BEING TOLD IT'S TIME TO GO
Someone wrote the following to me on a message board that I tried desperately, and failed miserably, to become an accepted participant in for three years. I really should have left on my own, in fact I tried to innumerable times, but loneliness drove me back to where I did not want to be and where I was not wanted.
Nietzsche also said, even though I aint to particularly fond of him
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he doesn't become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
"If God or whatever gave you the gift of being more intelligent than your average fellow human being then don't use that gift by separating yourself from them, putting yourself on a pedestal above them, dismissing them. ‘Cause what’s the point with that? If you do that then your high Intelligence has become a curse rather than a gift. There are, as I see it, more important human qualities than high intelligence. Compassion and empathy for example. To measure a person by his/hers IQ only is as wrong and silly as for example measuring a country’s greatness out of the size of its armed forces. High Intelligence is something you were borne with, one can say. It is nothing that you have worked hard for to achieve. To rank people out of qualities that came with birth is as wrong as wrong can be according to me. The true measure of a man/woman is how he/she treats someone who can do him/her absolutely no good, someone wise said. Don’t go looking for recognition Doreen. At least not here. There is really no need for it. What is written in your own book is all that should matter. But if you feel that it don’t, then it means that you are in doubt. And if so, then you should go somewhere and do some thinking cos’ you sure as hell aint gonna find any answers here."
I understand your intentions in writing what you did and I appreciate them. Thank you for taking the time to write what you did.
There are a few inaccuracies in what you wrote, as should be expected after all we are only acquainted through this message board, but the general point you made about me "grinding water" here, as the Hebrew saying goes, is dead-on accurate.
No, I'm not insecure about my abilities. Those damned abilities have been the bane (and bulk) of my existence for as long as I remember myself.
I do not need recognition per se. Like every gifted person, I have a deep-abiding need to give away what I have. That something is very beautiful and it is not for everyone to receive. I am engaged in a continual search for those who I can share it with. They are very few and far between.
Most Human beings do behave monstrously, and yes, I have become all too much like them too often and I experience profound disgust when I see that in myself.
I am not afraid of staring into the abyss within. We are old and dear friends the inner abyss and I. It is the wellspring from whence all creativity comes. It is awesome rather than dreadful.
It is the abyss of being misunderstood that is so, well, abysmal and that which I dread. Isolation has been very aptly described as a "death-in-life experience without the "blessing" of unconsciousness" by the brilliant psychologist Dr. Miriam Adahan in her book IT'S ALL A GIFT.
Thank you for telling me that I really do need to shove off. It would be easier if I thought there was a peer group for me somewhere, but I know there is not. There is family and there is work and I know I should be turning more attention to them.
You are so very correct. Being as I am is more of a curse than a blessing, no one who was truly gifted ever said otherwise. I've had an interesting experience a few of times. Children with Down's syndrome sometimes stare at me. They seem to be regarding me with understanding and pity.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
This is utterly amazing! I was looking up something about game theory and found this on a site about the history of game theory.
The Babylonian Talmud is the compilation of ancient law and tradition set down during the first five centuries A.D. which serves as the basis of Jewish religious, criminal and civil law. One problem discussed in the Talmud is the so called marriage contract problem: a man has three wives whose marriage contracts specify that in the case of this death they receive 100, 200 and 300 respectively. The Talmud gives apparently contradictory recommendations. Where the man dies leaving an estate of only 100, the Talmud recommends equal division. However, if the estate is worth 300 it recommends proportional division (50,100,150), while for an estate of 200, its recommendation of (50,75,75) is a complete mystery. This particular Mishna has baffled Talmudic scholars for two millennia. In 1985, it was recognised that the Talmud anticipates the modern theory of cooperative games. Each solution corresponds to the nucleolus of an appropriately defined game.
The only game theory discovered in the 20th Century was Anno Dominoes!
This is such poetic, noetic justice. John Nash is said to be a rabid anti-Semite.
One could spend a lifetime exploring the depth of this discussion of fairness and morality.
