By Grégoire Canlorbe and Howard Bloom | 20 May 2017
This interview was originally published, in two parts and in an abridged version, on November 28, 2016 and on May 18, 2017, on Gatestone Institute, a “non-partisan, not-for-profit international policy council and think tank based in New York City” with a specialization in strategy and defense issues.
There are only a handful of authors alive today whose ideas about geopolitics have won respect in both the world of Islam and in the West. One of those authors is Howard Bloom.
His first book, 1995’s The Lucifer Principle, predicted a nuclear Iran. And his 2000 book Global Brain, warned about a man named Osama bin Laden and a group called the Taliban. His new book The Muhammad Code: How a Desert Prophet Brought you ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram—or How Muhammad invented Jihad, is the story of how a desert prophet set us up for a nuclear Iran and an atomic successor to Osama.
Howard Bloom has debated one-one-one with senior officials from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza’s Hamas on Iran’s global Arab-language Alalam TV News Network. And Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, who doubles as the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, has named a racehorse after one of Bloom’s books.
Bloom’s second book Global Brain was the subject of an Office of the Secretary of Defense symposium in 2010, with participants from the State Department, the Energy Department, DARPA, IBM, and MIT. And the Department of Defense’s SENSIAC Military Sensing Symposium relied on Bloom to explain how to see the world through the eyes of Osama bin Laden.
Bloom’s 199 appearances on North America’s highest rated overnight talk radio show, Coast to Coast AM, a show that airs on 500 of the continent’s leading radio stations, have covered everything from the Gulf War and 9/11 to the Fort Hood shootings, the Arab Spring, and the Syrian civil war. In addition, Bloom has dissected headline issues over 40 times on Saudi Arabia’s KSA2-TV, Saudi Arabi’s Ekhbariya TV, and on Iran’s global English language PressTV.
Grégoire Canlorbe: In a market overwhelmed with books on Islam, what is unique about The Muhammad Code?
Howard Bloom: The Muhammad Code tells a story quite unknown in the West, namely the story of the only founder of a major religion ever to call himself “the Prophet of War” and to command 65 military campaigns. It tells the story of how that prophet set our ancestors in the West up for over 1,300 years of attack and enslavement, the story of how he laid the groundwork for the destruction of superpowers far more potent than the United States, and the story of how he started the longest-running world war in history. And most important, The Muhammad Code tells the story of how that prophet demands that his never-ending war be turned today against the ideals we hold dear in the West—human rights, gender equality, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of trade, entrepreneurship, pluralism, and democracy.
Millions of Muslims envision Islam as a religion of tolerance, pluralism, and peace. But there’s a blunt fact staring us in the face. What ISIS is doing is merely one attack in the world’s longest running world war—the war of “Mohammed the Conqueror” and the “knights” of Islam, as Bin Laden used to say, against every other civilization on the face of the planet. For Allah and His Messenger demand that Muslims be on top. They demand that Muslims allow others to live only if they take a role as second-class citizens in a purely Muslim state and pay the jizya, a tax designed to shame and humiliate. And they demand that Islam rule every inch of land on God’s own speck of dust—the planet Earth. So Muslims in the West can never be happy. At least not according to the standards of the Hadith and the Qur’an. Not according to the standards of al Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Iranian Islamic Revolution, and the Islamic State. That is, good Muslims cannot be happy until Shariah rules every land. And that includes your land and mine.
Since the beginning of history, we have been blinded by evil’s ability to don a selfless disguise. We have failed to see that our finest qualities are often the generators of the actions we most abhor—murder, torture, genocide and war. From our urge to pull together comes our tendency to tear each other apart. From our devotion to a higher good comes our propensity to the foulest atrocities. And from our commitment to ideals come our excuses to hate. Righteousness in Islam consists in following Muhammad’s footsteps. And those footsteps are violent, imperialist, colonialist, sadistic, and genocidal. But those who want to “annihilate” or to convert their fellow men in the West are not madmen. They’re rational and they’re something more—they’re idealists. They want to free us. They want to save you and me.
As they see it, you and I were made from a clot of blood by Allah, by God. We were given everything we have by Him. Since we are His creations, we will experience true justice and peace only if we live by His laws and are enlightened by His truths. What are those laws and truths? The ones that God himself gave to Mohammed in the seventh century. Islam is out to save you and me in an even more profound way. If we are tricked into following false laws, believing in false gods, and sticking to what Osama bin Laden used to call false “opinions, orders [and] theories”, we will go to an unspeakably painful hell. Our earthly life is but a brief interlude, a brief gift, a brief test to see if we can follow God’s path. But hell and heaven are forever.
— Howard Bloom (@HowardxBloom) September 10, 2017
Islamic militants want to save you so you can spend the time that really matters, the time that lasts the longest, the time from your death to the Day Of Judgement, in the luxurious upper rooms of paradise. Only if your eyes are opened to the legacy of Mohammed, only if you are persuaded to drop all other “opinions, orders, theories and religions” can Islam save you. What happens if you stubbornly refuse Islam? What happens if you cannot be won over to the light? You must be wiped out. You must be kept from corrupting the minds of others and dragging them down to hell with you.
When former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threw a press conference in September 2006 to report on his visit to Senegal, Cuba, Venezuela and the United Nations, he said, “And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism.” He’d also made the same word-for-word statement the previous year. It is very unlikely that Ahmadinejad was proposing a thought experiment. He was proposing a reality that Iran and its fellow Muslim states would be able to achieve with their coming weaponry. And with the existing 120 Islamic nuclear bombs of Pakistan. Bombs that could easily fall into the hands of ISIS.
Islam has called for the annihilation of the Jews for close to 1,400 years. But why eradicate those of us who live in America? My suspicion is this. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Abubakar Shekau, and Islamic militants from Iran to Indonesia and from Trinidad to Dearborn, Michigan, feel that Europe is eager to appease the Muslim world, eager to bow to Islam’s will. Europe can be saved. Europe can be brought into the fold of Islam. But America stubbornly insists on promoting its Satanic culture, a culture that will drag millions down to the pit of fire. Hit America with a few nuclear weapons, take out New York, Washington, and a handful of other American coastal cities, and those left in America will embrace Islam. What’s more, the weak-willed Europeans will finally see the truth and will accept second-rate status in something god promised Mohammed long ago—Islam’s global empire.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Besides your concern for the survival of the modern Western civilization, how did you come to have a properly scientific interest in Islam? Does it have anything to do with your personal history?
Howard Bloom: My introduction to Islamic culture came in 1962. My parents and grandparents were Zionists—people who wished ardently for the right of Jews to return to a homeland that appears in a flood of Hebrew prayers, the Promised Land, the Hebrew territory from which Jews were expelled over and over again and which the Jews stubbornly rebelled to retake in 66 AD, 133 AD, 351 AD, 438 AD, and 614 AD. Those Jews, my ancestors, battled the biggest imperialists of the day, the Romans. Rome periodically got fed up with Jewish freedom fighters and removed most of the Hebrews from the land Jews had inhabited since 1,200 BC. Rome scattered this remnant across the face of the Old World. Yet Jews insistently trickled back into what they considered their native land again, and by 636 AD, Arab historians say these Hebrew returnees and the Jews still on the land of Judea had built 41 cities in what is today called Palestine and Israel.
Then came an imperialist force that made the Romans look like pipsqueaks, a violent, militaristic, colonialist empire on its way to becoming the largest in the history of the planet—one of the few imperial powers still around in today’s world and still, like us, in a mood for conquest: the empire of Islam. Mohammed himself did not take kindly to Jews. Said Mohammed, “Whoever of the Jews falls into your hands, kill him.” And, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’” According to the 9th century Muslim historian Abu Al-Abbas Al-Baladhuri the armies of Islam wiped those 41 Jewish cities off the face of the map. For the next 1,312 years, Jews would end their springtime holiday Passover dinner with the phrase, “Next year in Jerusalem.”
Zionists like my grandparents and parents were proud of the fact that Jews had trickled back into Israel once again in the 19th and 20th century, had drained the malarial swamps, had run irrigation lines to the deserts, and had made this slice of miserable Turkish land one-sixth the size of New York State into a garden, a rich farmland. To my grandparents and parents, Zionism meant establishing a Jewish state and teaching our Arab brethren how to turn the vast and barren 2 billion acres under Arab control into a land with trees, groves, and valleys abundant in harvests.
In 1962, when I was 19 years old, my father offered to send me for a year to Israel, a country a mere fourteen years old. Israel had kibbutzim—one of the most radical forms of social experiment on the planet. These were socialist agricultural communities in which the land and goods were held in common by roughly 350 adults. The children were raised together by child-care experts, the meals were made in a communal kitchen and eaten in a communal dining hall, and the laundry was done by a communal laundry staff. As a result, when they finished their day of farming, parents could romp with their kids for hours, free from the worry of nagging their children to clean up their bedrooms, and free from the need to shop and cook a meal.
My dad’s offer sounded good. I wanted to see if 19th and 20th century thinkers were right, if by changing the structure of society you could change human nature and wipe away greed, gripes, and violence. The kibbutz was a laboratory of social change. So I said yes. To prep myself, I hitch-hiked from my hometown, Buffalo, New York, down to Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College, where I had friends, and spent a month in the library studying peoples of the Middle East like the Natufians of 11,000 years ago and the Nabataeans, a little-known culture who invented a system of terraced irrigation that allowed them to successfully farm the deserts of southern Israel and the surrounding lands from 312 BC to 105 AD.
