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.

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I am salmon. Hear me gurgle? Part 1

What if awareness and obliviousness are related?

What if the oblivious automatons were created with a subconscious awareness that life in a bubble is infinitely happier? This would explain why it is so difficult to pull them outside of their happy place.

Why do I persist in swimming against the current?

Did I chose the wrong electives in the human trait lineups prior to being born?

There are some words I recently posted on my Facebook page as a reminder to myself that I am obviously not as wise as I would like to think.

“God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can and the WISDOM to know the difference.”

Known by some as “The Serenity Prayer”, these wonderful words were written by a theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr.

This brings me to my first problem.

I CANNOT ACCEPT I CANNOT CHANGE THINGS!

Nothing remains the same. Change is a part of nature. Evolution and entropy prove this. Everything is in a state of change; except it seems . . . us.

Being aware sucks!

In my next life I am shooting for oblivious because it looks as though all the bubble-dwelling ostriches seem much happier than I am. My personal hell was created partially by my choices and partially by genetics. The choice part is I maintain perpetual hope for humanity. As such, I have EXPECTATIONS for humans which are almost never met, and still I continue to fight the good fight”. I do not know why. It is my nature. Someone once said, and it may have been me:

“If you do not have ANY expectations, then people cannot let you down.”

I believe the underlying message here is you must be self-reliant, self-assured, self-aware etc. These are good “self” words—not on the same list with self-obsessed, self-serving, or self-indulgent.

This brings me to my next problem: I do not believe one individual can change the world; it will take a massive team effort which will force us to EXPECT things from others once again.

It is a paradox.

Humanity as we know it cannot survive without an unprecedented level of cooperation from its fractured and divided membership.

I was born with the ability to learn and retain both useful knowledge and the ridiculously trivial. A short time ago, I was in my car with a friend talking about The Monkeys song I’m a Believer when to my amazement, I discovered I could remember the names of all four members of the band and the instruments they played after more than forty years. This from a middle-aged guy who regularly walks into a room and does not remember what prompted him to be there. I am inquisitive by nature, endlessly asking questions and thirsting for knowledge without, it seems, any control over what will be stored in permanent memory. The human brain is fascinating.

“Youth is wasted on the young.”

School was too easy for me. I found it incredibly boring so I rarely went; yet somehow I managed to just scrape through. My sister by comparison, worked incredibly hard for her average grades, and I could not understand why she found learning difficult. It seems that as intellectually capable as I was, I was not that AWARE. I ASSUMED every human had it as easy as I did. This is yet another character flaw I would carry throughout my young life.

In my teens and early twenties I lived to party. Sex, drugs, alcohol, and Rock & Roll music were my regular escape from reality—a reality I am all too aware of now. I was oblivious but happy.

At twenty-five, I had to clean up my act, cut my hair, and put on a business suit to work with many people who were consummate professionals, and who, on the surface at least, appeared to be my intellectual equals. Almost all had a University degree of some kind so I LEAPT TO THE CONCLUSION they were intelligent people. I did however begin to notice how they frequently “dropped the ball through, what I ASSUMED was, inefficiency, a lack of vision, planning, and/or organization. I could see patterns emerging that would lead to problems for them both professionally and personally, but for some reason they did not seem to see these indicators until things reached the crisis point.

I recalled a physics law which states:

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

I was applying this to the humans I met. They would take action without considering the possible outcomes. This is where I became conscious of the fact I had inadvertently become an  student of human nature. I began in earnest to study people while hitting the books to learn about human behavior.

Pre-destination?

In no time, I was becoming keenly aware of the actions and reactions of others while remaining completely and happily OBLIVIOUS that I too had a subconscious program running. I would remain this way until my early forties when I would finally get around an exploration of self where I discovered I had PATTERNS of my own.

The various academic disciplines all have different view-points about how our being is developed. Psychologists and sociologists believe, initially, we are a blank slate and we learn our behavioural patterns as we mature. Geneticists and the brain sciences see us as little more than the sum of our genetic and chemical health. Theologians believe a soul is placed in a human body by a deity. Spiritualists believe we are part of something bigger, a “cosmic being” if you will. Not one of these disciplines has unlocked the truth of the human mind, and some have been at it for hundreds of years. The truth is most likely an amalgam of all of them.

The CONSEQUENCES of my own actions allowed me to write a book and change career paths in mid-life. “The jury is still out” as to whether or not that brave move was a good idea. Did I lead my life according to a plan programmed into my being just so I would arrive at this point—to supply the world with a book encouraging readers to become more aware? I hope not as this makes me feel used, manipulated, and diminished—little more than a character in a “SIM” game—just entertainment for some advanced intelligence, the universe, or whatever.

Reincarnation and or karma:

Somewhere along the line, and I know not where, I picked up a personal philosophy I will share.

We are here to learn lessons, and we will continue to return to this existence until we learn those lessons.

I have had many precognitive events in my life to date suggesting:

1) I have lived these events before.

2) I have a some kind of disorder encouraging me to believe I have seen these events in advance.

3) I have subconsciously imagined ALL the possible outcomes of my actions, and when in a semi-conscious state, I occasionally glimpse a few of them. Later my conscious mind interprets this as actual memories.

I am good with 1 or 3.

Blogus interruptus . . . continued next week.

Have a good week and be brave enough to take notice of something going on in the world around you.