Nonfiction Blows Sometimes

I TOTALLY get why people read escapist fiction.

 

adult book boring face
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I am a seeker. I read nonfiction to find answers to big questions.

One big question of many that perplex me when it comes to the State of Israel and Jewish people is: Why are 14.2 million people more newsworthy in the West than the other 6.86 billion people of the world? Is there more to this than media control, ownership, or the claimed disproportionate number of Jewish people working in Western media? I don’t know. When I don’t know something, I read, and keep on reading until I find answers. This tiny segment of the world’s population endlessly reminds us of their stories of persecution; some of these stories are based on historically documented facts, while others have so little empirical evidence they border on the mythological. A media spotlight affords a tiny state some protection from transgressors, but in doing so, it can also cast a shadow on any freshly dug graves.

If you want to truly get a handle on a culture, you must dive into their indoctrinations.

The world’s religions mastered indoctrination long ago, so this, I thought, would be a good area to acquire a better grasp of a people without diving into the more volatile areas of politics and economics.

Yesterday’s read began with enthusiasm as I found a book which was touted to be: A Guide to Jewish Wisdom; something that appealed to me on a couple of different levels even though I am not Jewish, and have—putting it mildly—a general dislike of almost all religions for their exploitive,  for-profit business model which excludes aid to anyone who is not a paying customer. Firstly, this book appealed to the researcher inside me as I am usually forced to open dozens of books over several days just to find puzzle pieces which I then have to make notes on and later assemble into something that makes sense. It’s a good day when you find an author who has done all the work for you. Secondly, I have not given Judaism its due, relative to the volume of reading I have done on all of the larger religions. Oh sure I have skimmed the Tanakh and read the greatest hits of the Torah in my fact-finding missions to compare stories from other religions, but I really did not have a “feel” for this group’s beliefs. I really hoped this book on the mystical side of Judaism: Kabbalah, would give me a better understanding of the big picture.

A great many authors should thank their lucky stars I don’t publish reviews or ratings below three stars on a five star scale.

This book dodged a bullet. When we choose a nonfiction book to read, we are encouraged to pay attention to the credentials of the author as though only a credentialed person can put forth a valid thought—or so the publishing world a.k.a. print media would have us believe. The author is a Rabbi and an educational psychologist so I expected a balance of theology with logic and reason. What I got was a heavy dose of mysticism, magic, and the supernatural with a smattering of references to empirical research that, at best, offered a weak endorsement of how the magic worked. The spiritual mumbo-jumbo, of course, told the believer how to think and live “correctly”:

‘You must be a giving person.’

In fact, there was an entire paragraph on how to appropriately greet and compensate a Kabbalist or Hassidic rebbe if you were ever fortunate enough to garner their attention.

‘You must not be an egotist.’

And yet the author saw fit to publish a photo of himself with the Dali Lama instead of one where he was feeding or counseling “displaced” Palestinian children.

In fairness, I expect hypocrisy in all books from theologians, however once you strip away the nonsense, there were about fifty pages of good reading where the author succinctly explained: The Ten Sefirot, the meaning of the Star of David, and he interpreted a number of commonly used Jewish religious terms while passing along some insights into Judaic “philosophy”. The book was just 200 pages so I’ll give it a 1.25 star rating.

Every book will give you something.

What did I learn? Nothing Earth shattering, but it would appear that Judaism:

  • Is a very complex belief system which requires significant interpretation.
  • Has a significant number of teachings related to self.
  • Places women closer to men in terms of equality.
  • Has roots in Zoroastrianism.
  • Is open to different planes of existence, science, and multiple universes.
  • Believes they have all the answers.
  • Believes Hebrew is the Holy tongue—necessary to enter a higher reality.
  • Believes their religious men are above the average follower.
  • Believes the Torah contains a hidden spiritual code supported by mathematics.
  • Codify beliefs into law in much the same way Muslims do.

This lackluster book did however point me at a new target of inquiry. It seems that in the 1700’s a scholastic elite were the only ones with access to Jewish literary works. This wreaks of potential tampering akin to Constantine or King James. I’ll let you know if anything interesting turns up once I have chased down this lead.

Your Beliefs Create Your Reality: Part 5

Health Challenges:

My train of thought has been known to derail.

