I have many concerns about this whole Covid scenario? I am not a conspiracy theorist, but there are a lot of open ended questions to be addressed.
Why does it feel as though powerful governments of the world are pushing historical enemies into direct confrontation with one another? Why? Why now? There are several flash points around the world, a major one being Israel.
The Six-Day War that took place between June 5th and June 10th, 1967 was viewed by the Israelis as a preventative measure to counter what the Israelis saw as an impending attack by Arab nations that surrounded Israel. The war took place against Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Israel won and gained additional territory, the West Bank of the River Jordan, which is bounded by Israel to the north, west and south. To its east lies Jordan.
Following the war, Israel and Palestine have been in a conflict that could impact the entire world if it escalates.
Since the Six Day War Israel’s occupation of the West Bank has been a partial cause of ongoing battles across borders between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews, with much of the western world siding with the Palestinians.
There was a time when Israel drew some sympathy from the west when Israel was under constant attack; but the sympathy has waned. Today, Israel is demonized. This is largely due to the contempt Israel has demonstrated for its lack of administering basic Human Rights to Palestinians, which are afforded under International Law. The Israeli government has become a law unto itself. Not wishing to concede Palestine’s demands is one thing, but practicing unnecessary brutality against Palestinian citizens has brought Israel into disrepute.
Israel has a dire need to protect its people, but the Israeli government has without a doubt set neighbour against neighbour. Israel has the military advantage so Israel will always carry the blame for being unfair, while both sides are to blame for the ongoing hostilities. The conflict is bitter and neither side will concede. As time moves on the problems appear intractable, but now Israel wants to exacerbate the situation?
Israel wants to annex parts of the West Bank, which would give Israel sovereignty over the territory. Under International Law such a move is illegal. The last place to be annexed was Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.
Israel is surrounded by enemies and the West Bank would certainly give Israel a strategic military advantage. The Palestinians have said many times publically, that they want to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.
Israel’s nuclear capability is said to act as a deterrent, but such whims have always ended badly.
Israel won the West Bank during the Six Day War and they have taken possession with gusto. The government has subsequently built settlements on the land. Israel naturally wants to protect its citizens, especially those on the borders where people are particularly vulnerable to ongoing attacks, but it also makes historical claims to the land, which call into question, how far a nation can stretch its religious and ancestral prowess and at what cost. The Jewish people have survived by keeping faith with their ancestry and religious practices. There are many fears associated with letting go and moving forward into a more homogeneous society. The birth rate among the Palestinians is much higher than that of the Israeli’s, this poses a serious threat to Jewish survival.
While much of the world opposes the annexation, including the United Nations, the US President Donald Trump is giving his support to it.
After Donald Trump’s election to office, he decided to get up close to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and show himself to be a President who is a friend of Israel, but what sort of friend rides roughshod over neighbouring states to the extent that it would destabilize the whole region? I believe there is more to Donald Trumps’ offer of friendship than meets the eye. Trump deals in finances, not care for peoples’ lives.
Donald Trump took it upon himself to draft a peace plan, since many had failed before. There was nothing remarkably new about Trump’s plan, which included the annexation. (The plan was rejected by the Palestinians). Without doubt, Trump’s plan has pushed the annexation forward.
Between 2.1 million and 3 million (sources vary) Palestinian Arabs live in the West Bank under both limited self-rule and Israeli military rule.
The West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) is also home to some 430,000 Israeli Jews who live in 132 settlements (and 124 smaller outposts) built during Israel’s occupation.
The vast majority of the western world consider the settlements to be illegal under International Law, but Israel and the Trump administration have their own interpretation of the Law.
The parts of the West Bank which contain Jewish settlements are planned for annexation as well as most of the land along the West Bank’s boundary with Jordan, known as the Jordan Valley. The move is highly provocative and could end in disaster for Jews and Palestinians alike.
Israel will undoubtedly be looking to build more settlements and the annexation will make the process easier, since Israel will have sole control of the area, but where will it leave the people who have to live there? Already, Jews are under constant fire from the other side of the borders. Annexation is bound to make it worse. Added to this, it will undermine any future peace talks or hope of a more stabilized and cooperative future, for Palestinians and Jews in the region.
