“Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.” (Proverbs 28:14)
‘Blessed is the one who always trembles before Covid19, but whoever fails to put a facemask falls into trouble.’ (CDC 2020)
For two decades, we, the people who happen to dwell on this planet, have been subjected to repeated apocalyptic hysteria. Following 9/11 we were taken into a world war against Islam as the ‘Islamists,’ we were told by our Neocon masters, were ‘intending to eradicate our civilization.’ Shortly after, the economic bubble collapsed. We were prepared for global poverty. Even as we recovered from the economic turmoil, global warming was threatening to grill us alive or maybe flush us into the ocean. In between all of those catastrophic scenarios, Isis was also a global existential threat and then came Covid-19.
Being repeatedly globally, universally and collectively terrified of an ‘imminent apocalyptic catastrophe’ is a new phenomenon. It is inherently tied to the rise of the global economy, global markets and global corporations. It may imply that we are already subject to the rule of an elusive global power whose characteristics and mode of operation are yet to be unveiled let alone discussed. It may even be that the true nature of that global power is mysterious even to itself. But the practical meaning of such a ‘new order’ and its impact on the world is there for all to see.
In theory, at least, the fear of a ‘global pogrom’ or ‘universal holocaust’ is supposed to unite us. It is designed to show us that we don’t stand a chance to fight or win alone, as individuals, as tribes, as classes, as a nation or as a continent. If we want to survive both individually as well as a human race, we are told we must act at once and as one people and obey a certain set of rules.
In the late 19th and the early 20th centuries Marxism also promised to unite us globally, make us a fist of resistance in the name of worldwide proletarian revolution. At present, it is actually the post-Marxists who break us into biologically driven identitarian fragments, and it is global capitalism and some odd tycoons who unite us by means of global fear. The threat of global apocalypse is there to undermine: the national state, local markets, local manufacturing, the old elites, the old traditions and any other recognized hegemonic setting. From a globalist perspective, it is hard not to see a certain continuum between the Marxist global prophecy and the current globalist apocalyptic ‘reality.’
In practice, things often work differently. As powerful and convincing as our apocalyptic clerics happen to be, often the reality on the ground contradicts the global prophecy. Some states were not convinced by the Neocon fantasy and refused to join the ‘war against Islam’ failing to see Islam or Muslims as a global threat. US president Trump learned recently that his plan to defeat Iran by means of sanctions on behalf of Zion may not be an easy task. Similarly, a few world leaders aren’t convinced that the planet is getting warmer (peculiarly enough, the name Trump comes to mind again). And when the current Corona pandemic started, we noticed what was the opposite of global unity. Instead, we saw borders closing down and nationalist lines resurfacing. In March, Italy was left alone to face its crisis and the EU returned to a collection of states. In the USA we see similar fragmentation among the states. Corona has become a political battle zone. It emphasizes difference, it acts to separate rather than unites us.
However new to us is the attempt to keep us under the threat of a constant ‘universal holocaust,’ such a threat isn’t new to everybody.
In my first non-fiction book, The Wandering Who, I defined a peculiar but common, mental condition. I argued that while most people are familiar with the notion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Post TSD) – a stressful condition caused by a real or imaginary past event, it seemed to me that many self identified Jews often manifest symptoms of stress which I defined as Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre TSD). In the case of Pre TSD a human subject is tormented by the phantasy of an imaginary catastrophic event in the future. This destructive fantasy evolves into trauma that may manifest in emotionally driven irrational conduct. Pre TSD often operates as a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’- the condition in which ‘prediction’ becomes reality simply because the person who believes it adopts certain behavioral patterns that result in the fulfilment of his belief.
In ‘The Wandering Who’ I argued that many disasters in Jewish history were the direct outcome of Pre TSD. It is for instance, easy to point out that the ‘fear of anti-Semitism’ and the suppressive actions that are pushed by Jewish institutions often lead to a sharp rise in antagonism towards different aspects of Jewish politics, culture, ideology and history. Similarly, the Jewish State’s phantasmic fear of Iran’s nuclear armament that is followed by endless Israeli attacks on Iranian interests in the region deliver a clear message to Iran and every other nation in the region that a failure to possess a substantial arsenal of WMD as a means of the deterrence is, all but a suicidal act. In reality, Iran’s advanced missile technology (both precision and ballistic) is a direct outcome of Israeli Pre TSD. It is the Israeli Pre TSD that made Iran into a regional superpower that endangers Israel (i.e. self-fulfilling prophecy’).
But Israel is not alone. By the time we landed on Covid 19, Pre TSD was no longer a ‘Jewish symptom.’ Pre TSD had become a universal global condition.
