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Re: [existlist] Re: Judaism and Existentialism - Is there a fertile ground between the two?

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  • Exist List Moderator
    ... I suggest familiarizing yourself with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. http://www.adl.org/special_reports/protocols/protocols_intro.asp is only one of
    Message 1 of 31 , Aug 6, 2006
      On Aug 06, 2006, at 7:18, louise wrote:

      > Louise:
      > I don't see any evidence that many people hate the Jewish faith,
      > whether in the traditional or evolved forms in which it manifests.

      I suggest familiarizing yourself with the Protocols of the Elders of
      is only one of many Web sites on the "documents" proving Jews want to
      rule the world. The paper discussed earlier on this list, a paper
      issued by the head of a department at Harvard, hints at a Jewish cabal
      running U.S. policy, while simultaneously trying to deny any prejudice.
      Two of us provided links to the document, so again the paper by Drs.
      Mearsheimer and Walt appears at:
      A response is also posted.

      The Protocols remains the highest-rated television mini-series in the
      Middle East, Indonesia, and Northern Africa. If you don't think this
      illustrates a problem, I suppose you find Roots a cheerful book on how
      some Africans found a fun new home in the States.

      Being "Jewish" means you either deny the history for your safety
      (unless you rise far enough in society to be ignored) of you embrace
      the identity and learn to tolerate the attacks.

      How does this fit into philosophy?

      Jewish existential and post-modern thinkers were responding to not
      merely a sense of alienation but a very real alienation and
      persecution. Krystalnacht, Jedwabne, and the French "export of the
      tainted" (I forget the actual phrase used) were quite real incidents
      the Jewish thinkers experienced. Jaspers, Buber, Frankl, and others
      experienced the "existential angst" of being an outsider in ways I
      cannot grasp, even though I know a hint of what it is like.

      For Jaspers, the choice of admit or deny a link to Judaism was an easy
      one. It was a matter of being authentic. For Frankl, the concentration
      camp experience was one that forced him to decide if all Germans were
      guilty or only the top echelon. He decided any German not resisting the
      Nazi rule was guilty of crimes against humanity -- not acting is as
      much a choice as active resistance. Buber is more complex, and I cannot
      relate to his Zionism, but I also haven't felt so angry that I wanted
      to emigrate to Israel. (I still think it's just land, not a promise of
      a better future. Sand in the Middle East. Big whoop.)

      How "outside" could Sartre really be, after WWII? He was eventually a
      national hero, with the largest funeral procession in that country's
      history. Real alienation almost requires the threat of extinction. Even
      Heidegger said it was the threat of death that makes us most aware of
      our condition.

      I suppose when you experience the active efforts to annihilate your
      family and friends, then your desire to live apart is more extreme.

      In the last five to six years, in my mid-to-late 30s, I was called a
      "Jew boy" and involved in a physical attack in a parking lot outside a
      bookstore. I had a mother insult me for having a book on Jewish
      holidays in a children's bookstore. I've had a yellow star painted on
      my door after writing an article on how Jews and Palestinians needed to
      resolve cross-border travel issues and learn to share resources. I've
      been told by a civic leader to "forgive" a Jewish doctor at a Rotary
      function, since he wasn't Christian. Then I was asked which church I

      These are minor things. You write them off and move on. It's not like
      you do much to educate the morons. But my family is from a very real
      threat -- Poland.

      Did you even know 1500 Jews were killed in Poland *after* World War II?
      My family fled Poland before WWII because of pogroms in Warsaw. After
      WWII, there was a an attack on one village during which more than 80
      men were beaten to death in the town square while a huge crowd cheered.
      Jan T. Gross is probably the best historian on issues of anti-semitism
      and Europe. I think you should read the reviews of his work in the
      Guardian and the International Herald Tribune. He has one book on how
      1600 Jews were killed in a single city before German troops arrived in
      1941. The book, I think, was The Destruction of Jews in Poland. I know
      it resulted in a massive backlash in Poland.

      France has had a record number of attacks on Jewish symbols this year.
      As a result, Jews from France are the leading immigrants into Israel
      this year. I think that is no accident. The French National Railroad
      was recently found guilty in court of not only following German demands
      to transport Jews to concentration camps... turns out the French (in
      the *north* and not merely the Vichy south) loaded Jews *ahead of time*
      in hopes of assuaging the Nazis. The myth of a major French Resistance
      is something I have been reading about. I admire Sartre and Camus for
      being actual Resistance members and not like so many of their

      I happen to think much of Europe is xenophobic, not merely against
      Jews, but against new Muslim immigrants. I'm now learning how
      xenophobic and even racist the Midwest is. I've heard comments about
      North Africans, Indians, Jews, and Mexicans since arriving. Being from
      California, I'm not used to such open racial stereotypes and dislike.
      It is very disturbing to have "liberal" coworkers comment that I live
      "among *those* people" because I live in the southern Twin Cities area.

      Racism is alive and well in the world. I just thought Western culture
      would somehow be more developed than it is. We might be ahead of some
      regions, but not far enough ahead for my comfort.

      Racism is used by politicians, which is sickening. Just try to get
      Turkey to admit the Armenian Genocide. (Even the Bush Administration
      won't use the word "genocide" for fear of hurting Turkey's EU
      ambitions.) Rwanda and the Sudan are not understood by most of us. I
      cannot grasp the hatred of Shiites by Sunni tribes. All these
      superficial hatreds are quite real, not in the minds of groups with a
      "persecution complex" or victim mentality. It isn't in your mind when
      cars explode in your neighborhood of Iraq, or when trains take your
      family to a concentration camp.

