@ Scott Miller:
Only a couple of beers? What were you thinking?

@ fuster:
I understood that you understood, or thought I did. Figgered you were giving a "reasonable" reaction, and an opportunity for me to expand upon the pointless point. So I took it.

@ Scott Miller:
Franz Rosensweig, focusing on Christianity and Judaism, described "religion" as a kind of degraded specialization in comparison to the "original" element of faith. For him, Judaism (or what Judaism was really about) was a "fact" and Christianity an "event." Implicitly, what was authentic was the capacity "to free themselves from... religiosity," and emerge "from out of their specialization and self-enclosure behind walls... back again to the open field of reality."

Which is what's different about this perspective from John Lennon "Imagine"-ism, though I think it's what Lennon is taken or felt to be singing about - why the song is an anthem for an almost childlike New Age positive than a savage attack on anything. When he sings "no religion" he means no false exclusionary determinations, though his words taken literally would be exclusionary and merely negative, and are taken that way by conservatives.

@ Scott Miller:
I think that's it: I consulted with you on it once, you overrated my contribution, I never saw the finished piece. Jim might have. Probably you were forced to take it down for one reason or another before I ever could shamble over there.

@ fuster:
If there is no point, then there is no Christian, there is no Muslim, there is no American, there is no atheist, there is no Buddhist, there is no Hindu, there is no Sikh, there is no nihilist, there is no anyone else.

When the Sikhs said "there is no Muslim, there is no Hindu," they weren't denying that a whole bunch of people were running around with swords and holy books calling themselves either Muslim or Hindu and making all sorts of trouble about it. If not for the latter condition, they wouldn't have needed to defy it. They were denying that the supposed fundamental determinations of identity were fundamental. Rosensweig made the same argument in regard to Christianity and Judaism specifically that Scott's Buddhists make regarding Buddhism, I think, and that you make when you affirm the "mosaic and quilt."

Let's assume you consider yourself a Jew by belief and heritage but also someone who approves of the mosaic and quilt. Which is really your deeper belief, the one that you'd live and die for, and in? Or are they somehow the same belief or both ways of pointing to the further development - the same destination that from the messianic perspective draws both forward? (Prophecy points to the superfluousness of the Jewish law in the messianic age, since the Eternal will already be on everyone's lips.)

Each religion proposes a complete-in-itself perspective on totality. If you're a believing Christian, Christianity isn't your belief system or your ideology, it's the truth. It doesn't compete with the others, it's the ground of all, and every divergence from the Christian truth is error, ignorance, heresy, un-belief, or damnation. That means either that all of the others preach untruth or that it's possible to seek the same truth through different outward forms or with different starting points. Americanism doesn't say the latter, but its coherence depends upon it as a fundamental assumption. I've referred to that perspective before as the negatively syncretic character of Americanism.

This would be another example of a resolution that is in hand, but not yet comprehended, and it implies at a minimum that Buddhists today (today = the epoch of negatively syncretic Americanism/globalism/materialism within the era of the modern, thought and the universal) and in the light of eternity are also Christians, Muslims are also nihilists. In a shared and non-competitive development from unity toward a higher unity, "there is no Buddhist, there is no Jew" means that individuality, as a co-construction and correlate of universality, cannot be strictly or merely Buddhist or only Jew. "Jew" designates a transitory perspective, an accent or a moment, along on the way to universalization and idealization - and within Judaism itself that goal - all the nations joining the Eternal - is explicit. So when we call someone a Jew, or a Christian, or Buddhist, we are reifying and reducing her, separating her from the whole. The Christian is not "the concept that is there," but a partial reflection, a backwards-looking refraction, a treason, a human being as objectified part-ideology.

That's all I was trying to say.

@ Scott Miller:
No - sorry - are you absolutely sure that I ever saw it? I have a pretty good memory for unusual works of art. I only ever visited that house a handful of times, and I am not Jim. If I did see it, I was probably either too stoned that day or too self-involved or both... or maybe struggling to look cool (my imitation of it) while trying to figure out how to impress some friend of yours and Danielle's...

@ Scott Miller:
As you know, I kind of know why it isn't just a parochial assertion on your part that your particular thing is also part of the universal thing. "Yoga" would be another name for the depiction of the Holy Land that I started with, and so I'm going to see if I can find the right place for the word and concept.

The messianic idea is a yogic (unifying) idea, I think, since it insists on the absolute interdependence and therefore fundamental union of the individual adept and the collective. I interpret your yogic history as an attempt to join yoga to a messianic progressive history. (Cohen proves that prophetic messianism is the birth of "progress" and "history" in the full sense, history as the movement of humanity in development toward the future rather than merely the representation of the past.)

@ fuster:
This could get into some peculiar and abstruse semantic issues - my favorite thing. But let's take the real world example I most had in mind: Israel and the Pals.

An MWer in good standing and not one of the crazier ones, Shmuel, believes that there's no solution, and says as much. Therefore, he says, solidaritarians should focus on supporting Pal rights and ameliorating their conditions. In short, though he doesn't say so, what we see is what we've got and all we're going to get. The supposed "problem" - Palestinian statelessness - is in principle solved, and therefore isn't a problem at all. They won't get full citizenship in a state they can call their own, or even in anyone else's, and that's the reality that we must adjust to. What he doesn't acknowledge is that the only real difference between him and Arnon Soffer is that Arnon Soffer declines to look away from what, given human nature and history, that really means - and is a heartless drama queen.

Similarly, if you're scuba-diving, and have gone too deep, and are out of air, that you're going to die isn't a problem, it's a fact. The problem isn't getting air. The reality is you have no air. The problem is what part of your long misspent life to look back on in your last moments.

I think my definition was sound. What "real people" say isn't exactly immaterial, but is often sloppy. We'd like to visit other stars, but the fact that we can't travel faster than the speed of light presents a "problem." But the problem isn't a real problem, it's a postulate specifically meant to define a fundamental aspect of physical reality itself. The reality, according to physics, is that traveling faster than the speed of light is impossible. FTL is not a "problem." Its absence is what is.

@ fuster:
What would mrs fuster have to look at to help the Tsar on Comment #2? We take it as a general attack on dialecticalness. But maybe the frog was joking, or maybe the frog had something else in mind, or both.

miguel cervantes wrote:

you need to go to the roots in Judaism, the message is clear as a bell, and it’s not metaphorical

That is a mistake based on a misunderstanding of the nature of language, even and especially the language of revealed religion.

If you want, as you say, to go to the roots of Judaism, but perhaps take a shortcut if you're not fluent in Hebrew, you could do a lot worse than read Cohen's last testament (still in the sidebar), since Cohen, credentialed as no one ever before or since, a Jew who had risen to lead the German philosophical establishment in the last moment before the historical squall overwhelmed all boats, took on the task of deriving that "message" from the prophetic sources.

@ miguel cervantes:
I think Hermann Cohen knew his Torah almost as well as you. He disagreed.

The title of the post comes from Zechariah, and is a peak of messianic "transnationalism" from the period following the Babylonian exile (ca. 520 BC), but the sources go back to the origins of the origins, because they must: They are embedded within the logic of monotheism, and are not dependent on any particular historical-geographical snapshot.