The problem is to be found in the BABYLONIAN TALMUD, Tractate Ketubot, Page 93a, et al.
תלמוד בבלי מסכת כתובות דף צג עמוד א
מי שהיה נשוי שלש נשים ומת, כתובתה של זו מנה ושל זו מאתים ושל זו שלש מאות, ואין שם אלא מנה - חולקין בשוה. היו שם מאתים, של מנה - נוטלת חמשים, של מאתים ושל שלש מאות - שלשה שלשה של זהב. היו שם שלש מאות, של מנה - נוטלת חמשים, ושל מאתים - מנה, ושל שלש מאות - ששה של זהב. וכן ג' שהטילו לכיס, פיחתו או הותירו כך הן חולקין.
גמ'. של מנה נוטלת חמשים, תלתין ותלתא ותילתא הוא דאית לה! אמר שמואל: בכותבת בעלת מאתים לבעלת מנה, דין ודברים אין לי עמך במנה: אי הכי, אימא סיפא: של מאתים ושל שלש מאות - שלש שלש של זהב, תימא לה: הא סלקת נפשך מינה! משום דאמרה לה: מדין ודברים הוא דסליקי נפשאי. היו שם שלש מאות וכו'. של מאתים - מנה, שבעים וחמשה הוא דאית לה! אמר שמואל: בכותבת בעלת שלש מאות לבעלת מאתים ולבעלת מנה דין ודברים אין לי עמכם במנה. רב יעקב מנהר פקוד משמיה דרבינא אמר: רישא בשתי תפיסות, וסיפא בשתי תפיסות; רישא בשתי תפיסות - דנפלו שבעין וחמשה בחד זימנא, ומאה ועשרים וחמשה בחד זימנא, סיפא בשתי תפיסות - דנפלו שבעים וחמשה בחד זימנא, ומאתים ועשרים וחמשה בחד זימנא. תניא: זו משנת רבי נתן; רבי אומר: אין אני רואה דבריו של רבי נתן באלו, אלא חולקות בשוה.
וכן שלשה שהטילו. אמר שמואל: שנים שהטילו לכיס, זה מנה וזה מאתים –
אוצרות ישראל גירסה 2, בהוצאות פרוייקט השו"ת
אוניברסיטת בר אילן 1972-2005
Do you see the moral implications of the problems shown in the .pdf link above and their imperfect solutions?
Do you see how, by imagining that the universe is described by classical math, one is urged on by classical math itself to transcend classical math in order to achieve greater justice than classical math allows?
Do you see that the definitions and laws of classical math are artifacts of a given mind set, but that mind set demands that we evolve into another, higher mind set that will generate a mathematics governed by more liberal and flexible laws?
Truly equitable solutions that are inclusive of other solutions are impossible using classical math because it is organized such that it demands that we transcend it or suffer with incomplete and unsatisfying solutions to problems.
Our minds generate their own evolution by creating universes governed by contradictory, limited and limiting, untenable laws that at some point become insufferable.
The Sages of the Talmud knew this and that is why they did not attempt to come to fair and equitable solutions to social problems using math. Rather, they deliberately handed down decisions that were calculated to urge people on to thinking more cooperatively and expansively.
