If any of the Isis folk have a deeper familiarity with our culture, then they surely know how bored and pathetically unfulfilled so many of us are becoming. We have been gradually but steadily downgrading just about every aspect of our lives:
Professionally – we work more hours and fear lay-offs more than ever before. We are most stressed out and anxious about promotions, office politics and harassment accusations.
Socially – we substituted hearing voices with text messages and Facebook, we drink more than ever before, and we go beyond the shallow small talk in our conversations less and less often.
Romantically, we replaced the rush of hitting on women (or being hit on) with online pings and winks, and the excitement of calling each other with pathetic, probing text messages such as “What are you up to?” and “How is your weekend going?” And since we almost completely abandoned classic fiction, we don’t even know what romance means anymore.
Surely, at least some among us will be so fed up with it that they will be dying to and ready to die for a more grand cause than working in mobile tech or social media advertising. The idea of joining a group, however evil and extreme it might be, whose goals are as lofty as literally changing the world will become irresistible to them.
Like with all the other major, global problems, trying to stop a few people here and there is scraping the surface of the problem. The only long-term fundamental change that can prevent the expansion of terrorist organization, is making the lives of ordinary people not just better economically but also more interesting, meaningful, and fulfilling.
As long as the cost of living rises and forces people to do not what they want and like, but what they are forced to do to pay rent, there will always be an incentive for the gutsiest and the most emotionally desperate among them to run away and often in a very extreme direction.
Wanting to matter is one of our most fundamental needs, only second to eating, sleeping, and sex. It’s only natural that once we feel we don’t matter, we will resort to extreme measures. Sometimes, it means running a marathon; at other times it means joining the army, or Peace Corps, or volunteering to fight Ebola in Liberia. Sometimes it means adopting a few children or donating to a charitable foundation. And sometimes it means joining an organization that seeks to rearrange the order of the world at any cost, however violent and merciless it might be.