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Why Islamic State Won't Last

Updated on June 22, 2017

update 22-06-17: ISIS (now called Daesh) leaves Mosul

...and they destroy its mosque on the way out!

This is very much the way things happen when groups retreat in defeat - they tend to lay waste to everything around them, rather like a child. It's a mean spirited way of saying 'if I can't have this, then neither can you'.

The irony is that the caliphate was declared from Mosul, from this very special mosque, which is hundreds of years old and a national treasure. Now destroyed.

The tatters of Dash are blowing in the wind, which will seriously undermine its legitimacy....

In Brief

Everything decays. In this context, it's clear that Islamic State, like any other human endeavor, is doomed to eventual failure. The history of mankind is littered with failed human endeavours, this is logically irrefutable. Only people who haven't thought this through, are attracted to great projects and schemes as if they actually mean something. The mystic Gurdjieff had much to say about this and this perspective informs much of this hub. The more immediate 'technical' reason as to why Islamic State won't last or get far is because there is too much infighting and doubt within its ranks.

The Ultimate Vision

It's horrific and yet interesting to observe the rise of Islamic State, and how it's being built on the back of pure terror. Atrocities and terror have been the most potent form of action in history, when it comes to over-running an enemy. It's either a case of run away, or join. Al Qaeda is regarded by many in IS as weak in comparison. The restraint-less approach of IS fighters, is akin to the terrifying fearlessness of ancient Celtic warriors, who saw the after life as just an extension of their current state. In fact, if death is regarded as the ultimate liberation, what has a fighter got to lose? That, coupled with appalling atrocities that horrify people makes an extremely potent mixture. A belief system that fixates the mind in a certain way, violence that terrifies and a perceived common enemy, should in theory create a force that cannot be vanquished. In theory.

But as history tells us, no grouping or society ever lasts that long.

Islamic State (IS) insurgents, Anbar Province, Iraq
Islamic State (IS) insurgents, Anbar Province, Iraq | Source

The slavery of belief

The allure of being part of some great scheme, however irresistible, is actually an indicator that there's something very wrong at hand and that a very fine delusion has been weaved... A lie has been spun so finely, that not only unintelligent people become trapped by it, but also people who have a degree of intelligence. This fine spell casting works especially on younger minds, because being part of a tribe, or a pack, is a very great feeling and many things become acceptable in that context.

Being pulled into a great scheme, whether it be political or spiritual, is really an indicator that an individual has lost their ability to think or reflect. In fact, the mystic Gurdjieff says:

"How can man be independent of the external influences of great cosmic forces when he is the slave of everything that surrounds him?" In Search of The Miraculous - P.D. Ouspensky.

The chances for most human beings to observe the state they are in, instead of charging forward at great speed in some belief system or common cause... are practically nil. In fact, Gurdjieff says most human beings don't really make decisions, such is their inability to self-observe. They just go along from one thing to another, like ping pong balls.

Indeed, his wider observation over war, and its participants, is that humans have no chance to escape it:

"Wars cannot be stopped. War is the result of the slavery in which men live. Strictly speaking, men are not to blame for war. War is due to cosmic forces, to planetary influences. But in men there is no resistance whatever against these influences, and there cannot be any, BECAUSE MEN ARE SLAVES. If they were Men and were capable of 'doing'(had Will), they would be able to resist these influences and refrain from killing one another.' In Search of The Miraculous - P.D. Ouspensky.

Clearly, humans who have come to believe that killing and terrorizing justifies the ends, have really lost sight of the wider picture. In the deeper context of life, this is a serious error, as all actions return to their point of origination - the individual him or herself.

When birds fly high their singing is out of tune

Hexagram 62 named Small Powers - the IChing

Nothing Ever Lasts and Big Ideas are Always the Worst

The biggest problem with joining a 'great cause', is the inability to see that there is no external cause that really has that much long lasting value. Even a child can understand that nothing ever lasts. Even the greatest civilizations of the past have eventually collapsed and dissipated. Over and over this has been repeated throughout history. The more recent collapse of the Roman Empire, is just one example of something truly great, becoming nothing.

It's rather ironic that Islamic State would like to remove the West and all it stands for, not being content that in time, that will happen anyway. No power has ever, or ever will, dominate every part of the world. Islamic State, though gaining ground at the moment, will also pass. It's inevitable, in a world where everything tends toward decay.