Then one day, I had a shock. In the back of a library file of miscellaneous materials on the Middle East, I found several English-language pamphlets printed by the Arab League, a coalition of twelve leading Arab governments. The pamphlets tried to reach people like you and me with an extremely urgent clarification of historical errors. First off, the Holocaust, the mass murder of six million Jews by Germany’s Nazis, was a charade, a hoax. It never happened. Second, World War II had not been a confrontation started by the Germans in an effort to take over the world on behalf of a blond and blue-eyed master race. It had been started by Jews out to win the sympathy of the world and to establish the state of Israel. Third, Adolph Hitler had not been a Jew-hater. To the contrary. He’d been a Jewish puppet, a Jewish creation set in motion, once again, to achieve the establishment of a so-called Jewish homeland.
The villains behind these radical misunderstandings of history were those clever liars, those people out to dominate the world, those “sons of pigs and monkeys,” the Jews—my family and me. One of my aunts had managed to survive the Holocaust’s concentration camps. One of my cousins had lost her parents, her brothers, and her sisters, and had been saved by a Catholic farm family in Poland. The rest of my family in Europe, the Shebshelovitzes of Riga, Latvia, and the Wechelefskys of Belarus, had disappeared utterly. I was under the impression that the Holocaust had been real. Very real. But the Arab League wanted me—and you—to believe otherwise.
This was one of my first introductions to the fact that another culture can have a radically different system of thought, a radically different way of seeing the world. It was also my introduction to Islamic anti-Semitism. Where did this hatred of Jews come from? There are fewer Jews on the planet than the inhabitants of just one Muslim city, Cairo. Did the officials of the Arab League seriously imagine that a tribe so absurdly small could manipulate the mind of the German volk, the mass mind of the German people, and could plan and promote one of the biggest wars in history?
If I was to understand just how different the world looked through the lens of another culture, I might as well study a culture that made hatred of me a central preoccupation. For the next four decades I studied the instinctual underpinnings of war, creativity, and genocide. For the next four decades I studied mass behavior, from the mass behavior of quarks, nucleons, and galaxies to the mass behavior of reptiles, chimps, rats, birds, fish, bacteria, and human beings. And for the next four decades I used the culture of Islam as a test-case, a supreme living specimen in which to watch the instinctual forces of history at work. That’s how I came to write The Muhammad Code.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Your book invites the reader to pay attention to the achievements and the mentality of Mohammed, especially to understand the mass murders and the infringements of personal freedom perpetrated on behalf of Islamic fundamentalism in the twenty first century. Could you tell us more about the life of “the Holy Prophet”?
Howard Bloom: To understand men like Osama bin Laden, the iconic exemplar of long-distance urban guerrilla warfare; Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the George Washington and Thomas Jefferson of the Islamic Revolutionary Republic of Iran; Dr. A.Q. Khan, the father of The Islamic Bomb, the Pakistani nuclear warhead first tested in 1998; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran who, in 2006, went on national TV accompanied by dancers to announce that Iran had joined the club of nuclear nations; to understand the heads of groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Hamas; to understand the Islamic militants making headlines today and who’ll make headlines tomorrow and well beyond, you have to understand the key to their way of thinking. Like them, you have to understand the life of Mohammed.
Two hundred years after the fall of Rome, Mohammed was originally a merchant living in the desert town of Mecca, a bleak and isolated community on a caravan route over which passed camels carrying goods to far‑off, elegant cities like Damascus. At the age of twelve, when he was an apprentice to his uncle—a trader—Mohammed had made his first trip to cosmopolitan Syria to learn the export/import business. When he reached 25, Mohammed married a well‑to‑do woman of 40 and became a respectable, wealthy burgher, a man whose opinions were listened to. But all that changed when Mohammed reached a mid-life crisis at 39. He began to have visions. He’d been sitting in a cave in the mountains one day, he said, praying in solitude, when the angel Gabriel had appeared in a blinding light, grabbed him in a bear hug, and forced him to read a message from God. Since then, claimed Mohammed, he’d been functioning as God’s spokesman on earth.
Some modern scholars feel that Mohammed’s visions may have been the result of epileptic fits. The citizens of Mecca would have found the diagnosis believable. When Mohammed planted himself on streetcorners and declaimed the new truths that the angel Gabriel had communicated to him, his fellow Meccans were certain that this formerly upstanding, middle‑class man had gone mad. They mocked Mohammed or ignored him. One put a slimy camel foetus down his neck as he was praying. Another tried to strangle him. Only a few believed him. Among the believers were a handful of close relatives, one good friend, and a disconcerting number of slaves.
The citizens of Mecca were none too happy with the havoc Mohammed’s new notions wreaked on their households. Slaves who’d abandoned the tried and true religions stopped their household chores and ran off to pray and wash themselves at all kinds of strange hours. But Mohammed would not keep his visions to himself. When a plot was hatched to murder him, Mohammed fled. He sought refuge in a community where his views might be a bit more welcome, over 200 miles away in Medina, another town isolated in the desert along the caravan route. In Medina, Mohammed found more willing listeners. During the course of a few years, he was able to build a following large enough to dominate his adopted city’s politics.
The fledgling prophet was no man of peace. He consolidated his hold over Medina by ordering opponents assassinated. Then he masterminded a series of assaults on passing Meccan caravans and the armed escorts sent to protect them. When Meccans, fearful of Mohammed’s new power, attacked the outskirts of Medina, the “blessed one” led his faithful against the intruders and won. The holy man’s military success impressed some of the fierce tribes that wandered in the hills outside of town. They signed up with the new, battle‑tested religion. A few years later, the prophet marched his troops 200 miles to the Jewish town of Khaibar and conquered it. He killed all of Khaibar’s 900 men and carried off the women and children as slaves.
At last Mohammed was ready to take revenge for the indignities his former neighbors in Mecca had heaped on him. In 630 AD, eight years after he had fled, the prophet led an army of 10,000 followers back to his old home town. The Meccans were not particularly interested in being treated as the Jews had been the previous year. They gave up with scarcely a fight. Thanks to the heavily armed Islamic squadrons parading through the streets, Mohammed was able to convert Mecca’s inhabitants to the beliefs they had formerly scorned as the ravings of a madman. H.G. Wells, The Outline Of History, pp. 375‑376.
The sword of Islam was not sheathed once Mohammed’s birthplace had been conquered. The city’s wealthy traders and illiterate bedouins joined the army that had begun in Medina, and went out to conquer the world for their new belief. They were astonishingly successful. In short order, the legions of Islam overran the ancient empires of Persia, Mesopotamia and Egypt. During the next hundred years, the Mohammedan hordes spread across northern Africa, taking Algeria, Morocco and Libya. They invaded India—attacking the towns that had defied even the invincible Alexander the Great. They snipped off parts of Spain and nearly conquered France. They even faced the mighty forces of the Chinese army at Talas in central Asia.
Within a few generations of Mohammed’s death, these followers of a streetcorner ranter, these men from backwater towns and primitive desert tribes, had built an empire of awesome size. But their victories wouldn’t stop there. In coming centuries, Mohammedans would repeatedly make the Europeans tremble—eventually attacking even Vienna. They would seize African lands as far away as the Sudan and the Niger. They would convert Afghanistan, win over the Mongols, and spread their rule as far as the Pacific islands of Indonesia and the Philippines. The notions of a man who had claimed to meet an angel in a cave would spawn battles whose bloodshed would soak the earth for the next 1,400 years.
Grégoire Canlorbe: You conceive of Mohammed’s ideology—his complete system of values and beliefs—as a “meme.” Could you clarify this notion borrowed from Richard Dawkins?
Howard Bloom: In 1976, Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene rearranged the way that many of those who deal with animal and human behavior see the world around them. Dawkins came up with the idea of the “replicator.” The replicator is a clever and narcissistic megamolucule that’s able to make copies of itself. That avaricious megamolecule is the gene. And, said Dawkins, genes are greedy. They are selfish. Dawkins went further. He said that we tend to see ourselves and the creatures around us as the masters of our genetic endowment. But in reality, said Dawkins, we are merely servants. We are not using genes to achieve our own ends. Our genes are using us. The idea had been anticipated by the English poet and satirist Samuel Butler in the 17th century. Butler had quipped that, “A hen is just an egg’s way of making more eggs.”
If Dawkins is right, humans and their social groups originated as mere puppets, complex tools of tiny molecules. You and I were fashioned as if we were cranes, dump trucks and tanks, designed to be driven by a set of replicators. We are gatherers of raw materials operating at the behest of microscopic mini‑factories seated at the center of our cells. For genes are infected with an overweening ambition: their ultimate goal is to reproduce—and in the process, to overrun this world. Up to this point, Dawkins was summing up and simplifying the evolutionary biology emerging around him. Brilliantly. Deliciously and convincingly. Then Dawkins made a totally original contribution. He posited the existence of a complete newcomer to the field of auto-duplication and to the field of evolutionary biology. He posited a new replicator… a replicator that has no physical substance, and can not be studied under a microscope or kept in a jar. It’s the meme. The idea. The catchy idea.
