Posts Tagged ‘Declaration of Independence’

Two Opposites and a Harmonious Resolution

June 27, 2009

Kabbalah teaches that the universe is built on a tripod, consisting of two opposites and a harmonious resolution. This is the pattern for everything in life. Stability and confidence is impossible without the support of all three legs of the tripod. We cannot have “shalom” without all three. This tripod – and its attendant challenge of conflict resolution – is inherent inside each one of us, in all of nature, of mankind as a whole, and in the spiritual realm as well.  –Korach (Numbers 16-18) Conflict Resolution

For the scholars of scripture they have an advantage over the rest of us. They have the time to think through some issues, take a step back, and perceive patterns that are opaque to us while we are in the trenches of the war of life. This week’s Torah portion is such an insight and when you think about it we can gain perspective on our lives, our community our country and the world.

I am struck by the conclusions to be reached by this statement. You see, if we are talking about a tripod, then if you take away any one of the legs it will fall. You might, as I did at first, focus on the harmonious resolution leg as the “most important.” Take it away and the tripod falls. For true harmony to evolve there must be recognition of discordant views. No two people (or for that matter two countries) can have identical views. Our thoughts, brain process, perceptions and conclusions are like fingerprints — they define us as unique individuals. So even if you say “I agree” you might find out sooner or later that you agreed with something the other person did not say or mean.

What this means to me is that for me to strive to live in a harmonious world I need to seek out both people who see things in similar ways to me AND people who don’t. I must engage BOTH the people who seem to agree with my world perspective AND those who don’t. Standing in the shoes of both “camps” is the only way I can perceive where there is commonality, conflict or room to compromise. With the recognition that life is a process and not a series of events comes the foundation of the process of harmony. Harmonious relations do not represent a static place of equilibrium, but rather a dynamic place of interaction, catalytic relationships and evolving development of ourselves, our society and our world.

Harmony and the whole tripod fails when we deny the existence of other points of view. If we deny the validity of other points of view we deny their existence and we deny the speaker the right to hold such views and express them. We take away one leg of the stool and the tripod fails — because there is nothing left to process toward a harmonious resolution.



Intro to the Good LIfe

October 13, 2007

Torah Tales

For people who actually do it, reading the Bible, the Torah, the Koran or whatever serves as basic scripture of your faith, is both useful and helpful in the sense that it gives our life more meaning, provides focus to our thinking, our statements and our actions, and leads us into the path of the “flow” — that force greater than ourselves that moves objects, energy, and matter the universe, and presents us with events that benchmark what we choose to believe as our history. 

On a more mundane level, but equally important to those of us blessed to live in the imperfect political world of the United States, frequent reading of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution would serve a similar purpose — in that these are the foundation “scriptures” of our society. 

I have often said that it seems that everyone has an opinion of the Bible but few have actually read it. Fewer still have thought about it very much after reading any part of it. And still fewer have actually analyzed it enough to come to their own opinions, beliefs and perceptions about life’s meaning and what that means for them — how they will act  , speak and perform in our society. The same is true about the documents written by the brilliant founders of our country, although they too were imperfect people who created a masterpiece, yet not perfection. A reading of the Declaration would reveal many similar conditions today that were recited as grounds for breaking the bonds of political relations and assuming a new government. 

A reading of the constitution today would settle many heated arguments — because the answer to many vexing issues is resolved fully and with finality — like guns in the 2nd and 9th amendment, and the rights of unborn children in the 5th and 14th amendment. Simply stated, the founders made it clear that they wanted the people to have the right to bear arms in a military sense. They said so. 

I don’t like guns or the proliferation of gun related violence in our country but if I want something different I either have to leave for another country where guns are not permitted, or get the support of enough people in this country to amend the constitution. It is the Supreme Law of the Land. 

I don’t like the whole idea if termination of pregnancies, nor meddling in the private bodies of women I don’t know telling them what they can or cannot do. I wouldn’t want anyone to do that with my body. But the rights of the fetus do not exist under the constitution. It says so very clearly that only a person actually born in the Untied States or to a person who is a U.S. Citizen is entitled to call themselves a citizen. And only citizens have the rights of “people” described in the constitution. As with guns, the battle cry of pro-life people should be to move to a country where or create one where pregnancy terminations are illegal or to get the support of enough people to amend the constitution to make terminations illegal here.

There are many more mundane example of earthly application of reading, meditation, thinking, meditation, analysis and uncovering what is in your heart and how you can live in an imperfect society. And just as the founding documents of our great country are the supreme law of the land, even if they do not perfectly represent our conception of how a perfect society should operate, so too is the bible of your faith the supreme word of a force or forces greater than yourself as to how to exist in the real world and how to seek change by doing good deeds.

Considerable effort has gone into the completely irreconcilable question of whether the bible is literally the work of a God who created the words, the scrolls and every letter, or the work of Moses who committed it to writing as best he could, or the work of multiple personalities over centuries. The latest archeological evidence points strongly in favor of Moses being the author of the Torah. Just as the latest archeological evidence also points to the fact that a man named Jesus existed and his teachings had a powerful effect on the rest of human history.

And as with our country’s founding documents, people have tended toward spending their money and time investigating things that are actually irrelevant. We spend an inordinate amount of effort deciding the ways things should be rather than determining the way things are. 

Thus we argue over who wrote the bible rather than what is in it. We speculate about what the author of the bible meant when we can decide what it means for ourselves, without some “leader” telling us. We argue over who the messiah is or will be rather than examining our own lives and whether we are acting within our concepts of right and wrong, good and evil. 

In our politics, our religion and even our economics, we ignore the elephant in the living room and go about proving ourselves right on agendas that don’t matter now and will be long forgotten in less than a generation. We align ourselves with others to be part of a collective rather than to perform acts of charity and goodness. We form political parties and organizations of religions as though the organizations themselves were the point rather than acting in accordance with natural moral law. 

This work, published for now over the Internet, seeks to change the dialogue from man’s search for power and people’s search of proof they are right, to the moral issue of creating meaning in our lives and meaning for our species, lest when we are shaken off by the process some call evolution and others call the will of God, we are relegated to a historical fact that some other species might or might not discover in a few million or a few billion years.

In short, I seek to stimulate the pursuit of a goal — to find out how we live love, if we will love one another in the year 2500, 3000 or 3500 A.D. or if we will exist at all having destroyed ourselves in the collapse of a grand or minor experiment created by the forces of evolution or the will of God.