      Kierkegaard never lost his faith. He was always Christian. Many, many
      Jews lost their faith in a creator before and after WWII. They lost
      their identity in some cases. That's a serious sense of "falling" apart
      from the world. Imagine raising your children as Christians, as my
      grandparents did, to help your children survive in a new country. You
      give up that which is "you" to survive -- and then you feel guilty for

      It's hard to explain.

      Read Gross and you learn a lot about European Jews and their
      intellectual movements. Existentialism is discussed as a response to
      war and suffering.

      Also... when I read that Israel was created after WWII, that
      misrepresents a migration that began in the nineteenth century. By 1923
      or so, Jews and Palestinians were organized and fighting colonial
      powers. In 1926, Britain suggested two independent states be created.
      Events in Europe simply caused a delay in the formation of these

      It isn't "Western guilt" that created Israel. It was a standard fight
      against colonial rule. I wonder if colonialism made the groups in
      India-Pakistan and Jordan-Israel-Egypt hate each other more. I have no
      idea how colonial rule shapes hatreds.

      Then again, Camus would be the source for existentialism, absurdism,
      and the colonial experience.

      - C. S. Wyatt
      I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
      that I shall be.
      http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
      http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
    • Ari Akkermans
      i doubt whether that emotional phenomenology of the existential weltanschauung does really define what existentialism is or if anything at all can. in a way
      Message 31 of 31 , Aug 9, 2006
        i doubt whether that emotional "phenomenology" of the existential weltanschauung does really define what existentialism is or if anything at all can. in a way once you start thinking beyond good and evil then not only the physical world disappear with its sheer need for judgement, but also the metaphysical one in which the existenz dwells.

        for an example:

        hence, the possible advantage of our situation following the demise of metaphysics and philosophy would be two-fold. it would permit us to look on the past with new eyes, unburdened and unguided by any traditions, and thus to dispose a tremendous wealth of raw experiences without being bound by any prescriptions as to how to deal with these treasures. notre heritage n'est precede d'aucun testament. the advantage would be even greater had it not been accompanied, almost inevitably, by a growing inability to move, on no matter what level, in the realm of the invisible; or, to put it in another way, had it not been accompanied by the disrepute into which everything that is not visible, tangible, palpable has fallen, so that we're in danger of losing the past itself together with our traditions. (hannah arendt)

        existentialism is per force of necessity inconsistent with the needs of the heathen man, if not let's have a look of why the faculty of will was unheard of in the classical world and saw the light firstly in augustine and duns scottus. because as harvey cox (who is everything but existentialist) pointed out the idea of revelation (like the mt. sinai kind of thing) brings the relativization of values, shattering forever the possibility of eternal truth - what today makes us reject kant's notion of autonomy (being eternal and unmovable) in favour of goethe's. if not, ask walter kaufman.

        holy script and tradition become beacons of wisdom only in the sense that we're so entirely disconnected from the source of truth and dwelling in mystery, which was pointed out by both lev shestov and heidegger. in another sense once a "text" becomes closed into a canon it's closed only in one end, for the other end is anew open for hermeneutics.

        the existentialism of the biblical man resides in a dialectic fashion, the struggle between athens and jerusalem for which only an existential answer if possible. shestov concluded that man must choose between athens and jerusalem, but those of us who lived to see the dismise of both the metaphysical and the material are witnesses that in a westernmost sense this is not possible. we're an "abendlich" civilization, as the german accurately phrases it.

        even when i might agree or disagree with the heideggerian dasein, it's clear to me that even when the realm of reality is found somewhere beyond being (an idea as old as plato) the realpolitik that one exercises from within this withdrawal unto the physical world is undeniable. it took the scholars a long time to figure that out in heidegger, even though karl loewith saw it very early on. so did marcuse. so did arendt. no wonder the three of them ranked among the most important political thinkers of the century.

        the midrash expounds: when god gave moses the tablets of the law he himself engraved those were shattered by moses and god agreed then commanding him to write them anew, by human hand! we enter then a total relativization that was kept adrift through years and years of aristotelian systematization. the biblical man can be an existentialist in the sense that he's always homeless in the world.

        "ich liebe die Erde
        so wie auf der Raise
        dem fremden Ort
        und nicht anders"

        when you speak about the secular jew bring scorned by religious jews and antisemites the critique is not of his judaism, but of his being at home too much in the world. and if one can say being a jew is faith then r. mizrahi and sartre concluded that a jew in that narrow sense is someone who the other thinks he's a jew, but the result of a conscious examination of what the jew entails, which up to this day has neverbeen produced. the jew remains undefinable sociologically.

        and that so-called system of beliefs is more charged with politics than one would be willing to admit. when you start thinking in the abscence of moral certainty at all then one soon realizes that he's obliterated both worlds, the one above and the one below. therefore through the making of politics one attempts to recover the public world (namely the space in between men for action) in order to recover also the metaphysical. if not it all becomes a tautology.

        there's a need for an existential answer (in terms of either heidegger or sartre) that when obliterating the inviduality by means of obliterating the otherness turns into some totalitarian idea, the right opposite of the existential claim of the "i".

        didn't lessing say prophetically "our obsession with being rational theologians is turning us into irrational philosophers?"

        then one could as well say, the obsession with being so "exclusively" existential in an almost nihilistic fashion is turning existentialism into mere mass emotion, just like reason.

        [If you can't do that, I don't care how you define
        yourself, you're not an existentialist.]

        i dont think i really should comment on this one.


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