My husband tells me that, in fact, the Gemara of this Mishna states that the decisions concerning each woman's inheritance handed down by the Judges were based on negotiations that the widows had had amongst themselves.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
ב"ה צרעת הבית – "Leprosy of the House" Just what "leprosy of the house" is is a matter of age-old discussion. Evidently the phenomenon was never clear because when one discovered what they thought was clearly צרעת הבית in their house during the time that the כהנים treated the affliction, they had to go to the כהן and say that it *seemed* to them that there was a plague in the house. As we learn: In Parshat Metzora (Lev. 14:35) we read with regard to the affliction of Tzara'at Habayit ("leprosy of the house") the following modus operandi: He to whom the building belongs shall come and tell the Priest, saying 'like an affliction appears appears in my house.' Rashi there seizes on the anomalous "like" phrasing and explicates: "Even if he is a scholar who knows it certainly to be an affliction , he should not determine the matter unequivocally to say 'an affliction, rather, 'like an affliction appears.' " Some might think that it is merely a figurative, reifying description of a spiritual plague that sets into a home when its inhabitants sinned, particularly engaged in slander. Some might think that the phenomenon once existed but no longer does. Some might think that it is a matter beyond our current ability to understand. I am not a כהן and it is certainly not my place to make a diagnosis, but when I saw the article below I said to myself: That might be what צרעת הבית ("leprosy of the house") is. It may be a species of צרעת הבית that does not have to be diagnosed by a כהן, but which is an undeniable signal that something is very, very spiritually wrong that we can all see for ourselves. http://tinyurl.com/cbugh Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel DoreenDotan@...
BAD, BADDER AND HELLIFIED
There is a line of specious reasoning that goes like this:
"Hey, I know I'm baaad. Since I know I'm bad and this person got just over on me, then he or she is even badder. This person is Evil, like E-vile, Man."
But it don't go so.
There are people that are so good that they are Hellified.
And if you understood what I just wrote and why I wrote it, you've gone beyond "good" and "bad" and you're going to live forever.
If you don't understand it, you're going to run into a few more people who look E-vile to you until you do.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
I wrote the following to a "senior statesman" of Mensa around the time that I resigned officially from the Society. He has been a Mensa member for some four decades. He is as moral as he is brilliant and has tried his utmost to steer the Society in the direction of moral self-government that is characterized by as little bureaucratic structure as possible – to very little avail.
Hillel, kHz, dB, and Humility.
What Have These in Common with Mensa?
Your most recent posts on M-Pol cause me considerable sadness and even shame for you.
Surely after all of the years that you are in Mensa you must realize that the vast majority of people who do well on those standardized tests that measure one's ability to think inconsequentially are morally average and some are even below average. Think about who the people who devised those tests are and you will have an encyclopaedia of information at your fingertips.
You have written about considering Mensa as a control group of subjects that you are performing an "experiment" on to see if people with IQ's about 150% of the average will act morally in tandem. I am reminded of the old joke about the experimenter who concludes that upon having its four legs cut off the frog can no longer hear the command "Jump!".
Apropos hearing: You have twice referred to the Sage Hillel in posts to the Yahoo! Group M-Pol. Amplifying the dB of the words of Hillel by quoting him now twice will avail you nothing when you speak to those people. His teachings are tens of thousands of kHz out of their moral hearing range. At most they will feel unsettling vibrations if you increase the amplitude, but they will not hear the words. They will not react with happy appreciation for being enlightened. They will react with anger and fear at having been unsettled. And why can they not understand such sentiments? It is because Hillel devoted himself to becoming as humble and as meek as one could - words not found in the M-Pol archives. Moreover, he drove anger from his heart entirely. Are you familiar with this famous story about Hillel?:
The people in Mensa, as individuals, have not exerted themselves in the struggle against hubris, impatience, self-serving, etc. They have amassed data and this for the purpose of self-aggrandizement and advancement, not wisdom. You are speaking to people who are encrusted in egos they have cultivated for four decades and more. How can you reasonably expect them to act wisely, and in the interest of the Society, in tandem?
I lived on kibbutz for five years. I learned from the general assemblies held once every week that the sum total of morally averageness is a whole lotta moral averageness. The result of every general meeting I attended was either cacophony or a harmonic wave of amplified nothing.
It simply does not follow that because many of the moral giants of the world were brilliant that the brilliant are necessarily moral giants (and let's face it, most of the people in Mensa aren't exactly brilliant). Even people in Prometheus consider ethics only perfunctorily, because they think it is de rigueur for intellectuals to give a nod to such matters, not because the desire for justice and truth wrenches their guts.
