Monday, May 22, 2006

Your humble narrator

on C-SPAN, front row on the left...OK, the [only] one in a kippah.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"There is nothing more irrelevant than an answer to a question nobody asks"...

- Reinhold Neibuhr as quoted by R. Nathan Lopez-Cardozo. (from this past sunday!!). Rabbi Cardozo continues, "the Jewish Tradition is an answer to the ultimate questions about human existance". This tradition commenced with Avraham Avinu, of course - a Ger. He notes the Midrashim on what a struggle it had to have been for Avraham Avinu, how it is impossible that it was a simple, smooth thing...I would comment that it's not unlike being a BT either; as much as the Charedi BT's/FFBWL's may imply that (in that peculiar-to-them manner), "once you do [insert process/event that they see as pivotal], everything just falls miraculously into place"'s NEVER easy, as much as it may seem to have been. Godwrestling is a daily event. At times I am a walking, seething (only at times), glob of evidence of just this fact.
I can feel my place in Neibuhr's statement, often feeling radically irrelevant. I have thousands upon thousands of pages of resolutions (as well as tons notes of my own), to kashiot only I could imagine...because I have thousands and thousands of pages of questions nobody cares to ask...worthwhile ones as well as insane ones (I once arrogantly quipped that if people saw half of what I could show them, they'd leave Torah - because that didn't see the other half). Actually, if I were to go through them I would have to come to the conclusion that in fact, there is something more irrelevant than such an answer; even starting such a conversation. I have notebook after notebook of rambles, asides, essayic fragments about such distilled esoterica....but I don't want to commence a pity part here (I'd have to write last minute invitations) I will just say that R. Cardozo delivers some incredible Torah in this shiur. There is a 'brother' shiur on this same site that may contain other material; accessible by clicking in the "shiur categories" box.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Among many I'm having is that I have these "DIY" type links off my blog, and I don't actually DO any of this stuff. I'm just a fanboy in that regard; much like the people I know who know of my blog. They are fanboys/grrls of the IDEA of reading my blog. They can say to me "yeah, I've been, like, reading it"...("like" is here used as a way of lying that is linguistically acceptable, due to the ill-defined nature of the term "like" as used).
My blog also is a very poor reflection on me, as there's so much else going on with me, so much more I could recount. I'd kind of like to avoid history though. I am, honestly, prown to nostalgia.
Now it's "nostalgia for a future". Am I that pessimistic now? (should add obscurantist, if I'm paroding a transhumanist manifesto...G-d I'm in hell).


The technology(hopefully this will be linked to a site I have to hack to, listing technology forecasts for the next 10 years; pretty scary) may not be so far off where the Global Jewish Database will be downloadable and satellite updateable to your child's noggin (at the same time, the ability to reboot worn out senses and neural pathways will be close as well - so no indulgence will necessarily lose it's luster...). Consider if the option were available now to the outrageously expensive and competitive Yeshivishe olam (or the Orthodox world for that matter); would wealthy parents skip sending their child to yeshivah and avoid all that pilpul to ensure their child a successful life (at least in this world...), and FINALLY be honest about how ridiculous "the reward matches the effort" actually is? If the religious world actually lived by it's maxims (this being only one among many), kids who are burning midnight oil through P'tach, kids who actually want to lern, wracking their brains trying to break into gemara with severe disabilities, poverty, etc, kids who actually put in the effort instead of riding and abiding their way through religious life like so many - would be celebrated. And they're not. They are ridiculed. Just one more reason we are in exile in the world..and just one more way we are so much like the goyishe systems we denigrate!!!! (as much lipservice is paid to 'learning' "out there" as it is in the Orthodox world; it's about ends not means) And just one more reason we are going to stay here a bit longer.'s called the Noosphere!

I myself am not so comfortable with the name noosphere, as it has lots of Teilhard deChardinian evolutionary presups; not so much an issue with evolution do I have, as much as an apprehension that it's always "better every day in everyway" in that Modernist way, bound up with the idea of explicit stages of development with direction and whatnot. Why not a general concept of MERE accumlation of ideas, fears, rubrics, etc? A fudgey, vague notion of a sea of White Knowledge (appropriated usage of the term by Gaiman in Neverwhere, as I've never read a Pratchett novel), comprise of increasingly complex (generally speaking), and more recent residue of human thoughts, maxims, formulations, equations, data, information, knowledge, etc., that has fractaled of from the saga of consciousness in the Universe? It might be more closely situated, dimensionally, to Creation rather than mere causation, evolution, etc (which might be why consciousness, the source/engine/funnel/filter of thoughts, is so hard to pin down in the killing jar) - both of which I take for granted as being True. But I would propose that theres truth to such a realm of knowledge, data, worldviews, fears, etc, that can be accessed by various means/ends, but like I said - this realm includes ALL that has been thought, feared, etc, and there would be semiotic (which sounds good here) relationships between the fear of the child and the hope of the psychopath, the speculation of the medieval mystic and the equation of the physicist. Of course it would not be possible for there to be earthbound historical links in all instances - or the vast number of instances - considering the raw immensity of such a realm (bureaucratic tax data, bills, receipts, accountings of exchanges piling over millenia would probably constitute the datamass of such a cosmos). The "remarkable insight" of the mekubal and speculations on string theory would simply be what is. But isness would be nothing like either could grasp, only from what they had produced. That there might be dimensions to our words and chiddushim, where an insight becomes almost a bubble over our head. What would the internet do, if anything, to our grasp of this world? Is THAT where/how the noosphere is real, or is it merely incarnating something that exists in ways otherwise not generally accessible? feh.

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