Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Scholar Talks

Opening Numbers
:: opening number ::

I showed up at the Unitarian Church prepared to enjoy Rabbi Michael Lerner and was not disappointed.  I did some speed reading in his book through the opening numbers and then pretty much listened in rapt attention, through the Q&A.

I surprised myself in electing to drive the taxi, which I rarely do off duty, not that it's a registered commercial taxi or anything.  This blog has its namespace.

The guy won me over when he went out on a limb and expressed his fondest hope, which was that statism would go away and we would finally start dealing with the planet's ecological issues in a more mature manner, more befitting this self-professed "sapien" status.  In the meantime, we could stay in the dark ages with some two state solution for the Israel / Palestine identity problem, keep it schizo.

Einstein had hoped for a similar scenario.  I noticed Michael didn't include Einstein in his index, and yet his fear-versus-longing analysis (we're each somewhere on the spectrum) is pure Einstein, through Bucky.  So in announcing his "no state solution", I thought Lerner was overtly joining the transcendentalist school, a mark of his spiritual progress.

The book is a winding tale from the crusades forward, to just a few months ago.

Lerner, like Kierkegaard, rejects the voice of the Objective Historian as a mask, and admits his bias up front: to tell the story in such a way that greater happiness might still be a possibility.  He's not about closing doors.

His message is a lot like the Dalai Lama's when it comes to happiness, so I could easily see why Bishop Tutu liked his book (the latter being a big fan of DL XIV).

In Lerner's view, we each oscillate between a dog eat dog hell and a heaven wherein people actually love one another and are adept at community.  Both world views are self-reinforcing.  He names them the right and left hand of God respectively.

Thanks for another great cue Suzanne, and bon voyage.