Religion of Fear
Fear and fearfulness of one’s deity, is at the heart Judaic existence. ‘Fearful Jew’ (Yehudi Hared, חרד יהודי) is how the Hebrew language refers to an orthodox Jew. Anxiety is at the root of the Judaic thought. The Hebraic expression attributed to a pious Jew is ‘heaven dreading man’ (Ish Yare Shamayim, מייםש ירא איש ). The idea that a good Jew is a trembled Jew is expressed in its clearest form in Proverbs 28:14 “Blessed is the one who always trembles before God.” Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki 1040 – 1105), acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of Biblical text in a concise and lucid fashion summarizes the proverb as follows: “Always (be) afraid – worry about punishment , thus moving away from transgression.”
Why do the Jews dread their God? Is it because the God of the Old Testament can easily outdo Quentin Tarantino’s most barbaric scenes? Is it because they know that the God of the Ten Plagues of Egypt wouldn’t stand a chance in The Hague? Is it because they know that their deity character is a jealous God (“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”: Exodus 34:14)? Agnostic critics of Judaic thought may even push it further and wonder why the Jews bothered to invent such a jealous God. But it can hardly be denied that the Jews and their not so merciful deity have managed to survive for three millennia while other sophisticated and superior civilizations have, one after another, disappeared into oblivion. Surely, in terms of its survival strategy, Judaism as a precept has managed to prevail and sustain itself against all odds.
The Athens vs. Jerusalem dialectical battle serves to untangle the meaning of the current apocalyptic era and throw light on the above. In Western cultural ethos, Athens stands for the city of philosophy, the birthplace of science, the poetic and tragedy. Jerusalem is the city of revelation. The birthplace of legalism (Halacha, Mitzvoth) and strict obedience. Athens teaches you how to think for yourself. Jerusalem tells us what to say and what never to think about. Before I continue I would like to reiterate that the philosophical context in which I discuss Jerusalem and Athens does not point at a split between ‘Jews and gentiles’ as Christianity and Islam are also suffused with legalistic Jerusalemite elements. Jerusalem vs. Athens is a dialectic battle between two forms of cognition that historically often do not agree with each other. We are at the midst of such a dramatic point in history.
Like the orthodox Jew who is in constant dread of his own God, the rest of us are expected to be mobilized by different narratives of colossal universal catastrophes, be it ‘Islamism,’ global warming or Covid19. Our status in society, as in the proverb (verse 28:14) is defined by the amount of fearfulness we are willing to manifest. The facemask has become our universal ‘skullcap.’ It is a symbolic identifier of our adherence to the current politics of ‘Corona menace.’ The orthodox Germophobes cover their bodies with the latest chemical warfare gear, they wash their hands with the most advanced alcogel every two minutes, they may reach libidinal climax by the act of mitigation. Ordinary believers are slightly more relaxed. They cover their faces with light paper masks. The Atheists, the Athenians, the Agnostics and the Pagans also wear facemasks, as they are ordered to do by law, but often stick their noses out either as an act of protest or just to enjoy the rare sensation of fresh air.
We observe that those who express any doubts about the official 9/11 narrative, global warming hysteria or Covid 19 are quickly labelled by the media as ‘rightwing,’ ‘Nazis,’ Conspiracy Theorists and antisemites. And we should know why: those who question the current apocalyptic religions interfere with our ‘new monotheistic Jerusalemite order’ — they think for themselves. They are Athenian or even ‘worse,’ a bunch of Pagans.
Torah and Mitzvoth
It is a crucial question, how is Jerusalem sustained throughout history as the existence of conditions of constant fear contradict the pleasure principle*? Why would the followers of Judaism agree to follow such an abusive religion? Is it possible that followers actually enjoy being scared of their chosen not-so-merciful deity character? I believe that the most insightful answers to this were given by the genius Israeli scholar and professor, Yeshayahu Leibowitz RIP..
Leibowitz was a rare polymath. He was a scientist as well as a philosopher and he was also a pious orthodox Jew who inspired generations of Jewish and Israeli thinkers and intellectuals in general.
For Leibowitz, as for Maimonides, central to Jewish monotheism is the acceptance of the radical transcendence of God. The Jewish God is defined by its incomprehensible and inaccessible nature. Adopting a Kantian manner of thought, Leibowitz accepts that the Jewish God transcends beyond the spatio-temporal and therefore cannot be realised in terms of human experience as the human cognition of reality is bound by categories of space and time.
If God is a radical transcendental entity inherently foreign to human experience what is left to the Jew? What do the Jews believe in? Leibowitz’ answer is fascinating yet simple: throughout history, at least until the emancipation of European Jewry, Judaism was defined through strict adherence to Jewish mitzvoth, commandments of the Torah itself. For Leibowitz, Judaism is the story of the development of mitzvoth, the all encompassing system of Jewish law. Judaism is basically a legal apparatus.
One may wonder then at what is the meaning of Judaic belief. Leibowitz answer: It is the halakhic (legalistic) observance that constitutes the faith and this faith cannot be identified independently of its practice. Stated another way, Judaism is a form of strict observance and it is those rituals that constitute the faith.