You are addressing people who have drinking problems, people who openly and unashamedly admit that they came to Mensa for their own (not very noble) purposes, people who imagine themselves to be witches, i.e., people who, thank God deludedly, are trying to empower themselves by tapping into negative energy sources. Is it any wonder that their political behavior is what it is?! Do you really expect people like that to be decent enough to post a correction giving credit where it is really due? It may seem like basic decency to you, but it is not for them. No one seems to tarry putting up posts in their own defense.
It hurts me to see people write to you disrespectfully, with no reverence at all either for your age, your tenure or for that which you have endeavored to do during the decades during which you have been an active member of Mensa. I'm sure that recalling your achievements is not very pleasant for you. Have your exertions been rewarded with success? Will further exertions be rewarded with success?
They don't know what you're on about, and as I said above, increasing the dB level will avail you nothing if you speak in a moral range above their ability to hear.
I resigned from Mensa rather than allow myself to be excoriated, as you are being raked over the coals, for having the "arrogance" (the buzz word used by Mensans to shut people up when they speak out for the right) to evince the requisite self-confidence needed to express moral principles and adjure others to comport themselves in accordance with them. The members of the Society would have tried to drag me into the sophistry of "moral relativity".
While I respect your choice to remain in the Society and suffer the insult of those who do not begin to approximate you as a Man or as an intellect, your decision is inscrutable to me.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
COMMUNISM IS AN ANCIENT JEWISH CONCEPT
Our earliest record of Jews having lived communally comes from the time of Elisha the Prophet and there is every reason to believe that he inherited that tradition from his Teachers. We learn from the Book of Kings II that the followers of Prophets, called B'nei Nevi'im, the Spiritual children of Prophets, lived communally and took their meals communally.
Likewise, HaYachad, more commonly known as "the Essenes" (a sect of very pious Jews during the Second Temple Period) lived communally according to all contemporaneous reports of their way of life, their reports about themselves and from archaeological findings. They too took all their meals communally. A large communal dining hall was built for this specific purpose.
Thus, our records establish that Communism is a very ancient Jewish social system.
Marx could never have conceived of Communism had he not been thegrandson of a Rabbi. A bit less than one hundred years before the "Manifesto" was written by Marx and Engels, Rabbi Hillel Shklover, the grand-nephew and disciple of the famous Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Kremer (or Kramer), the Ga'on (Genius) of Vilna (1720-1797, see: http://tinyurl.com/ccwdh http://tinyurl.com/a9mzr http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilna_Ga'on ) wrote the very mystical work KOL HATOR (THE VOICE OF THE TURTLEDOVE, - the latter term being a name for Messiah as found in Song of Solomon 2:12).
Rabbi Shklover interpreted passages in the Bible to mean that the Messianic Age cannot come until there is economic equality in Israel and he was basing his interpretation on ancient sources.
By the time 1848 rolled around the Ga'on of Vilna was longthe most famous Rabbinic authority of that time frame. The Ga'on of Vilna is still considered one of the very greatest minds and Spirits that the Jewish people ever produced. To this day, his teachings are de rigueur from grade school on up to the highest levels of Rabbinic and Rabbinic Judicial study. Every Jew who studies Bible since the time of The Ga'on of Vilna learns his commentary on the Bible. It is well-nigh impossible that Marx was not influenced by The Genius' exegesis, as he became known as a prodigy in his earliest youth, from the age of seven actually, and amassed a huge following of devoted students.
Marx had to dress ancient Jewish ideas in Teutonic garments (most certainly, appealing to the philosophical authority of one George Wilhelm Freidrich Hegelserved as a more reliable endorsement in the minds of the Germans andEnglish than would appealing to the exegesis of one Rabbi Eliyahu benShlomo Zalman) in order to gain legitimacy in a xenophobic and anti-Semitic Europe, even as Freud didn't mention how many of his ideascame from the Zohar (one of the central works of Jewish mysticism).It must be mentioned that the Ga'on of Vilna based all of his Biblical studies on the Talmud (the compendium of the Oral Jewish tradition as passed down to and interpreted by the Pharisees of the Second Temple Period. It is considered the unquestionable body of Biblical exegesis based on ancient authority among Orthodox Jews to this day) and would not have made so categorical a statement about economic equality had he not found ample basis for doing so in the Bible as interpreted in the Talmud. The year that Hegel was born, The Ga'on of Vilna was a manof 50, surrounded by adoring students and renowned internationally in the European Jewish Diaspora. After his death he became equally famous in the Jewish Diasporas of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, India and the Far East as well. No one in the Jewish world questioned or questions his brilliance or exegetical ability. No matter how assimilated and Western in his orientation Marx was, he could not have but come under the influence of Rabbinical thinking.
