Sunday, 9 June 2013

Adapt or Perish

An Eye That Watches
Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) Chapter 2, Mishna 1(a)
"Rabbi [Yehuda haNasi] said: What is the proper path a person should choose for himself? Whatever brings glory to himself [before G-d], and grants him glory before others. Be careful with a minor mitzvah (commandment) as with a major one, for you do not know the reward for the mitzvos. Consider the loss incurred for performing a mitzvah compared to its reward, and the 'reward' received for sinning compared to the loss. Consider three things and you will not come to sin: Know what is above you: an eye that sees and an ear that hears, and all your deeds are recorded in the Book."
Please don't subscribe in to the infantile thinking that god is an old man on a cloud who gets angry quickly. If you do, then you can stop reading this blog now.

"An eye that sees..." Everything that you do, say or think leaves an impression on the Universe around you. Everything. Is it any surprise that sages in centuries past understood this principle and used it as a way of guiding people away from thoughts and actions that would lead to negative spirals of behaviour?

Bottom line, the Universe is constantly being affected by what you think, say or do. There is no static state and to think of this as "being observed" can act as a useful metaphor for thinking about how you act in your  relationship with the Universe.

Demons Everywhere

(Talmud Brachos 6a)
It has been taught: Abba Benjamin says, “If the eye had the power to see them, no creature could endure the mazzikim (devils/destroyers).” Abaye says, “They are more numerous than we are and they surround us like a ridge around a field.” R. Huna says, “Every one among us has a thousand on his left hand and ten thousand on his right hand.” Raba says, “The crushing in the Kallah lectures comes from them. Fatigue in the knees comes from them. The wearing out of the clothes of the scholars is due to their rubbing against them. The bruising of the feet comes from them. If one wants to discover them, let him take sifted ashes and sprinkle around his bed, and in the morning he will see something like the footprints of a cock. If one wishes to see them, let him take the afterbirth of a black she-cat, the offspring of a black she-cat, the first-born of a firstborn, let him roast it in fire and grind it to powder, and then let him fill his eye, and he will see them. Let him also pour it into an iron tube and seal it with an iron signet that they should not steal it from him. Let him also close his mouth, lest he come to harm.” R. Bibi b. Abaye did so, he saw them, and came to harm. The scholars, however, prayed for him and he recovered.”

Non-human entities intersect with our reality at any place & time we give them access whether consciously or unsconsciouly. This has been going on for a very, very long time. By intersect, I also mean influence, manipulate and control. I hope that's no great surprise to you and please bear in mind that this is just my interpretation.

The Universe is watching, demons are watching and now the government is watching you too.

Adapt or Perish

It reminds me of a joke about a priest, imam and rabbi who find out that global warming is going to cause sea levels to rise and unless we take radical action, we will all be living underwater in 30 days time.

The priest turns to his flock and says: "we must all march on Jerusalem and be saved". The imam turns to his congregation and says: "let us pray, cleanse our souls and Allah will save us." The rabbi turns to the community and say: "right... we have 30 days to learn how to live underwater."

The fight has been going on for a very, very long time. Regardless of how well you may be at interacting and/or tracking the imprints that non-humans leave on our world, I don't believe that we're anywhere nearer to winning the war. In fact in this period of geopolitical flux I think we're losing. It may soon be time to learn to live underwater.

Here endeth the rant.