Tuesday, July 10, 2007


TOTALLY unedited, work in progress, hopefully finished by 7/11/07

I want to suggest that there are certain modes of knowing (and the content accessible/filtered through them), certain paths of knowledge, that specifically because they are personal and specifically not collectively personal (Sinai encounter and the Encounter ‘remembered’ systematically by all; what of T’SH’B’P?...also the integrity of the Klal in Galut is of first importance; personal experiences not of strategic significance of it digestible by all?), and so often personally understood - are not relevant to processes and modes of knowing that MUST be available, testable and graspable by all. Nevuah no longer affects Jewish life, for example, not only because the Shaarei Nevuah are closed in Galut (?); we also no longer have the framework in which Neviim and Neviut ‘made sense’ (side note; we have in Tanakh the hope that in the future BHVA, we will all be Neviim[posukim] direct receivers of Nevuah - not simply sages?…)

We wouldn’t deny the existence of Nevuah or Bat Kol (or most wouldn't...), for which, admittedly, there is a Mesorah - based on the fact that we do not factor it into what is collectively comprehensible [Tradition piece on Bat Kol, Chida, etc]. So why is there general willingness to deny the ontological place of whole other categories of knowledge or their content (for which, admittedly, we may not have ‘consistent’ Mesorah; see criticisms of Kabbalah), based on the present situation - IOW, we do not allow them into the particular “language game” [Markham pieces, etc] of halakha (but could we marshal R. Yuter’s justification of “if there is no forbiddance?"...of course to his chagrin...if we can evidence that ASCs, entheogens, seeming-precognition, etc, have validity as ‘real’ phenomena (many of which have parallels in Yahadut, and have been defended as not beyond possible) - that though they should be given a place at the table of Jewish believed things (not doctrines per se - nor practical halakha), but not a vote in Halakha? Science is so often described as confining itself to the measurement of only that which can be measure by its tools (and thus has trouble justifying it's own existance based solely on those tools; the scientific method doesn't justify science - similar situation to Yahadut/machshava in Galut??) - and there are vocal 'rationalists' of Yahadut that claim how torah is a 'science' compared to other human endeavors (at times, I believe, because 'rational sells' right now...or is being well-marketed right now; mediocre atheist polemics easily refuted are given huge displays at bookstores and author interviews abound online, etc). Many religious scientists - explorers of the 'lifeway' of science, not merely lab apes - are also open to dimensions which the tools of science they know and handle so well - cannot measure. But their peer-opponents, missionaries of Scientism - are frequently condemned for propounding an essentially irrational assumption that what science cannot measure simply does not exist []. For the 'judaism is science' crowd often speak similarly "that which doesn’t fit within the codified four amos, within this [post-galut…] agreed-on practical legal structure, does not exist"? Rambam does state regarding certain entities-agents, etc, that they do not 'exist' (discuss maybe later what that means, in terms of relative 'existance'; we don't exist independantly either if "ein Od Milvado", etc). Many of them speak in precisely the same condemnatory tone about vaguely-defined 'superstition' and 'magical thinking' and irrationality...as Dennett, Dawkins, etc, do on the 'corrupting' affects of all 'religious' beliefs. They're literate, well-read people, this confluence cannot be accidental. Do these (mostly western Israelis and olim), academics perhaps see themselves as engaging in "emergency preparedness" by propounding ideas compatible with if not identical to - those of materialist, historicist, postmodern 'skeptics' in academia? How many of them are actually engaged in the sciences they give such standing (let alone the stances on certain perspectives within science they adopt)...and not the soft sciences, nay, Humanities (Literature, philosophy,etc) that so many write from?

History of science gives us shining examples of scientists of all manner of "irrational/mystical" frames of mind - who were vanguardists of the most profound and pivotal developments in the human endeavors of exploring the world! Many of them still abound. The great number of whom Dennet, Dawkins - and LHVDL it seems Rambam would likely condemn as fruitless minded and "weighed down" by those views (...and Rambam would probably say they're worthy of execution, where Dennett 'mercifully' suggests institutionalization...), putting aside the possibility of Aristotlianisms hindering of scientific development - ideas which, given their context (IOW relative compatibility w/ 'rational' suppositions they held) we have evidence as giving their endeavors wings. [ex. from 'not in kansas anymore, others on 'magic thinking' and science, etc].

[add. snippet]

Though people frequently, B”H, experience several states of consciousness (you literally thank HKBH for granting sleep, removing sleep, etc), there seems to be a common consensus that only one state of consciousness is valuable - the “everyday thinking” state. This happens to be a classically-lamented state, the least desirable! This is the much-abhorred “Matrix” mind, the least focused, least trained and attuned. Sleeping - being only one example - is renowned among psychologists and neuroscientists, as being fruitful, as not being merely bitul zman [ariadne's web, committee of sleep, etc]. No disrespect to the rabbonim celebrated as warriors against sleep…a great number of scientific as well as artistic, philosophical, etc, chiddushim have come about specifically through dream and lucid dream states. Many great artists and thinkers perfected specific methods for harnessing and cultivating the particular states associated with dreaming []. David Gelernter's "Muse in the Machine" discusses the necessity of "artificial emotion" for Artificial Intelligence to be productive, and the place of metaphorical thinking, low-focus attention, etc, in our actual thought processes (as he has a target topic to work from (what?...), he might be missing the ongoing place for the spectrum of thought in history).


Other discussion of states in R. Aryeh Kaplan’s books on meditation, indications of ASCs in Tanakh, potential that, just as HKBH uses any part of creation that he wishes, as a pan-creationist, I propose that [seemingly?...] discrete states of mind are no-less created medium that HKBH can/has utilized. Perhaps some are in a hierarchical relationship to various kinds of Nevuah (independant of them in Shamanism, etc?) - just as gilgulim might be an upgrade of reincarnation, as Rav Kook compares Olam Haba to “afterlife”; similar, but [now] different in kind not degree. A ladder may reach one to a certainly precipetous height - but a rope lowered from above may take you the rest of the way.


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