Rabbi Michael Lerner On The Folly Of Nationalism
The people who preach that “politics is the art of the possible” continually forget that we don’t know what’s possible; we find out by struggling for what’s desirable. Instead of listening to those who tell you to pick goals that can be achieved in the current political landscape, I say pick goals that will create the kind of world you want.
It’s not timeless, because poets fall in and out of favor, and most poems disappear the moment after they’re written, and anyway the whole planet will be devoured by the sun in a few billion years, and when that happens, no one is going to run around screaming, The poetry! Save the poetry!
She was the one who snuggled with my mother every night, the storyteller who was too sick to run away with her daughter and granddaughter before the SS came in the morning, and who chose instead, after tucking my mother into bed the night before, to climb the stairs of the ghetto apartment building and step off the ledge, freeing them to leave, grief-stricken, without her.
Trauma is a shock too large to contain. Like a current too strong for the body to dissipate, it burns as it passes through. It disfigures the spirit.
In essence the defiance is about using time and skill to elaborate on an expression of feeling — or an object — beyond the crudest utility, and, by doing so, to endow it with an energy, an attractiveness, an aesthetic that invites the interest and recognition of others, sometimes even after much time has passed.
And sometimes it’s the very otherness of a stranger, someone who doesn’t belong to our ethnic or ideological or religious group, . . . that can repel us initially, but which can jerk us out of our habitual selfishness, . . . and give us intonations of that sacred otherness, which is God.