Certain unfortunate consequences of stress

Inactivity; lassitude; moderate activity; tiredness; fatigue; exhaustion;

Stress curve: inactivity; lassitude; collecting social security; moderate activity; drug-dealing; vigorous activity; living off the earnings of kuffar prostitutes; tiredness; drug-taking; fatigue; robbery and violence; exhaustion; breakdown; running amok; mass murder; suicide bombing; 7,000 houris in Jannah

The mother of two of the mass murderers in the 2013 Paris attacks said she was sure that the son who blew himself up with explosives in his vest did not intend to kill anyone and acted in the way he did only because of stress. She thus, writes Dalrymple,

demonstrated how far she had assimilated to contemporary Western culture from her native Algerian, and how well she understood it.

Her statement

combines two important modern tropes: that stress excuses all, and that irrespective of someone’s actual conduct, however terrible it may be, there subsists within him a core of goodness that is more real than the superficial badness, such as taking part in mass murder.

It is true, says Dalrymple, that

most of us are not at our best when we are plagued by anxiety and frustration, when we have a hundred things that claim our attention, when we are worried for our jobs, children, careers, and so forth.

However,

most of us are also aware that if we excuse our ill-behaviour on these grounds (as we all tend to do initially whenever we know that we have behaved badly), there is no end to that ill-behaviour.

Most of us, Dalrymple points out, have, strangely enough,

found it comparatively easy to avoid killing other people.

A stressful life, to be sure, but 7,000 virgins are waiting in Paradise

A stressful life, to be sure, but 7,000 virgins are waiting in Paradise

We have found that we are able, at the end of the day, to avoid

wearing garments full of explosives, however severe our stress.

None of us, Dalrymple surmises, has ever said,

I feel so stressed today that I want to put on a jacket of high explosives and blow myself up near, at, or in a restaurant or a café or a football stadium or a concert venue.

Indeed, says Dalrymple,

most of us would think that to dress up in explosives was a sign of a rather severe moral defect that went quite deeper than a response to the stress of the moment.

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