In classical Jewish thought economic equality in communal society is a sine qua non for the attainment of spiritual advancement, as the very desire to amass property and hold it to oneself reflects spiritual taint. However, communal living is not seen as an end in itself, or as the zenith of human achievement. It is meant to serve the mega-purpose of man's existence on earth, which is the revelation of God in the material world. In order to do this, Man is "clothed"in a physical body, which has its own needs. By supplying those needs in a pure and holy way: by eating as prescribed the tenants of one's spiritual culture, temperance in sexual relations, attending to agriculture and horticulture with loving-kindness, uprightness in business dealings, and by being as concerned with the welfare of one's fellows exactly as one is concerned with one's own, onepurifies one's own body as well as strengthens the vessels of physical existence to receive Godliness. Communism, as understood inJewish thought is the physical and cultural parallel of the spiritual quest - the attainment of the greatest good FOR ALL. As God imparts of Its Divine Knowledge freely, so we are to share our knowledge and all manners of wealth one with the other.
The ability to live according to the principles "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF" and, as Rabbi Akiva taught during the time of the Second Temple: "What is mine is yours. This is the great central point of the entire Bible" is the sine qua non of communism. These are central Jewish teachings.
The fact that Marx presented Communism removed from its Jewish ground, which, no doubt, was a capitulation to European anti-Semitism, opened Communism to being arrogated entirely by Gentiles who, not knowing the Spiritual substrate of true Communism, without which it is impracticable, distorted Communism into being the basis not only of repressive regimes, but as yet another excuse for anti-Semitism.
In summary: There can nary be a greater absurd than the presumption of Gentiles who are not privy to the Geist of Communism to not only arrogate Communism, but to use it as an excuse to oppress Jewish People in ersatz Communist countries and excoriate the Jews in the State of Israel in the name of Communism.
Communism is the social invention of the Jewish People. It is the sine qua non for the establishment of a just society. It was our past it will be our future.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
I don't read American magazines except very infrequently. I remembered Vanity Fair being a magazine of fluff that even in my youth I would have been embarrassed to have anyone see me read.
I went to the site and saw this: http://www.vanityfair.com/
Would any genuine and self-respecting Leftist write for a magazine that blatantly and uninhibitedly encourages vanity, and not just any vanity, but the vanity of conspicuous consumption? Has Hitchens lost it entirely writing for a magazine that shows a half naked Paris Hilton on the front cover? How can one move from writing for "a magazine of unconventional wisdom since 1865" (The Nation) to writing for a magazine that describes itself as "a unique mix of image and intellect"? Ain't no such animal as a unique mix of image and intellect. Intellect is that which pierces through the surface image into the underlying substrate of essence and truth.
As for Galloway: he is beneath ordinary contempt. He is the hired mouthpiece of dictators. 'Nuff said.
Are you familiar with the antics of the WOMBLES and similar groups who call themselves anarchists? Who would dare to claim that they do not exist for the express purpose of sullying and disgracing the great tradition of anarchism by making it look ridiculous?
How about the beautiful people of Berkeley demonstrating for who knows what?: http://tinyurl.com/cveub
Does anyone here realize you're being taken over the barrel?
Is there a one among you who realizes that you are practicing State-sanctioned, castrated, pseudo-"liberalism" in the true tradition of Phil Ochs' "Love Me, I'm a Liberal"? Is there a one among you who is capable of putting aside his or her hubris and realizing that you are being controlled by the very same people you think you are protesting against ?
