Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Why natural is not necessarily good.
Rowan and Lisa,
Your comments inspired me to expound on a few thoughts discussing the reasons why it might not be proper to play with cloud formations, even if that skill has been made available to me and I hope to people in general. I would hate to have an ability that I didn't know how to use -- that would mess with my head on many levels. I hold the belief that anything that I experience, you too can experience because there is something objective out there that we as human beings can touch, namely the physical world. This world has rules of nature, and if one person has found a way to bend them, then others can too.
The messianic concept of "the One", depicted in modern cinematics as the character of "Neo" from The Matrix makes sense to me. However, because of all of the hypocracy and controversy around who is the messiah, and who can be the messiah, and the religious battles and politics involved between the various sects, other than learning the basics, I have left the worrying about the details of those teachings to someone else who actually gives a damn. As far as I am concerned, when the messiah comes, we'll know it, [it will be on CNN,] and I will follow whoever he or she turns out to be to fulfill G-d's destiny. [My apologies for stepping on your beliefs if some of you feel he has already come; so in reading this, please feel free to adjust my words of the coming of the messiah to the second coming to fit your beliefs, however it is not relevant to this post.] As we do get closer to the times of Moshiach (Hebrew for the messiah), I do believe that goodness and spirituality will become more revealed and more powerful in our physical world, and similarly to keep the balance, evil will also become more powerful and the pulls toward evil will become more attractive to us than good.
With regard to busting clouds and its ramifications, I also have the belief that people as a whole can evolve to understand how to interact more intimately with their surroundings. I believe in a messiah that will usher us into the next level of existence where spirituality is revealed to us and we are no longer in a state of exile from G-d. However, I fiercely do not believe that the messiah could be an ordinary sinner like me who goes around busting clouds as if he were popping balloons and denying G-ds truth by feeling depressed [a clear testimony that on some level, I don't believe that G-d's will is the way I would have done it,] and as far as I know, only a holy person or a messiah can alter physicality, and that person is not me. Therefore, I conclude that there must be a scientific explanation that is accessible to everybody because I am certainly nobody special. Trust me on this one.
In your comments to the post on melting clouds, it seems that both of you are saying that if it can be done, and it is natural, then it must be a good thing. Immediately I know that you sense that the logic in this statement is flawed.
Just because something is available to one's use does not make it proper to use it. For example, I know where I can get drugs and where I can find a prostitute. Sex and pleasure are natural things, just as it would be natural to act on a physical attraction between two people, even if one or both of them married to someone else.
Morality, based on logic and reason, tells us whether something is good or not, specifically based on the focus of whether we hurt other people or ourselves in the act. Morally, acting on a physical desire when one is married and arguably before one is married harms the relationship between the husband and wife, and just as taking cocaine would be immoral because it harms the individual, logically there can be nothing harmful about breaking apart a cloud if it is possible.
But what if when we act, we send out a signal for other beings and non-physical entities to perceive and to somehow attach to our acts and influence our world or to do damage to our souls by the fact that we opened ourselves up by doing this arguably supernatural act?
We don't know for sure about *anything* that goes on outside the boundaries of physicality, and thus we do not know the effects of our actions on other levels. For example, I remember reading once in passing in some kabbalistic teaching that behind every cloud, there is an angel that was sent by our Creator with a purpose. Obviously not knowing what that means, it is highly possible that if that is literally true (which it might be), it could be possible that we are killing an angel each time we dissolve a cloud.
How? Some people have the source of their souls from various worlds, and as it is explained in kabbalah, those whose souls are from higher worlds are given the obedience and the respect from those entities that have the source of their souls in lower worlds. Therefore, one who's soul has its source in the world of Beriah can control angels, who have their source in the lower world of Yetzirah. [Don't worry about the names or the higherarchy, just follow the logic.] So hypothetically if we do kill an angel by dissolving its cloud, or even if we change or interfere with its mission by taking over the movement of the cloud, don't you think that the angel might get upset if it had the capability to get upset? Further, if there is truth to this statement, don't you think by interfering with the natural course of the universe you might upset the entity (G-d or otherwise) that sent that angel to do that specific task?
You could say that you don't believe in angels, but then under that logic, you wouldn't believe that a person can influence the creation or the destruction of a cloud that is hundreds or thousands of feet away. Further, if there is some scientific explanation, such as (for example) what was posited by Alexander Lowen, M.D. (later accused of being a quack) in his book Bioenergetics as being some form of Argon energy, whatever that might be, and this connection can be established and scientifically proven, then it could be reasonable to discount the fear of the spiritual, moral, or religious ramifications of one's act.
However, even though this whole scenario about the angels could have been fabricated, especially because I cannot remember where I read or heard it and I could have easily misunderstood something out of its context, nevertheless, if it were written about in kabbalah and the literal interpretation about the angels and the clouds are the proper interpretation, then from a religious point of view, this would need to be something that must be taken seriously.
Without going into reasons why scholarly writings are true because they follow a pre-ordained method and formula which determines how Torah may and may not be interpreted and expounded, nevertheless, as a Jew, we are supposed to take everything that was written seriously, even if it forces us to keep in mind that the world might have been created in seven literal days or that there was a man named Noah who built an ark and that there was a great flood where it rained for forty days, and that the world is really only 5765 years old as opposed to science's claim that it is millions of years old. These are all things that a person who believes in the truth of G-d, the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) and the Prophets must take seriously.
For that reason, because something is natural or because it can be done without exerting unusual effort does not mean that it is moral or that it is the proper way to act, especially if there is a religious prohibition placed on top of that act. These are the thoughts I keep in my mind when I act, because I believe that these thoughts on many levels reflect humanity's understanding of truth. Through my weaknesses and the pull of my desires to break religious and sometimes moral and often legal law (i.e. watch me at a red light on a deserted road at 2 a.m.), I hope that one day I will have the strength to follow these laws without an internal war and without conflicting desires to do wrong to myself, to my soul, and to others.