If this annexation takes place it will concretize and legitimize the rule of despotic leaders, east and west. These are never one-off situations, they shed their bravado far and wide.
There is a current debate on Marx and Marxism that is happening across academia, which has drawn my attention.
In the 1960s and beyond, Marx was very popular with socialists (and still is), and a number of Jews became followers of Marx based on the notion that Communism was about community and Jews have always been very community minded. However, recently Marxism has been called into question, not just for its unworkable politics, but also as being anti-Semitism.
In the 1960s Europe was still mourning the losses from Fascism, but Fascism and Communism were not the same thing. Added to this, there was significant evidence to affirm Adolf Hitler’s hatred of Communism, this has been well documented. Nonetheless, Marx, who wrote the Communist Manifesto, is being accused of anti-Semitism.
In the 1960s it was trendy for rebellious youths to call themselves Communists, while many did not understand the tenants of the Communist ideology, many were led by intellectuals who did. It was an attractive proposition for the oppressed, keeping in mind there was little knowledge of the deaths and torture brought about by Eastern Europe’s Communist revolutions or the pogroms. The focus was on what used to be the Soviet Union (USSR), which has since been dismantled.
Importantly, Communism was a real threat to Capitalism across the world, both Australia and America banned Communism and invoked penalties for members of Communist groups that included imprisonment. Needless to say, for those who followed Communism, Karl Marx was the ultimate hero, but his works were voluminous and only read by the dedicated few, the rest just followed the leaders into Communist activism and groups.
Marx was a brilliant economist, philosopher and sociologist, but many of his readers were more interested in his philosophies than Communism as a direct system of government. It was the mass working class who were drawn to Communism and Socialism, which had real and tangible roots in past revolutions.
When populations woke up to the horrors of the Holocaust all forms of Socialism went out of favour. At the same time, the world embarked on a Cold War, so Communism was also off the agenda.
More recently, various leaders of the Socialist left have been closely scrutinized, especially in regard to their possible anti-Semitism. Hence, in today’s political climate all forms of Socialism are regarded as anti-Jewish and today, Marx is being viewed in a very different light, not just as a Communist, but also as an anti-Semite. Added to this, it is being argued that Hitler was very influenced by Karl Marx.
Marx was Jew from a distinguished rabbinical lineage and although he rebelled against Judaism and its traditions, it is hard to imagine Hitler following the ideas of any Jew since he was known for his intense hatred of anything connected to the Jews and Judaism and his campaigns against the Jews were deeply personal. Nonetheless, the connection between Hitler and Marx is being avidly promulgated across the western world.
It is true to say that Marx was a believer in uniformity and he wanted to change the Jewish culture to make it both secular and inclusive, he was not the only Jew pursuing this cause. Jews, by nature were very insular, they had to be after centuries of persecution. Today the context has changed, but Marxist writings on the Jews as anti-social are being reiterated.
In the 1960s the multicultural views held by Marx were not thought to be anti-Semitic. However, today, the Marxist discourse is viewed as a direct attack on Jews and in particular an attack on Israel, despite the fact that Israel did not exist at the time of Marx’s writing.
Importantly, in the 1960s and beyond many Jews were Marxists and Communists. The major imperative in Judaism has always been to heal the world (Tikkun Olam) and it was not unreasonable to suggest that a new form of government was needed at the helm of such a huge task.
Also, it needs to be considered that Marx was responding to the times, and while there were a number of affluent Jews, most Jews were desperately poor and living in shocking conditions with little work or food. Hence, the coming together of Jews and Marxism should not be cause for surprise. With this in mind, it begs the question, what is it that sees Marx categorized as anti-Semitic? Why are we reading Marx so differently today than we did in the 1960s?
There used to be a clear distinction between Communism and Socialism. Today, we hardly hear about Communism, even though there are still Communist governments. In addition, what we understood to be Communism was not truly what Marx envisaged instead Communism was (and is) just another form of state controlled government.