In the previous installment I touched on the subject of health as part of a general view of my personal reality. A few weeks after posting that one, I wrote an e-mail which expanded on the theme which I will share to complete the thought.

First, for those who have not yet read Ms. Creant, my book delves into LIFE–which of course include matters of health. There is more room in a book to go into detail but for the sake of brevity I will give you the key idea which I presented on this subject:

There are four integral parts of a human which need to be kept healthy or else we open the door to major health challenges.

We are bombarded by books and articles about the importance of exercise, eating right, and eliminating the intake of things that we know to be bad for us. These writers tell us that if we look after our bodies, we will be more energetic, happier and will live longer. IF THIS WERE TRUE:

  • None of them would ever have to face significant health challenges but many will.
  • None would ever become depressed but approximately 17% of this group will.
  • All of them would outlive the rest of us but many do not.

The reason is fairly simple to grasp. They focused on only 25% of their being’s needs to the exclusion of the other 75%.

Here is what they missed:

  • They placed little or no value on nourishing their INTELLECT. The more advanced the thought processes, the more power the mind has to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us.
  • They placed little or no value on the exploration of their inner SELF–who they are—their identity.  They were not able to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us on an emotional level.
  • They placed little or no value on nourishing their SPIRITUAL side–the part of all humans that needs to believe in something  greater than themselves so they can remain hopeful. They were not able to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us to offset feelings of hopelessness or meaninglessness.

You cannot nourish that which you do not know or understand.

  • To nourish our INTELLECT, one must simply READ; READ; READ! I would love to tell you that you must read my genre (nonfiction) but it would be self-serving if I did so because there are thought provoking books in many other genres. The key to a good read is its ability to make you think–not merely escape. People who feed their intellect are less likely to succumb to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
  • To nourish your SELF, you must explore the who, what, when, where and how of the significant events which affected you emotionally creating your behaviors. You can read a great deal on psychology but it is doubtful you will be able to accurately assess your own behaviors without a perspective from someone trained in the field. People who understand themselves have fewer emotional outbursts, are better at managing stress, anxiety, depression, and are less prone to psychological disorders in general.
  • To nourish your SPIRITUAL side you must first acknowledge that there is meaning–if not a plan–to your existence. Next you must find inner peace in some belief or (better still) beliefs you can call your own. Philosophy; even the philosophies of various religions, are particularly useful in giving life meaning by again adding an outside perspective to your life. Everyone knows of my disdain for religions who profit from fear mongering; who help only those of their own ilk; that endorse sexism and violence while perpetuating the division of humanity . . . but even their books contain worthwhile messages for a seeker of meaning.

Preface over; now on to the subject at hand.

Hope springs eternal. Hope is what keeps us going. Most people consider this a given until presented with challenges they were not PREPARED to face. The least AWARE among us will be quicker to lose hope, while thinkers will take their time to process this new information before ACCEPTING the opinions of the very fallible indoctrinated humans who dispense it.

If you believe a singular prognosis, it is YOU who will make it a reality.

This brings us to the point you were making. Reasonable or cautious optimism are a part of what thinking people wrestle with constantly. We must be cautious yet hopeful. Most importantly, we must be careful not to RATIONALIZE poor choices or behavior as a result of a new-found belief. At the same time, we must not DELUDE ourselves either or we could allow a decline in our condition which could have been prevented. This is a great deal of information which we must process. Fortunately the human brain is capable of this level of cognitive reasoning when the mind has been properly trained to think about the probable outcomes of numerous possibilities.

Thinking people ponder their options while other humans merely react.

A person who is considering several courses of action is undecided about the outcome so they have not yet chosen to BELIEVE anything. Conversely, the person who immediately chooses to believe, will also immediately begin to live a REALITY created for them by someone else.

We have a choice as to what we believe. This is certain and it also implies that we have a choice of realities.

A health challenge is a test of WHO we are: our intellect, our spirit, our emotional stability and our will to continue. No school program ever PREPARES us for these life challenges, even though they should. I wrote my book, in part, as an attempt to create change in what we teach–to encourage life preparedness. In order to achieve this we must place emphasis on creating young people with fully formed and understood identities rather than letting them flail about in the world, HOPING they will find their way.

A prepared mind is less likely to believe in a reality created by someone else, and more likely to see their HOPES come to fruition.

I wish I had thought of the line above sooner . . . it would have saved a great deal of time.

