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24.5.10

The more spirit the less form

The more spirit the less form. Content increases as form lessens. In total form (logic) each sentence has no content (the sentences of logic are just A, B, C and you can fill them with anything) then science has more content but less formal logic behind it. Then morality and ethics has even more content (people and the meaning of life) the God is beyond logical form (even the impossible is possible) but total content.
So in this context I would say that Orthodox Judaism in as much as it stresses halacha loses spiritual content

Rational Approach to the Torah [Maimonides]


I wrote only a short note before about my personal experience. I wanted to leave my answer out of it. But I do have an answer. I believe that the Rambam's rational approach to Judaism holds the key. In the way of thinking of the Rambam's [Maimonides] Reason (i.e. Aristotle's Logic and Metaphysics) and Torah are one organic whole. I think where Judaism (Yidishkeit) went wrong was when this Rambam approach was rejected. (One example of the way of thought of the Rambam is the parable of the King in the Guide for the Perplexed.) In this parable there is a king with a country. People outside the country are barbarians. People in the country are goyim with civilization. People near the palace of the king are Talmudic scholars that know and keep the whole Torah. People in palace are natural scientists. People with the King (God) are the philosophers and prophets.
You can see this approach also in Saadia Geon and the Chovot Levavot [a medieval book on ethics, Duties of the Heart].
This rational approach to Torah was wide spread during the Middle Ages. I think after the time of the Rambam,Yidishkeit deteriorated into fanaticism.
The "Middle Ages" were the age of reason. You almost can never punch a hole in an argument of a medieval philosopher whether Anselm or Maimonides or Aquinas. The characteristic of the great Mediaeval thinkers was that every counter argument against them can usually shows the shallow thinking of the one trying to find the hole. Later thinkers never approach that degree of rigorous thought--ever-- even Kant. 
 The greatness of the Renaissance was in art and in the beginning of empirical thought-not reason

21.5.10

a priori values

A priori values. Freedom and Reason. Sometimes there comes a person into the world whose purpose is to reveal some a priori value.
Or President Kennedy bringing the idea of jogging into national consciousness.
The Rambam also discovered the value of the fusion of Torah with reason.
But with every value that is revealed there is a false value which surrounds it. And there are "chevra mans" that pretend to be supporting the true value but enforce the false value.
(Just like the idea of freedom got perverted in America to mean the welfare state--the right not be to be insulted the right to feel good etc.)
the truth be told we need a process by which good values can be separated from bad values.
to reveal the combination of all good values can't happen until one discovers the process by which bad values can be sifted out.
I believe that there is a minimum requirement for a moral value system--that it should be logically deducible from it that murder rape and torture of 10 million people is wrong.  Neither does Islam fulfill that requirement. But if you would take the Talmud along with Maimonides who says that the mitzvoth have a priori rational basis under them that determines how the halacha is applied then Torah and Talmud could be part of a moral system. But only in connection with this idea of Maimonides. with him the Torah is as vicious and evil as Islam