While Communism largely failed, Socialism has managed to hang on to the threads that were always already historically racist. Socialism also bled into Anarchism, particularly in the revival of works by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. 1809-1865.
Proudhon was a French politician and the founder of the mutualist philosophy and he is considered to be one of the Anarchist’s most influential theorists. He became a member of the French Parliament after the Revolution of 1848.
Proudhon was fiercely anti-Semitic, calling not for the end of what Jews represent, but of the Jews as a people. This is the call that is being reiterated today by the Socialists. The royalist group Action Française, and the Jew-hater Charles Maurras, drew inspiration from Proudhon and this is the bitter legacy that has endured,
Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto, but he was not the first communist. This title goes to the French Revolutionary Gracchus Babeuf 1796.
Marx is author of a work titled On the Jewish Question, which is the tract that has drawn him into the arena of accused anti-Semites. There is no doubt that Marx ‘s works were anti-religious, he questioned religion, but he was certainly not considered an anti-Semite until recently. There has been a distinct shift, whereby anti-religion (Judaism) is also viewed as being anti-Semitic. This has come about since the establishment of the Jewish State, Israel and crucially most of Israel’s most fervent enemies are either politically Socialist or influenced by Islamic socialist beliefs.
The critique of Marx as an anti-Semite focuses on his book titled On the Jewish Question. It was a response to a short book called The Jewish Question which was written by his revolutionary contemporary Bruno Bauer. Marx held significant influence on politics and culture at a time when the struggle was largely against aristocratic privilege. Jews did not form a part of the aristocratic cohort, but a few had affluent businesses that serviced them.
The dynamics shifted focus after the Second World War following the collapse of socialist idealism and the rise of Liberalism. Much of the debate focused on the Holocaust, then it shifted with post-colonialism to various forms of racism. Marx was known for his writings on Capitalism, but attention was aroused by his little known book On the Jewish Question, which was relegated to the genre of anti-Semitism along with Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, alleged to be a forgery instigated by the Freemasons.
The accusations against Marx have also coincided with Revisionism (an attempt to rewrite history, especially in regard to the Jews and the Holocaust). Claims have arisen to suggest that Marx had a great influence on Adolf Hitler. Socialists around the world have used this claim to shift attention away from the Holocaust and to invoke an anti-Semitism that finds its expression in a homogenized worldview and the ongoing war against the State of Israel. This in turn, has been linked to a war against American and western values. It has galvanized the left and the right into condemnation of the Jews.
The Jews are used to being caught in the middle of left and right politics, but this has served to deepen the racial divide.
It is claimed that Marx’s attitude toward the Jews is discernible in the tendency of his modern followers to accept the various characteristics that Marx ascribed to the Jews in On the Jewish Question as negative and then to overlay those same characteristics onto condemnation of a global free market.
Marx described Jews as possessing an anti-social element, but what Marx meant by this should not be directed only towards the Jews. Generally, Marx viewed the human character as a positive attribute believing that everyone should reach their full potential and he attempted to adopt a free and open society that would have included Jews (but not religion).
The characteristics that Marx attributes to the Jews are basic in the human condition. In order to accomplish his goal of world transformation toward Communism, Marx advised, and rightfully from his point of view, that the human elements he ascribed to the Jews would have to be expunged from all people, not just Jews. He advocated that in order to affect his view of progress, there had to be unity.
This can be read in different ways. Marx did not invent anti-Semitism, the occurrence goes back as far as the events described in the biblical Book of Esther, events which are believed to have occurred around 400 B.C. The Book of Esther is read during the Jewish holiday of Purim. As the story goes, Haman, the chief advisor to Achashverosh, the Emperor of the Persians and the Medes, sought to annihilate the Jewish people because of the action of one Jew, Mordecai, who refused to bow down in his presence. What followed was a plot to annihilate the Jews.
While Marx was not religious or a racist, but his book has been interpreted as a voice for political anti-Semitism in times when racism should be been eradicated simply through intellectual and economic advancement. The most classic statement found in On the Jewish Question, reads as follows:
What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money.