Genes, said Dawkins, first made copies of themselves in primordial puddles. But memes copy themselves in the puddles of human minds. And the ones that are truly successful jump from one mind to another until they girdle the planet. Think of the pop song you loathe but can’t get out of your mind. The one driving millions of others insane. That’s a successful meme. So are Islam, Christianity, and relativity. The memes that count the most are the ones that assemble vast arrays of resources in startling new forms. They are the memes that construct social systems, from tribes to empires. Genes sit at the center of each cellular blob, dictating the construction of a multi‑billion‑celled body like you and me. As genes are to the individual organism, so memes are to the social organism, or superorganism, pulling together millions of individuals into a collective creature of awesome size. Memes stretch their tendrils through the fabric of each human brain, driving us to coagulate in the cooperative masses of family, tribe and nation.
The meme, like its predecessor the gene, is capable of assembling vast amounts of matter. Like the gene it can pull together products that the earth has never seen. Unlike the gene, the meme can manufacture forms of order than mere genetic stuff could never dream of. And finally there is something that Dawkins himself failed to see. Very often, it is the meme, not the gene, whose survival and expansion come first. We are willing to live and die for “something bigger than ourselves.” And that something is meme. But there is more. As hungry replicators eager to remold the world, ideas often turn their ultimate weapon—the superorganism—into a killing machine. And, contrary to the doctrines of some modern critics, they do not engage in this “hegemonic imperialism” only in the malevolent West.
The ravenous voice of the meme calls out to charismatic men and women. Disguised as revelation or inspiration, it has spoken to humans as diverse as Mohammed, Lenin, St. Paul, Moses, Hitler, Joan of Arc, Mahatma Ghandi, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, and the Ayatollah Khomeini. Its message varies. But under the many disguises is one imperative: gather a group together and awaken them with my words. Take all those who find themselves in the condition which I describe and weld them into a mighty force which will impose its dominion on a large swatch of the world.
The voice of the meme calls out to those on a lower level as well. To them, it dictates sacrifice. The converts have a sublime perception of truth and feel caught up in a frenzied oneness with some superior being whose power leaves them in awe. But the holy vision or lofty secular ideals that create this thrill may be merely the voice of the larger social beast calling for some ultimate contribution—demanding that a seventh century Mohammedan hurl himself against the defenses of a city far from his ancestral home; or that his descendant hijack a civil aircraft and crash it into an American office building.
An Islamic scholar who really lives up to the name: https://t.co/QzbEC8jkUl. If only his kind of enlightened Muslim predominated.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) September 11, 2017
Grégoire Canlorbe: The intellectual elite in the West is often reproached for believing blindly in the Neo-Darwinian view of evolution, according to which genes (instead of groups) are the true objects of “natural selection.” It implies, in particular, that humans and other social animals, far from sacrificing their own individual interests—survival and reproduction—for the sake of a mythical Leviathan, society, instead cooperate for their own selfish motives and, unwittingly, in the interest of their genes. How do you sum up the strenghts and limits of the Neo-Darwinian argument?
Howard Bloom: Our membership in a larger organism—and the fact we occasionally find ourselves expendable in that superorganism’s interests—is indeed not a theory very fashionable at the moment among academics. As I mentioned, current evolutionary theory, known technically as “Neo-Darwinism”, synthesized and popularized by Richard Dawkins, says that preservation of your genes is your first priority—preservation for yourself, your children, and for your remaining relatives. And self-sacrifice in the interest of the group, the very definition of altruism, doesn’t square with the notion of genes fighting for themselves no matter what. Underlying the notion of genetic selfishness is another, even more basic assumption, the theory of individual selection, according to which the “struggle for life” occurs between individuals—and only between individuals. In fact, the idea that this competition could occur between groups has been resoundingly dismissed since the publication of The Selfish Gene. It has been mocked and scorned.
Yet Dawkins and individual selectionists have had a very hard time dealing with the problem of altruism. August theorists like W.D. Hamilton and R.L. Trivers explained away the seemingly “altruistic” tendencies in humans and other species by generating a new mathematical system, the theory of kin selection, which said that individuals would only sacrifice their own interests in favor of others if the others in question were relatives, creatures who contained similar sets of genes. In other words, self-sacrifice was “selfless” only at first sight. In fact, it consisted of increasing the number of our genes in generations yet to come. Much of the enthusiasm over the theory of kin selection comes from W.D. Hamilton’s brilliant mathematical demonstration of how genetic relatedness might account for the cohesion of bees, wasps and other hymenoptera in a hive. However recent evidence shows that the 1964 notion doesn’t always mesh with the real world. Most of the females in tropical wasps become workers and give up on having offspring of their own, working not in the interests of their own good or of their kin, but in the interests of the group. Yet they do not show the high degree of family relationship predicted by Hamilton. And they do not show the high degree of genetic relatedness predicted by Hamilton’s math.
The selfish-gene theory of evolution is partly right. It is a powerful tool for cracking the mysteries of evolution and human behavior. But from Darwin himself to V.C. Wynne-Edwards, Robert Ardrey, and the late Edward. O. Wilson, its limitations have been attacked by a line of scientists with powerful minds. Those critics demonstrate that our biology often refuses to follow the paths that scientific assumptions about personal survival and kin selection would predict. We come complete at birth with an arsenal of survival instincts in the interest of our genes. But we’re also equipped with internal devices that can negate our existence. Those are our self‑destruct mechanisms—depression, anxiety and hopelessness. Not to mention the deactivation of our immune system when we are seriously discouraged. That depressed immune system invitates disease to come in and do its worst. And we are crippled by the stress hormones that flood our system—glucocorticoids. These hormones in short, sharp doses are energizers, emergency handlers. But in the long, never-ending doses that hit us when we are down, stress hormones destroy our health. Stress hormones are poisons generated within us—not by psychology alone, but by our biology.
According to selfish gene theory and the theory of individual selection, these self-damaging circuits should not exist. So why are they there? Why are self-destruct circuits present in animals of all kinds? A wide range of evidence—evidence you can find in my books The Lucifer Principle and Global Brain—indicates that these biological suicide circuits turn us into components of a mass IQ, neurons of a collective brain. And our fellow neurons in the collective brain, our fellow humans and thought partners, are not necessarily our kin. The self-destruct mechanisms are the tools our biology uses on behalf of a group IQ. How do self-damagers increase the collective intelligence? They turn down the resources and the influence of those of us who don’t have a handle on the problem of the moment. And they turn up the popularity, health, vigor, cash, and influence of individuals who seem to have a handle on things. They are tricks our body uses to turn us into modules in a neural net. A massively parallel-processed social learning machine—to repeat, a group IQ.
If preserving our genes were indeed our ruling force, as Richard Dawkins believes, then self-destruct mechanisms should not exist. Or, at best, their action should be limited to aiding those who carry genes nearly identical to our own. Even more damning, our acts of valor on the battlefield have generally nothing to do with an individualistic gene selfishly protecting a copy of itself. By the standards used by the selfish gene clique, and their colleagues in economics and the social sciences, the rational choice crew, the genes of kamikaze aviators in the closing stages of World War II were radically different. They did not show the degree of genetic relatedness demanded by Hamilton’s and Trivers’ mathematics. Their sacrifice couldn’t have been geared, even unconsciously, to increasing the odds that their personal genes or those of their near relatives would make it into the next generation. To many Americans, the kamikaze’s ultimate devotion to their emperor and the glory of Japan seems baffling, alien, something that could never happen here. But it has happened here. Patrick Henry was declaring his loyalty to the cause of his fellow revolutionaries when he said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” He was confessing that the social organism of which he was a part was more important than his genetic interests—his own survival and that of his genes.
— Quanta Magazine (@QuantaMagazine) September 4, 2017
Here is the bottom line. Evolution, either biological or cultural, is not just a competition between individuals. It is also a competition between groups. It is a race between the varieties of cooperation that grow up between solitary creatures—the unseen ties that bind those creatures together into a larger unit. Men and animals do not merely struggle to maintain their individual existence. They are part of social organisms that scramble for survival—and that work for mastery over other organisms of their kinds. And very often the interests of the group outweigh those of the individual, including his life and the posterity of his genes. What’s more, our savagery, not only as individuals but as groups, comes as an actual feature of our biological legacy. As E.O. Wilson writes in his 2012 book, The Social Conquest of Earth, “To form groups, drawing visceral comfort and pride from familiar fellowship, and to defend the group enthusiastically against rival groups—these are among the absolute universals of human nature and hence of culture.” “It can now be argued in the context of modern biology,” says Wilson, that “our bloody nature is ingrained because group-versus-group was a principal driving force that made us what we are.”
From military crusade to ethnic deportation, mass slaughter, and migratory invasion, culture alone is not responsible for group violence. In fact, it comes from something both sub and superhuman, something we share with gorillas, apes, fish and ants—a brutality that speaks to us through the animals in our brain. From bacteria colonies to human conglomerations, superorganisms are hungry creatures, attempting to break down the boundaries of their competitors, chew off chunks of their opponents’ substance and digest and redistribute it as part of themselves. In the world of humans, that struggle takes the form of a competition between ideologies, between worldviews, between group souls. When the Japanese aviators guide their planes to the American enemy, when the Crusaders of Christendom march off to challenge the Empire of Islam, or even when Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin gauge each other, the struggle is not a battle of men, but a battle of networks, learning-machines bound together by memes, testing and confronting their respective shapes, claiming supremacy over each other.
