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1. TALKING TO GOD (HITBOD'DUT) part 2 (HQ)

TALKING TO GOD (HITBOD'DUT) part 2 (HQ)

Breslav Hassidim and Franciscan Catholics are told to talk to God in the woods. Gestalt Therapy provides us with many tools to help us get past our own ego trips and really speak to God. Part 1 of this project shows us "dumb hitbod'dut", all the wrong things to do, while parts 2-7 of this project attempt to demonstrate some of the right things to do to be more successful if and when you do talk to God. "HITBOD'DUT" CONVERSATIONS WITH MR. H A LOWBROW, SLIGHTLY IRREVERENT INTRODUCTION TO BRESLAV THEOLOGY by franklyn wepner december 2008 franklynwepner@gmail.com PREFACE (a) ON THE HYPOTHESIS OF THIS EXPERIMENT The teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, as embodied in today's Breslav Hassidic sect of Judaism embody a form of what traditionally goes by the name of "Pietism". Pietism emphasizes faith and simplicity over against complex intellectual explanations of religious matters. But from the day that the Baal Shem Tov, it is said, sought God by talking to Him in the woods and jumping back and forth from one side of a stream to the other, until the day Nachman published his collected essays, "Likutei Moharan", much water in the stream of Jewish Pietism has passed under the bridge. That is to say, Likutei Moharan is not simple stuff. In order to write what he writes in those pages, Rabbi Nachman had to be well versed in the complex tradition of Pietist religion. Whether he got it from the original sources or from other compilations, he had to know something about the Neoplatonism of Philo, Ibn Gabirol, Judah Halevy , Abu-l-Barakat and Leone Ebreo. He had to know something about the responses of Hasdai Crescas to the Aristotelian Jewish tradition which crystallized in Maimonides "Guide For The Perplexed". To these two traditions, Nachman of Breslav added a strong emphasis upon the philosophy of language, in the sense that the Word of God is coming to us from a Jewish God who in a profound mystical sense is a speaking God, speaking to us and speaking through us. Though it is hard to find precedents to this in Judaism, we can find it in the work of the Christian theologian Johann Georg Hamann, which appeared, shortly before the time Nachman was born, in Konigsberg, East Prussia, not far from where Nachman lived in Eastern Europe. In the work of Hamann we find much of the philosophy of language which Nachman incorporated into his teachings. In other words, since the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav are so saturated with the complex tradition of Pietism, they are anything but a return to the naivete of the Bal Shem Tov. In this respect Nachman is deliberately deceptive when he tells his disciples again and again to keep it simple, and rely mainly on prayer. But he also tells them to study! So he is not preaching mindlessness. Nor is he teaching blind following. His elevation of "the tsaddik of the generation" to the level of highest authority in the community of Hassidim is to be read both in the literal, "pshat", sense, and also in the profoundest philosophical sense as the Moses-Mashiach element potentially available in every person who submits himself to the theological process outlined in Likutei Moharan. Traditionally in Judaism it is said that each Jew shares in the living reality of Moses receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai, but for Nachman this notion is merely the tip of an iceberg which is available to those who take the trouble to fathom the ideas of Likutei Moharan. In view of these elements contained in Nachman's teachings, it should not be surprising that in what follows here I discover profundity rather than naivete in Nachman's advice to his disciples that they ought to sequester themselves every day and talk directly to God. Of course, we can talk naively to God in the manner of Tevye in Fiddler On the Roof. That procedure here I label "dumb hitbod'dut". Dumb hitbod'dut in that sense is in most cases better than no hitbod'dut at all. It can't hurt, and it might even be more useful than talking to oneself. But I am after bigger fish than that. My goal here is to begin to apply the principles of Likutei Moharan itself to the process of hitbod'dut. This introduction is not the place to spell out the complex principles of Likutei Moharan. You will find some of that in the sequel. Here I will just outline my basic assmptions for this project, which are that (i) Since Neoplatonism and Hamann's philosophy of language are examples of dialectical thinking, therefore Likutei Moharan likewise is dialectical thinking. (ii) Gestalt Therapy also is dialectical thinking, containing both Platonic and Aristotelian aspects. (iii) Therefore, applying dialectical thinking and Gestalt Therapy principles to hitbod'dut is entirely appropriate. (iv) Hitbod'dut divested of the Gestalt Thrapy list of "self-interruptions" that rob our actions of their potential for authenticity and effectiveness is better than hitbod'dut saturated with this nonsense. The list of self-interruptions includes, beginning with the most pernicious, (a) confluence, (b) introjection, (c) projection, (d) retroflection, and (e) egotism. I will present these problems, one after the other, and then I will go on and attempt to demonstrate that smart hitbod'dut is better than dumb hitbod'dut. (b) ON THE STYLE OF THIS PRESENTATION That is the rationale for this project. Now a few words about the style of this project. It is, first of all, an experiment. I never saw it done before, but I decided to try to do it anyway. I state at the beginning that it might not work. As a matter of fact, I believe that it did work. I believe it worked very well, but you might not agree. That is for you to decide. Being an experiment, it had a hypothesis and a procedure. The hypothesis I just explained above. The procedure was simply to do my own personal hitbod'dut work, talking to Mr. H (Hashem, Hebrew: The Name, i.e., God), on tape as a here and now spontaneous improvisation, with you looking on as the audience. If you have access to that CD I hope you will invest the 2 hours or so it takes to listen to it. If you do so, you will discover that this written version has been edited to make it more coherent and more readable. Also, I have taken the liberty of correcting certain blunders. But on the other hand, I purposely retained the style of a here and now spontaneous improvisation. You should know that the "actor" of that theatrical event is not such a nice guy as the erudite elderly gentleman who, with the wisdom of hindsight and in the manner of cool reflection, is writing this introduction. That actor doesn't mind insulting his audience if he feels - perhaps mistakenly - that by doing so he can better get his point across. But he has asked me to beg you please not to take it personally! It is merely poetic license. And after all, he is doing therapy up there, working on his existence. He is just exploring the range of expression available to him there and then (here and now) in his studio or up on his favorite hitbod'dut hill in Yavniel, Israel, which - by the way - is about 5 miles west of the sea of Galilee, in the vicinity of the city of Tiberias. It is Chanuka/Christman time, December 2008, but the weather is balmy, except for a breeze that occasionally makes its presence known in the form of microphone noise. He is making every effort to remain faithful to the process of hitbod'dut as he understands it based upon his sources, the Likutei Moharan text of Nachman of Breslav, and the Gestalt Therapy texts of Fritz Perls. Also, as he tells us, he is at pains to select topics personal enough to be meaningful and on the other hand not so personal that he damages himself or others by having an audience find out about them. If you think that is easy, he suggests you try it yourself sometime with your own recording equipment and send him the results. CONTENTS (1) SMART HITBOD'DUT AND DUMB HITBOD'DUT (a) WHAT IS HITBOD'DUT? (b) PROJECTION (c) INTROJECTION (d) CONFLUENCE (e) RETROFLECTION (f) EGOTISM (g) SUMMARY (2) SMART HITBOD'DUT AS INDUCTION, FAITH AND PRAYER (a) HERE & NOW ON MY FAVORITE HITBOD'DUT HILL IN YAVNIEL (b) THE TREE OF LIVING ORGANISMS: "GESTALTS" (c) MR. H "ROCHEV AHL ARAVOT"ABOVE THE SPHERES (d) LEIBNIZ' THEORY OF MONADS (e) REINTEGRATING