This is seemingly Jew attacking Jew which is not uncommon. The fact that Marx was a Jew makes the statement self-effacing and we know Marx struggled with his own Judaism. Even when seen as political criticism of the Jews, if anyone has a right to such criticism it is another Jew. Does this make the statement anti-Semitic? The term aniti-Semitic is in itself problematic and offensive because not all Semites are Jews.
On the Jewish Question has been criticized from both the left and the right and Marx has been accused of establishing a distinctly Jewish stereotype, which has left its mark on Jewish society as different, alien and out to corrupt the world. Was this Marx’s intention to single out Jews as the only form of corruption? No.
Marx viewed certain characteristics as obstacles that were standing in the way of progress and clearly, Marx drew heavily on his own background. What Marx gave to empiricism was the ability to draw on personal experience.
Marx called Judaism false consciousness. Freud, also a Jew did roughly the same, but Freud was not labelled an anti-Semite, albeit he was largely against religion.
It has also been argued that Marx’s reference to consciousness resonates with the social version of the Nazi theory, which was that the Jews posed as a biological corrupting element in Germany and the world. Thus, Marx contended, this false consciousness would disintegrate if Judaism were to disappear. In my view, this is a gross misreading of Marx and his intentions.
For me as a past reader of Marx, the Jews had much more in common with Marxism than we are led to believe, which is why so many Jews became followers of the cause. Marx turned reality in a utopian dream and we all had to wake up from the dream. It is true that Marx would have imposed his ideas on the entire world had it been possible, but is this not what the United States are doing today under the guise of democracy?
One might suggest that the desire to conquer any nation is an act of racism. Conquest is inherent with racism, I don’t think singling out Marx as a racist is going to change this. What it does do is undermine the knowledge and insight Marx did give to the world in analysis and learning.
Are you interested in the neurosciences? Then let us explore a little quantum mechanics.
There are many parallels. I am not a physicist and quantum mechanics can be very complex or very simple. I will take the simple route.
First, forget everything you have read or been taught about God because God is allegory. Everything you have learned from religion is allegory. We are allegory!!! Second, there is nothing new in quantum mechanics, it was knowledge common to the ancient Hebrews and the Egyptians and it has been passed down through metaphor and symbolism, originally depicted in the workings of the Sun, stars and universe; astronomy and astrology.
Quantum mechanics describes the universe.
The universe is made up of matter and energy. In quantum mechanics this is known as particles and waves. There are some particles we know of and others still to be discovered. The two main particles are the Boson and the Fermions. Light, is the creator of the universe, an electromagnetic phenomenon, it is the most familiar form of Boson.
Fermions are present in the most common substances of our world. Fermions are made up of electrons, protons and neutrons, or the key substances we call atoms.
Fermions can in turn be subdivided into two groups, leptons, invisible particles, which include nutrinos, particles that play a key role in the universe and are likely left over from the Big Bang. The other group of Fermions are the hedrons. The hedrons are made up of smaller units of particles, which we call quarks.
Hedrons are assembled from three quarks and we call these baryons. The baryons are key to Creation. All atomic nuclei are composed of baryons. These are better referred to as nuclear matter as many of the baryons disappear as soon as they are created.
The most important thing to remember is this, in our universe most of the substances are made up of Fermions, electrons, protons and neutrons, with the exception of a subclass called dark matter, this is made up of the “missing” mass of the universe, (galaxies should have more mass than they do in order to retain their shape).
In order to understand the relevance of quantum mechanics we need to probe the processes of Creation and the earliest forms of particle behaviour, which will include one other property known as antimatter.
In the theory of relativity, the total mass of a particle is not constant, it includes the mass associated with its energy and motion, Einstein’s equation E = mc2. (This has also been the topic of an acclaimed disambiguation and the uncertainty principle).
Leaving the challenges aside, the scientist Paul Dirac in 1933 discovered the antiparticle, one that moves in reverse direction. While it appeared impossible to have particles moving in opposite directions at the same time, it was discovered that all Fermions have a corresponding antiparticle. For example, the antiparticle of an electron is called a positron and an antiparticle of each type of quark is called an antiquark.