In order to become true Leftists, true Anarchists you will have you leave the comfort of your armchairs and the sleaze of your watering holes and go out into the wilderness - the wilderness of independent thought, the wilderness of borderline poverty, the wilderness of social unacceptability, the wilderness of breaking party ranks when the party is clearly misguided and misguiding.
The Galloways and the Hitchens will not take you there. In fact, they are earning very handsome incomes to do their damnedest to make sure you never get there. How can you consider them leftists? With whom are they sharing their incomes? With you?
I'll give you a leg up. Read these people's works. Let them become role models for you to emulate. Let their spirit ignite your passion for truth and emancipation. Let their words permeate your consciousnesses and consciences: (with the exception of Chomsky who is a disgrace to the memory of his illustrious father Ze'ev (Wm. Chomsky):
We will most probably not be able to implement their social programme in our time. The time is not yet ripe for the translation of their noble vision into concrete reality. But do not let the embers of their memories die. Let them burn in your hearts and fuel your motivations. Pass them on to your children and your children's children. It will be their tomorrow, if not ours.
See also: "Commentary on the Galloway-Hitchens Debate" on this blog
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
I am not a doctor and what I am about to write is based not on scientific research, but on personal observation.
I think that some forms of "dementia", those that are not the result of trauma, are the result of having lived in a state of denial for decades. I think that the people who develop dementia are those who trained their brains to forget and suppress that which they were not able or willing to deal with emotionally - until their brain was capable of nothing else.
I think, then, that "dementia" is an acquired illness that is preventable.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
COMMENTARY ON THE GALLOWAY-HITCHENS DEBATE –
The Mason Hall, Baruch College Performing Arts Center, Manhattan on Sept 14, 2005
An audio of this debate can be found on the following site: http://tinyurl.com/czj5x
What clearly emerges from the Galloway-Hitchens debate is that neither of these men are either political virgins nor apt to eschew the advantages that a hefty income brings in favor of the poverty and obscurity that being pure ideologists demands. Perhaps we cannot expect them to, lest their words never be heard at all.
Neither Christopher Hitchens nor George Galloway is made of the ethereal stuff that constitutes the moral fiber of the genuine and absolutely devoted Leftists and anarchists of generations gone by and those who are imbued with their spirit today.
That being said, there are degrees of having "sold out" and compromised one's beliefs and, in my humble and correct opinion, Mr. George Galloway is by far the more reprehensible of the two.
I admire Christopher Hitchens for being able to say, "I erred" and "That is who I was then, this is who I am now"; for being strong enough to break ranks; for being able to take an eclectic stance and see various aspects of issues; for not following a unilateral political position down to the bitter, untenable and irrational end that any unilateral position inevitably leads to if followed religiously and unswervingly. Hitchens is intelligent and secure enough not to be caught up in the "consistency" mind game that all ideological cults demand their followers play, lest they begin to think independently and creatively and in a comprehensive manner.
Mr. Galloway is a whore. He is thoroughly morally repugnant. The description of him as a "carpetbagger" is evidently apt. He was a scrapper who came from nowhere and did whatever he had to do to get where he wanted to go. He put his admittedly impressive mouthpiece up for hire to those who need a mouthpiece most – those who have to be craftily misrepresented in order to give the appearance of even a modicum of respectability. No subterfuge is beneath his dignity. Mr. Hitchen's description of Galloway's techniques as "squalid maneuvers" is apt enough, but it does not begin to approximate the aptitude with which Galloway describes himself on his RESPECT site: "The mother of all one man shows." See also: "Vanity Unfair" on this blog.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
Zombies do exist. They are very real. There are people who are dead, though they think they are alive and so do others. They are the walking emotional dead who have become so apathetic, numb, tough and uncaring that they are dead inside. The phenomenon exists to degrees. It is not an all or nothing at all issue. We tend to think that someone is either dead or alive, but all life and death is a matter of degrees and emotional life and death is no exception to that universal rule. One can most certainly be partially emotionally dead and/or emotionally dead on one or some aspects of one's emotional level of being. In fact, most of us are. Though it is primarily the emotional structure that is affected, this is a moral/spiritual, not an emotional, phenomenon.It is toward those people that industries aim their advertising. This and more, the entertainment industry as well as other industries, by violently accosting our emotions, senses, sensibilities and moral structures, intentionally create emotional numbness, atrophy and finally gangrene and death.