Finally, the intellectual elite in the USA and other countries would be well served to retain Richard Dawkins’ insights, admit their limitations, and move on. A whole portion of human experience becomes intelligible only in the light of the competition between groups. Each of us is sewn by invisible threads into the superorganism. We are cells in the beast of family, company and country. When we feel we are not necessary to the larger group, we begin to wither away. This apoptotic mechanism comes into play including when the genes of our friends, our work mates, or our platoon mates are not at all identical to ours. What’s more, on occasion we are willing to fight and to die for “something higher than ourselves.” The voice of our meme’s ambition tells us to pound our rivals into submission and force them into servitude—servitude to the cluster of ideas that sits at our culture’s core. And in many cases, human beings who willingly form squadrons, march off and fight to the death have no genes in common at all. In fact, during the American Civil War, relatives squaring off on opposite sides did not protect those who shared their genes, they threatened to destroy them.
In law, politics, and economics, individualism is a personal credo of great importance. I, for one, am a passionate believer in free speech, democracy, and capitalism. But to scientists, the obsession to place emphasis on the individual has been a chimera leading them down a dead‑end path. History, either natural or human, has never been the sole province of the selfish individual, essentially preoccupied with preserving his genes. For history is the playfield of the superorganism—and of its recent step-child, the meme. It is the environment of the mass murders that occur when one animal society tries to dominate another, the large‑scale savageries that arise when one human culture tries to impose its own system of values. On May 12, 2004, Osama Bin Laden explained how powerfully the 21st century’s wireless jihad was driven by Mohammed’s ideology. In a message to the worldwide community of Islam he wrote, “The main confrontation,” is “a religious and doctrinal one, not an economic or military one.” “The clash,” he said, “is in fact a clash of civilizations”—a clash of worldview-driven sociopolitical blocs.
Bin Laden also told us just how powerfully Mohammed’s memes powered him and what those memes mean for the Western civilization in a statement he addressed directly to us Americans, a statement most of us missed. “Why are we fighting and opposing you?” asked Osama. “What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you? The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam. The religion of the Unification of God; of freedom from associating partners with Him [Islamic code for Christianity], and rejection of this; of complete love of Him, the Exalted.” Then Osama commanded us to “the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict with the religion He sent down to His Prophet Muhammad.” In other words, Osama called for a worldwide end to Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, yoga, New Age beliefs, secularism, humanism, Darwinism, constitutions, and separation of Church and State. Only time will tell if our memes have the stick-to-it-iveness to survive or if Mohammed’s memes will take over your life and mine.
Grégoire Canlorbe: In your 1995 book, The Lucifer Principle, you introduced a new concept in geopolitical science—namely that of “the pecking order of nations.” Could you explain this concept? What new light does the pecking order of nations shed on Islamic civilization and its relations with the rest of the world?
Howard Bloom: Research on pecking orders—known technically as dominance hierarchies—has gone on now for roughly a hundred years. Schjelderup‑Ebbe, the naturalist who observed this “dominance hierarchy” in a Norwegian farmyard, called it the key to despotism. Schjelderup-Ebbe had discovered that in the world of chickens there is a social hierarchy, a division into aristocrats and commoners—a lower, middle and upper class. Pecking orders also exist among men, monkeys, lobsters, and lizards. And the struggle for position in a pecking order is not restricted to individuals. It also hits social groups.
Social dominance theory postulates societies maintain hierarchies by promoting beliefs that reinfrce dominant groups https://t.co/UGuu82OBnG
— Akin Unver (@AkinUnver) August 20, 2017
The pecking order of superorganisms helps explain why the danger of barbarians is real, and why “humanitarian” assumptions in foreign policy are sometimes suicidal. With our dream of eliminating competition, we try to wish the pecking order away. But the fact is that we will continue to live in pecking orders whether we like it or not. The brutal fact is that the more we opt out of competition, the lower our position is likely to be. That holds true in our lives as individuals. And it holds even more true in our life as a nation. As the popular expression puts it, “If you snooze, you lose.”
We all know that Rome was picked apart by peoples any respectable Roman could see were beneath his contempt. The barbarians didn’t shave. They wore dirty clothes. They were almost always drunk. Their living standard was one step above that of a mule. Their technology was laughable. They usually couldn’t read and write. And they certainly had no “culture.” What could these smelly primitives do? They could fight. The moral is simple. Never forget the pecking order’s surprises. Today’s superpower is tomorrow’s conquered state. Yesterday’s overlooked mob is often the ruler of tomorrow. Never underestimate the third world. Never be complacent about barbarians.
Some readers will be outraged by my presumption. How dare I regard any group as barbaric. What appalling ethnocentrism! There are no barbarians. There are simply cultures we haven’t taken the time to understand. But there are barbarians—people whose cultures glorify the act of murder, and elevate violence to a holy deed. These cultures portray the extinction of other human beings as a validation of manliness, a heroic gesture in the name of truth, or simply a good way to get ahead in the world. And traditional Islamic societies tend to be high on this list.
Progressive critics are right when they point out the West’s bloody track record. Our two World Wars in the 20th Century killed a combined total of roughly 70 million human beings. Our two great social experiments—the Marxist-Leninist transformation of Russia and the Marxist Revolution of Mao Zedong in China, a revolution based on the philosophy of a German Westerner—Karl Marx—killed another 80 million. With our atomic bombs, we Westerners wiped out two Japanese cities in less time than it takes to read this page. We warred to control the lives of others in Korea, Viet Nam, and in Algeria, where the French fought from 1954 to 1962 to quash a local War of Independence that cost between 350,000 and 1.5 million lives. Even our conventional weapons in World War II produced fire storms that sucked the oxygen out of the lungs of innocent civilians miles from the center of impact and roasted them alive as they suffocated and died.
Yet there’s another set of facts that progressives ignore. Every civilization that has appealed to our idealism has claimed it will lift the poor and the oppressed. But Western Civilization has done this best.
- If you’d been born in 1850, your expected lifespan would have been 37.5 years. If you’d been born in the West in 2000, your expected lifespan would have been 78.5 years. Chinese Emperors were willing to spend almost all of their wealth to achieve an extra four years of life. But Western Civilization has added another 40. Western civilization has more than doubled the human lifespan. No other civilization in the history of the world—not the Chinese, Egyptian, Muslim, Russian Marxist, or Roman—has ever pulled this off.
- If you’d been the poorest paid worker in London in 2012, a personal assistant, you would have earned what an entire tenement full of the poorest paid workers in London were paid in 1850. You would have earned what seven Irish dockworkers made.
- If you gave a bunch of average Western kids today a Stanford Binet IQ test from 1905, today’s kids would register as near geniuses. They’d register an average IQ of roughly 135. That’s an IQ jump of 35 points.
- If you were in an indigenous culture, one of those tribes that “lives in peace and harmony with nature,” your odds of dying a violent death at the hands of a fellow human being would be ten times what they are in the West today. Since 1650, Western Civilization has upped the level of peace by a factor of ten.
- If you were born in 2000, your height would have been four inches higher than if you’d been born in 1850.
If our great, great grandparents could give us an extra 40 years of life, we owe an extra 40 more to our great, great grandchildren. If our great, great grandparents could septuple the incomes of the poorest workers among us, surely we owe another septupling to our great great grandkids. If our great, great grandparents could up the average IQ by 35 points, surely we owe another 35 to our great great grandkids. And if our great, great grandparents could increase the peace in the world by a factor of ten, surely we owe our great, great grandkids ten times more. The only way to achieve this is to defend Western Civilization with all your heart and might.
Yes, like nearly every human tribe that’s ever existed, we have been violent, destructive, and greedy for land, wealth, prestige, and power. What is the difference, then, between Americans and Muslims? Why do I claim that they, not we, are the barbarians? First off, let me repeat, we have upped the peace in the world by a factor of ten. Then there’s the way we resolve political disputes. When Syria’s president from 1971 to 2000, Hafez al-Assad, seized power, he ran into violent resistance from Islamic fundamentalists—members of the Muslim Brotherhood. To overcome this opposition, Assad embarked on a mass extermination of over 20,000 fundamentalists in town of Hama. No American president since the end of the Civil War in 1865 has exterminated his political opponents to secure his position in office.
When Jordan’s moderate King Hussein was hosting a mass of Palestinian refugees in his country, he ran into trouble. In 1968 and 1969 the Palestinians kicked off over 500 violent “incidents,” attacking Jordanians, holding them up at gunpoint, kidnapping them, and reportedly killing Jordanian soldiers by hammering nine-inch nails into their heads. Then the Palestinians went a step farther and tried to assassinate their host, King Hussein, and seize control of Jordan’s government. Hussein solved this problem in 1970 with a military attack on the Palestinians that drove them out of the country and that killed over 10,000 in the process.
This murderous chain of events, known as “Black September,” was started by a highly-regarded Muslim politician, Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who would go on to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Nineteenth Century American leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Harrison handled similar problems by doing what Assad and Hussein did—exterminating Native American tribes or mounting internal wars against dissidents like the Mormons and the Southern Confederates. But it’s been over 110 years since a Yankee head of state has followed Hussein’s example and killed thousands to solve an internal conflict.
Muslim citizens of the Middle East are frequently encouraged by their leaders to take to the streets and to chant for the death of Americans, Israelis, and Jews. American students at military academies like West Point are also encouraged to shout “Kill! Kill! Kill!”—a chilling thought. But average civilians like you and me do not take to the streets screaming for the murder of others. Nor would we tolerate it if an organization arose that made such chants fashionable. There is a little bit of the barbarian in all of us. But some are far more barbarous than others. All cultures put moral and legal limits on violence. But some indulge in carnage more than others.