It's interesting that the Koran states that everything that is happening on the earth, has happened before. That the great repetitive cycle keeps churning out the same stories, the same human drama. This is really not so different from the Buddhist Wheel of Samsara.

In fact, it is precisely great ideas or ideals, which invariably are destined for the scrapheap. Big ideas or beliefs always tend to have a greater collapse already inbuilt, and this collapse is certain to follow. The bigger the rise, the bigger the fall. Everything decays. No beliefs or societies last forever.

All these Seemed like a Good Idea at the time

amphitheatre | Source
Temple of Athena
Temple of Athena | Source
Qubbat-ul-Islam mosque screen
Qubbat-ul-Islam mosque screen | Source

Sparing us the Trouble

Wouldn't it be nice, if humans actually realized the inherent pointlessness in following great causes?

But as Gurdjieff states, so long as a human is not free from external influence, this simply will not happen. The allure is too great. As he says:

"...war cannot be stopped by ordinary means. All these theories about universal peace, about peace conferences, and so on, are again simply laziness and hypocrisy. Men do not want to think about themselves, do not want to work on themselves, but think of how to make other people do what they want." In Search of The Miraculous - P.D. Ouspensky.

It would spare normal people a lot of trouble if humans did actually wake up just a little.

As Gurdjieff said:

"They fail to realize to what an extent they are mere pawns in the game"

Too much division inside IS

A more obvious reason why IS won't eventually prevail, is because there is too much conflict inside of the general IS grouping. Mostly Sunni muslims (and rent-a-thug from abroad), the conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims will just rumble on, slowly undermining the caliphate. The Koran exhorts Muslim brothers to stick together - but even that isn't happening. So what hope is there for a caliphate that actually works long term? Nil. The current excitement will just turn to more and more death, more and more conflict, which is a far cry from the universal brotherhood recommended by the Koran.

Furthermore, there is only so much atrocity that people will take. There comes a point where even fighters, who haven't quite completely lost a sense of empathy for other human beings, deep down have their own misgivings about being part of a great Islamic state, that is being arrived at through murder and abuse of women. In those quiet moments in the middle of the night, doubts grow in the minds of those who haven't already been too damaged by the atrocities they've witnessed or even inflicted themselves.

Already young men are cropping up who have left the ranks of IS, traumatized by what they have witnessed and been part of.

Too much to conquer

Not in a million years would a caliphate be able to spread across the world. The notion is ridiculous.

A realization that this isn't possible should trigger the idea that in fact, other ways of life are just as valid as ones own. It should create the doubt in one's mind, why bother anyway with a great conquest?

Western world haters have really pigeon holed their thoughts, not thinking about the fact, that really the West is populated by human being like themselves, who are doing the best they can in particular political and sociological circumstances. And blaming outside forces for their own ability to organize themselves, such that there is plenty for everyone in their particular society, is hardly fair.

While Islamic State would say that the 'advanced' West is degenerate, the West would say that many parts of the Middle East are barbaric and belong to the middle ages. Both are probably true,

Do you fear that the rise of Islamic State could conquer the West?

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    • Electro-Denizen profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Wales, UK

      @Sam Shepards - you express the truth of the matter so well... it's a shame that it's mostly always younger people who have these ideals, and have not thought deeply enough to put their thoughts in a wider context. As you say in your bio 'The mind needs great care. ' Fantastic way of putting it! Thanks for visiting.

    • Sam Shepards profile image

      Sam Shepards 

      3 years ago from Europe

      It is kind of ironic that if some form of Islamic power should dominate it will start to decay from more or less the moment it is dominant. Most strong ideologies derive a lot of their power from made up duality. All their own suffering and problems are now caused by the west and maybe later even China or India. But when you dominate and make everybody abide by your standards you'll have to start looking inside, see your own ugly acts and heart. Feel your own pain for what it is or drug and numb yourself if you are not up to the task. Since most people are not willing to do that it will also become a decadent and hypcritical system and eventually decay.

    • Electro-Denizen profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Wales, UK

      Hello Ericdierker - indeed, sad, everything runs its course... people have their own particular approach to God, from background/culture.. but it's depressing when phrases from scripture, either Bible or Koran or other, are cherry picked to support a certain viewpoint...

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Nice to see your piece here. It gives much food for thought. I do not think that the Caliphate is sustainable if it is based on current ideology and practice. But it can last for years and that is very sad.


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