Thursday, January 27, 2005

Einstein and the Jewish Identity

Continuing the discussion of reason and education in America:

jinnderella asks:

It is fairly obvious to me that there is a biological basis for belief. But what does one do about it?

I can't tell you what to do about it. I can tell you what I did about it.

Shamanism (A Yaqui Way of Knowledge), living alone in the woods for several years. Working day and night to integrate my personality. Thinking about advanced electronics while visiting other worlds.

Copious study of Aleister Crowley.

Having an intense sense of the extatic while focusing intently on subjects only amenable to rationality.

Crowley liked to have sex while calling out moves in a chess game - now there is a strange way to have sex. A strange way to play chess.

I was talking day before yesterday (Tuesday) to a gentleman I had met for the first time. He pointed out to me without prompting that I was right brain / left brain integrated. I think that is the key.

Gurdjieff says that the prerequisite is a rigorous education in rationality followed by a re-connection to dance, music etc. The initial education must be in logical subjects with only enough music, dance, etc. to keep that section of the brain minimally active.

So there is sort of an outline there. Unfortunately we have given up the rigor for the feel good stuff. So what you get out of that is the lefty half-men we see about us today. The shame is that if the rationality is not done early enough it is very hard to do later.

I might add that efforts at classical music are very important to get started before age 13. They seem critical to the development of mathematical reasoning. Einstein played the violin. I do not think that was a mistake. Condi Rice is an accomplished classical pianists. I think that is a good sign.

The best rock musicians (in general) have been clasically trained. The best mathematicians have a musical avocation.

My boys tell me that "Star Wars" was a great help to their moral understanding.

Our modern day military men (American, Brits, Ozzies) seem to me to be pretty well integrated. They can do the physical stuff at the same time they make rational calculations. Our enemies seem to be less well put together, depending on exhuberance and emotion to make up for lack of technical ability. Ghost Dancers if you will.

So how is that for thinking aloud?

The very best among us still get the required education (gifted programs). It is the average student that is being short changed by the "self esteem" crowd.

Self esteem is built by suceeding in the face of difficulty not by the practice of watering down the course material so that almost all difficulty is gone.

Of course in America the rot runs deep. The only reason we do so well is that it is much worse every where else.

Bush's NCLB is an attempt to bring rigor back to the schools.

The more I look into Bush's programs the more I see true genius at work. He is an order of politician we haven't seen since Jefferson. I think he has the Jeffersonian spirtit if lacking in Jefferson's articulateness.

As part of training my children I did a lot of punning. i.e. mixing subjects and forcing a kind of cross thinking. My father did that with me.

In my family we call it "stupid Dad jokes".

The English language is particularly rich in that area.

It forces a way of thinking of two (or more) disparate subjects at once.

Zen koans are very good here. The Sufis seem to do something similar (thanks Joe of Winds of Change for your weeklys on the subject). Of course in huge parts of the Muslim world the Sufis are considered heretics.

A lot of it is the breaking of orthodoxies.

The Jewish emphasis on book learning seems to accomplish what is required. A lot could be learned from that culture. Part of that is the questioning of every thing. And the requirement to be able to make persuasive arguments on any side of a given subject. One must be able to argue not just for God but also the Devil. And the arguments must be equally well done.

The current Moslem trend is to demand orthodoxy which stunts thinking.

Unquestioning belief stunts the mind. It also stunts the moral sense.

Einstein had a bit to say about all this:

Although Einstein did not observe Jewish rituals, he strongly identified with Jewish tradition: "The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice, and the desire for personal independence—these are features of the Jewish tradition which make me thank my lucky stars that I belong to it." Einstein's strong support for Jewish welfare emerged when he faced anti-Semitism in Germany. Throughout his life, the man whose work the Nazis and German scientists dismissed as "Jewish physics" worked tirelessly against anti-Semitism.


Jim Bliss said...

"The attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people."
- Albert Einstein.
(From: Einstein on Peace, p.638

M. Simon said...

I think the Palestinians need to stop behaving like Nazis - i.e. teaching their children that the object of their society is the destruction of the Jews.

As long as the Palis have Nazi objectives they should be treated like Nazis.