The fact that those who run businesses are entirely aware of the fact that the populace is emotionally traumatized and that they encourage and capitalize on that is proven by this article: http://tinyurl.com/8p3zg . Not only is our emotional pain being preyed upon cynically and manipulated to the purposes of the wealthy, note, if you will, that many of the colors are given the names of food. Thus, they tighten the double bind of wanting to be skinny enough to fit into fashions, yet being obsessed with food and associating it with emotional comfort more than the nourishing of the body.When people are deadened emotionally their ability to experience subtle emotions is impaired, often obliterated entirely. All they can feel are the most intense thrills and sensations. The threshold is continuously being pushed higher by Western culture and the cash registers register every increment.When we can no longer feel subtle and sublime emotion, but only the most visceral, we are no longer capable of morality, for the wellspring of morality is the rarified sublimity that is aroused in the heart. Those experiences are translated to magnificent visions by the mind. If we cannot feel the ethereal, we cannot envision a better and more just world.Near total indifference to the suffering of others does not come quickly or easily. It is a long, excruciating process that can take years or decades. Until people give up caring at all they flail pathetically to feel something, anything. Thus, they buy more, try more, collect experiences that they pay for dearly. The people in the most advanced stages of this state can feel only one thrill - the thrill of power and that is why they clutch at it as they do and will go to any and all lengths not to relinquish it. The stage beyond being able to feel only the thrill of power is the abyss of oblivion. Knowing that they have sold their Souls they dread this stage as they know it is their final end.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
Does anybody else feel overwhelmed with sadness and a feeling of hopelessness by what is going on in the world? There is a German word for what I am referring to. It is called Weltschmerz. It is likened to depression, and many of the symptoms are like those of depression, but it is not depression exactly. Much depression is selfish. Many depressed people are depressed because of the conditions of their own lives, which are not as they would have them. They rage in impotent frustration at not being able to have what they want and feel is their due.
Some depressed people are channeling the feelings about events that occurred in their lives that they cannot bear to feel into depression. That kind of depression is really suppression.Weltschmerz is the pain of the altruistic, the pain that some feel for the Human condition as a whole. Weltschmerz is defined as world-weariness, but it can be so intensely painful that people have committed suicide from it. Let us put the World Wars aside and consider what life was like up until recently. There were certainly upheavals in the world. There was baseless hatred, poverty, local war, family violence, substance abuse...One could be harmed by a myriad of unexpected causes. There were natural catastrophes as well. But I do not remember catastrophes occurring with the frequency and intensity that they do today. One barely has time to begin to regain one's bearings after some cataclysm has occurred before the next one strikes without warning. Let's look at very recent history. There was the tsunami. There was Hurricane Katrina. During the three days that the settlements on the West Bank were being forcibly evacuated and demolished, which was a huge upheaval in Israel no matter what side of the political coin you are on that left thousands of families homeless and jobless; there was a plane crash, an earthquake and another plane crash. The Israeli army carried out the orders to evacuate the West Bank. They were instructed to use whatever force was necessary. They followed orders. No one believed that the army of Israel, which we thought was our army, a citizens' army, would turn on the citizenry. Overnight we realized that we are in a fascist state, that our soldiers are at the beck and call of corrupt politicians, that it is not an army to protect Israel. Our image of who we are as a nation dissolved into a slimy pool before our very eyes.In my own personal life during that period I discovered that my relatives in the States had done things and were capable of things I never dreamed they could do. I realized that all vestiges of love for family had gone the way of making money. Nothing else matters for them and they will literally sell out their own mothers down the river for a buck. There's more that I prefer not to share with the public. I, for one, am becoming disoriented by it all. All feelings of