Tuesday, 27 September 2011

New Year Challenge – Bold Ideas


My wife sent me this amazing article from the Cardozo Academy New Year message. What New Year you may ask? It’s almost Rosh Hashanah; one of a number of new year’s celebrated in the Jewish calendar.

Here is an excerpt from the article that I believe applies not only to education within mainstream Judaism but to spiritual development paths in general:

What today’s Judaism is desperately in need of is great critics who could fructify and energize its great message. It needs spiritual Einsteins, Freuds and Pasteurs who could show its untapped possibilities and still undeveloped grandeur.

Judaism should be challenged by new Spinozas and Nietzsches; by remorseless atheists who would scare the hell out of our rabbis who would then be forced into thinking bold ideas.

The time has come to deal with the real issues and not hide behind excuses which ultimately will turn Judaism into a sham. Our thinking is behind the times, and that is something that we can no longer afford. This is the great challenge with which Rosh Hashanah confronts us. Judaism is about bold ideas. Its goal is not to find the truth, but to inspire us to honestly search for it. Torah study is not only the greatest undertaking there is, but also the most dangerous, since it can so easily lead to self-satisfaction and spiritual conceit. The leashing of our souls is easier than the building of our spirit.

The article does not advocate throwing away the baby with the bathwater, but rather to step out of what has become constrained ways of thinking. There is a trend that I have observed at a local and global level to increase conformity of thought in religious groups and non-religious groups. For example, it seems that bail-outs are the only approved method of dealing with the debt crisis and no one is willing to make bold moves to get the Euro crisis out of the intensive care unit and back to the recovery rooms.

As a child I was taught to question, question and question some more. In my late teens this led me on my first journey in to the deeper spiritual side of my faith but at the time I did not have the maturity to properly integrate and make use of those ideas. Fast forward some time to the present and my circumstances are such that I can now integrate that knowledge. That desire to question, question and question some more is something that I’ve never let go off. Hence why the article linked above has so much appeal to me.

I think that the same idea can be carried over in to the world of esoteric research and practice. In other words, it’s time for some bold ideas that challenge the status quo. So much time is wasted arguing over how to interpret grimoires or whether transmission from Hidden Masters is ongoing or not – that great opportunities to advance our understanding through practical application of techniques are being lost.

Not sure why I added this except that I like the picture

Pheonix Angel recently posted about trying to figure out what role an engineer has in the esoteric community. I put forward my view that her role is a vital one, that being to advocate bold new ideas, test them and enrich the community.

Will we pass on group of traditions to the next generations that have grown in this time? Or will it be a group of traditions that have been carefully categorized, analyzed, curated and preserved in Formaldehyde?