A little further
Just a little further
Where do you come from —
Just a bit further
If I forget
The euphoric rampage of Oct. 7 that killed some 1,400 soldiers and civilians has not only hardened Israeli hearts toward the suffering of Gaza civilians. It has also inflicted a deep sense of humiliation and guilt on the Israeli Army and defense establishment, for having failed in their most basic mission of protecting the country’s borders.
As a result, there is a conviction in the army that it must demonstrate to the entire neighborhood — to Hezbollah in Lebanon, to the Houthis in Yemen, to the Islamic militias in Iraq to the Hamas and other fighters in the West Bank — that it will stop at nothing to re-establish the security of the borders. While the army insists that it is hewing to the laws of war, it wants to show that no one can outcrazy Israel to drive its people from this region — even if the Israeli military has to defy the U.S. and even if it does not have any solid plan for governing Gaza the morning after the war.
As Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, told reporters on Wednesday: “Israel cannot accept such an active threat on its borders. The whole idea of people living side by side in the Middle East was jeopardized by Hamas.”
This conflict is now back to its most biblical and primordial roots. This seems to be a time of eyes for eyes and teeth for teeth. The morning-after policy thinking will have to wait for the mourning after.
(--THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, I Have Never Been to This Israel Before, Nov. 9, 2023, NYTimes)
Pointing out a necessary wariness and troubling prospects for a future resolution full of difficulty.
It is curious to see the word savour. It looks like saviour, but is not.
“Take for yourself what you can, and don’t be ruled by others; to belong to oneself—the whole savour of life lies in that,” (—Ivan Turgenev, First Love)
To belong to oneself. Not ruled by others. To take, to grasp, what is needed, an action within one’s ability.
There’s something both intriguing and existentially authentic in gathering to one’s self /oneself that which belongs to itself as an arising event. It feels like an etymological somersault to long for savour rather than saviour.
The inner appreciation and inchoate realization of personal accomplishment arising in the moment is a savouring experience of delight and unexpected surprise.
Is it in our nature to project this particular experience out onto an external personage who does it for us? Hence, a saviour.
Have we extrapolated and projected the inner to the outer? That which is our own to that which is other than us? Is the perceived need for a saviour a reluctance to own the savouring insistence of interior realization?
“Whereas I think: I’m lying here in a haystack... The tiny space I occupy is so infinitesimal in comparison with the rest of space, which I don’t occupy and which has no relation to me. And the period of time in which I’m fated to live is so insignificant beside the eternity in which I haven’t existed and won’t exist... And yet in this atom, this mathematical point, blood is circulating, a brain is working, desiring something... What chaos! What a farce!”
(—Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev, in Fathers and Sons)
I recall a book I enjoyed, and taught from in several courses, captured the inner/outer dynamic surrounding and emerging from us.
The Inner Reaches of Outer Space is a 1986 book by mythologist Joseph Campbell, the last book completed before his death in 1987. In it, he explores the intersections of art, psychology and religion, and discusses the ways in which new myths are born. In writing the book, Campbell drew on transcripts of a series of lectures and conversations that he gave in San Francisco between 1981 and 1984, including legendary symposiums with astronaut Rusty Schweickart and with members of the Grateful Dead. (--wikipedia)
New myths are being born.
What we call "being" might be seen as the irruption of what-is-not-yet into the realm of what-is-revealing-itself.
The touch and taste of this emergence need not be given away to some deus ex machina lingering outside above and beyond individual and ordinary human experience. The dualism of our rational mind tends to do this.
The world, one might say, is rolling out from within.
And let it be
Imagine -- what might Being be?
The thought arises that either there is something, a perpetual undergirding reality some call Being (a metaphysical affirmation) -- or, there is nothing undergirding anything, but the immediate appearance of what we call "the real" brought about by the emerging event of action/thought into the phenomenal world.
Or, as Julie Andrews sang in "The Sound of Music" --
Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good
(--from "Something Good," by Richard Rogers)
Is there an invisible, non-substantial, ever-potential, intimation of what might be called "good"?
