Arab societies are more like an immutable and unchanging entity, always rejecting changes that affect them, living in isolation, intolerant towards the other and refusing to have anything to do with difference. What follows is a tendency towards nationalist differentiations and distinctions between them and us and. Ironically, many Arab societies end up applying that logic of discrimination to their own people.
These societies are living in a coma; their productive powers and movements are paralyzed because of the various moments of defeat they experienced in previous centuries. The recent demise of some political ideologies contributed to the rise of a religious and moral hysteria in their midst. The choices they are now faced with to renew and readjust themselves to a new world order and a new reality are being undertaken by the same comatose mindset and attitude. They are perhaps experiencing a pre-conscious stage like a child in the process of outgrowing infancy. It is at this very moment that the old images and narratives of their celebrated victories and defeats are resurfacing again and reborn in the psyche of their members. They are trying in vain to run away from the suffering and disappointment they experienced in old chapters of their history only to brush them under the carpet of the collective unconscious. What these societies show to the world is rather the elevation and superiority of their principles and moral values. They delude themselves that they are god’s elect people; convince their members that they are promised enormous old glories.
These societies are grounded in cultures characterized by a sense of superiority and excessive pride of belonging. They are becoming more isolated and confined within themselves. They are usually accusing other nations of racism and never take a look at themselves in the mirror to recognize their own racist attitudes towards others or their extreme hatred towards every individual or society different from them. From a psychological point of view, and because of their successive defeats, many Arab societies are still marked by that negative feeling which they subsequently transformed into an illusion or fantasy of a lost victory. They are constantly on the defensive, ready to lash out at whomever differs from them. They have weaved for themselves a mantle of fear and declared war against the beliefs of others. In that perpetual belligerent readiness, they lose sight of their initial objective that is the elevation of the individual and the entire society towards a higher level of humanity.
With the increasing sense of fear, these societies engage in repressing themselves and destroying their individual members. They end up repeating exactly the same moments of defeat and tragedies buried deep within the collective memories of their members. These societies stand like a naive soldier with a limited angle of vision. They lack constructive mechanisms of readjustment and adaptation to a changing world that would help them make sense of the challenges they are faced with in their modern history. These societies lack a clear strategy to define their aims and priorities. They are in a constant state of turmoil and enervation pushing them towards a destructive isolation. And the more isolated they become, the more terrified and ill-informed their actions are.
In this state of affairs, these societies are left with nothing other than the pride derived from their local religions. They start rebuilding their laws and foundations on religious discourse and find themselves going back to an old way of life and thinking in total discord with the radical changes that have affected the modern world. This is one of the main causes of the gradual internal dislocation of the social body and the rotting of its foundations. This is how the social body becomes isolated and confined in a small sphere where it refuses to look at anything moving outside itself. These societies are engaged in a struggle on at least two fronts: from within, to neutralize all movements of rebellion or change undertaken by its individual members; and from without to affirm their identity and their beliefs before other societies. But their limited and pessimistic outlooks distance them from the state of inner peace and stability they might experience within their societies and find themselves ushered in a state of self afflicted oppression.
Our societies have experienced many successive tragedies and misfortunes, but they failed to acquire the adequate knowledge to overcome the current ones. The birth of some religions in the region commonly known by the misnomer “Middle East” did not help develop thought and none of the lessons of a history wrought with miseries and oppression seem to have been learned. This total reliance on religions is the direct outcome of the loss of ability to analyze and understand the world in a healthy and logical way. These societies conflate their miseries and sufferings with their faith. They turn their faces towards a god who occupies a major place in their thought and daily lives. This feeling always leads to the gradual dissolution of the individual self and reflects in a very negative way on the behavior of the group.
The dynamic that links the individual to the group is particularly destructive. The group embraces the beliefs of its individual members, and the individual will have to give up on his or her beliefs for the general good of the group. Individual value is cancelled out for the sake of the group. Such individuals will become ready to sacrifice themselves for the group. Since these societies derive their values and laws from religion, they turn religion into the ultimate and supreme aim that each one of their individual members should aspire to. With the collapse of Arab nationalism, groups resorted to religion to rebuild their local identities. The prevalence and growth of fundamentalist and extremist movements preaching jihad in the name of Allah are a logical outcome of the failure of pan Arab nationalism.