PROJECTIONS (f) NO QUESTIONS ALLOWED (g) "PRAYER" AS RIDING THE MOMENTS (h) INDUCTIVE LOGIC VS DEDUCTIVE LOGIC (i) THE RHYTHM OF CONTACT AND WITHDRAWAL (j) THE CONCRETE DIALECTIC: THESIS/ANTITHESIS/SYNTHESIS (3) USING PROJECTIONS CREATIVELY FOR HITBOD'DUT (a) USING PROJECTIONS IN HITBOD'DUT (b) FINDING A CONCRETE SITUATION (c) THIS IS PROPHECY AND ANAMNESIS (d) DIALOGUE OF AVRAHAM, YITZCHAK & YAAKOV AS "ANGEL" (e) THE SPIRALING DIALECTIC OF EGLAH / EEGUL (f) NEW PROJECTIONS: TIBERIUS (Y) AND YAVNIEL (-Y) (g) THE SYNTHESIS: YAAKOV, JERUSALEM (h) TSELEM ELOKIM AND THE COMING SOLUTION (i) INDUCTION AS TRANSLATION AND PRAYER (j) "LA-SHUR": TO GAZE AND "SHOR" (BULL) (k) BRECHT AND STANISLAVSKI (l) SUMMARY (m) WHO IS MR. H? (1) SMART HITBOD'DUT AND DUMB HITBOD'DUT (a) WHAT IS HITBOD'DUT? Recording number one. This is an experiment. We're going to see if it works. FW: So, Mr. H, listen, it's Wepner here. I got to deal with a fly that's buzzing around me, and I got to deal with you at the same time. So, forgive me . . . if I don't quite connect! So here I am sitting in my studio, with my microphone, and my recorder, and my keyboard. (plays sounds) That was "orchestra". You want to hear a trumpet? (more sounds) Trombone? (more sounds) That's not a good trombone. (sounds) That sounded a little more like a trombone. (sounds) OK, so Mr. H, I'm not going to say who You really are, since I'm not supposed to use Your name in vain. But I'm going to play around with this project, and see what happens. So the point of the project is we're going to talk about the difference between smart hitbod'dut and dumb hitbod'dut. First of all, what is "hitbod'dut"? It's a Hebrew word meaning "being alone". But the way the religious people usually use it, when they say "hitbod'dut", is that you're supposed to be alone talking to God, like Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof. Like you say, Ha-shem! Oh, you're not supposed to say Ha-shem. Mr. H! I'm trying to peddle my work, and nobody wants to take it seriously. So I'm trying this approach, making a CD like this. Maybe somebody will listen to it. Nincompoops out there! Listen! Listen. I got something important here. If you dummies don't appreciate it, that's your problem! (b) PROJECTION In hitbod'dut, when you do a projection you think you're talking to God, but really all you're talking to is yourself! Let's see how that works. That sounds a little bit like Schopenhauer. " The World as Will and Representation (or Idea)". The Will is the force that motivates things, keeps them going along. The representation, that's our ideas, our projecting all over the place, and we make a world out of that. So from this point of view everything is a projection. If I say, FW: Mr. H out there, hi! You seem rather withdrawn today. You're not talking much. What am I doing? I'm just projecting my own "withdrawn-ness" out there into the void, into that empty space, wallpapering the world with withdrawn-ness. Basically, I'm talking about my own "withdrawn-ness". In other words, I'm experiencing some withdrawn-ness, but I don't want to acknowledge that I am withdrawing, that I am holding back, so I project it out there and I say, FW: Mr. H, you are withdrawing! That's called a projection. But if I don't realize I'm doing that, if I don't realize that I am making that projection, then I'm just going to say, FW: Hey, Mr. H, how come you won't talk to me today? I'm lost in myself. I have no contact with Mr. H, because all I'm contacting is my own projection, my own dumb projection because I'm not aware of what I'm doing. You think you're talking to God, but really all you're talking to is your own crappy ego that you're trying to get out of! You see? And there are a million different variations of the same ego game. (c) INTROJECTION We're rattling off the Gestalt list of problems, the list of "self-interruptions" as they call them. Next on the list is "introjection". So instead of interrupting your communication with God or with your soul, or whatever it is, with a projection, you might try an "introjection" that day, that moment. The roots of the word "Introjection" is "jectare", to throw, and "intro", in; so it's "throwing in" that you are doing. You're swallowing whole some authority figure in your life, most likely when you were a child, for example, if you had an authoritarian father. Father: That's it! Do what I say, and that's it. I don't want to hear from you! That's the authoritarian father. You want to do hitbod'dut. You want to talk to God but you're just talking to your introject, your dybbuk, that soul of your father that doesn't want to go away, that's possessing you, inhabiting you, polluting you So you say, Hey, Hashem! And then you imagine Hashem saying something critical. Mr. H: Oh, you dumb son-of-a-bitch, you screwed up your life today. You should crawl! So you say, (whining) Oh, Hashem, I'm so terrible. I did this today, and I hurt this person and I hurt that person. Oh, forgive me, Hashem! But really, you're not talking to Hashem. You're just talking to your father again. And, you know, it's boring. It's stupid. You're not going to get to Hashem that way. You're just going to get back to your father, and the more you get into that trip of projecting that authoritarian image out there the more lost you get in self-abuse. Oh, God, how can I possibly do all of your 10,000 mitzvot, commandments?! It's overwhelming. I can't do it. I'm a terrible Jew! That's bullshit! That's religious bullshit that you're stuck in because your rebbes don't know what they're doing so they can't teach you what you should do. You understand? You get the idea? That's "introjection". OK? You got an introjected authority figure, or maybe you got an introjected mama that was always, Mama: Oh, my poor, loving, what can I do for you this moment, you poor, helpless child? So then every time you talk to God you're going to be talking to your mother that's calling you a poor, helpless child, and you're going to say, (crying) Oh, God, I'm so helpless today, I don't know what to do! I'm so helpless. I can't deal with anything! And then you're back to being the crybaby that mother incubated in her womb cause she needed to have a crybaby so she could play her game on you. So there's another introject! (d) CONFLUENCE What else do we got here in our package of goodies, our ego goodies that we use all day long? Umm, we did projection, we did introjection. Now, another one. The worst once is "confluence". That's where you're totally out of touch with anything except your own habits. So let's say you have a habit of bossing people around, FW: Do it my way, or else, buddy! Look, I'm running the show here! So then you're going to treat Hashem that way. Mr. H! Hi. Here's my list of what I want today. I want this and I want that. I want some money. I need about 25 students, to help pay the rent. I need some credibility here. These rabbis won't take me seriously. I don't have any credential . . . but that was my problem. No! I don't have any problems. I'm perfect! You need to give me what I want, and that's it! That's it, cause I'm just in touch with me and my needs. All right, that's it. Give me this and give me that. That's an example of confluence. "Con" is "with" and "fluere" is "to flow". You're flowing with your past habit, your previous habit of being a spoiled, snotnose child that got whatever he wants. So, Hashem, here's my list. I want two pounds of coleslaw, two dozen knackniks, uh, a new pair of underwear and some perfume. OK. That's what I want today. You better deliver it, or else! (e) RETROFLECTION Let's see what else we got here? OK, there's "retroflection", the perseverator. I'm feeling a need to communicate with God, but instead of letting that need come out directly, I am putting all the energy into myself. So I'm going to dahven up a storm (Yiddish: "to pray"). I'm dahvening back and forth, (straining, pushing, working himself up to a frenzy of hysteria) Oh, I'm dahvening back and forth. I'm swaying back and forth. My muscles are tense. And I can't, and I'm tightening up my throat, and all my energy is going into me, and this repetitive, retro . . . "retro-", "back", "-flection", "turning it all back onto myself". All my energy is going back into my body. Instead of contacting Hashem, I'm just contacting my own anxieties, my own perseverating, my own compulsions. (wailing) Ohhhh, oh, I'm swaying back and forth, I'm dahvening. I'm dahvening. Hashem, you gotta give me this! My life is falling apart! I can't take it! I can't take it! I can't even breathe! I can't, I can't, I can't, I, I, I . . . (gasping for breath, wailing) That is another dumb move! That's retroflection. You don't want to do that either. It's healthier than confluence, healthier than introjection, healthier than projection, 'cause the energy at least is coming out. But instead of going to Hashem, it's going back into your own body, your own anxieties, your own trip. (f) EGOTISM What else we got? There's one more on the list: egotism. OK, now you're really getting close to Hashem. Oh, hello, God, Excuse me, I'm not supposed to say Hashem. Hello, Mr. H. This is Wepner today. And I'm . . . er, umm . . . Oh, "praise"! Praise Mr. H! You're so wonderful. You fill the world with your goodness, and all that. Now praising the Lord at least gets you a little bit, a little bit out of your head, whether the words mean anything or not. But at least it gets you out of your own ego trip. 