Powered by WebAds

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Random thoughts

I have been reading/learning several books at once lately. I found a couple of passages that shocked me even though I should of seen it coming.

The first I will title "Rav Soloveitchik the mystic???" (from Lonely Man of Faith p. 40-41):

The Covenantal faith community, in contradistinction to the natural work community, interprets the divine pronouncement "It is not good for man to be alone," not in utilitarian but in ontological terms: it is not good for man to be lonely (not alone) with emphasis placed upon "to be." Being at the level of the faith community does not lend itself to any equation. "To be" is not to be equated with "to work and produce goods" (as historical materialism wants us to believe). "To be" is not identical with "to think" (as the classical tradition of philosophical rationalism throughout the ages, culminating in Descartes and later in Kand, tried to convince us). "To be" does not exhaust itself either in suffering (as Schopenhauer preached) or in enjoying the world of sense (in accordance with ethical hedonism). "To be" is a unique in-depth experience of which only Adam the second is aware, and it is unrelated to any function or performance. "To be" means to be the only one, singular and different, and consequently lonely. For what causes man to be lonely and feel insecure if not the awareness of his uniqueness and exclusiveness? The "I" is lonely, experiencing ontological incompleteness and casualness, because there is no one who exists like the "I" and because the modus existentiae of the "I" cannot be repeated, imitated, or experienced by others.
Wow! I have noticed that many of the rationalists bloggers reject the reality of a spiritual realm. A realm which is separate from both the intellectual and emotional. It seems to me that Rav Soloveitchik is discussing just such a reality.

Second and unrelated. I am once again going through the classic Greek philosophers. My current project is Plato's "The Republic", here is a passage which really illustrated to me the gulf between "Chochma" and "Torah" (Part Three, Book Three, 410):
This then is the kind of medical and judicial provision for which you will legislate in your state. It will provide treatment for those of your citizens whose physical and psychological constitution is good; as for the others, it will leave the unhealthy to die, and those whose psychological constitution is incurably corrupt it will put to death.
Don't know why it shocked me. I knew both these things before but sometimes a gap forms between your knowledge and your expectations and things which you already knew can shock you anew!