Matter and antimatter are identical except that they have opposite charges. When particles of the opposite type come into contact with each other they annihilate each other turning into a burst of light – two photons – whose combined energy is related to the total mass of the two particles. Einstein’s equation E = mc2 .
The knowledge of our world is that it contains fewer than one hundred kinds of atoms, that is normal matter, which in turn constitutes twenty-nine fundamental particles and their variants. However, the vast majority of matter in the universe remains invisible. We can only glimpse its existence in the motions of the universe. Much like consciousness, we know we are conscious human beings, but we cannot see consciousness or know for sure where it originates from.
The scientific evidence suggests that most of the matter in the universe is dark matter, something we know little about. We know of its existence when it becomes slightly visible in the halos of galaxies, stars and nebulae heated directly or indirectly by other stars.
To be clear, the world we experience is one of light and atoms, composed of Bosons and Fermions. These are characterized by their tendency to aggregate and being either indistinguishable or having the need to segregate and thus, becoming individually identifiable.
It has taken thousands of years to get this small amount of information. Imagine what is missing from the equations.
What have we missed?
In Jewish mysticism the universal forms and their relationships derive from a common source God’s spoken Word as it was recorded in Genesis. The scientific picture when deconstructed is not very different. In both versions there are particles and forces.
We know that the nature of particles sees them interacting with one another without coming into actual contact. In science this does not appear to be a strange phenomenon, but when we relate it to religions or the existence of a God or mystical energy, doubts are raised. What is this invisible force? How can we know it when it is invisible?
The historical context of this knowledge is important. In ancient times, the world’s rulers gathered much of their strength and kudos through their approval of pagan gods and goddesses (their alter-ego). In some cases rulers were the perceived to be gods. The allocation of the supreme gods made sense to the agrarian populations because they resonated with nature.
However, the vision of nature stopped at the borders of our planet. What was in the heavens was a mystery, but it was not a mystery to all. It was in fact, a carefully guarded secret.
Knowledge is power said the modern philosopher Michel Foucault and in many cases those with knowledge of the universe threatened the powerful and established elites.
The real scientific meanings hidden in the religious texts were highly protected. Indeed, Creation, Revelation and Redemption, were threatening concepts to those who ruled. They were deemed the prerogative of rulers, not some heavenly force.
Before the Dark Ages the ancients did not see the Earth as flat. Rather, they understood how gravity deforms space into a grid, from this the Earth would have appeared flat. Astrologers drew their patterns from the stars and attributed mathematical equations to their unique shapes and curves.
In modern times we have devised the notion of fields to explain matter and energy. These fields can be visualized as lines of force that emanate from particles. School children learn this by putting a magnet under a table containing iron filings. The magnet moves the filings in any direction as long as someone is guiding the magnet. So what guides the magnetism of the universe? Why are particles appearing and disappearing?
Given the relation between forces and particles, especially during the time of Creation, one might suggest that there is a grand and unified theory for us to relate to. This has its own natural appeal. Hence, we have created religions and put aside the laws of physics (the separation of science and religion) and we have carried this into our modern age.
The laws of physics describe how particles behave and the need for a supreme force to govern them. This should be philosophically reassuring to atheists, while raising the miraculous value of God (a unified force) to spiritual believers. God was only one name attributed to this force, there were many. To the Hebrews the name was an unspoken word meaning breath.
There is much we still do not know, for example, String Theory starts with the presumption that particles may not be zero dimensional. Rather, particles are more like waves or vibrating particles dancing along a string.
Further, there may be more than one dimension and perhaps even a microwave background that ensures a harmonious cosmic interrelationship. We might even be bold enough to describe this as a cosmic consciousness.
The deep symmetry of science was recognized by all the mystics. In particular, it was advanced by the Kabbalists in the notion that the world was created by one supreme force. The idea was expanded to include a spirit or soul, which today underscores mystical spiritual beliefs.
The idea is not so far fetched as today we are grappling with the same questions over human consciousness. Where is consciousness located in the human brain.? We do not have the answer to this question. We may never have it because we are looking in the wrong place.
It is very likely, if we are to believe the ancient texts, that there is only one consciousness and we all experience a small part of it.