For Leibowitz, to be a Jew was to accept the “burden of Torah and Mitzvoth.” To be a Jew, is to surrender, to do first and ask later, to obey blindly. To be a Jew is not to ‘believe in God’ voluntarily but to accept Maimonides’ prescription that belief in God is actually the ‘first commandment,’ out of 613 Mitzvoth (Maimonides commandment #:1 The first mitzvah is to believe in the Divinity: to believe that there is a cause and a reason, which is the Maker of all creations. As The Exalted One has said: “I am the G-d, your G-d”)
As such, Judaism is fundamentally different from both Isalm and Christianity. While in Christianity and Islam the belief in God is a voluntary act, in Judaism the ‘belief’ itself is a matter of a decree. It is an act of ‘observance,’ a practice, an affirmation by means of total subservience.
Leibowitz further observed that “Emancipation from the bondage of nature can only be brought about by the religion of Mitzvoth.” This shocking observation of the Judaic code may explain why Orthodox Judaism didn’t participate or contribute to the development of science, philosophy or Western thought. Jews were happy to be ‘emancipated from nature’ as Leibowitz describes it, immersing themselves in Torah and Mitzvoth. They left science, math, medicine, philosophy and the arts to the ‘goyim.’ It was only at the time Jewish emancipation in Europe that assimilated Jews started to familiarise themselves with Western thinking and soon after involved themselves in these fields.
Leibowitz has told us all we need to know about Covid 19 and the other apocalyptic Jerusalemite faiths that have too often imposed themselves on us. Questioning global warming, doubting 911, refusing to see Islam as a global menace and doubting, literally, anything they tell us about Covid19 will get you labeled as ‘rightwing,’ ‘Neonazi’ and an ‘anti-Semite’ because these discourses are structurally set as Jerusalemite apparatuses. As in Leibowitz’s reading of Judaism’s ethos, ‘Emancipation from the bondage of Covid 19 can only be brought about by the religion of Lockdown and Mitigation.’ We are dealing with a perception that is sustained by strict observance as opposed to a search for logos. It demands the performance of blind ‘beliefs’ that are sustained by practice and are defined by defiance of reason and curiosity. In these new global Jerusalemite apocalyptic religions, thought police algorithms set by media companies replace the traditional orthodox rabbinical vetting of that which we are allowed to say and that which we are not even entitled to think for ourselves.
Skullcap vs. Facemask
Jewish men are required to cover their heads. The Talmud states, “cover your head in order that the fear of heaven may be upon you.” A head covering acts as a symbolic identifier that displays its wearer’s subscription to belief in the Jewish God. This is how the Jewish male admits the concept of “honouring (the Jewish) God.”
The theological rationale behind the Jewish skullcap is flimsy. If God knows ‘what’ is in your heart’ as the Torah keeps repeating, there is no reason to try to deceive the Almighty by hiding your true thoughts under a skullcap. Some Rabbis in Jewish history have admitted that there is indeed a slight theological problem entangled with the skullcap as it makes the Jewish male a master over the Jewish God as the Jewish male can apparently fool God simply by covering his head.
Indeed, more than just one Rabbi contributed to the shift in the meaning of the Jewish skullcap. They decided that the skullcap is there to distinguish between Jews and the rest of humanity. The Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ovadia Yosef, ruled at one stage that skullcaps should be worn to show affiliation with the religiously observant community. The skullcap as such, has little to do with God, it acts as a Jewish symbolic identifier; it differentiates the Jew from the Goy. It operates as a facemask within the Covid 19 religion. While scientists may agree or disagree how useful the facemask is in preventing the spread of Covid 19, the wearing of the mask confirms that you adhere to the Covid19 belief whether you agree with it or not. The wearing of the facemask makes clear that ‘blessed you are trembled before Corona.’
A few final observations are crucial in light of the above. And I am sure these observations won’t make me popular.
Since Islam and Christianity are peppered with Jerusalemite patterns of legalistic structures, it is unlikely that Islam or Christianity have the powers to emancipate us from the current tsunami of crude apocalyptic religions. This task may be left to Pagans, Agnostics and Athenians, people who extend beyond banal binaries and instead bond with the human spirit and the search for the meaning of Being. This may explain the popularity of dissenting voices like Alexander Dugin, David Icke and outlets like Unz Review and London Real that, although subject to the most restrictive authoritarian measures, only become more popular. It is because they resemble the Hebrew prophets, Jesus and Spinoza. It is true that questions to do with Being in the World are not popular in Jerusalem but history remembers Jesus, Spinoza and Heidegger, it pays zero attention to the Jerusalemites and rabbis who tried to silence them.
This also explains why Rabbinical Jews do not take Covid19 very seriously. Jews have been trembling in front of their God for 3000 years. It has worked just fine, there is no reason for them to jump into new apocalyptic regimes that clumsily attempt to clone their own. Let Covid19 run for a few millennia, let Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates assemble their Corona like ‘Torah and Mitzvoth’ before Orthodox Jews consider it as a serious candidate in their deity contest.
* Pleasure Principle – In Freudian psychoanalysis refers to the instinctive seeking of pleasure and avoidance of pain to satisfy biological and psychological needs.