Remedy: Reduce Stress, Reduce Fear

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 2, 2007

Dear Editor,
   The author of Inside the Kingdom, Carmen bin Ladin, laid out an analysis parallel to Louis Black's editorial "Red-State Specials" in the Dec. 29 issue. Both explain that people do react with hostility and religious conservatism when exposed to unknown cultures and religions. It's a defense mechanism to stress and an unconscious strategy for survival. Folks get pretty vicious when it comes to self-preservation! Carmen, the ex-wife of Osama's brother, was shocked by the treatment women received in Saudi Arabia. She concluded that oil wealth increased their exposure to Western values creating great stress. So the Saudi tribes react by going backward in fear and insist that the women stay behind veils, etc. This ultraconservative religious reaction is intended to preserve the known and safe even though it is irrational. Sorta like the ostrich putting its head in sand to hide.
   Stress does create reactions of hostility and hiding by going backward. Remedy? Reduce stress. Reduce the fear clashing cultures create. Take a word of advice from Deepak Chopra to treat hostility with love and understanding. Reassurances, calls for peace, discussions, compromises, listening well, all would neutralize this back to the past flight and fight. Ask others to join hands and walk toward the future together, not in fear but in faith of the higher powers we all possess as humans. Let's overcome the basic animal instincts of survival and learn to live well on the beautiful earth as humans. We have a universal religion of the human spirit, whatever face we put on it, and that spirit encompasses all with intelligent understanding.
Linda L. Smith, LMSW
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