'Cause, you know, nobody knows what Hashem is, what Mr. H is anyway. So you praise, Oh, Mr. H, you're so wonderful. You run the whole world. You create, every moment you're creating me and my life. Oh, I thank you so much! But then, when you get to the bigger things, Oh, God, I need to tell you what I really need today, and then, all of a sudden, Oh, but I'm embarrassed! (fearful, withdrawing) I'm afraid to tell you. I'm afraid. I mean, you know, Franklyn here, I'm not the kind of guy that shares this kind of stuff. I'm just not that type, you know. I'll tell you tomorrow. Maybe I'll tell you tomorrow. But today I just want to tell you how wonderful you are, and everything . . . OK, that's "egotism". What did I do? The energy almost comes out, but I short circuit it. I short circuit it, and I say, "I'm not the type that can". I'm stuck in an image of myself. So the image of myself is a box I put myself in. And again I block my impulses. I'm almost there. I'm almost communicating with Mr. H, whatever that is, but I fall back on being a certain type, and therefore my ego image of myself is my self-interruption. (g) SUMMARY So we have these five different levels of self-interruptions. (1) Confluence is the worst one, where you're not in touch with anything, except your habits. And if you're not in the back ward of a hospital, a psych ward, even then you're not functioning too well. (2) The next one is introjection. You've introjected, you've swallowed whole some authority figure, from childhood probably, so you are not aware of what you need at all. All you are aware of is what he needs. (3) And then comes projection. This time when you have a need, instead of feeling the need yourself you think they have that need towards you. You're projecting the need out there. For example, Oh, I'm so sad! And then you think of Hashem out there, God, You must be so sad at your people Israel today. Mr H, you must be so sad at your people Israel today, because of all the terrible things we did! (4) Then there's retroflection. That's the one where you're back and forth with all kinds of tension and anxiety, and all the energy flows into your own body and your compulsive repetitions. (5) And finally there's egotism, where you have a frozen image of yourself as a certain type. You're almost ready to be authentic, but then you get stuck. So that's our introduction to different ways of doing "dumb hitbod'dut". You see how stupid it is, cause all you're doing is being stuck in your own ego habits and ego trips. The trouble is you don't know how to do the process so well, so you might need to call me up, FW: Hey, give me a job, buddy. I need the money! So call me up and I can help you! Or, read the book. "Gestalt Therapy Verbatim" is one book, by Perls, Frederick Perls. That's the easiest one to read. The more thorough, more systematic one, is "Gestalt Therapy", by Perls, Hefferline and Goodman. Those are the main books of Gestalt. So if you don't want to pay me, then buy the books and do it yourself. It took me 35 years to figure this out. We'll see how long it takes you to figure it out. (2) SMART HITBOD'DUT AS INDUCTION, FAITH AND PRAYER (a) HERE & NOW ON MY FAVORITE HITBOD'DUT HILL IN YAVNIEL OK. Welcome, folks. This is good old Franklyn here, older every day. I'm sitting here on top of my favorite hitbod'dut hill, here in Yavniel. What we're trying to do here is a hitbod'dut session, smart hitdod'dut instead of dumb hitbod'dut. I hope you've done your homework and listened to the first session, the "dumb hitbod'dut" one, so you know what not to do. This time, now, I'm going to see if I can do it right. Of course, I have a split focus here, Mr. H. up there and you folks out there. We'll see what I can do. I don't know if it's going to work or not. I'm testing, testing the audio system. Test! Test! Test! OK, I guess it's all right. Testing, testing. Maybe it's too soft. Maybe it's all right. Um, I'm here and now. I'm looking out there. I see blueness. I see blueness in the clouds. And I see green-ness down there, all kinds of shades of green in the fields. And I hear some noise. I'm looking around. Now it stopped. If you're listening to the disk, you can hear that noise also. I hear a bird, some kind of . . . I hear a bird. And . . . so the first thing is we want to get into the here and now. (b) THE TREE OF LIVING ORGANISMS: "GESTALTS" You see, every moment of awareness is a gestalt, an idea, a living creature, according to this philosophy, phenomenology. We're dealing here with contact experiences, with the living reality, the living contact boundary of experience. They call it the living God, the divine soul . . . whatever you want to call it. And every moment of contact is an organism, an idea that organizes a certain amount of input, of awareness - sensory awareness or motor awareness - into a pattern, into a living organism. And then we have higher and higher levels of organisms. For example, if I look out there and see a twig blowing in the wind. I see "twig". That's organism number one. And now I feel a breeze. I'm putting together sense of "breeze" plus visual input of "twig", and that gives me a combined higher level integration of the two gestalts, the two little mini-organisms, micro-organisms, into a higher level organism. Et cetera, et cetera, right up the ladder till I get to God, who is like the highest level, or beyond the highest level. What's that noise? That sounds like some sort of a bird. Quack, quack. That sounds like a woodpecker. You hear it? Maybe it's an animal. Mm, sounds very close, doesn't it? Kah, kah. Is there something wrong with my machine, or something? What is it? What is it? There it is again. Anyway, so what does it have to do with Ha-shem? (c) MR. H "ROCHEV AL ARAVOT", ABOVE THE SPHERES Even though we haven't mentioned the word "Mr. H" yet, we're still dealing with Him, in the sense that we start on this ascent, going up and up to bigger and bigger gestalts, to higher and higher levels of integration, the little gestalts and the bigger gestalts. At the highest level we get to the outermost sphere. If we use Aristotle's terminology (and Maimonides' terminology), we're dealing with spheres. That was 500 B.C. Aristotle talked about spheres. We call them gestalts. So we've really progressed, haven't we? The same thing with a different label. According to Aristotle and Maimonides you have bigger and bigger spheres. Man is the center of the universe. And so I'm starting with little spheres and working my way out to big spheres. Mr. H's sphere is the one that's beyond the spheres. As they say in Judaism, "rochev al aravot", He "rides on the deserts" of all the dead forms that He's going to "m'chayei maytim", that He's going "to bring back to life". That's the theory, anyway. (d) LEIBNIZ' THEORY OF MONADS Another way, another jargon we can use, is Leibniz' terminology. We can call every one of these gestalts a "monad", from the word "one": one little unit of oneness, one organism. We start adding up gestalts or monads. Then, instead of building up a strong gestalt which includes many weak gestalts, we build up a "monadology", a big tree of all these little monads all integrated into one big idea or one big monadology. That's Leibniz' theory, a little bit. OK. Now we're going back to Ha-shem here. All