The cultures that curb violence feel that debate is better than battle—and that discourse is often preferable to the sword. They outlaw violence as a means of conflict resolution, and preach conciliation, commerce, and discussion. They measure political manhood by the ability to produce voluntary consent—and they look down on those who enforce order through strong-armed methods. Their memes generate democracy, pluralism, and capitalism. But in a world where some cultures elevate violence to a supreme virtue, the concern for peace can, alas, be fatal. It can degenerate into a blissful pacifism and make us forget that our enemies are real. It can blind us to the dark imperatives of the superorganismic pecking order—the pecking order of nations and civilizations.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Many people in the West reject the idea of a “clash of civilization” with Islam, on the grounds that this idea overlooks the complexity of human individuality. Muslims, they say, are free and independent beings, able to make their own decisions and to emancipate themselves from the yoke of their culture. What do you think of this common point of view?
Howard Bloom: We think of ourselves as rugged individuals, cocky Clint Eastwood‑like characters capable of making up our own minds, no matter what kind of group pressures might torpedo the less independent thoughts of people around us. But we are not Clint Eastwoods, nor were we meant to be. We are incidental microbits of a far larger beast, cells in the superorganism. And the social pack is a necessary nurturer. It gives us love and sustenance. Without its presence, our mind and body literally switch on an arsenal of interior devices for self-demolition, biological self-destruct mechanisms like depression, immune system nosedives, and cognitive fog. The Islamic superorganism provides the comfort of companionship and of an all-explaining worldview. And that’s one way the memes of Islam seduce humans into their power.
The fact is that there are many Muslims who long for pluralism, tolerance, and democracy. But they are torn between their membership in the ummah—the global community of Muslims—and the appeals of the Western way of life. They are torn between the cultural codes of the West and those they share with their fellow believers. And when it comes to standing up publicly, their loyalty is all too often to the Koran and Sharia Law. On October 17, 2004 in London, three highly articulate, intelligent, British-born Muslims were part of a London street mob that shouted, “Make way for Islam, we want Islam.” A CNN cameraman asked these gentlemen what their beef was. The middle class, western-dressed British Muslims answered that their version of Islam, “Is not just a hatred for America. It is a hatred for the whole of Western philosophy and Western civilization, freedom, democracy, human rights, international law, all of these fake concepts that have been passed to us and behind that we have been oppressed.”
There is more. Reformists and apostates are kept silent, in Muslim territories, by the threat of punishment from those who control the public spaces of Islam. They are silenced by Holy War enthusiasts, by militant nationalists, and by clerics. What’s more, in the battle between memes within the Islamic community, liberalism has always lost. The Islamic “liberals” have been muzzled for nearly 1.300 years. In 1592, the Muslim emperor Akbar tried to start a free speech movement in India. He promoted what he called Din-i Ilahi, a religion of tolerance toward Hindus, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, and Christians. He also promoted sulh-i kull, “universal peace.” Despite his wealth and power, Akbar attracted only nineteen supporters to his movement. And when Akbar died, Orthodox Muslims called his movement heretical and crushed it utterly.
The West has developed something that Islam never achieved—an internal self-correction mechanism, a protest industry. In the mid-1780s, the West began a mass movement to stop one of its own nightmarish crimes against humanity—slavery. A mere 20 years later, the anti-slavery movement began to achieve its purpose. The British Parliament passed The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act on March 25, 1807. Then, in the 1890s, the West developed a highly organized anti-Imperialist movement, a movement that eventually forced the nations of Europe to abandon almost all of the foreign lands they had taken. The West did all of this, in part, because of the Founder Effect. What’s the Founder Effect?
Ruth Benedict, one of the founding mothers of anthropology, says that every culture has a personality. Every culture suppresses some emotions and favors others. And in her classic book Patterns of Culture she also hints that a culture can be a reflection of its founder’s personality. If the founder is a frowning, angry man, the culture he establishes may impose frowns and fury for centuries to come. If the founder is a man of smiles and delight, the culture he molds is more likely to encourage youngsters and adults to smile and enjoy life. Plato is even more explicit than Benedict. He doesn’t just hint that the character of a society is determined by the personality of the man who leads it. Plato is outright convinced that the personality of the leader stamps itself on the society he leads. An ignorant leader can make a good people evil, he says. And a wise, intelligent leader can make an ordinary group of followers good.
Islam uses the Founder Effect to imprison itself. It dictates that there is just one prophet, and his name is Mohammed. There is just one pattern of personality that all must follow, Mohammed’s pattern. In the West we allow ourselves many founders, many role models. The most vividly-remembered prophet in our pantheon of founding figures was not a warrior and a political leader like Mohammed. He was a man who believed profoundly in ministering to the poor, in turning the other cheek, and in rendering to Caesar what was Caesar’s—in separation of church, faith, and state. Above all else, he believed in compassion. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy,” he said. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” The most savage things he ever did were to send a herd of pigs over a cliff and to curse a fig tree.
That founder was Jesus. And his example stood behind the activists who kicked off the anti-slavery movement in the 18th century, the anti-war movement in the mid-19th century, the anti-Imperialist movement in the late 19th century, and the human rights movement that began with these shocking words in 1776: “all men are created equal”. Paul Kengor, a political scientist and historian of the role of religion in the White House, claims that Jesus was a vivid figure in the imaginations of all 43 American presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. Jesus was also alive in the mind of Barack Obama. He was alive in these presidents’ guiding ideas and he was alive in their worldviews, in their weave of memes. No matter what crimes these men may have committed against humanity, Jesus was somewhere in their minds saying “no.”
The truth is that only one civilization has made its protestors a permanent fixture, a full-fledged industry. Just one civilization has made the protest industry a multigenerational institution. And that civilization is the civilization of the West. Islam has never developed an equivalent to the West’s protest, free-speech, peace, and human rights movements. And the supreme irony is that, once the West got a conscience, it used its troops to protect Arabs and Islam. In World War I, Lawrence of Arabia helped create the modern sense of Arab identity and solidarity. He united the bickering Arab tribes of the Hijaz, the stretch of sand, stone, and mountains in which Mohammed lived, so they could fight another group of Muslims who held them in an iron grip—the inheritors of the Ottoman Empire, the folks we call “the Turks.”
In 1992, the West mobilized its armies to defend European Muslims who were attacking and were under attack from genocidal neighbors. Bosnia’s future Muslim president, Alija Izetbegović had published a Manifesto in 1970 declaring that, “there can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions” and that “the Islamic movement must and can, take over political power as soon as it is morally and numerically so strong that it can not only destroy the existing non-Islamic power, but also to build up a new Islamic one.” The Serbians living in Bosnia accurately sensed that this was a declaration of war—a declaration of jihad. We ignored Izetbegović’s writings and supported him. Yes, we supported a Muslim community led by a man with extremist tendencies.
Grégoire Canlorbe: You’ve mentioned that most Muslims, in their publicly stated positions, prove loyal to Mohammed and his legacy. It also seems that a vast number of Muslims publicly condemn the barbaric acts perpetrated on behalf of Islam, while blaming the world’s problems on an American-Zionist conspiracy. How do you explain this phenomenon?
Howard Bloom: When World War II was at its peak, the American Jewish Committee commissioned a psychological research project to determine the causes of the fascist horrors. Under this program, a team of behavioral scientists at the University of California at Berkeley developed a test to probe for the kind of tendencies that may have helped a Hitler or Mussolini gain power. And that test—called the F (for fascism) scale—became one of the most widely used research tools in the history of modern psychology. Literally thousands of studies revealed a profile of what the researchers called “the authoritarian personality.” Generally, this was an individual raised in a strict home where the father was the clear holder of power. The parents had shown a stern disapproval of hostile outbursts on the part of their children. They had also rigidly prohibited the acknowledgement of any form of sexuality.
Yet hostility and sexuality are both unavoidable aspects of human life. Through a technique that Freudians call projection, the authoritarian personalities excluded their own aggression and sexuality from their consciousness. Aggression and sexuality, they were convinced, boiled up only in the minds of some enemy. And here’s the real trick. The authoritarians thought frequently of that enemy and his loathsome preoccupation with lechery and hate. They could actually feel the smarmy sexual sensations and livid hostility that coursed through their enemies’ veins. They could sense this so vividly because they had projected their own set of forbidden emotions onto a faceless opponent like a ventriloquist projecting his voice into the mouth of a dummy. By seeing their unacceptable impulses in some unsuspecting outsider, they managed to dwell on those impulses and deny them at the same time. Does this explain why the terrorists who killed 130 in Paris in November 2015 called the city they were assaulting “the capital of prostitution and obscenity?”
Projection is a social glue. It helps unite superorganisms, including the Islamic superorganism. In the minds of many Muslims, only believers in Islam are true champions of peace and justice. They view westerners—and Americans in particular—as the ultimate destructive force, the civilization that indulged in two world wars and capped that carnage with the creation of the atomic bomb. To most Muslims, we are the people whose hands are perpetually stained with blood. The same projection mechanism helps to explain the special role Jews have played in Islamic history. Islam’s anti-Semitism did not begin with the founding of modern Israel in 1948. It started with Mohammed. And since Mohammed Muslims have projected on Jews their own lust for blood and their own intolerant and cruel manners. There is more. Every gang has its leader, its bully, its joker, and its nerd. And the same is true in the pecking order of societies.
