Sunday, September 03, 2006

Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle

“[T]hat was the fatal flaw in the Charedi Philosophy. They crashed around the world selling "spirituality" without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him seriously... All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for eighty bucks an Esrog. But their loss and failure is ours too. What the Chareidim took down with them was the central illusion of a whole life-style that they helped create... a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of Religiosity: the desperate assumption that somebody... or at least some force - is tending the light at the end of the tunnel.”

I debated whether or not I would blog again, at least at respondingtojblogs, but in the end my need to whine won out over everything else. I’ve been alternating between incredibly busy and incredibly fallow these past months, and it’s been gratifying to see that people still pop in once a while.

The reason I haven’t posted is that is seems I’ve traveled this road as far as it will take me. Now that I have left civilization and I am at the edge of an endless expanse of desert, there is not much else to say.

I initially came to blogosphere to work out my sfeikos b’emunah. I know think that most forms of organized religion are a perverse joke. I don’t say that with relish, but with regret. The story told by religion is as compelling as it is comforting. We aren’t just near-random samples of molecules, there is a reason for suffering in this life, the reward in the next life is great, and that the vale of tears eventually lifts into a mountain of joy.

To accept that as true again.

Instead we are left rudderless in an uncaring world. Our feeble faculties are burdened by the baggage of our forefathers. Even the language we use often obfuscates rather than clarifies. And in the end, there is no release. It would be nice to pretend I am a rebellious teenager who, after sneaking a cigarette on Shabbos, can confess to his mashgiach and redevote himself to the fairy tale. Instead, the idea that we are soulless, organic, and emotional computational machines haunts every waking moment.

I initially wanted this blog to be an instrument of debate, to present ideas to my readers and get their thoughts, but at this point debate seems near pointless.

All this is not to say that life isn’t filled with wonder. It is. What is despairing is our utter inability to pursue this wonder. After a certain point we recognize our failings and discourse becomes fanciful speculations of future technologies or solipsistic answers to intractable problems.

Therefore, it is difficult to produce posts that aren’t inherently emotional, since it is hard to produce new rational stuff. This post itself is emotional and self-indulgent, but I guess that just about sums up humanity.

The bottom line? Take the Blue Pill.