right. So let's make it more specific. Let's talk to Mr. H. FW: Hello, Mr. H. Hope you're home today, 'cause I got an audience. (e) REINTEGRATING PROJECTIONS Now let's see. If I already did that, did I just use a projection? "I hope You're home today!", In other words, "Did You abandon me today?" "Did You leave?" "Did You close the door?" Now, that has to be my own ego projection of "abandonment". I'm feeling abandoned right now . . . by all you folks who won't pay my rent! Aggravation. So the way to deal with a projection of "abandonment", Ha-shem as "the abandoning God", is to reown it, to include that part of myself, that gestalt, that fragment of God that I just projected out there. We need to include it, integrate it. So I'm going to play God. I'm going to play the Abandoning God, and see what He has to say. Mr. H: Wepner, it's about time you got here! I'm losing my patience with you. I'm going to give you another crack at it today, to see if I can take you seriously. The sound of that voice doesn't sound too much like Mr. H. That sounds like Franklyn Wepner. I got to find a voice for Mr. H, so I can tell them apart. (f) NO QUESTIONS ALLOWED Mr. H: Well, ho ho, it's about time you got here, you dummy. I've been waiting for you. You brought all these people with you! Snotnose, can't you give me a little time by yourself? You gotta bring all your friends along! OK. Well, what do you want today? FW: There we got a gestalt problem. No questions allowed, Mr. H! We're doing Gestalt here. No questions. Everything has to be direct. You don't want to sabotage the process. Mr. H: Well, let me see now. I'll make that a statement. FW: That's right. You gotta make it a statement. Mm. Let's see. I think I'm going to stop here and see what I got here on this tape, if I got anything at all! All right? . . . OK. So where were we? All right. It worked fine, so far. I got a good recording. We'll go on. Well, we're not really going "on". It's still the same old here and now. And if we're lucky we'll be able to say we got to the "messianic now". Huh? If we succeed in this project . . . That noise! The microphone is making a noise in the pocket. I got to stop that noise . . . FW: So, Mr. H, we were saying "no questions allowed". Mr. H: Uhhh. Ya gotta worry 'bout technology up here? All right, wadaya want? Uhhh. All right, no questions. So, uh, I'd like to hear what your needs are today, Wepner. FW: Well, let's see. Like I said, I need some money. First of all, that comes to mind. Um, I got woman problems, too, because, you see, I have this girl friend I've known for 26 years, ex-wife. And she's around, visiting. On the other hand, I got on the internet and I met a few more. So the ones on the internet are upset about the ex-wife, and the ex-wife is upset about the ones on the internet. And, um, I'm not the type that can lie to people. So, (chuckle) I have a tragicomedy situation here. I might end up with nobody! Mr. H: Ha, ha, ha, ha. Serves you right! Triple timing, quadruple timing! (g) "PRAYER" AS RIDING THE MOMENTS FW: Well, so you're not going to give me advice? Help me out here, Mr. H, what should I do about these women? Mr. H: Well, umm, uh . . . FW: Oh, I'm not supposed to ask questions either! I'm supposed to say . . . something. Well, I'm just riding the moments, you know. Staying with the here and now thing and trusting, with faith. And by being in the here and now, that is a form of prayer. 'Cause I'm not anticipating, not demanding, just living the moments and trusting with a certain amount of faith that, uh, that somehow You'll take care of things! Right? Mr. H: Well, that's very good! You're beginning to get the point, buddy! FW: All right! Then I'm doing it right, huh? Oh, no questions allowed. So maybe I'm doing it right. I'm trusting, you know, and uh . . . What's real will be real, and what's not real will be not real. And that's it! Right? Mr. H: All right, what's next? What else do you want? Oh, no questions. I'm proud of you, Wepner, you're getting your act together here. You're takin' the whole show, you're takin' me on the road too. Maybe we'll get some converts, huh! You're doin' some "kiruv". "Kiruv", a Hebrew word meaning "bring 'em closer". So, you're doin' a good job. You're doin' a good job! Very good! FW: Thanks! . . . Let's see . . . Where was . . . Oh, "prayer" comes to mind. If I'm praying, I need a text. "Baruch atah adonoi, elohenu melech ha-olam, she hechiyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higiyanu la z'man ha-zeh." Mr. H: Better tell 'em what it means, huh! We might have some goyem out there, listening. FW: Well, it means: Blessed art Thou, the Lord, er, Mr. H. We're not supposed to say Your name! Um, Who got us to this moment. Um, Who caused us to live, who sustained us, and brought us to this moment, this "now". So, thanks a lot! Mr. H: Nuttin'. It's OK. It's OK. Don't worry about it. All right. So we took care of that. We did some "prayer" here. This is "prayer", according to, according to my understanding, especially when you read Breslav stuff, like "Likutei Moharan" (Collected Essays of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav). The emphasis is on faith and on prayer. It means being in the here and now, and trusting that what comes out of the here and now in your attempts, in your dialogue with God, with Mr. H, will somehow be real, in fact more real than what you started out with! So, we're testing out that hypothesis right here, in the laboratory. FW: So, Mr. H, You're my Guinea Pig today! Mr. H: Thanks a lot, buddy! I usually don't think of Myself as a guinea pig, you know . . . Well, in fact, pigs are not even kosher! FW: Well, all right, all right . . . A Guinea Chicken, all right? (h) INDUCTIVE LOGIC VERSUS DEDUCTIVE LOGIC So, uh, this is . . . Each time we take a new moment here, and stay with this thread of concentration, we're building up higher and higher levels of integration, of gestalts. This is called "inductive reasoning", "induction", "inductive logic", where we start with the particulars and work our way up the tree towards the general, towards the big oneness. FW: That's You! Mr. H: Yeah! You better not forget it, either! FW: The Big Oneness, so you're the "One Without A Second". And right now we're eliminating all the Seconds by integrating them into the Oneness. Every time I project another part of myself out there, of Your reality out there, that part needs to be integrated into the Oneness. Mr. H: Boy, that's very interesting. FW: Yeah. You see, I got you all figured out. Mr. H: I don't pay much attention to what I'm doing. I just do it! You know what I mean? FW: Well, but sometimes it helps people to understand the process a little better, 'cause a lot of people need logic to be convinced that praying is worth the trouble. Mr. H: You're right. Give 'em what they need! Well, let's see now. So, this is faith in the here and now, that this will lead to something . . . (noise) You hear that wind? Is that wind disturbing you folks there? I hear wind in my earphones. I think I'm going to close that button on my shirt where the mic is. If I close the button, less air will get in to you. I think the air is disturbing the people out there. It's disturbing me, anyway . . . The button's closed. Less air is going to get in there now . . . Yep. Quieter . . . OK. So here I am sitting on top of the hill. Now, what else is on my agenda? Let's see now . . . Brother Robert in a nursing home, in bad shape. I don't know to do! I got a conflict! Do I sell everything I own to get an airplane ticket to get to Miami to get him out of that nursing home, to bring him here to Israel? Or not? I was hoping various people - I won't mention their names to embarrass them - would come up with the money. But they didn't, so far. So unless something works, I am faced with that very difficult alternative. I got to raise a thousand bucks for a ticket. That's real! That's right now! Now, this is . . . If you're listening out there, I guess I'm doing fund raising, although I didn't plan to do that. OK, I'm doing fund raising. That's what's on my mind. What do you want from me?! Now I'm projecting onto you. I'm projecting onto you out there as "the accusing accusers". You're saying . . . I'll play your part. Accusers: You're using us! You grabbed our attention here with some fraudulent educational project, and now you're trying to bilk