security are gone. Nothing makes sense anymore. I have lost interest in just about everything, except my most immediate family, because nothing seems to matter anymore. I feel frightened to put one foot in front of the other and just go on as though everything is alright. I'm not sure there is going to be anything to tread upon. The very ground is not assured us.I know that I sound angry and bitter too much of the time. I'ts not so much anger and bitterness as grief and fear for the world. My ability to reason has been compromised because so many things without rhyme or reason have occurred that my mind has been taken to the limits of where it can go and has been stretched beyond being able to snap back entirely. I do not move from one news item to the next sensational story forgetting all that came before. For me 9/11 is not forgotten, the tsunami is not forgotten, the evacuation of Gush Katif is not forgotten...the affect of each upheaval is cumulative for me. I used to believe without a shadow of a doubt that there was a chance to save and heal the world. I was once such a passionately idealistic young person. Was that not me who left everything familiar in the US to live on kibbutz 23 years ago? What a cruel disappointment the kibbutz was. I will never forget the first General Meeting of the kibbutz I attended when they discussed the fact that some members were using their private bank accounts for extra personal luxuries not as a matter of concern for the welfare of the collective, but as a matter of course and too bad for those who did not have a private bank account. I thought my Hebrew was faulty and that I did not understand correctly. Daniel, who was not yet my husband at the time, assured me that I had understood perfectly. I'm not sure of much of anything anymore except the love of my immediate family, but I know that I am grateful to have that. A young woman of 23 years old asked if she would be bitter like me at 40. That question saddened me so. At her age I was so sure that I was strong enough to weather anything and I was positive that the world would never defeat my Spirit. But in large measure - it has, I cannot deny this. I was so strong, so strong. If this could happen to me it can happen to anyone. What can I tell you, my dear young woman? What words of comfort can I give you honestly? If you care about the world to the core of your being, as I did and still do, you won't be bitter, although it might look that way to others, but you will probably be filled with a good deal of grief – and sometimes grief mimics madness.
Another point that needs expressing is the fact that the engineers of our societies intentionally keep the concept of Weltschmerz from the public. Anyone who feels depressed is made to feel that she or he is reacting only to the conditions of their own personal life or experiencing a "chemical imbalance". Read any of the literature about depression. None of it mentions the cruelty of society that we are exposed to. None of it mentions that we must witness others being ground into the dirt on an everyday basis.Society does not take the blame for the fact that depression and feeling of hopeless and helplessness are so widespread. We would better be able to deal with our own disappointments if we knew in our hearts that our societies were treating us fairly and doing their level best to make this world inhabitable for Human beings. Most people find all kinds of ways of avoiding what I feel because it is so horrific, so abysmal, but the one thing I cannot do is live a lie in denial.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat
WHAT CAUSED THE FLOOD IN NEW ORLEANS?
A Christian contends: "The Lord says: "Thou shall not lie with mankind as you lie with womankind". If you are gay, you are an abomination in the eyes of the Lord and he will seek you and destroy you."
Our sages have taught that all of the sexual sins of S'dom (Sodom in English) an Ammorah (Gemorrah) were tolerated by God until widespread injustice and cruelty became the rule of the day in those cities. It was at that point that God said: "Enough!" and wiped them out both for their perversions but more for their injustice and cruelty. That is what happened in New Orleans and that is the reason why part of the "Bible belt" was hit with the flooding too, as someone rightfully pointed out. The "Bible belters" do nothing to ameliorate the suffering of those who are downtrodden by the capitalist system. That is a worse sin than sexual sins. Did you note that six-foot muddy waves washed over antebellum mansions that people still continued to enjoy living in? People still enjoyed the riches that were made on the backs of slaves. Their homes were made into muddy wrecks, which they always were on a moral/spiritual level. Now it shows on the physical level too. Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel