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2.2.13

From what I can tell people are mammals. And not just any mammals, but part of the group of primates. Besides the basic viciousness of character come along with that, people seem to be particularly prone to physical, mental, and character illnesses.

Though I was too young to participate, I think the events of the 1960's effected me greatly.People that were not around at that time can't relate to the atmosphere. For me the world disintegrating around me caused a "crisis of world view."

The urgency to form my own consistent world view has existed ever since then.

For this reason I looked at different religions and philosophies;-- all with the interest to form my own world view that had internal consistency and would correspond in fact with the real world.
I don't have time right now to go through all the mistakes and things that I can't tell if they were mistakes or not.
[I did a lot of searching in: Spinoza, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese philosophy, the Jewish Orthodox world, Christan streams of though, Islam etc. Though I never got that interested in Islam I had long discussions for several years with Muslim Imams and lived nearby a Muslim village. I have been around enough so that little that people do surprise me.  European philosophy is the most impressive of the bunch of world views I have seen and Plotinus and Maimonides, Kant and John Locke have to rate at the very top. (With honorable mention to  Anselm,  Aquinas, .)



Right now I will just state for the record my basic conclusion. If I have time I will try to go into the path that led me to this conclusion.
First the basic structure of my world view is that of Plotinus-- the neo-Platonic philosopher. But this comes with a slight modification. I don't think that Plotinus can be defended except by Immanuel Kant . Without immediate non intuitive knowledge there is no reason to assume to be true anything that Plotinus says. There is no ground for any of it. It comes across as ancient mysticism. But with Kant, Hegel and Schopenhauer a whole world opens up--the world that Plotinus navigated.

The meaning of this and it relevance for issues today is thus: It means that I am firmly in medieval school of thought of Jewish thinkers like the Chovot LeVavot [Duties of the Heart] and Maimonides (who was far more neo-Platonic than people realize).


The practical relevance for all this is that I know that some people feel free to ignore facts and reality in their pursuit of religious purity. I am not among them.

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From what I can tell people are mammals. and not just any mammals but part of the group of primates. Besides the basic viciousness of character come along with that people seem to be particularly prone to physical mental and character illnesses.
Religions that claim people are basically good are false.
Psychology is just another religion with its own false doctrines and high priests.

This is not to say that mental illness and character illness are not real problems.
But in terms of applying the basic principles of the Torah to real life situation. I find the Talmud and the books of the medieval thinkers like Maimonides are the best.
I think sin is a cause of lots of problems and also bad character traits like anger or pride. As far as that goes Israel Salanter was right. The only hope for people to improve their character is to make a whole movement around learning the books of ethics that deal with that issue