us for every cent we got! You no good shyster, you. Con man! I need a new voice for that one. Accuser: You no good shyster con man, you crappy guy! You're deceiving everybody, peddling garbage on the internet. Ech, ech! I'll fix you! Report you to the Federal Something-or-other! Have you banned! Abusing Frumster looking for women, and then you bilk 'em for money! Ha, ha! FW: Wait a minute. You sound like an old witch. Witch: Oh, yea! FW: You sound like an old witch. Look. If you have any compassion, you know, you're not going to be so critical. If you understand what I'm going through here. Understand! I'm not saying you have to come up with the dough, but at least you can understand. You don't have to accuse me. Witch: Well! Just like your sister said. You're just a shnorrer. Your whole life you never worked. FW: Now, come on, don't start that crap! So now we need . . . We have a strong dybbuk out there. a strong introject. It sounds like my father, a little bit. We're getting a little heavier here. We're going from association to association. We started with the judging females out there. Now we moved up to the witch. Then we moved into the association of my father. That's how . . . This process of moving from association to association is part of inductive logic, because each new point, each new association, is a new gestalt, a new moment, a new center, a new organism that's coming out of the void. Here we have a void of not knowing what to do. And each new gestalt, each new monad, each new moment of projection, whatever . . . They come by association, analogy, or types. We get into the category of judgmental types, so we jump from one judgmental individual to another judgmental individual, to another one. You notice we move from the superficial jerky women I just met this week to . . . FW: Excuse me, jerky women! I'm just making a . . . Don't take it too seriously! I'm just . . . Don't run away!! All right, so we're moving from superficial relationships to deeper ones. That is, we're moving up the great chain of being - as some people would call it. 'Cause each of these moments is associated, but they are not logically related in the usual sense of logic. They're just associations. Nachman of Breslav calls them "behinot" (Hebrew: "aspect of"). "Behinot": this is an aspect of that, and that's an aspect of that. And Leibniz would say this is a monad which is a part of that monad, and that is a monad which is a part of another monad. That's a monad, and that's another monad. Another gestalt and another gestalt and another gestalt. One behinot and another behinot. And we're moving up the path of inductive logic. By the way, the opposite of that would be deductive logic. You start from, we start with the idea and you break it down into the little things. So we start with the idea of "here I am on the mountain". Well, on the mountain there are trees and other plants. There's a dog barking. There's wind and there's clouds. OK, we just broke the idea of "mountain" down into ten elements. Or "mountain experience", and we broke it down into ten other secondary experiences. And now we move in on the plants. Let's take the plant monad and break that down into, well, there's green ones and there's white ones and brown ones, and then we move in on the brown ones and there's this particular species and that particular species. That's deductive logic, moving from the big idea , like an upside down tree. Moving from the main root and trunk down to all the little, tiny little twigs. Moving from the One to the Many. That's deduction, and induction is moving from the many to the one. So Gestalt and prayer are mostly inductive experience, the way we're doing them here. Of course, you could do it differently. Maybe in your synagogue they would say, We're gonna do the Chanukah service today! So we'll do this, and we'll do that, and then we should do this and we should do that . . . And they break the idea of Chanukah down into many parts. That is "deductive prayer", and if that works for you, fine, but it doesn't work for me very well. So we have deductive religion and we have inductive religion. You might say that Chabad is the deductive religion. You start from the one idea of the rebbe up there that knows everything and we know nothing. And he slices reality down into slices we are supposed to assimilate, weekly lessons and all this, and so it's all coming from the top. And if you like that kind of rationalist religion - where everything is analyzed and spoon fed according to what somebody thinks we're supposed to be digesting today, then you're a Chabadnik. But if you like the other path, what we're doing here, the Tevye fiddler on the roof path, then you're a Breslaver. If you're Catholic, the Breslavers are the Franciscans and the Chabadniks are the Dominicans, the Papists. So the Pope is like the Rebbe for the Catholics, and the Franciscans do what the Breslavers do, talking to God in the woods or whatever. OK, back to our lesson. Back to Ha-shem. I mean, Mr. H. FW: Hello, Mr. H. Mr. H: Humm. I'm gettin' bored of all those lectures. FW: All right, let's do something else. (i) THE RHYTHM OF CONTACT AND WITHDRAWAL Where was I? Oh, I was dealing with the conflict about women. Did I finish that one? I finished that one. Yea. My brother! So there's a very painful conflict. I don't know what to do! On the one hand, I want to save this guy's life. I don't know if I can. If I get there it might be too late to pile him into an airplane and drag him to Israel. I might be too late. But maybe I could get him to come here and maybe I could oversee him in a nursing home, and keep him alive for a while. So it's a conflict. On the other hand, I don't want to sell my equipment, my instruments and my video and everything. How am I going to do my work? Very painful conflict! Besides, in Israel I wouldn't get much for it. The video system is all NTSC, which is American style. And Israel is PAL. I would get practically nothing for the whole system. It's a painful conflict. So now, how do you deal with a conflict? Well, we have the rhythm of conflict and withdrawal. We have two opposites here. One side is saying, "you're being selfish", Side One: Sell the stuff! Go save the guy's life! Side Two: Hey, I've got a right to live, too, you know. I've got a right to live. He's my brother, but still I have a right. I worked so hard to get that stuff. Somebody already stole some of it. What do you want from me? Lay off. Lay off!!! We have two sides, and I can't . . . I don't know which is right. So we have the rhythm of contact and withdrawal. What does that mean? Simply, let the two monads, the two gestalts sit there, and go inside into the Void. You might say it's "active forgetting". Forget about them, and trust. It's prayer. Again, it's prayer. Cause we're doing faith, and we're letting go of our rational control. And we'll see what happens. I'm gonna do it right now, and see what I get. OK? It might not work at all, but let's just see what happens. I close my eyes, and stop talking for a moment, and get into my body awareness. I'm comfortable. (strong exhale) My breathing is sort of strained . . . a little chilly . . . mmm . . . my breathing feels fine . . . I don't feel much body tension. All right. I'll do a daydream . . . mmm . . . I have an image. It doesn't seem to fit, but anyway, whatever comes, comes. Right? . . . . So here I see myself sitting here with somebody . . . Maybe I shouldn't say who it is, to protect that person's privacy, if I can. I'm sitting here with somebody, in a certain comfy place . . . maybe having a cup of tea or something . . . enjoying that bit of domestic facility, felicity . . . That's my association. What does it have to do with the conflict? Don't know yet. That's the faith aspect here. Don't know. Don't have to know. I allow myself not to know, long enough to discover something. I'll stay with that image a little bit, to see what happens . . . (audible exhale) . . . New image! The image of the experimental theater world somewhere. New York, maybe. Excitement of the theater! Working with all of my skills, and my media. Makes me say to myself, "I want to hang onto my equipment. I want to hang onto my equipment." Now I go to Robert. The rabbi visited him and said he looked like he is 90 years old. Strapped to his wheelchair so he doesn't try to drive it over a, to throw himself out of it to commit suicide . . . poor guy, he's so upset about Mother's death. He doesn't want to eat . . . Now I see an image of the nursing home here in Yavniel. He could be here, if I can get him here. Another image. This morning I called the police department where my sister is, to try to get her to cooperate. He signed over his property to her, but she doesn't give a damn whether he dies or not. So I had the police go and try to find out her phone number which she cut off so I wouldn't be able to call her. Maybe the police will be able to squeeze that airfare out of her. She has power of attorney that he gave her, to sell his apartment. She'll get at least $25,000 or $50,000 for that! And if she gives me $2000 for the trip, to save his life, I think that's reasonable. (j) THE CONCRETE DIALECTIC: THESIS/ANTITHESIS/SYNTHESIS See that! We saw the process here. The process was: first, associations; one monad to another. Thesis, antithesis. The thesis was: I should sell my equipment. The antithesis was: I don't want to sell my equipment! I'm groping around in the Void. Then there is a synthesis, a possible action, and that is: "pursue her, and squeeze the money out of her". So there's the integration, the action that possibly could resolve it. So where did I get the idea from? I didn't, I wasn't thinking of it at the beginning, but you see I was trusting Mr. H. You see that, Mr. H? You're beginning to give me the new idea. Mr. H: Thank's alot. You keep me busy all day long with your problems, one after the other, you know? You're a nuisance! FW: Well, right now is a bad time. But once I get things straightened out, you'll see. You'll be proud of me! Mr. H: I got a lot of patience, you know. All right. So that's an example of faith, prayer, in the inductive, or the pietist tradition, where you don't figure it out logically. You just trust that whatever comes is somehow going to, is part of an ongoing process of the organism attempting to grow, to integrate itself, to restore the Oneness, to find the way to Hashem, the Oneness. "Echad v'ayn sheni", the One Without A Second. How do you like that?! Mr. H: Gee!! I feel appreciated. FW: You certainly are! You see that? We did it right! We did some Gestalt, But I won't call it Gestalt today. We did prayer. We did hitbod'dut, smart hitbod'dut, and we demonstrated a process. Maybe that was too easy, 'cause I . . . Actually, I knew the answer, cause, I mean, I called the police this morning, so it wasn't far from my conscious mind, although I wasn't quite ready to say that when I started out. But, uh, well . . . let's see, should I stop here? Maybe I'll stop here and take stock. All right? And then I'll decide if I want to go on today. All right. Bye bye. (3) USING PROJECTIONS CREATIVELY FOR HITBOD'DUT (a) USING PROJECTIONS IN HITBOD'DUT Recording. Recording. OK. This is the third attempt, the third project. The word "Hitbod'dut": I even forgot to say what it means. In Hebrew "bohdayd" means "alone". To "hitbodayd" means to be alone, to make yourself alone, and when religious people talk about hitbod'dut, they're usually talking about some kind of meditation or prayer procedure, being alone with God, Hashem. I'm calling Him Mr. H because we're supposed to be respectful about that name. OK. So today's project . . . well, I'll first review a little bit. In the first project I talked about dumb hitbod'dut, and one of the things we do when we're doing dumb hitbod'dut is we're making projections without being aware that we are making projections. For example, if I think that everybody's out to get me, which I do think sometimes, then I'm projecting my own aggression onto people, onto the world, instead of using it myself in a more creative way. It's easier to think that everyone, all of you, are out to get me! To get my money. Ha, ha, ha! To mess me up, to deny me success, fame and fortune, for your own ulterior motives, whatever they might be. OK. So even though you're such terrible people, I'm still motivated to try to do my work here. So today I want to try to do the opposite of dumb hitbod'dut. I want to explore how to use projections to do smart hitbod'dut or other creative things. (b) FINDING A CONCRETE SITUATION FOR HITBOD'DUT I'll take some typical situation . . . I'm trying to think of some situation which I can deal with without being too personal - so I don't mess myself up here - and personal enough that it's interesting. You know, it's very difficult to pick a topic . . . I'm going to pick my mother's death, which happened about 5 months ago, four and a half months ago, and it was very painful at the time. I'm going to explore nature objects, what I see out here. Once again I'm on top of my old, my favorite hitbod'dut hill, here in Yavniel, and here on this rock because it's the only place I could find to sit without sitting on the ground. Next time I got to bring a chair. There aren't too many objects around here. I picked a rather desolate place. But even so, maybe I can find something to work with here. Ah, I see this old piece of plastic jar, a piece of plastic from a bottle. It was once a soda pop bottle, or something. Jagged edges, and just dumped here. OK, now what can I do with that? (noise) Oops, there goes a motorcycle. (noise) Hear the motorcycle? I want to project onto that bottle my relationship to my mother. That doesn't make much sense. I don't know what its going to lead to, maybe nothing. But let's do it. OK? So, let's see . . . I see you over there. First I start with addressing the object. (loud motorcycle noises) Those crappy guys with the motorcycles are coming here! (more motorcycle noises) I come here to get away from crappy people, and the crappy people follow me out here . . . They'll probably be back. That's bad, but I'll try to work anyway. I might have to throw this attempt out . . . So, this plastic thing. I'm looking at it. I see you over there, plastic object (sound) . . . That's the wind . . . You're green, and you have what used to be a top of you. It goes around, and, uh, you're jagged, dark green, and you certainly don't belong here on top of my favorite hitbod'dut hill here in Yavniel, but somebody dumped you here . . . Gestalt therapy is a commitment to boredom. That's one of the things that Fritz Perls said. So if you're bored you can leave . . . (humming: dum, dum, dum) . . . contacting body awareness . . . I'm slouched over here . . . I'll sit up better, breathe better . . . There's a smoky smell in the air, like somebody's burning bushes or something . . . It takes time to find the images . . . A fly is bothering . . . I'm scratching a fly . . . OK, I have an image. I'm thinking of noises, disturbing noises. The image flashes back to about 1965. Then I was in Uncle Sam's Army, in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas . . . and I was a Private, and because I was a Private I was living with all these other Privates from all over the country. Here I have just walked out of medical school, big egghead type, and want to do music, to write music. That's why I walked out of medical school, to write music, and here I am listening all day long to music that I hate, rock and roll loud music. So instead of writing the music that I want to write, I'm stuck being drafted here into the Army . . . They told me if I didn't enlist they'd draft me, so I enlisted . . . The image is I am getting so angry about that noise that I pick up that radio on this guy's bed, double decker bed, and I throw it right out the window! I threw it right out the window. Of course, he came and pummeled me for that. He pummeled me for that, beat me up - but it was worth it! I felt it was worth it . . . What does that have to do with this situation today? Some things are "worth it"! That's it! You know? A person gets to a point sometimes. I get to a point sometimes, you do, where you're willing to pay the price. In this case, I so much wanted to come back to the Aretz ("the land", Israel) to try to do my work. 