Every pecking order needs its scapegoats, its victims, its easy targets. It needs its nerds because they’re vital to social solidarity to keeping the gang from tearing itself apart when it runs into tough sledding. And they’re vital to something equally important, to the group’s confidence—to its sense that it can whup the stuffing out of others. Jews have been Islam’s nerds, its easy targets and one of its key sources of bonding, cohesion, and social glue, for 1.400 years. And they’ve been the cornerstone of one of Islam’s most potent military strategies: using atrocities against Jews to attract allies and, more important, to terrify bigger targets—non-Jewish targets—into surrendering without a fight.
In 629 AD, Mohammed and his warriors had attacked and defeated the Jews of three tribes: the Jews of the Banu Qaynuqa, the Jews of the Banu Nadir, and the Jews of the Banu Quraiza. Then Mohammed had inflicted war crimes on these three Jewish tribes. For two tribes, he had commanded ethnic expulsion. In addtion Mohammed had stolen these tribes’ wealth and their property. And in the case of the Banu Quraiza, Mohammed had perpetrated another war crime: genocide. He had every male of the tribe old enough to have public hair beheaded in front of him in the market place of his headquarters, the town of Medina. Then he had distributed the women of the Banu Quraiza as sex slaves, being careful to take the most beautiful and highest ranking as a bride for himself.
Now, thanks to their lucrative victories over the Jews of the Banu Qaynuqa, over the Jews of the Banu Nadir, and over the Jews of the Banu Quraiza, the Muslims were wealthy—wealthy enough to grow ambitious and to make their superorganism and the memes that drove it voracious. As one of Mohammed’s Islamic biographers puts it, after the “destruction of the [Jewish] Banu Qurayzah… All Arab tribes admired Muslim power, dominion, and the new prestige of Muhammad as sovereign of Madinah.” Haykal explains that after the beheading of the men of the Banu Quraiza, Mohammed was at a turning point. Islam’s next challenge was to fight its way up the pecking order of nations. “The Islamic message,” Haykal says, “was not meant for Madinah alone, but for the whole of mankind. The Prophet and his companions still faced the task of preparing for the greater task ahead, namely bringing the word of God to the wide world….”
Thanks to his easy wins over the Jews, Mohammed had more than treasures and sex slaves. He also had the confidence to make his first move toward establishing a continent-swallowing mega-empire. Mohammed sent letters to half a dozen of the major world leaders of his day. The list of these you-have-won-the-lottery recipients included six superpower sovereigns—the Persian Emperor Chosroes II, the Eastern Roman emperor Hercules (Heracles), the Negus of Abyssinia, the governor of Egypt, the Governor of Syria, and the ruler of Bahrain. By sending his letter to a head of state like the Byzantine Emperor Hercules, Mohammed demonstrated an audacity that Haykal calls “amazing”. When Hercules was puzzled and asked where Mohammed’s letter had come from, he was told that it was from a people too backward for Hercules to bother his head about: “from the Arabs, people of sheep and camels”. It had come from insignificant barbarians. But never underrate barbarians.
- In 634 AD, a mere two years after the Prophet breathed his last, the armies of Islam conquered Iraq. In 637 AD, five years after Mohammed’s death, the Muslim forces toppled the emperor of Persia, sacked the Persian capital, Ctesiphon (the home base of Nestorian Christianity), and took over the massive Persian Empire. That same year, the desert Arabs of Islam snatched the city most holy to Jews and Christians, Jerusalem. In 640 AD, the Muslims conquered Syria outright and began their penetration of the Sudan in Africa. In 642 AD, a mere ten years after Mohammed’s death, the Muslim armies conquered Egypt, began to take Afghanistan, and started sending delegations to China, winning Chinese converts, and building China’s first mosque. In 674 AD, Islam established a colony in a place so far away that no previous Middle Eastern or European conqueror had even tried to add it to his package of real-estate—the Pacific Rim island of Sumatra—5,000 miles east of Mecca.
- This totally-against-the-odds conquest of an immense territory was just the beginning. From 642 to 705 AD, Islam grabbed the entire Mediterranean coast of Africa—Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. In Africa, the wives of indigenous kings killed themselves so that they wouldn’t become sex toys—slave girls—in the hands of the Muslim invaders. One of these queens, the Western African Sudanese ruler Dahia-Al Kahina, a Jew, either committed suicide or died in battle, depending on which account you read, in 705 AD after leading her troops against the Arabs and driving the growing hordes of Allah north to Tripolitania.
- From 711 to 714 AD, the Islamic governor of Iraq, al-Hajjaj bin Yousef, a man who called himself “The Bone Crusher”, went on a campaign to expand the empire of Islam even further. He ordered his generals to conquer a breathtaking swath of territory—Central Asia’s Turkestan (including today’s Chinese province of Xinjiang), swatches of India, all of Spain, and to tighten control of North Africa. The armies sent by “The Bone Crusher” into Europe were led by an ally newly won over to Islam, a newly converted Berber slave, Tarik ibn Ziyad. Ziyad’s troops crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, toppled the Christian King of Spain—the Visigoth Roderick—seized his entire kingdom, then advanced into Southern France.
- In the long run, the forces of Islam conquered or seduced the biggest empire in world history, an empire eleven times the size of the conquests of Alexander the Great, five times the size of the Roman Empire, and seven times the size of the United States. Yes, Islam seized a territory the size of five Roman Empires. And Islam continues to hold most of these lands in its grip today. That’s a ravenous superorganism climbing the hierarchy of nations—and going for the top. That’s the Founder Effect. That’s the legacy of a leader who commanded 65 military campaigns, led 27 of them, idealized killing unbelievers, and preached the violent takeover of the entire earth.
In the face of this kind of juggernaut, it is vital that societies, which cherish tolerance, pluralism, and “human rights,” not mistakenly imagine all other societies to be equal. It is imperative that we not allow our position in the pecking order of nations to slip—that we not cave in to the onrush of barbarians. And that’s why a monster like Donald Trump sometimes understands the Islamic threat far more than a good-hearted, brilliant man like Bernie Sanders. It is not easy for me to admit this. I’m a left-wing Jew and a long-time Democrat. Donald Trump is, to me, a delusional and narcissistic President—not a man worthy of leadership. Yet we have to pray that Trump proves able to make the positive change that he promised in foreign policy—to destroy ISIS, and to rein in Muslim Brotherhood. And we have to hope that he’s capable of something he didn’t promise: to defeat militant Islam and to champion a reformed and secularized Islam.
In speaking about the dangers I believe that Islam poses to Western Civilization I am taking a chance on doing the very thing I warn against—using an enemy in order to bring together those of us who believe in the Western civilization. I am in danger of demonizing Islam’s warriors and using their menace to rally those who believe in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of trade, entrepreneurship, capitalism, gender equality, and the rule of law. I’m calling forth the very superorganismic instincts whose workings I’ve labored so hard to reveal. But I believe with my very cells and marrow that if we do not rally on behalf of the survival of our civilization, our Western rights and freedoms could easily disappear.
Our human rights and the meme team that supports them have been around for a mere 225 years. Islam has been around over six times as long. That’s a difference of over a thousand years! And the worldwide superorganism of Islam—its empire—has covered more territory than any other imperium in history, has held that territory for over 1.100 years, and has hooked itself into the minds of its conquered peoples with a permanence our memes have never achieved—despite the worldwide stretch of CNN and MTV. Once again, Donald Trump is a monster in my eyes. But you sometimes need a monster to counter another monster. And in his ten years as a militant and a mass murderer, Mohammed was a monster.
President Trump Speech in Saudi Arabia. May 21, 2017.
Grégoire Canlorbe: You famously dissected the universal principles of collective intelligence, or “group IQ,” as expressed in your 2001 book Global Brain. In this theoretical framework, how do you sum up the strenghts and weaknesses of Islam’s group IQ?
Howard Bloom: Society is not only a superorganism that uses people shamelessly. It’s a supercomputer that wires you and me together as information processors. It’s a learning machine that turns us into nodes, modules, neurons in a group brain. And you’re right, in my book Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, I explain that a complex adaptive system, a collective intelligence, a social learning machine, operates on five principles, principles that Dr. Don Beck, the author of Spiral Dynamics calls “the Bloom Pentad.” Those five elements keep a mass mind—a learning machine, a group IQ, an Emergent Collective Intelligence—up and running. The five are: (1) conformity enforcers; (2) diversity generators; (3) inner-judges; (4) resource shifters; and (5) intergroup tournaments.
Conformity enforcers stamp enough cookie cutter similarities into the members of a group to give it an identity, to unify it when it’s pelted by adversity, to make sure its members speak a common language, and to pull the crowd together in efforts sometimes so vast that no single contributor can see the larger scheme in its entirety. On the other hand, diversity generators spawn variety. They give the superorganism options, alternative ways of dealing with its problems. They also give the superorganism its butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, and kings—the differentiated components of a superorganism: the feet, legs, hands, shoulders and head a superorganism needs if it’s to succeed.
Next come inner-judges. Inner-judges are biological built-ins that continually take our measure, rewarding us when our contribution seems to be of value and punishing us when our guesswork proves unwelcome or way off the mark. Fourth are resource shifters. Resource shifters range from social systems to mass emotions, but all have one thing in common—they shunt riches, admiration, and influence to learning-machine members who cruise through challenges and give folks what they want. Meanwhile resource shifters cast individuals who can’t get a handle on what’s going on into some equivalent of pennilessness and unpopularity. Jesus captured the resource shifters’ algorithm—its working rule—when he said, “to he who hath it shall be given; from he who hath not, even what he hath shall be taken away.”