Just what does obliviousness to Being mean? It means obliviousness to the clearing or lighting (Lichtung). Heidegger, it must be kept in mind, distinguishes between what is and the event in which what is comes to be displayed as such. He refers to the event itself as the lighting and it is only in the light of the lighting, he tells us, that what is can be. Obliviousness to Being is obliviousness, not to some highest existent or even to the whole of beings, but to the Being event, to the lighting. "Metaphysics," in seeking the ontos on, the being which in being most truly underlies all other existents, forgets the event in which any being, even the highest, comes to be. Consequently, instead of experiencing temporal presencing, arising out of non-presence, das Nichts, "metaphysics" reduces anything which comes to be to something which always is in steady presence. Obliviousness to Being is, if seen in this way, obliviousness to the nicht-ist, das Nichts from which any ist originates. That shows up in Rilke in that for him beings are not "dissolved in void nothingness (das nichtige Nichts), but instead resolved into the whole of the Open" (p. 262, 106), which is to say, the pure presence of nature as a whole.
(--From P. CHRISTOPHER SMITH, HEIDEGGER'S MISINTERPRETATION OF RILKE Project Muse)
It intrigues me that there might be an emerging potential insinuation into what might be called "good." And that it arrives from nothing other than the absence of something other than the surprising emergence of an affirming "yes" into appearance and manifestation.
The event or instant is a participatory creation of two beings in traverse of what we've come to call space/time. What is space/time? I really don't know, not in this context.
So, for now, I will call it "what is coming-to-be, the surrounding preparation toward emergence."
Heidegger asked, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s angst-ridden non-answer to what he called “the fundamental question” was that a fear of nothing was the defining feature of the human condition. We certainly seem scared that nothing is some kind of universal default. But why should we presume that nothing is more likely than something? After all, if we accept that we exist to ask the question, then we’ve proved something exists. It’s a whole lot harder to prove that nothing can exist.
It’s tempting to think that modern physics has made this line of reasoning easier. According to quantum field theory, even the vacuum of space is a lively soup of particles and fields popping up out of nowhere. This kind of random fluctuation is thought to have ultimately created our cosmos of stars, planets and existential worriers out of the quantum vacuum – admittedly abetted by some as-yet-unexplained happenstance, such as a period of faster-than-light inflation in the early universe, and matter somehow winning out against its evil twin, antimatter.
--Metaphysics special: Why is there something rather than nothing? (new scientist.com, 31aug2016)
The event of Jesus, as the tale goes, on the cross is articulated across the centuries as the emergent possibility of what has been called 'resurrection', or, the swallowing up of death.
The event of Buddha under the Bodhi tree where, it is said, he became enlightened, signified his realization of no separate self and interconnection with all things everywhere.
Did these things or states of consciousness exist prior to these events? (Do they continue in existence since, and contemporaneous to, our asking?)
Is everything new and original in our experiential genesis? Or, are we eternally recurring, enduring a repetition of matter and biology in a Sisyphean trudge of endless recycling?
What, indeed, might Being be?
Are we to conform to pre-set ideal forms as replicas seeking simulacra? Or are we ever-new expressions of emerging potential giving shape and form to never-before instances of creatio-ex-nihilo this once, this once, this once?
We are asked to consider this koan:
you might think
never before, never again
but I wouldn't know
(and I don't, know --
I suppose you
to be there
Kings and Presidents, Prime Ministers and Dictators — all have decisions to make that the rest of us have little say about.
Except that the historical reviewing of decisions tend to be both fluid and diverting. Some call the review of historical decisions alternate interpretations. Some refer to them as lies.
What some call truth is more and more difficult to discern.
Reservations about David’s Final Instructions
(—from, King David’s Troubling Deathbed Instructions
Before his death, David commands Solomon to kill two men: Joab, his loyal general, and Shimei, his enemy, whom he had sworn not to kill.
By Dr.David Glatt-Gilad https://www.thetorah.com/article/king-davids-troubling-deathbed-instruction
Yesterday in prison we spoke about Tolstoy and Turgenev, as well as the heartbreaking rifts and sorrows experienced in families, as one participant emotionally related.
Last evening we watched the PBS about John le Carré (David John Moore Cornwell) in Errol Morris' new documentary "The Pigeon Tunnel". A wonderfully done piece worth seeing. In it Cornwell speaks about betrayal, treachery, deceit, and scams in a way that is thought-provoking.
We live with lies and betrayal everyday in our world. We think that systems of ethics and churching of morals will protect us from the men and ideas of greed, conquest, hate, and power.
I don't think such protections are possible, not in our constitution, our legal system, our lawmaking, or our institutions of governance and education.
What, then, are we left with?
It's worth a conversation.
Which might be all that's left us.
There are times when I think I’ve had it..
When I find you again,
It will be in mountains;
This morning I lose you
Once more to farewell.
Free of attachment
In heart and mind
Is that why you can go
Ten thousand li alone?