What Really Went Down In The Garden Of Eden?

Really?

I have to do this in the 21rst century?

Fine.

WARNING: This blog is not suitable for religious fanatics nor is it for people who do not understand and appreciate satirical witticisms.

Over 2000 YEARS have passed since the death of Christ. Had humans learned anything from his words and life, I would not have to put a warning label on a blog that was written to entertain. However, there are a great many people in the world who cling to dogmatic religious beliefs without questioning the author, translator and presenter of their chosen book of faith. That is their right. Hopefully these people are GOD fearing and do good deeds in order to have a nice afterlife. Religion is arguably better than substance abuse for escapists. Acts of religious terrorism aside, you never hear about a person drunk on religious fervour crashing into a school bus full of kids.

I have a private spiritual side to my being.

It need not be discussed.

I do not require you to believe as I do in order for you to be one of my readers.

Anyone who has read anything I have written knows I embrace satire. It is what I do. I seek to see humour and spread laughter wherever possible, and I understand not everyone gets the joke. Just the other day a neighbour down the street had an underground water pipe burst that was bubbling to the surface. I teased her by saying she had her lawnmower set too low and I was going to have to tell the owner. She did not get it. I had to explain it to her.

satire   noun   1: ridicule, irony or sarcasm in speech or writing.

I am totally throwing this out there based on distant memories from my childhood Sunday school classes. I will not fact check this ridiculous story, so if it is misquoted, SO BE IT!

“So let it be written. So let it be done.”

. . .

In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the Earth and they were good.

Next, HE created man in his own image.

After six of HIS days of hard work, HE took a day off. HE deserved it.

It does appear men were here first. We also presume men lived a very long time—nearly immortal—living pain-free in the Garden’s disease-free environment where entropy was somehow slowed way down or switched off.

So what would the life of a man be like in such Utopian conditions?

For sure there would be gambling, scotch, and cigars. The things between our legs were just used for drainage. Men would gather to play cards, drink whiskey, and smoke each evening after a day of eating a nearly vegetarian, if not vegan, diet of everything one could want; EXCEPT APPLES! We were told not to touch those, and we were good with the rules as back then, as when we talked to GOD, HE answered us. Who knows, maybe HE sat in on poker night occasionally on HIS day off. I am not certain if fish and bread were on the menu yet. Smoking and drinking did not hurt us back then.

Years—perhaps even centuries—passed this way, and we created all the various art forms and practised the ones THE MAKER had intended for us. HE enjoyed our finished works, but as time continued to roll on, you could see HE was getting bored with us. HE would not pop in as often and did not get as excited about our works as HE once did. Perhaps HE thought we would grow faster as a species and was disappointed with our progress.

We men are not as oblivious to the feelings of others as some may think.

We were concerned about this development and called a general meeting to get some ideas as to how we might shake things up for HIM. HE was a cool guy who was really smart. HE could answer any question, and we wanted HIM around.

Here was our problem at this point in history:

  1. The sculptors had sculpted everything in The Garden.
  2. The builders had built everything imaginable with the materials available in The Garden.
  3. The artists had painted everything in The Garden.
  4. The musicians had created every note and played every combination of notes.
  5. The writers had written every story of life in The Garden.

We were stumped. Not a single guy at the meeting could come up with something truly new and exciting. What would happen next would change all that. It is not clear if HE had a divine hand in these events or if they happened when HE was not paying attention.

The Adam’s rib story just does not hold water, but it is a great rib joint. The talking serpent is a little far-fetched too.

This is what may have really happened:

One day, a large flying craft that was not a bird, landed in The Garden. It was made of something not found in The Garden. We were all very curious as this NEW THING could be the answer to our concerns. Men from all over The Garden gathered to view this new thing and apply their talents to the inspiration it offered us.

After only a short time, a door opened and out came beings similar to us, but different.

They called themselves women, and explained they had come to The Garden from the neighbouring planet of Venus. They were prettier than us. They smelled better than us, and for reasons I cannot explain, suddenly we were more interested in them than poker night or our artistic pursuits.

Note to self: Ask GOD what a planet is?

The only concern we had was they came from OUTSIDE of The Garden, but so did GOD and HE was cool. They showed us many new and wonderful things. Especially nice was another thing to do with the stuff between our legs. Now our dangly parts would actually point to them, like some kind of direction-finder. They made us feel very good; even better than before.