The superorganism’s collective intelligence is not always brilliant. But nature has a way to make sure the group IQ is as smart as can be. That method is testing and, more precisely, testing in competitions between superorganisms—not to mention testing in competitions between the groups inside a society, between movements and sub-cultures. Which is where intergroup tournaments come in. Intergroup tournaments are gang wars ranging from the Lilliputian to the gargantuan, from friendly baseball games and corporate competition to terrorist raids, world wars, and nuclear confrontation. Those face-offs force each collective intelligence, each group brain, to churn out innovations for the fun of winning or for sheer survival’s sake. The standoff between superorganisms—whether the peaceful rivalry of commerce or the violent confrontation of war—has as its end product pecking orders.
Although diversity generators are essential, taking them too far can destroy a civil culture. For example, the form of diversity generation we call multi-culturalism may be demonizing our very civilization. That’s healthy in moderation. But any good thing in excess is a poison. And multi-culturalism may have turned into a conformity enforcer that endangers us. Life, as Claude Lévi-Strauss knew so well, is a matter of avoiding the extremes. As Lévi-Strauss said in 1988, “In each civilization there are optimums of openness and closure, between isolation and communication, which correspond to the most fertile periods in their history.”
Similarly, conformity enforcers are necessities, but they can become mass-mind throttlers when they grab hold totally. As history shows, an overdose of conformity enforcement can paralyze a mass mind and to put the superorganism it controls out of business. Thanks to the pecking order and to intergroup tournaments, other groups will eat the conformity-bound social beast’s socks, driving it to the bottom of the pecking order, beating it in peaceful competition, whomping it in war, and swallowing the remains of the defeated superorganism whole. Not only does this make sense, but it’s supported by the work of authoritative complex adaptive systems researchers like the Santa Fe Institute’s Stuart Kauffman, who calls conformity-enforced paralysis “the Stalinist regime.”
We all know what happened to the Leninist-Stalinist system Russia adopted in 1917 and refined under Stalin in 1934. In 1989, after 62 years of the Leninist-Stalinist experiment, the USSR and its symbol, the Berlin Wall fell. Russia and its former satellites decided to try a different approach—a free-market system with a semblance of democracy. The system with an overdose of conformity-enforcement collapsed. Islamic civilization therefore poses a puzzle. For Islam has proven that a Stalinist Regime is not always a failure. It has demonstrated that an overdose of conformity enforcement is not always a poison.
In fact, it seems that ruthless conformity is a winning strategy when a new meme produces a military culture, an imperialistic culture, what anthropologist Raymond Kelly calls “an expansionist” culture, a culture that specializes in conquest. Military victory requires heavy-duty conformity enforcement. It requires discipline, obedience, and daily practice at working in synch with your fellow fighters. When men make choreographed muscular movements together over and over again, it gives them an enduring bond. It pulls them together tightly as components in a cohesive social group, cells in a superorganism. The historian William McNeill, in his book Keeping Together in Time: Dance and Drill in Human History, calls this social glue “muscular bonding.”
Islam’s five group-prayers a day are one of the Five Pillars of Islam. They are also among Mohammed’s cleverest meme-hooks, his most innovative conformity enforcers. Five times a day, thirty-five times a week, 1.825 times a year, men are required to gather in ranks—like ranks of warriors—and to show their absolute submission to Mohammed’s revelations. “Submission,” is one of the key meanings of the word “Islam”. The faithful line up in rows, spread their prayer rugs, get down on their knees, and move as a single unit, pressing their foreheads to the ground, and bowing in unison to just one place, Mecca. And Muslims in prayer are not just a disciplined unit isolated in a single mosque. They are following a central timetable whose orders circle the planet. Today that central timetable is available on your smart phone as an app.
In many societies, ritual is practice for vital social activities. Polynesian men, for example, perform dance rituals in which they make movements that ape the coordinated paddling they have to do when taking their sleek boats out on the open sea to fish. Anthropologist Mary Douglas believes that almost all the rituals of religion are exercises for the social reflexes that keep a culture together, practice for what my book The Genius of the Beast calls the “infrastructure of habit”—like the practice for obedience to bureaucratic authority that Douglas feels underlies Catholic ritual. Are Islamic prayer rituals, too, practice sessions for the synchronized movements of soldiers in battle, soldiers all focused on one central goal—and coordinated across the globe?
In other words, do these prayers prepare men for the massively parallel processed coordination of peace and war, including modern urban guerrilla war, war with no central commander but with the centering and guidance of a powerful meme team, the form of warfare that has revealed itself in the Islamic “terrorism” of the early 21st century? Here’s a clue that the answer may be yes. Your prayers are most acceptable to Allah if you gather in a prayer group called a jama’ah, a unity, a community, or a party, a form of organization that shows up often in terrorist groups like the New-York-and-Pakistan-based Jamaat-ul-Fuqra and the Asian-Pacific Jemaah Islamiyah.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Finally, when it comes to the contemporary pecking order, that of the globalized era, which group will come out on top? Who will win the competition between the Islamic world, the USA, Russia, and China? Which superorganism will be most blessed by the rules of the learning machine?
Howard Bloom: A radically new human environment has appeared in the 21st century—as you said, a globalized environment, an environment radically transformed by computers, by networking, by upgrades in freight transportation, and by the emergence of something we’ll get into in a few seconds—mega-markets and mega-organisms, superorganisms whose cells are smaller superorganisms. Six pecking order players, six mega-sized superorganisms, are trying to grab top spot in this digitally-and-demographically upscaled new land of risk and opportunity, in this barnyard shaken by new possibilities. The competitors for lead position at the trough are Europe, the United States, Islam, Russia, India, and China.
The West coheres around a set of values—of memes, of ideas—that it sees as necessary imperatives for all of the humans on this globe. These include democracy, freedom of speech, gender equality, multi-cultural tolerance, and what we call “human rights.” We Westerners have attempted to spread these memes—these values—through the International Court of Justice, through UN Peacekeepers, and through Non-Governmental Organizations, organizations out to heal the wounds of an injured world. And we’ve attempted to spread our worldview through one of our most heavily disguised forms of cultural imperialism—our idealism—our planet-girdling anti-globalist, anti-capitalist, Occupy Wall Street, and Resist movements.
These organizations use smart phones, iPads, wireless connectivity, and laptops to weave formerly isolated peoples into a seven-continent struggle for social-justice and for eco-consciousness, a struggle for a global Gaian paradise conceived and led by Westerners. Even our conservatives are trying to spread their free-market philosophy globally via organizations like the Economic Freedom Network and the Ayn Rand Institute’s Ayn Rand Institute Europe. Then there’s Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Pentecostalism, Anglicanism, and Evangelical Christianity, five other carriers of Western values. All are spreading explosively in lands as far apart as South America, Africa, and Asia, including Russia and China.
Meanwhile we are witnessing the emergence of a new form of memetic struggle—a struggle between superorganisms more massive than any social structures the human species has ever seen. The populations of Islam, China, and India are each bigger than the entire human population on this planet in 1850. In that peak year of the Industrial Revolution, there were 1.2 billion Homo sapiens spreading their genes and their ideas, and working hard to make riches from the minerals, plants, and animals on this globe. In 2012, the number of Muslims alone trumped that figure dramatically. It was 1.6 billion. In 2013, the number of Chinese was also bigger than the entire population of humans on this planet in 1850. It was 1.357 billion. And the number of Westerners was a paltry billion. But even that was more than the total human population of the planet in 1700.
When there are shakeups in a barnyard pecking order, that’s when upstarts can step in and take over. When every chicken knows her place in the pecking order and puts up with her rank, no matter how lowly, there is farm-yard peace. But when a new chicken is tossed into the barnyard and pecking-order positions are up for grabs, all hell breaks loose. The same thing happens when the geopolitical environment changes. Power vacuums open. Pecking order positions are up for grabs. Islam’s response to the shift from superpowers to megapowers has been what we call “terrorism.” That word radically under-rates Islamic militants’ true aim—a thrust for a revival of the pecking order supremacy that Islam held from roughly 637 AD to 1827—a renewal of the global battle between Dar el Harb and Dar el Islam.
Then there’s what China has been up to in the Western Hemisphere. China’s quietly moved to spread its influence in a way that defies its old rules of empire. Those ancient ways of doing things involved expanding by conquering the nations conveniently located on the Chinese borders. When it came to distant foreigners, the Chinese emperors didn’t leave their palaces. They required the pitiful barbarians to send emissaries who arrived in the Chinese court bowing, scraping, and bearing gifts. But in 2001 Chinese president Jiang Zemin did something utterly unprecedented—something utterly un-Chinese.
He left Beijing and went on an international tour, visiting six Latin American nations, signing cooperation agreements, and calling “on China and Latin America” to work toward building what he called “a new international order”, an order designed “as a counterbalance to what it [China] views as overwhelming American hegemony.” Three years later, in November, 2004, Chinese President Hu Jintao followed up Jian Zemin’s performance by flying to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Cuba and signing a total of 39 strategic partnership and bilateral cooperation agreements—in the Western hemisphere, the hemisphere that America had declared strictly its own in the Monroe Doctrine.
