Denial, Dogma, and the Heroic Myth

karin lofthus carrington and susan griffin

in Transforming Terror

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780520251021
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949454 | DOI:
Denial, Dogma, and the Heroic Myth

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This chapter deals with denial, dogma, and the heroic myth; three subjects that are interconnected, both historically and psychologically. Jointly these habits and assumptions shape and limit consciousness, encouraging violence and often arguing that force is the best or even the only possible response to conflict. Many societies and cultures propagate a false idea of heroism through images and stories of mythic heroes who are never afraid and cannot be defeated. These exaggerated notions of heroism are often passed on to our children, giving them a seductive and dangerously unrealistic idea of warfare. Though this mythology has been used by many leaders throughout history in the service of ambition or even greed, to claim that heroic myths cause organized violence would be far too simple. No single cause suffices to explain any act of terrorism. The chapter also explores fanatics and fanaticism; poems by William Stafford and Jane Hirshfield; the concept of evil; a speech delivered by Barbara Lee on September 14, 2001 opposing the post-9/11 use of force; and vulnerability and the sukkah of shalom.

Keywords: evil; sukkah; shalom; denial; dogma; heroic myth; heroism; terrorism; violence; fanaticism

Chapter.  15059 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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