'Cause nine years I was in the United States and I couldn't find a way to connect to things. I couldn't . . . I tried going to New York peddling my shows. Negative. I peddled my shows in the Miami area. Negative. And then I got some video equipment and started learning how to do that. Then I felt that now that I have some skills I want to go back to Israel and do something with it. I couldn't find a project to connect to, and people to relate to in the United States. Meanwhile, mother is 101 years old. Robert's in a wheelchair, brother Robert. So nine years went by until one day . . . Mother, you're getting very belligerent. You're starting to criticize me, and saying I'm not doing what I should be doing, and all this, and here I am giving up all this to be with you here. Well, that was like, that's the last straw, Mother. FW: If you don't appreciate what I'm doing for you, well, then I'm not going to do it! I'm just going to leave. That plus all the other things I need to do. That tips the balance. So I'm leaving. I'm leaving!! I'm going!! Mother: Well, I'm going to die, and it will be your fault! It will be all your fault. (c) THIS IS PROPHECY AND ANAMNESIS You see, that's a typical ego game trip. That's me projecting the critical side of myself onto my Mother. That's the topdog criticizing the underdog. But the image gave me more. The image also gave me the power to deal with that. 'Cause like I said, a person has a center, and when you contact your center - like I just did - this image, this soul, is like a voice, a macrocosmic Idea being sucked down into the microcosm. This is the way Rabbi Nachman talks about it in Likutei Moharan, essay 3. What is it? The prophets nurse on, nurse on a particular something or other. In other words, suck on something. Yea, the prophets suck the images down from the macrocosm down into the microcosm. In this case the image goes back to 40 years ago, I was 22 years old, 45 years ago! Almost 45 years ago! So that image came back from 45 years ago. That was what we call, what Plato calls "anamnesis". And here it happens right here. Plato talked about it 2500 years ago, and here it happened here and now! And what is anamnesis? "An" means "not". "Amnesis" is "forgetting". "To forget". So, "not to forget". In other words, a kind of active remembering. Now, what are you remembering? I had a conflict. Two sides were "stuck". So the first idea of this dialectical process we are doing here is . . .The first idea is the thesis, the one side. Then, the antithesis is the other side, and the synthesis is the integration of the two of them in a higher idea. Now in this process anamnesis means going back, remembering the most basic ideas. Doing a process like this, the most basic idea is the thesis. And another one is the antithesis, and the other one is the synthesis, and that dialectic is what we call the Logos, the Word of God. Plato called it The Demiurge. (Greek: demos=people, urgos=work, i.e., an artisan, one with a special skill that does people-work, work for the people). It's the work of God being done in this world. (d) DIALECTIC OF AVRAHAM, YITZCHAK & YAAKOV AS "ANGEL" In Likutei Moharan number 7 Nachman talks about an angel. He calls it "Eglah". He says the Eglah is an angel that somehow encompasses two voids, the two "t'homot", the two abysses. That's the (Void of the) macrocosm and the (Void of the) microcosm. And an angel is a force that does the work of God in this world. That's the dialectic here. The dialectic is a process that encompasses both kinds of ideas: the higher, Platonic, macrocosmic Ideas, and the lower, microcosmic Ideas, the ideas of this world. The Platonic Ideas are the ones we need to do a process like this to remember. In Judaism you find this way of thinking all over every major Jewish philosopher. In Judaism these three major ideas usually are symbolized by Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. In Likutei Moharan, beginning with essay number 1, you see it everywhere. Yaakov is the synthesis. Avraham is the thesis. Yitzchak is the antithesis. Yaakov is the synthesis. In what sense? We started off today with awareness. Here and now I'm aware of this, I'm aware of that, Then the opposite of that is two things you are aware of, in conflict. That's Yitzchak. And the higher integration, the action that allows you to integrate those two and move on in your life, that's symbolized by Yaakov. So we have the right pillar of the Sefirot: Chokhmah, Chesed. That column is the Avraham one. The left pillar, Binah, Gevurah, that's the Yitzchak side. And the middle pillar, that's the Yaakov side, the action (proper balance of activity and passivity, middle way). OK. So in this case, going back to my little project, my little experiment here (audible exhale), I was torn between Mother saying, Mother: You should be ashamed of yourself, and me saying, I have a right to my needs also. And I have a mission even as important as our mission here, you and me, in Israel. So by going into the (microcosmic) Void, doing anamnesis, subjecting myself to, surrendering to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, the dialectic (of the combined microcosm and macrocosm), the angel Eglah . . . (e) THE SPIRALING DIALECTIC OF EGLAH / EEGUL Why did he call it an "Eglah", by the way? In Likutei Moharan 7, the root there. "Eglah" means (in Aramaic) a "bull". The word "eglah" means "bull", an angel that's somehow associates to a bull. Nachman adds: "this corresponds to Eegulim (circles), which is an aspect of faith". Now, if we use a little bit of philosophy, which I am sure Nachman of Breslav knew about, we notice that the word "eglah" has the same root as "Eegul". "Eegul" means "circle", "circling". Now, what circles? The dialectic, the spiraling dialectic. I'm torn between "X" and "-X". I somehow find my way out of that, move up to being torn between "Y" and "-Y", move out of that, get up to "Z" and "-Z". OK? So, it's a spiraling, an ascending. It's a circle! And Aristotle says, and this is one of the key passages that Maimonides brought down from Aristotle into Judaism, that the most important kind of motion is "local motion". What is local motion? Local motion is in a circle and in one place. So what kind of motion is in a circle and in one place, that also progresses? A spiral. You move from the bottom, and that's Jacob's Ladder. One beat of the dialectic, the next beat of the dialectic, the next beat of the dialectic. So in this case with my Mother I did one beat of the dialectic. I was torn between Mother and myself, my own needs, and I moved up from X/-X to Y. The new idea is "I have a higher purpose, a higher mission that I need to do, and it is worth the price!" Mother, it's worth the price. It's worth the price. Here I am in Israel, struggling at age 67 to do a little bit of what I can do, and it's worth the price. 'Cause you were taken care of by Robert, and you could have been taken of by Barbara if you would agree to go there. But no, you had to be too stuck to your own independence. You wanted to be alone, so everyone has a right to commit suicide, and you more or less did that. Barbara could have taken you over there, but you wouldn't go. I know you wanted to be with Robert, but you could have found a way to bring Robert with you to Oregon. But you didn't do it. OK, so, I moved up to Y, I moved up the angel, the dialectic. I moved up from one level to the next. And here I am at Y. Right? Now, I don't know where Y is going to lead me. (f) NEW PROJECTIONS: TIBERIUS (Y) AND YAVNIEL (-Y) So now I look around for another projection. I'll do another projection, and see where that leads me. OK? What do I see? Ah . . . This great big, prominent object over there. On the hill is the city of Tiberius, seen from the other side. Not the side where the sea of Galilee is, but the other side. It looks like a pile of junk on top of a nice green hill. White junk, grey junk. Kind of a skin disease, the way D. H. Lawrence once put it in a novel, moving towards Yavniel, year by year, as the fields disappear and the city gets bigger and bigger. OK. So maybe I can use that as a projection. FW: Tiberius, you are a skin disease, moving towards this little glade here. Ten years from now Yavniel and Tiberius might be part of the same, the same . . . skin disease. Tiberius: I am Tiberius. I am . . . (starting again, with a high cackely, rapid witchy voice) I am Tiberius, ha, ha, ha. Skin disease, you . . . You people, listen to me. I'm crawling into your minds! I'm brainwashing you, to think like me. Heh, heh, heh! I'm encroaching. I'm insidious. FW: I'm sitting over here. And I'm Yavniel. OK? I'm the fields of Yavniel. (musical, rolling voice) Oooo, I'm flowing here and I'm flowing there. Ooooooooooooo. My eyes are rolling over my rolling hills here. I'm