Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Hi all. Yet again, I have to apologise for not posting. I have been busy, but that's no excuse. Thankfully, Comrade has kept people informed and thinking.
There is much blogging to come.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The problem is not with the iPod per se, but with the phenomenon it represents in our society. It is the problem of instant gratification. It's the monster that wants strawberries all year round, the beast that demands television movies to start NOW. And now it has a new guise - the one that wants access to all the music it owns, at all times.
There is something remarkable and beautiful about seasons, about anticipation. Only through anticipation without instant gratification can we truly appreciate what we are recieving when we recieve it. There is something wonderful about not having the one CD you want to listen to with you, and listening to it when you return home instead.
Even now, for example, in Israel, winter is the season of the pomella. It is a beautiful and delicious fruit, but you know it is only around for a short time. Every juicy bite becomes heaven. Every morcel is savioured. And everyone is more grateful for that morsel than they would have been had been available all the time.
I'm not suggesting that we dispose of imported or greenhouse fruits, or that everyone burns their iPods, or that we shutdown the internet. These are all things that have their place. But we should definately be aware of the deep problems these concepts present. We need to be aware of how far they have taken us from our natural human nature - the nature that is rooted with the land and the seasons. Only if we are truly aware of these phenomena can we be truly grateful for what we have.
Friday, May 20, 2005
This programme caused me to contemplate the "bro" or "fresh" accent heard in a lot of Maori and Pacific Island English in New Zealand, and I was wondering if it is remnants of the Pacific languages on English (just like French was originally Gaulish Latin). A lot of the sounds are similar. Any comments people? I know it's not as exciting as my last blog, but this really fascinates me.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
People (especially Jews) have complained in recent years of the so called "moral double standard" that the world seems to hold Israel to. They complain that the world holds Israel accountable for things that would go unnoticed in other countries. I think this is a real problem - not that people hold these "double standards", but rather that people protest against them. Every human has a moral obligation to the other. It is the face of the other that demands this obligation. However, it would seem that there is indeed something more than this to Judaism.
In many places in the Torah, we read about the requirement to be kind to the stranger "for you were strangers in the land of Egypt". It is this sentence that holds the key here. We were strangers in the land of Egypt. We know what it feels like to be strangers in a land. Indeed, we have known it not only from Egypt, but from all periods through history. But it is because of that, that we must be held accountable for what happens to strangers in our own land.
It is the Jews that have had this experience, and as such they have what I will call an experiential imperative. Jews are human. They already have the moral obligation to their fellow by that fact alone. It is as if the text is telling us "You know what it is like to be a stranger! Al achat kama v'chama (even more so) do you need to be kind to the stranger! You - because you have experienced the suffering to be a people in a strange land - you must take the extra imperative! It is not enough for you to merely be human!" It is not anti-semites or anti-Zionists that hold Israel to a higher set of morals - it is the Torah itself!
Not only is the idea of a "double moral standard" a very Jewish concept, but it is the essence of what makes us Jews. We know what it is like. We have experienced suffering. We must not let others suffer. Even if it is beyond our obligations as moral people, it is not beyond our obligations as Jews. This is our Jewish experience. Those that deny the double standard, deny their Jewishness. We must live up to our obligations.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
First I must apologise for my several long inactive months. I have been a bad blogger. But enough of that... onwards and upwards as they say.
Let me relate to you a short anecdote from my wanderings of the vicinity of the University of Auckland yesterday. I'm not usually one to support the defacing of property, but this time it was some good graffiti that made me laugh. Someone had stuck a poster for May Day on a lamp post with something to the effect of "Want to Sack your Boss?" written on the top. To which another being, with their pen in their hand, had commented: "Want anarchy? Go to Angola you dumb fucks!".
Sometimes swear words say it best don't they...