Traveling without disciples,
You have only
A white dog
Chia Tao (779-843) dailyzen
At those times, having had it, there’s nothing there.
Footsteps through blanket of leaves,
Notas mihi fecísti vias vitai:
You have made known to me the ways of life;
adimplébis me laetítia cum vultu tuo, Domine.
you will fill me with joy by your countenance, O Lord.
I think I understand what’s going on with the new and unusual movement in right wing republican states and communities to discourage and forbid the teaching of American history that conflicts with their preferred narrative and eliminates any harmful facts indicating racism, slavery, discrimination, sexism, brutality, prejudice, or outright cruelty committed in the name of narrow-viewed governance or religious beliefs.
The movement seems to say — Don’t tell them what happened, tell them how great we are and why our actions are justified according to our superior status and unimpeachable ideology.
If they heard the truth, they would oppose our privileged status and run amuck attempting to correct injustice and try to bring about some sort of fair and equitable way of abiding together in some manner of liberty, justice, and freedom for all.
Holmes compiled statistics specifically for Golden Gate jumpers, something not done before. Over 15 years, he found that three-quarters of them were men. The average age was under 40. About 85 percent lived in the Bay Area, and more than 7 percent were from out of state. The most common occupation was student, followed by teacher. (—What the Golden Gate Is (Finally) Doing About Suicides, nytimes, 5nov23)
Suicide by excess knowledge, mental confusion, and emotional overwhelm is a bridge we do not want to cross.
Some say reality is too much to contemplate.
To get down to it is a long hard descent from lofty illusion and theoretical speculative or ideological heights that formulate upper crust superiority and fabricated privilege. Don’t you dare challenge our tier of perspective!
Some have a differing point of view.
“In my case Pilgrim’s Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.” — C.G. Jung
We have wrestled with the metaphor of coming-to-earth for a long time. So too, coming-to-reality. As is, know-thyself (Greek: γνῶθι σεαυτόν or gnothi seauton).
I recall the Alan Watts The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, c.1966. (see details)
The metaphor and the reality might be accounted for by an apostrophe.
Take suicide. There is the killing of oneself, and there is the killing (or the letting go) of one’s self. Perhaps our mistake is forgetting the space and the apostrophe.
Either way, it seems that the person jumping off the bridge is forgetting there is One Self within which we each and all dwell. Likewise, there is the lack of appreciation of the meditative/spiritual practice of coming to realize that one’s self is that which does not exist, the illusion of which must be abnegated and released.
The Buddhist teaching of anatta (non-self, not-self, no-self) is here described:
And yet our culture and society promulgates the self as the all-important be-all and end-all that commands never-ending attention and cultivation.
American religion has become individualistic.
This from Maggie Ross:
Thirty years after Tillich published The Courage To Be we see all around us the myth of the macho person, man or woman, the one who is unrelated, unconnected,, and who can solve the problems by sheer dint of brute force of will. This is a travesty of what Tillich was talking about, but this is the sort of life it can result in. Tillich would doubtless be horrified.
Overvaluing the self, undervaluing everything else, Americans have overdosed on the language of radical individualism, undermining their capacity to conceive and articulate, much less act upon, the common good. Individualism . . . has grown cancerous, eating at the vitals of our social ecology. Leaving us ill-equipped to confront “structures of power and interdependence in a technologically complex society dominated by giant corporations and an increasingly powerful state,” the hero worship of the self has become an invitation for the self to “twist in the wind.”
If we were to succumb to the “extreme fragmentation” of the modern world — not to ignore the “extreme threat” it poses to our very individuation — then a new level of social integration is required. Indeed, the straitjacket of the self-militant militates against the kind of collective self-awareness that would restore public involvement and responsibility to the place of privilege in the American psyche. Arguing that we are doomed if we don’t, the authors concentrate their hopes—along with their analysis—on the restoration of those sentiments and practices—“habits of the heart.” in de Tocqueville’s phrase— that would bring about renewal of community and commitment. 45
(--pp.76-77 in The Fountain & the Furnace, The Way of Tears and Fire, by Maggie Ross, c.1987
We need not kill ourselves. Nor anyone else. But we might consider letting go deceptive thoughts about our detached individualism, our secluded coteries of like-minded and exception-driven gated-cohorts.
Let the Golden Gate Bridge return to its connective function.
If you must leap, leap into reality.
What's real is underlying unity, a singularity of mutual concern, a union of unlikely inhabitants, a coincidence of opposites.
Let's look for