When Abel took his brother’s life
He took away God’s gift
The breath that dwells
in you and me.
When Abel died,
His mother cried,
my son, he cannot breathe.
And people held their breath
and put flowers on his grave.
Flowers do not bring back a life.
So, people rallied on the streets.
A black man cried, I cannot breathe
And others shouted.
No more deaths
The Black Lives Matter rallies around the world are just the latest in mass protests against a cruel and unequal capitalist system. Over the years I have been involved in many rallies and protests so my friends have asked me, why am I not out on the streets now protesting? Here is why!
I began protesting in the 1960s in England against nuclear weapons. We won a Treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Now every war is fought with nuclear warheads. We are back to where we started.
The historical reality is this; battles are won and lost in a continuum of political struggles, which are not unlike the struggles before them. Nothing really changes! There have always been wars, conflicts and disagreements. The confrontations are based on a duality that pitches the strongest against the weak and as much as we protest, nothing is going to change these dynamics because, in reality; all we are doing is participating in the dynamics of for and against battles.
So, what must change before we can stop the violence?
A few years ago I wrote a biography called Mythology and Meaning in the Chinese Brush and Ink Drawings of Geraldine Wogan-Brown. Geraldine was the wife of Australia’s Naval Attache to the Philippines during the Vietnam War. She passed away in 2012. Her husband was responsible for sending ships into ports and soldiers into battle and for Geraldine this was her spiritual battle, because she was a pacifist. In order to deal with the contradictions of war and peace Geraldine learned Chinese brush and ink drawing from a highly renowned Chinese Master. The art of brush and ink drawing forms part of the meditational philosophy associated with Taoism.
Two philosophies dominated China, Confucianism and Taoism. The symbol of the Tao is the ying-yang circle, where the black side of the circle has a white dot and the white side has a black dot. Each side represents the meaning of the other, in other words, the symbol is one of unity. The symbol represents the passive and receptive aspects of human behaviour, this too is a metaphor for unity.
Taoism encompasses the belief that there is no separation between the material and the spirit world. In the west this is seen akin to a pessimistic philosophy like that of Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Albert Camus and Michel Foucault, and more recently John Grey and Peter Singer.
In philosophy pessimism sees the aspirations towards history and progress as being a major cause of human suffering. Pessimists argue that the fore-knowledge of our eventual fate causes us to live with terror that is present in every day and events. Taoism (and Buddhism) both accept the fate of death and both seek to detach from the terror though discipline and mediation.
Taoists believe that when a system is turbulent and disruptive, it is lacking in balanced Yin energy. This in turn causes unbalanced and unsustainable activities upon nature and its inhabitants. The solution is not to participate in the negative energy, but to step back. There are many ways of stepping back and Chinese brush and ink drawing is just one way of releasing the negative energy. In terms of protests, stepping back means not attending.
At the core of Taoism is the ethical philosophy of non-doing. We need to get out of, or transcend, the binary system of conflict, as in, the establishment versus the protesters. By protesting we are merely giving more energy to the system we hope to change. By non-doing we leave the disruptive system to disintegrate organically. However, it takes everyone, or at least a large percentage of people to step back for anything to change.
Nonetheless, Taoism teaches that we are all responsible for our own actions and non-doing and in order to maintain our own good Chi energy we need to consider non-doing for our own sake. It takes healthy people to create societal change and bad Chi energy is not considered healthy.
As a matter of interest, in the 1960s and beyond, Social Movement Theory has supported the view that almost all protesters have personal issues associated with their desire to protest and these issues are not always directly related to the protester’s cause. These issues may be conscious or unconscious, but the ultimate aim is one of a shared experience. Through protest personal issues can be expressed or repressed while the mind is turned towards the event at hand. Protest can have a transcendent effect.
Taoism is not a simple philosophy and it is a form of transcendence. It is nature based and contains elements of animism. It also delves into the intricacies of control versus sympathy and other forms of human behaviour that support non-action.
As I worked my way through Geraldine’s history and her drawings, I could see the benefits of transferring difficult situations (and their energies) into forms of occupational therapy and mediation. Creativity is the most effective form of healing.