They asked us about the apples and could not understand why we would not touch them. They were not afraid of GOD and did not seem to know HIM. They ate the apples and nothing bad happened when they did. They talked most of us into eating them too.

For some reason these women were able to get us to do just about anything they desired.

Note to self: Ask GOD why we wish to please women like we once tried to please HIM?

The answer to that one came to me all by myself. Women were easier to please than HE is, and they stick around.  They liked our works, and everything about us was new to them. They were excited by us—not bored; at least not yet.

GOD eventually stuck HIS head in, appearing tired from building universes—whatever they were—and looking to unwind with the boys, but some of our poker buddies did not show up. GOD asked why, and we told HIM all about the women and the apple tree, and I asked HIM what planets and universes were. HE stood up, and with a wave of HIS hand, threw the poker table across the room and left without answering my question.

This was upsetting to those of us who were there. We had never seen HIM angry before. We figured HE would eventually cool down and come back; after all we had been buds for centuries—whatever centuries are.

BOY, WERE WE WRONG!

HE came back as mad as ever and booted us out of The Garden. HE used a new word that day as he watched us go forth to multiply. In what sounded like a warning, these were HIS final words to us as we left:

“Be careful of MANipulation my little brothers.”

We did not know what HE meant, and we had no one to ask except the women. At least HE let us keep them.

So here is how things have gone for men ever since:

  1. We age and die way faster now.
  2. GOD has not visited since.
  3. He may be listening, but he never answers anymore.
  4. We miss him.
  5. Women can make us feel good for a short time, but we used to feel good ALL THE TIME in The Garden.
  6. We have defined the word manipulation, but we still do not see it until it is too late.
  7. We kill our fellow man now. That never used to happen. Men do this often in the name of GOD, but we know HE never wanted this.
  8. We have gone forth and multiplied so much that the planet will soon be at risk, but at least we have figured out what planets and universes are.
  9. We get drunker now than when we were in The Garden, and now we get hangovers.
  10. Scotch and cigars can kill us now, but we continue to use them.

Here is the conspiracy theory version of events:

  1. Women have been in on it from the beginning.
  2. Their arrival is nothing more than a carefully conceived plan to conquer the planet SO SLOWLY we do not notice how things are changing century to century.
  3. They got us thrown out of paradise.
  4. They have always been able to MANipulate us with sex.
  5. Initially, they followed most of our wishes.
  6. Later, they would become educated and not do as much for us.
  7. They started to get jobs and earn their own money, and did even less for us.
  8. After that, they would get to vote and did even less for us.
  9. Later they would hold public office and lead countries, and use that as a reason to do even less for us.
  10. Now they are CEO’s telling men what to do, both at work and at home.
  11. Many men are now staying at home to raise the children; a job that was once exclusively their thing.
  12. Men are no longer running everything.
  13. Soon, as women become even more powerful, they may keep the male children from attending school and making money.
  14. At that point in the not too distant future, women will have completely conquered the planet, and men will be just the workforce of the female dominated globe.

GOD help us.

We know we are a constant source of disappointment to GOD, but the worst thing is many of us no longer care.

It seems, just as with HIM, we are now a constant source of disappointment to women now as well. We try very hard, but it is never enough. Could it be that women thought we men would grow faster than we are, and they too have become disappointed with our progress?

Why does everyone seem to want more from us?

Perhaps we should call another general meeting.

It seems new things can be our undoing.

. . .

My ridiculous version of events aside, a belief system of some kind is a necessary component of good overall health.  You do not have to believe broken telephone STORIES PASSED DOWN VERBALLY FOR GENERATIONS before WRITERS applied their take on them—much as I just did. You do not have to buy in to the INTERPRETATIONS OF THE TRANSLATORS who assembled a collection of stories. If we have learned anything in the last 5000 years . . . it is not wise to put your faith in EDITORS who did, or do, the bidding of Royalty or Religious Leaders because such people usually have an ungodly agenda.

Have a good week and go to a House of Worship IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER. That is why we still have them. Pray for my ruination if it helps, but don’t allow yourself to be MANipulated into giving them money you cannot afford.

If you are not into the above, make art. It is the only thing we have left to remind us of our time in paradise.