Then China got even more cheeky. It convinced the European Union to enter a strategic partnership that would include “cooperation in banking and international finance, energy and raw materials, anti-terror and nuclear nonproliferation, [and] technology transfer.” By 2016, the EU website on the Strategic Partnership explained that “the 1985 EU-China trade and cooperation agreement, has grown to include foreign affairs, security matters and international challenges such as climate change and global economy governance.” The website explained that “The EU is… China’s biggest trading partner.” And the Strategic Partnership issued an EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation.
That 2020 Strategic Agenda revealed that, “creation of the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2003 has deepened and broadened cooperation in a wide range of areas, and the EU and China have become highly interdependent as a result.” China thus appeared to be quietly positioning itself for the day when Islam and the United States would bleed each other into exhaustion, allowing the growing Chinese mega-power to step in and become the new hegemon, the new alpha superorganism in the global pecking order, the master of the “New International Order” that Jiang Zemin spoke of, the keeper of a new planetary peace.
China’s economy is growing faster than any in the history of mankind, and the rules of the learning machine often favor economic leaders. “He who gets, gets more,” say social learning machine rules, and, “modules the system finds useful gain strength, influence, and allies.” All this promises to put China at the head of the flock. On the other hand, the economies of most of the world’s 57 Islamic nations are doing very poorly, especially the Muslim economies in the Middle East. Only oil bolsters the wealth of Islam’s petrocrats—a fact that’s true for half-Muslim Nigeria, for fully-Muslim Malaysia, for Muslim Saudi Arabia, and for Muslim Iran. So Islam’s future prospects look poor. After all, learning machine rules say that, “He who loses is left out. Modules that prove useless grow weak, become isolated, or die.”
However Islam has two advantages in the global shoving-match for top position. Advantage number one: Islam’s emphasis on the word “one”: one God, one prophet, and, most important, one government, one law code, and one unified military system. Yes, one government, one global government. That global government is the longed-for caliphate. And it comes along at a time when even some Westerners long for a one-world government. The caliphate is not just a Muslim fantasy. It existed for 1,292 years, moving from Damascus to Baghdad to Egypt to Spain, and, finally, to Istanbul, the captured Christian city of Constantinople.
The caliphs lived in opulence, had enormous harems, and had the last word on the life or death of every citizen, on the life and death of what some caliphs called every “slave,” of their empire. However the empire of Islam was so immense that the caliphs were seldom able to govern it all. The caliphs also couldn’t stop the Muslim world’s internal battles, battles between leaders, tribes, sects, dynasties, and clans for pecking order supremacy. Now with modern technology, Islam’s dream of ruling the world from one central city may finally be achievable. It may stand a chance of becoming reality.
Islam is the only superorganism with a meme team—a worldview and a “total system of life”—that was built for global rule by its founder. Islam’s second advantage is the eagerness of its militants to solve political disputes with violence. Violence is a potent force multiplier, especially in a world peppered with democratic societies. Hitler never got more than 37.3 percent of the vote in Germany. Nearly 63 percent of Germans voted against him. Why did the fuehrer with the Charlie Chaplin mustache come out on top? Brute force. Violence. Hitler’s brown shirts and storm troopers beat people in the streets, broke into their homes, dragged them to “torture cellars,” and were more than willing to kill.
When Japan’s militant right wingers wanted to take over their country in 1936, they simply murdered four of the duly elected heads of Japan’s democratic government, tried to assassinate the prime minister but accidentally killed his brother instead, and were able to make policy for the next nine years. No campaigning and electioneering necessary. Again, violence is a force multiplier. But Islam takes political violence a step beyond that of the Japanese militarists and of Adolph Hitler. The chant among young Muslim jihadists is this: “We love death more than you love life.” Why? Because those who die killing unbelievers have an express ticket to fame, sex, and paradise. The result: suicide bombers. A weapon Jihadists brag that unbelievers simply cannot equal.
What’s more, a hungry Muslim superorganism may well use nuclear tools to expand, to achieve “victory” over what Osama bin Laden used to call “the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind”—our civilization. Surely the jihadis would be deterred by the fact that any nuclear attack on the America could bring a retaliatory attack that could erase cities like Tehran or Karachi from the face of the map. No problem, say some Muslims. “Allah will know his own”. In other words, death-by-nuke would do the citizens of Tehran and Karachi a favor. It would give every believing Muslim in Tehran or Karachi an express trip to paradise.
A 21st century jihadist, Seif Al-Din Al-Ansari, writing in al-Qaeda’s now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t online magazine, Al-Ansar, declared in 2002 that, “The elements of the collapse of Western civilization are proliferating… In spite of all the characteristics of power at their command, these infidel states are no more than a handful of creatures on the speck of dust called Planet Earth… Allah told us of the certainty of the annihilation of the infidels… by means of the Muslim group, which would, in accordance with the Islamic commandment… torture them… The question now on the agenda is, how is the torture Allah wants done at our hands to be carried out?” The answer to that question may be easy now that Allah has given Islam’s warriors what the Qur’an calls “the fire whose fuel is Men and Stones”—the fire of nuclear weaponry.
Remember, thanks to globalization, we are undergoing an unprecedented evolutionary quantum leap. The hunger of meme-teams and the gluttony of superorganisms is shifting from the massive multi-continentalism of Islam’s first 1,238 years and of Britain’s 19th century Victorian empire to meme-driven ambitions aimed at domination of the planet. And whether China succeeds in its ambition to make this the Chinese Century or not, one thing is certain. If the battle of the global mega-organisms turns to all-out violence, to the sort of no-holds-barred mass murder of early Islam’s conquests or to the bloodshed of the Western World’s massively industrialized killing in World War I and World War II, the consequences will be catastrophic. In an age when nuclear weapons have gone retail, Islam’s global jihad and America’s counter-jihad could destroy humanity.
Reprinted with permission from the author.
Grégoire Canlorbe, a political and scientific journalist, has conducted numerous interviews for journals such as Man and the Economy, founded by Nobel-Prize winning economist Ronald Coase, Arguments, and Agefi Magazine; and think tanks such as Gatestone Institute and Mises Institute. He has a few articles and appearances on radio, as a political analyst, to his credit. And he collaborates with Howard Bloom on a conversation book, dealing with mass behaviour in the universe, from atoms to humans. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.facebook.com/gregoire.canlorbe
Howard Bloom has been called “next in a lineage of seminal thinkers that includes Newton, Darwin, Einstein, [and] Freud” by Britain’s Channel4 TV, “the next Stephen Hawking” by Gear Magazine, and “The Buckminster Fuller and Arthur C. Clarke of the new millennium” by Buckminster Fuller’s archivist. Bloom is the author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History (“mesmerizing” – The Washington Post), Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century (“reassuring and sobering” – The New Yorker), The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism (“Impressive, stimulating, and tremendously enjoyable.” James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic), The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates (“Bloom’s argument will rock your world.” Barbara Ehrenreich), How I Accidentally Started the Sixties (“a monumental, epic, glorious literary achievement.” Timothy Leary), and The Muhammad Code: How a Desert Prophet Gave You ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram – or How Muhammad Invented Jihad (“a terrifying book… the best book I’ve read on Islam,” David Swindle, PJ Media).
Bloom explains that his field is “mass behaviour, from the mass behaviour of quarks to the mass behaviour of human beings.” That specialisation gives him a wide scope. His scientific work has been published in: arxiv.org, the leading pre-print site in advanced theoretical physics and mathematics; PhysicaPlus, another physics journal; Across Species Comparisons and Psychopathology; New Ideas in Psychology; The Journal of Space Philosophy; and in the book series: Research in Biopolitics. In 2005, Bloom lectured an international conference of quantum physicists in Moscow – Quantum Informatics 2006 – on why everything they know about Schrodinger’s Equation is wrong, and the concepts Bloom introduced were later used in a book proposing a new approach to quantum physics, Constructive Physics, by Moscow University’s Yuri Ozhigov.
Bloom’s second book Global Brain was the subject of an Office of the Secretary of Defense symposium in 2010, with participants from the State Department, the Energy Department, DARPA, IBM, and MIT. Bloom is founder and head of the Space Development Steering Committee, a group that includes astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Edgar Mitchell (the sixth man on the moon), and members from the National Science Foundation and NASA. He has debated one-on-one with senior officials from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza’s Hamas on Iran’s global Arab-language Alalam TV News Network. He has also dissected headline issues on Saudi Arabia’s KSA2-TV and on Iran’s global English language Press-TV. And he has probed the untold story of the Syrian Civil War with Nancy Kissinger.
In addition, Bloom’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Knight-Ridder Financial News Service, the Village Voice, and Cosmopolitan Magazine. He has appeared 199 times for up to five hours on 500 radio stations on the highest-rated overnight talk radio station in North America, Clear Channel’s Coast to Coast AM, discussing everything from the biome in the gut and the evolution of the stars to the mechanism of the Great Recession of 2008 and North Korea’s rocket programme.
Bloom has his own YouTube series, Howard the Humongous, which gets up to 790,000 views per installment. His website, howardbloom.net, has had between four and five million hits. Follow him on Twitter at @HowardxBloom.
The Muhammad Code: How a Desert Prophet Brought You ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram
By Howard Bloom
Feral House (December 6, 2016)
Did the CIA Create ISIS?
The Origin of Islamic Extremism – Howard Bloom
Taking Over Europe While Muzzling You and Me
The Nazi Collaborators: The Grand Mufti
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