wars and the beginning of World War one when the whole international system began unravelling quite rapidly with the rise of the anarchist movement which has many parallels to the jihadi movement today and to the collapse of the international order as countries began breaking the rules as they are doing now so our team of academics policymakers and former military playwrights and poets explore why people refuse political compromise go to war attempt revolution or resort to terrorism focusing on what Darwin called those virtues highly esteemed and even sacred that give immense advantage to any group inspired by devoted individuals willing to sacrifice for them this is our team on the frontlines near Mosul recently where we were talking about willingness to fight President Obama in 2004 said the biggest mistake we was under estimating the will to fight among the Islamic state and overestimating the will to fight among the Iraqi army so what we did was we went to the front and we interviewed everyone from Isis to al-qaeda in Syria to the Peshmerga the PKK the epoca the Iraqi army the Sunni and Shia militia to try to find out what is behind will to fight who was willing to sacrifice fight and die in Hawaii a little bit of background on religion and more generally only about 7% of Wars throughout human history and recorded history have been religiously motivated but when religion becomes involved in Wars they tend to become intractable and last a very long time religion of course is also responsible for some of the great advances in human rights the civil rights movement in the United States was fundamentally a religious movement in the in the in the Baptist churches of the United States now our studies suggest that costly and seemingly arbitrary ritual commitment to logically and empirically inscrutable beliefs because religious beliefs are empirically and logically inscrutable it deepens trust galvanizing group solidarity for common defense and binding members blinding members to exit strategy by contrast reasons social contracts which are matters of convenience secular contracts do not tend to last more than three generations why because it's merely a contract of convenience there's always a better deal down the line and if there's always a better deal down the line it's better to defect now rather than later so they're inherently unstable in the long run now across cultures primary group identity is bounded by sacred values often in the form of beliefs or transcend ideology would lead some groups to triumph over others and sacred values can be secular or religious as when land or law becomes holier hallowed well our frontline studies of combatants across the world these is to believe that intractable conflict and unconditional cooperation are better understood within a devoted actor framework rather than a rational actor framework and the devoted actor framework is characterized by two sort of research paradigms one is sacred values which i've just talked about and the other is something called identity fusion consider these circles self that's the little circle and the group is the big circle so we present this on the front lines and we ask people where do you where do you put yourself those who go to II the last one who see themselves completely within the last circle have one and only one reference group many of us have many identities our favorite football teams our occupations our religion our country but when you fuse in that last group you behave differently than any other group you think of yourselves invincible you psyche one another up and you're if everyone is willing to sacrifice for the other when these two things come together then you have maximum willingness to fight die torture kill and suffer even the loss of your family for sacred values we find people are unwilling to make trade-offs or compromises no matter how much money is offered no matter what material assets are offered in fact the contrary occurs when Palestinians wear only 6% of Palestinians would actually of refugees

would actually choose to go back to Israel if having the choice well over 90% of Palestinians would not accept to give up the right of return even though they'd never go back and when you offer money then there's support for things like suicide bombing and violence even increases the same is true for Israeli settlers the same was true for the Iranian nuclear program the same is true for Americans who are devoted to the right to life or to gun rights what do I mean by sacred values well economic decision-making has been the subject of politics and many disciplines and we know most of the axioms and utility theories but we know very little about sacred values and how they function what does appear to have function is that they they act in ways completely different from standard economic and political decisionmaking and I'll just talk about a few of them one is immunity to trade-offs what does that mean most of us would not sacrifice our children our countries or our religion for all the money in China they are not fungible they're insensitive to temporal and spatial discounting in economic and political theory those events and items that are closer to you in the here-and-now are more important than those in the future or the distant past for sacred values the opposite can be true those events and things and the distant past or future may be much more valuable they blind us to access strategies no matter how reasonable or rewarding people will not abandon those values and they generate actions independent of prospects of success of risks and rewards of costs and consequences because they are perceived to be the right thing to do now we do brain scans of sacred values for good or ill most recently among supporters of the al Qaeda affiliate lashkar-e-taiba in Pakistan where we find that people willing to die for sacred values show much less deliberative reasoning in those parts of the brain associated with utilitarian reasoning in favor of rapid duty-bound responses now why do we do brain scans 1 because brain scans you can't lie about so it shows that these belief in sacred values are not quasi beliefs they're not pseudo beliefs they're not pretending and they're not posturing they're real secondly because we can find things in the brain that we didn't know behaviorally for example centers for revenge in the brain and centers for joy and happiness in the brain are exactly the same centers so we know the feelings of revenge and the feeling of joy happen to be the same and we do as I said this with al Qaeda we do it with Islamic state and we do it with Peshmerga or PKK these are just experiments we did recently on the Mosul front and what we find is that people consider this is just an iPad we can make the body bigger or smaller and more muscular or less muscular that people on all sides whether it be al-qaeda or the Islamic state or the PKK or the Peshmerga or the Iraqi army rate the United States with maximum force spiritually middling force the Islamic state with almost no physical force in fact the belgian army could defeat it it was just manpower but spiritually maximum force and all on the front believed that spiritual Trump's material force when all things are equal in fact since World War two insurgent and revolutionary groups have beaten standard police and armies with up to 10 times more firepower in manpower for the simple reason that standard police and armies operate on the basis of material risks and rewards like pay and punishment and promotion but these people operate on belief and let me go through this really fast the Islamic state revolution is a classic revolution just calling a terrorism