27 March 2007

Ignorance is Bliss.

I remember my Rebbi relating the following Moshol.

A prisoner spent twenty years in hard labor in a dungeon pushing a turnstile which was connected to mill on the outside. After his release from prison and exiting the dungeon, this hardened individual fainted. He had learned that the mill was not connected to anything at all. He had managed all along through the labor until he learned the terrible truth. He had simply been walking in circles for twenty years pushing what was connected to a device that did absolutely nothing except provide resistance.

It's too bad I don't remember the Nimshol, but I imagine my Rebbi would never have dreamed the way I'm using it now.

It was almost a year ago that someone on TFSG, I think it was Orthoprax, asked (and I'm paraphrasing), "well aren't you happy you know the truth, would you have wanted to stay in the dark forever?"

Some things don't change. You might recognize the title of this post as the tag-line of my blog. It greeted you every time you visited me. It has been that way since day one. And that's still the way I feel.

No, I don't mean to say that I regret the knowledge I've gained such as the minuscule understanding of cosmology and even the knowledge of difficulties of the Mesorah. But I'd have been much happier had I landed on the belief side of the equation. It would be nice to believe in a God that intervened, miracles and the promise of a hereafter. It appears that such belief is possible - case in point: Rabbi Marroof. I don't know if people like that are fooling themselves or actually do believe. But they seem to exist.

You can get a little background on my early thoughts by reading this post about Purpose. (I see that with all my mouthing off, I did end up telling my wife. And I'm glad to say that worked out better than I imagined.)

I'm in a much better frame of mind now than I was way back then. I'm finally over the shock, the shock of that prisoner above who fainted. And that is why I'm ready to cease blogging.

BUT, I still think Ignorance would have been better.

The statement at the end of that post, still expresses the challenge I have ahead of me.

"I will have to re-define myself and find a different carrot. The challenge is doing that within the societal and self imposed parameters of OJ observance. I got a big job ahead of me."

I've been so preoccupied with blogging that I did not have a chance to do that just yet. Well, maybe blogging was part of the process. Either way, I don't have concrete plans; after all, I'm still heavily involved in my career. But I'm confident now that when the time comes, I'll do just fine.

In my last post, I Said "My kids would go to an MO school, where they'd be exposed to rational thinking and they'd have the choice as to how to conduct their lives. It's certainly more fair than raising Chareidi clones that are living in a predestined generic path of closed-mindedness."

It may be more fair to let the kids in on the secret, but I think that a life of true faith, tempered with a rational approach such as that offered by a R. Maroof, is the ideal way to go.

Religious people are the happiest people I know.

Being that skepticism came to me rather late in the game, I never was in that predicament of what to tell my children. And I don't envy the skeptics that are faced with that dilemma.

And on the other hand, I came to the realization early enough in life to have some time to re-think life it-self. Imagine someone turning skeptical at age 75?

So all things considered, I'm not complaining anymore. It could have been worse, I could have found out twenty years ago or twenty years from now.

A wise man said:

קוהלת פרק ה

יז הִנֵּה אֲשֶׁר-רָאִיתִי אָנִי, טוֹב אֲשֶׁר-יָפֶה לֶאֱכוֹל-וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וְלִרְאוֹת טוֹבָה בְּכָל-עֲמָלוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲמֹל תַּחַת-הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ מִסְפַּר יְמֵי-חַיָּו אֲשֶׁר-נָתַן-לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים--כִּי-הוּא חֶלְקוֹ.

Ecclesiastes 5:17

Behold that which I have seen: it is good, yea, it is comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy pleasure for all his labour, wherein he laboureth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him; for this is his portion

Now who can argue with that?


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