In her book, The Battle For God, Karen Armstrong surveys prominent examples of fundamentalism in the Jewish, Christian and Moslem traditions. One of her most basic observations is that fundamentalists are largely indifferent to those outside their faith. (Why bother? Everyone knows they're going to hell.) What they are intensely focused on is doing battle against their co-religionists, whom they view as having betrayed the true faith.
One consequence of this simple fact is a pattern that dominates our world today: Fundamentalists of different faiths use each other to stir people up. They form a sort of tacit partnership, ostensibly railing against one another, while their real target is their own people--their own naive followers, and the moderate, liberal and/or secular leaders and individuals of their own communities who do not share their fearful view of the world, with its fearful God.
And thus we have the bizarre shadow-play of the past 4 1/2 years, with Bush and bin Laden in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, each one the other's biggest booster. Without each other, they would be laughingstocks, or worse in their own lands.
This is a simple example of how knowing about patterns--of human behavior, belief, cognition, etc.--produces a very different view of the world than one would have without thinking in terms of those patterns. Most of us spend most of our time looking at the world, not paying attention to the patterns right in front of us--or those around us, framing what we see. This is a blog about those patterns, the patterns that connect our world together, for good or for ill. The more clearly we come to know and understand those patterns, the more readily we can enhance the good and remedy the ill.
I'm not playing expert. I draw on other's expertise to stimulate a conversation through which all can share in raising our collective awareness of the patterns that connect us, our world, our past and our destinies. May that greater shared awareness give us tools to share in shaping better patterns still.