Friday, July 31, 2009

negotiating work and marriage

Abraham loved God more than children – but the Jewish religion just the opposite. I see him wasting not even a shrug when God told him to kill his second born son – “the son of promise” – and it is equally impressive if Abraham existed in some form and really did hear some schizophrenic voice telling him to kill his kid. Because God or no God, the message is the same: you must determine for yourself your ultimate priorities. That he resorted to such a literal and dramatic measure is, according to the story, not his fault, but God’s, for the entire charade was only for the sake of God, so he could say “now I see that Abraham is a loyal servant” – for the doubts and jealousies of God are cosmic, and has no faith at all in mankind or anything else, being the spirit of world class cynicism, and spite against mankind. Better still, the love Abraham had for God is more a God than Yahweh.

The same for Buddha when he abandoned his family to seek enlightenment. The legend has him make friends with his abandoned son, who becomes a disciple – that would be the Disney ending. It stinks of disciple rationalization. More likely, if Sid was a prince and decided to become a beggar, that he was barred forever more from his family – and this at least is poetic justice, for if you want to detach, you thoroughly detach, and give your full effort to that one high priority you belong to. But for most of us, high priorities require no desatachments, but merely negotiation, subordination, and a graceful gentle drawing of limits. Buddha’s absolutist and extremist emphasis on disattachment shows spiritual immaturity, although meditative mastery.


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