Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hiding in Plain Sight and Mind

Harkness Tower on the campus of Yale University. Yes, I chose this image because it reminds me of Mordor, and the Eye of Sauron. 'Famously', Frank Lloyd Wright was asked if he lived in New Haven, which architectural structure he would choose to live in. He responded Harkness Tower - so he wouldn't be forced to look at it.

Upon hearing this story, I immediately thought of the Orthoprax adults and the OTD kids who resign to sticking around, perhaps like Wright, living as deeply as possible in a world they don't want to get an "objective" picture of, an escape from being forced to see the forest, the trees, or see the forest because of the trees - a forest that they don't want to see as 'Others' see it - however close or distant to the truth. Maybe with anything approximating an objective view, they risk being disaffected by the actual "Forest" settings of the components they do hold dear - they find worth sticking around for; or risk accepting that those very things are so often universally accessible (there are other forests - and Jews were hardly the first forest, and many are long gone), their own cognition of it being hindered by only knowing thoroughly their experience of their forest as an observant insider.

The flip-side being that, due to the very curiosity, attentiveness and breadth of mind that brought them to doubts about observant Judaism from within - they can still see the rest of the world, from within outward - other ways they could be, visible from between the trunks and limbs, or even once one has climbed to the canopy, as it were (or that there are other worlds and ways). How do people with these degrees of "OTDness" escape knowing that, while it is their forest - it is a forest; and happens to be the very one that they think they "know" more than anything else they believe, in its essence - and in heart, soul and mind - to be systematically untrue.

One can conjecture about the fundamental choices of others, the lifeways of others (which could quite possibly be yours - an intimately-grasped knowledge for a ger or wayout BT who lapses; "possibly be"?...they lived other lives...) - but to "know" this uber-erroneousness - and chose on sentimental grounds (assuming no dependents or economic/social barriers), the very life that I convinced myself is untrue (some by continuing to ask the wrong questions, some by ceasing to ask the right questions), one which itself is so often adamant about the untruthfulness of the world of life choices and lifeways of others?...

No wonder so many atheists of renown were and are Ashkenazi Jewish men.


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