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20.4.12

Schopenhauer claims that facts about the physical world have no internal significance. In this point the Rambam surely disagrees. The Rambam holds learning Physics and Metaphysics (of Aristotle) is higher than learning Torah. The Ari ( Isaac Luria) also from also disagrees. He has a whole list of Divine names that are embodied in the physical universe. See the large Sidur of the Reshash [from the grandson of Shalom Sharabi] for the whole list. (That is besides the smaller list in the Eitz Chaim itself). Some of these Divine names are from the Eitz Chayim itself (The book, Tree of Life of Isaac Luria) but not all. This is common with Shalom Sharabi- to fill in missing gaps in the writings of the Arizal. [The Ramchal also does this like for the intentions of mincha for Shabat.]
In this world is hidden holiness; and even in the lowest regions in spirituality is hidden the highest holiness that comes from the hidden statement of creation. In the first statement of Creation there is no "He said"


To the Rambam when you learn Physics and MetaPhysics you directly fulfill the mitzvah of Love and fear of God. These are not means to come to fear of God or love, but direct fulfillment of the actual commandments.
You can see this in the beginning of the "Yad HaChazakah" and also in the Guide. All later Musar books quote the Rambam about this but seem innocent about what he was actually intending.

This is similar to the mitzvah of being attached to God Deuteronomy 13:5. The Sages ask how is this possible to fulfill. And they answer by marrying off ones daughter to a Torah scholar and doing business with a Torah scholar and  giving money to a Torah scholar.
The Rambam brings this statement as meaning that doing these things is an actual fulfillment of the commandment;- not just a means to come to attachment with God.


Where do you see that truth is in the ground? In physical matter? Why is it that the Rambam insists on seeing in facts about physics the highest truths? He probably saw it in a Midrash. God wanted to create Man. The angel of truth came and asked how can you create Man when he is full of lies? God took the angel of truth and threw him on the ground, as the verse says, "He threw truth to the ground." So we see truth is in the ground--i.e. Physics.



18.4.12

Some of the pluses about Gemara [Talmud] and some of the negatives.
The good things are an infinity, painstaking, rigorous, logical approach to the Bible. Of course no gentiles can see this because if they ever pick up the Gemara at all, it is a translation. Not that I am against translations. but -you really can't see the profundity of the Talmud without Tosphot [commentary on the side of the page of the Talmud] and the Maharsha [a later commentary located as an index in the back of the Talmud], and about a week of work on one Tosphot [comments on the side of page of the Talmud]. The only way to ever see this is to get to a point where you see some question on Tosphot that seems to make it make no sense, but then by faith you keep on plugging away until you reach the next level and see how Tosphot answered the question with some slight change of wording and was hinting to some great deep idea. Few people are aware of this in the Talmud, so they never understand its importance.

Another positive thing is that it does not try to derive morality from a small number of principles. This is a trap that all moral philosophers fell into for the last 2000 years, and there are plenty of counter examples to all of them.
Another great thing about Torah and the Talmud is that we can exercise a certain amount of control over how we are forming beliefs. It is up to us, for example, whether we believe whatever we hear on television, and we can choose to suspend judgment rather than accept conclusions according to a certain method.
Since we are primates, we need a way of getting through our desires and animal nature to perceive moral values. It does not happen automatically.



We need some method of forming beliefs that is systematically directed at the truth -- in other words, a method such that, in general, when you use it you will probably acquire a true belief rather than a false one. For if we don't apply such a method, then we will probably have false beliefs, and we don't want that,  for obvious reasons. E.g. something will happen to us when we leave this world. If it is true that there is a hell, then it is better for people not to end up there by doing things they think are good deeds like blowing up Jews or other such misinformed actions.] Now, it could be doubted whether there are any such methods.
And that is my complaint. The Talmud is fallible. It does automatically lead to true beliefs about moral values. It is good, but not perfect. And as a system, it can be abused by those willing to abuse it. Many fall into this trap of assuming their interests and ideas  are the interests and ideas of the Talmud.

12.4.12

In Praise of Racism. [In the Middle Ages this essay would be entitled "In Praise of Heresy."]

Game Theory and Stereotypes

Suppose that you could have some sort of “clairvoyant knowledge” of whether a person belonged to a murderous group. You could then avoid interactions with members of that group, say by remaining in a segregated community.
Clairvoyance, of course, unfortunately does not exist. But you could get a similar benefit by learning from the past experiences of other members of your group in interactions with other subgroups, especially if it’s encapsulated in easy-to-remember memes/sayings.

You know what that “collective wisdom based on past experiences” is called, right? Stereotypes. Drunken Irish, airhead blondes, violent blacks, etc.


Of course, in practice, even a community of convicted murderers doesn’t kill every new person they meet, the first time. But if there’s any risk at all that trusting others too much before they’ve earned that trust will result in you immediately “losing the game,” and if such crime statistics can in any way be validly associated with particular, identifiable subgroups, it follows immediately from that that the holding of valid stereotypes about those groups will be a superior survival strategy to simply trusting them until they betray you.

Observe:

Kirsten Brydum was traveling across the country with an Amtrak pass and an old bicycle. She was meeting with fellow Marxists around the country and campaigning for Obama. Fresh from protesting the RNC National Convention, she arrived in New Orleans by train. While bicycling around New Orleans’ all black 9th ward ghetto to campaign for Obama, she was shot in the head. Residents would not even call the police to notify them that a dead white girl was laying on the sidewalk. Her body laid in the streets for hours until a construction crew drove by and noticed her.

Even the New Orleans police issued a statement saying “robbery does not appear to be the motivation.” All evidence suggests that she was murdered simply because she was white.

That girl would still be alive today, if only she had believed the “racist” stereotypes about black violence.

11.4.12

I want to introduce a new type of Judaism that already many people keep but don't know that it is in fact a new branch. It's called "shomer mitvot" i.e. keeping the 613 mitzvot. This is different than Reform which does not hold from mitzvot. This is different than Orthodox which makes up mitzvot at random and ignores all real mitzvot. The importance of mitvot is that this is the actual idea of Torah of what is important.

3.4.12

 Pesach. The correct day is the 15th date from the new moon as the Torah says. that is April 5. Hillel the second never made any calendar. that is a made up myth to give support to the meton calendar which wee use which was adopted from the Greeks.
the so called Hebrew calendar was never sanctified by any beit din. (If it was then this question would be a debate between the Talmud in Sanhedrin and the Talmud is rosh hashanah.) But as it stands today the Hebrew calendar is a mistake.
Number two.\

the great thing about Shulchan Aruch that even I with all my critiques on it have to admit is that a person  that learns it generally has a good idea of halacha. While people that learn Rambam never seem to have the slightest idea of any halacha and don't even know what the very concept is.


Also it is important to understand the way the Torah is written. It was not meant to be taken literally. It is kabalistic. The apologetics to try to bring archaeological proofs to the exodus is wrong and unnecessary and also not true--and it goes against the very spirit that the Torah was written in.

Further it is important not to lie about these things. See the Ten Commandments and psalm 101:7 for further details.