BTW the history of the Mufti of Jerusalem and Adolph Hitler is interesting. He helped raise several divisions for Hitler's Army. He also was Arafat's cousin and is reputed to have trained the young Arafat.

The genesis of the modern Palestinian movement is a study in evil origins.

A link with a nice picture.The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, visits Berlin, meets with Hitler and makes Arabic radio broadcasts to Islamic troops fighting for the Nazi Third Reich.

The mufti and some of his aides participate in plans for the destruction of European Jewry and help the German propaganda machine. The mufti works to build his personal stature in the world as a major Arab leader.
A proud moment for Palestinian Arabs. The Mufti reviews Bosnian Muslim troops enlisted in Hitler's Army.

After World War I, the Great Powers of Europe jockeyed for influence in the Middle East's oil fields and trade routes, with France and Britain holding mandates throughout most of the region. In the 1930s, the fascist regimes that arose in Italy and Germany sought greater stakes in the area, and began courting Arab leaders to revolt against their British and French custodians. Among their many willing accomplices was Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini, who fled Palestine after agitating against the British during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39. He found refuge in Iraq – another of Her Majesty's mandates – where he again topped the British most wanted list after helping pull the strings behind the Iraqi coup of 1941. The revolt in Baghdad was orchestrated by Hitler as part of a strategy to squeeze the region between the pincers of Rommel's troops in North Africa, German forces in the Caucuses and pro-Nazi forces in Iraq. However, in June 1941 British troops put down the rebellion and the Mufti escaped via Tehran to Italy and eventually to Berlin.

Arab Mufti Greets Nazis, 1944Once in Berlin, the Mufti received an enthusiastic reception by the "Islamische Zentralinstitut" and the whole Islamic community of Germany, which welcomed him as the "Führer of the Arabic world." In an introductory speech, he called the Jews the "most fierce enemies of the Muslims" and an "ever corruptive element" in the world. Husseini soon became an honored guest of the Nazi leadership and met on several occasions with Hitler. He personally lobbied the Führer against the plan to let Jews leave Hungary, fearing they would immigrate to Palestine. He also strongly intervened when Adolf Eichman tried to cut a deal with the British government to exchange German POWs for 5000 Jewish children who also could have fled to Palestine.
The Palestinians seem to have an affinity for "Mein Kampf" - still.Muslim and Arab society is today a failure much as Communism used to be. Muslims and Arabs live under absolute and despotic government which prevents them from enjoying anything like the freedom and prosperity that they see in the West and wish for themselves. On the whole they realize that they have long ago taken their history and destiny into their own hands, and so are responsible for themselves. But so dire are the injustices and the poverty, and so threatening is the tyranny over their heads, that many are lost in pity for themselves, and hatred of everyone else. A slew of racists, radicals, and Islamists share a frame of mind that the West is selfishly conspiring against them, with the Jews once again secretly in charge. Catering to such people since the early '60s, editions of Mein Kampf have been put out in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and it is reported to be a bestseller in the Palestinian Authority area. It is available in London stores selling Arabic books. As its Arabic translator Luis al-Haj expresses it in his preface, "National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald. Rather, its seeds multiplied under each star."There is more here:His greatest achievement was, however, the recruitment of tens of thousands of the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania to the Waffen SS. His Arab Legions later participated in massacring tens of thousands of partisan Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. In 1943 there were 20,000 Muslims under arms in "his"division of the Waffen SS, the Handschar. (See: George Lepre, Himmler's Bosnian Division. The Waffen-SS Handschar Division 1943-1945, Schiffer Military History, Atglen, PA, 1997). Nevertheless, the Balkan adventure was only his spare-time activity because his main interest was the fight against World Jewry. In the annual protest against the Balfour Declaration, which in 1943 was staged in the large Luftwaffe hall in Berlin, the Mufti attacked the "Anglo-Saxon and Jewish conspiracy" phrase he so frequently used, and said:

The Treaty of Versailles was a disaster for the Germans as well as for the Arabs. But the Germans know how to get rid of the Jews. That which brings us close to the Germans and sets us in their camp is that up to day.

On 1 March 1944 he added in a broadcast from Berlin: "Arabs! Rise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor." The Mufti did not only intend to massacre the Yishuv Jewry, his hatred of the World Jewry had already driven him to participate in the Nazi Final Solution.