I think is delusional think of what Rob Speer said for the French Revolution terror is an emergency measure emanating from virtue for without a claim to moral virtue it is inconceivable to want to kill masses of people innocent of doing direct harm to others and in this sense it follows the trajectory of a classic revolution at first it's founded by leaders who are mostly well-educated often in the sciences then it appeals to masses of marginalized people and finally state building where women are very important and now we have one out of every three coming from France or women because the state needs it so it's the conflict dynamics not the personalities that are driving the Islamic state and think about the Islamic state what are they telling you they're not telling you they're telling you come here to be sleep deprived come here to suffer come here to sacrifice people who think that giving them jobs or giving them women is going to buy them off I think are also somewhat delusional it's not about brainwashing brainwashing is a fiction from the Korean War when a hundred Brits and Americans didn't want to come back to America and Britain so this fiction The Manchurian Candidate was invented where these Chinese social engineering Wizards using Pavlovian techniques washed the brains of these Americans of britt never happened and nihilism the Islamic state argues the contrary when I talk to young women who joined the Islamic state they tell me I joined because I want a woman to be a woman I want a man to be a man in my culture I don't know what's what I can't talk to my parents in Arabic because they won't want to talk to me and I'm viewed for suspicion from everybody in my society so I will go there to look for dignity I got a call from the head of go Medical School in Khartoum her entire the entire straight-a class went to Raqqa to found a clinic so it's not just criminals it's jobs just marginals it's people actually looking good and I talked to a former Imam who's now joined al-qaeda because he felt that the killing of guests was wrong and he said to me the young who came to us were not to be lectured like witless children they are for the most part understanding and compassionate but misguided we have to give them a better message but a positive one to compete otherwise they'll be lost too - how comes it that the values of open societies and democracy increasingly appear to be losing ground to the national narrow nationalisms and radical religious

fundamentalism in a tacit alliance that's Sundering Europe's middle class and much else in the world in ways similar to the hatchet job that the Communists and the fascists did in the 1920s and 1930s here's one of my favorite authors and particularly a positive for today's world George Orwell there's a go on the internet there's a one page review of mine come written in 1940 by Orwell and or well asks how is it that socialist countries and to a more grudging extent capitalist countries offer their people ease avoidance of risk and pain hygiene healthcare birth control in short the good life and no one here is willing to fight for the values of freedom and democracy the Oxford Student Union at the time had just voted never again to fight for anything and mr. Hitler is he offering his people power glory revolution death destruction of the old world to build a new world and 80 million people fall down at his feet why because mr. Hitler understands something profound about human nature human beings need at least intermittently a sense of self-sacrifice and transcendence now I ask you what dreams may come from current government policies that offer little beyond grudging promises of comfort and security people are willing to sacrifice everything including their lives the totality of their interests will not be lured away by material incentives or disincentives the science suggests that sacred values are best opposed with other sacred values but I heard Mr Schwab when I was at Davos two weeks ago saying one of the most important things we have to do is be willing to sacrifice for the common good but I ask you what is the common good people are willing to sacrifice today where is it no one seems to know so how can we combat this sort of violent extremism and also I think a crisis in our civilization for civilizations rise and fall on cultural ideas not material assets alone and we find that most people have in small societies have sacred values for which they willing to sacrifice everything but we don't find that among Western youth today and we don't find it about masses of youth in the Middle East or in Asia it's something that Isis is offering however misguided it's something that the populist movements the populist wave across Europe is offering however misguided well I'm just going to talk about briefly about three very very local success stories I'll go through this it's all about counter engagement it's meeting the needs the narratives and the networks as already talked about but not in the abstract talking about ideology or narratives as free-floating ideas out there I think is a waste of time they are embedded in particular minds in particular social networks if we look at the recruitment pattern for al-qaida and Islamic state if it were just social media and personal recruitment it would be randomized recruitment and a dispersed recruitment pattern we find clustered in towns particular towns particular cities particularly birds and three out of every four people who join it join it with their friends or family or fellow travelers so the best predictor of who joins any of this movement is if your friend join this particular movement not if some recruiter talked to you and not if you heard it over social media so how do we engage these people well in Pakistan to teenagers Sabah and ghoul Allah is male in northwest Pakistan developed a woman's advocacy group to bring the young men away from violence the Taliban and they brought fifty away and those fifty brought another fifty and they brought fifteen hundred away now they have over 10,000 young men who would have gone to violence that these young women have brought away another one is Amina ho tea in Pakistan and she uses the story of Shah Jahan the builder of the Taj Mahal and his two sons garish da recycle and what was his name Naga Zed one was a scholar like his father and a religious pluralist the other was a millet was militarily capable and a deep conservative who killed his brother and imprisoned his father and she has the student's academic this out all over the country in theater they discuss what had happened they decide for themselves how they would have permitted how they would have allowed or how they even would have mobilized militarily to allow Dara Shikoh to win out over his more militant brother and there are many such local success stories but here's the problem how do we get these local success stories to linked up into a global success story the way Isis does Isis will spend hundreds even thousands of hours talking to a single person and say to a young woman in Seattle I know how hard it is for you to leave your family but there's something greater in life than just honoring your parents come and let us understand we have to be able to engage like that but on a global scale and I will end with this it has to be a transcendent message and meaning that gives individual existence significance beyond death that binds people together beyond perceived interests and creates enduring peaceful and progress towards the good it has to be something will it be commitment to dollars or reals or one or to something greater thank you [Music] Nazareth College, Pittsford, near Rochester.