Tag Archives: Judaism

Hebrew Pairs & Opening Trunks



Excerpt from Opening Trunks, The Chuang Tzu, Chuangtse
Translated by Yutang Lin [source]

But nowadays any one can make the people strain their necks and stand on tiptoes by saying, “In such and such a place there is a Sage.” Immediately they put together a few provisions and hurry off, neglecting their parents at home and their masters’ business abroad, going on foot through the territories of the Princes, and riding to hundreds of miles away. Such is the evil effect of the rulers’ desire for knowledge When the rulers desire knowledge and neglect Tao, the empire is overwhelmed with confusion.

How can this be shown? When the knowledge of bows and cross-bows and hand-nets and tailed arrows increases, then they carry confusion among the birds of the air. When the knowledge of hooks and bait and nets and traps increases, then they carry confusion among the fishes of the deep. When the knowledge of fences and nets and snares increases, then they carry confusion among the beasts of the field. When cunning and deceit and flippancy and the sophistries of the “hard” and white’ and identities and differences increase in number and variety, then they overwhelm the world with logic.

Therefore it is that there is often chaos in the world, and the love of knowledge is ever at the bottom of it. For all men strive to grasp what they do not know, while none strive to grasp what they already know; and all strive to discredit what they do not excel in, while none strive to discredit what they do excel in. That is why there is chaos. Thus, above, the splendor of the heavenly bodies is dimmed; below, the power of land and water is burned up, while in between the influence of the four seasons is upset. There is not one tiny worm that moves on earth or insect that flies in the air but has lost its original nature. Such indeed is the world chaos caused by the desire for knowledge! Ever since the time of the Three Dynasties downwards, it has been like this. The simple and the guileless have been set aside; the specious and the cunning have been exalted. Tranquil inaction has given place to love of disputation; and disputation alone is enough to bring chaos upon the world.

Leave a Comment

Filed under cultural contradictions, history, philosophy, self-knowledge

Different Planets

interbreeding h/t: image purloined from Subverting the Genre, thanks Chris.

The contretemps involving a Fox talking head Lauren Green interviewing scholar/author Reza Azlan was much more amusing than shocking. The shocking part was, for me, Mr. Azlan believing Fox was even capable of interviewing him about the ideas in his new book Zealot.

(For a more high minded conversation, here are the video clips of his interview with Sister Rose.)

Then, in the aftermath, the rippling consequences are probably all completely predictable. Some Christians will condemn Azlan to Hell Fire; some scholars will remind people that the facts about Jesus are simply the facts contained in The New Testament. And, familiar characters will imply he is a jihadi sympathizer. The vicious will annunciate in blog comments that ‘it is certain Azlan is a terrorist.’

The distinction between the historical Jesus and Jesus of the New Testament has always struck me as the entry point into a fascinating historical detective story. This great historical problem did not seem to be of interest to Fox’s Lauren Green, given her interview with Mr. Azlan focused on a ridiculous hypothesis. Oh, I forgot, there now is a new wasteland of internet leavings asserting that only Christians have the ability to accurately investigate Jesus.

Personally, another keen point of interest is what devout people understand of any stripe to be the conjunction between their own beliefs/understandings and the contextualizing historically focused question,

What’s the connection between your religious commitment, and, the other Abrahamic religions?

I wonder what percentage of Christians, Jews, Muslims, would respond by asking, “What do you mean by Abrahamic religions?”


On the two occasions I’ve pitched this very same questions, both persons knew what I meant by Abrahamic religions, and, both persons did respond with something like, “I’m going to have to think about it.” It seems to me the easiest aspect to understand is comprehending the most significant and solitary cosmic ramification of monotheism, yet, evidently it is harder than I think.

Then, there are other questions I might pose.


Leave a Comment

Filed under cultural contradictions, Religion