green, and I'm brown . . . the fields and the wind blowing and nature and it's all very lovely and . . . I see that skin disease over there. Skin disease! By the time you get here I'll be somewhere else. I'll be different fields. I like the fields. You're not going to catch me! Tiberius: Ehhh! You think so, eh? You know you're not going to make a buck up here! You're gonna come back to Jerusalem, and live in one of those crappy tenements in Jerusalem, if you can afford even that! Heh, heh, heh. You, you loser, you! FW: Hey, wait a minute. I'm going to figure out a way to stay here. You know that? I figured it out! I figured it out. I think I have just enough money, and I think I can bribe the landlord. I can tell him, "Look. I'll give you all of my equipment. You can just keep it as collateral until I get caught up with the rent. You know that? You won't get to me! I'll be able to sit here and do my work, right on this hill. How do you like that! Tiberious: Yahhhhh. Shit! FW: But, sooner or later I'll have to go to Jerusalem. And that's it, you know. (g) THE SYNTHESIS: YAAKOV, JERUSALEM Association! Jerusalem as the synthesis. So we have Yavniel, the fields of Yavniel as one side, the rolling fields of nature. That somehow associates to spirituality. And we have Tiberius as a skin disease over there, with all those crappy tourists and heat and humidity and drying up lake . . . and that's the skin disease. But Jerusalem somehow could be a synthesis. 'Cause there you have spirituality and an urban environment. There's enough spirituality to balance the urban-ness. You got maybe a few decent, spiritual people there, among all the phonies. It might be worth the trouble to live there and to try to work it out. (g) TSELEM ELOKIM AND THE COMING SOLUTION So there we went from Y to -Y. Y is skin disease, or Y is Yavniel, the fields . . . No, in this case Y was Tiberius, the strong one, trying to enslave, to infest, Yavniel, the fields, the underdog. We had a conflict, and we didn't have to go into the Void. It naturally associated. "Zoht b'hinah zoht! Zoht b'hinah Zoht!" That's what Nachman of Breslav would say. "This is an aspect of that, and that's an aspect of this", and the associations led up to the next level, from Y to minus Y to Z. Now we're up to Z. We're on another level, encompassing . . . All the time we're bringing more and more aspects of me, and doing this process I'm a "tselem elokim" (Hebrew: "image of God"). I am doing God's work here, working in the image of God, doing an action in the here and now in a meditative process. So it's pure stuff. This is the demiurge of Plato at work. This is the divine soul of Chabad at work. This is . . . what does Nachman call it? . . . Yaakov, he calls it, the middle pillar. Yaakov's the middle pillar, he says, and that's the action. So we're working our way up the logos, the Word of God, the ascent. And, again, this is inductive, inductive logic here. Remember. We're going from the specifics up towards the general idea, looking towards "Hashem rochev ahl aravot", God riding, hovering over the desert of games we play, the trips we run on ourselves and on the world. Meanwhile, the coming solution somehow is beckoning us. We are reaching out to God, and God, we like to believe, is reaching out to us. FW: Mr. H, we're reaching out to you, and I hope you're reaching out to us. What do you say, Mr. H? Mr. H: You're gettin' pretty good at this stuff, boy. I really think you're doin' a good job today. I was worried you'd never get started, with all those distractions, but you finally got your concentration going there. Yea! So like I'm waitin' here for you folks, and nice to see you folks workin' towards me! So, one of these days . . . We need Mashiach. That's a job for Mashiach. You see, you guys, you people should be proud of what, you should be appreciating this Wepner guy, you know. Look, he's doing the work of Mashiach! He's doing the Moses function. He's doing the Moses-Mashiach function, which is what Nachman calls it. He is embodying the dialectic in his guf (Hebrew: body) and in his soul, sharing that with you today. You see! And that's exactly the Moses-Machiach function. He brings himself towards me, and if you watch that, if his voice is a "pure singer" (see Likutei Moharan, essay 3), like maybe it is today, if he's here and now and if he's believable, then his singing is infectious, and brings you with him. He is serving a prophetic function. But this is not new. This is old stuff! My friend Plato did the same thing. He called it "the poet", the possessed poet. The possessed poet in a poetic frenzy, like Wepner is today, infects the audience. You know what Plato called it? He called it a magnet. Plato used the example of a magnet. So Wepner here is the magnet, and you guys are the filings that he's magnetizing with his prophetic voice. Ha, ha, ha, ha! Very good, Wepner! Franklyn, you get a gold star today. FW: Well, thank you, Mr. H. Nice to be appreciated, by you anyway. Not too many people around here appreciate me. Yep. I'm doing your job! The trouble is these dummies don't appreciate it. It's so simple. You see how simple it is. But they get lost in words! They don't believe in angels. They don't follow the Eglah. They don't follow the Bull. Instead of following the Bull, they follow the bullshit! BULLSHIT! And the elephantshit! And the turkeyshit. Every kind of shit, except doing the work. (i) INDUCTION AS TRANSLATION AND PRAYER Anyway, let's see. Did we do our job? We did our job today. We did two loops of the spiral, moved up two levels. By the way, this is not particularly Jewish either. This is basic dialectical philosophy, which comes from all over the world into Judaism. In Christianity they call it "translation". The Hebrew word, "l'ha'atik", has two meanings: "to shift" and "to translate". In other words, angels move up and down the ladder, the worlds, shifting the dialectic from level to level. It's also called in Hebrew "hishtalsh'lut" (literally, "chaining" or "making a chain"), moving up and down the tree of life from one level to the next, shifting or translating. The dialectic shifts from one level to the next. So this kind of dialectical motion is the Eglah, the Logos at work. Since it works oftentimes; therefore, we can use it consciously as prayer - like we did just now - based on faith that it will work and that Hashem will help us get there. Right? Mr. H: Yup!!! I did it, and you did it. Very good. See that? It worked. Even if we don't, even if we are not aware of doing it, it happens anyway. You know? At least it happens in certain senses, that can be seen in the world. Idealistic philosophers like Hegel look back and see the whole history of the universe in that way, but maybe that's a bit much. But at least we know that when we use it as a meditative process, in the context of what Nachman of Breslav and other Pietists would call "prayer", then it works. We begin in the here and now and start from the particulars (the weak gestalts) to get to the general ideas (the strong gestalts). We work our way up the ladder, doing inductive logic rather than deductive logic, which would goes down the other side, from the One to the Many. The Eglah symbolizes the entire dialectic, both sides. The concrete here an now experience of the combined deductive and inductive aspects is what Nachman labels the Eglah. The work of the Eglah combines the work of many lower level angels The Eglah is the highest level archangel, what Kabbalists label Metatron. (j) "LA-SHUR": TO GAZE, AND "SHOR", BULL There's another sense, point of view, b'hinah, from which Nachman uses the word for 'bull" in essay 7. Rather than the Aramaic word Eglah, he also invokes the usual word for "bull" in Hebrew, "shor", and it just so happens that this word "shor" has another, apparently entirely unrelated, meaning. "La-shur" in Hebrew means, "to gaze". What might be the relevance here of "la-shur", to gaze? Here we are now, having worked through two levels of the dialectic. First of all me and my mother, and second of all Tiberius and Yavniel, Finally we got to a higher point of view which somehow encompasses those struggles. So here we are on the top, gazing back. Now that that we have found our way out of them, now that Mr. H has helped us move up with his angel, we can say to ourselves, "how did we ever get stuck in those impasses in the first place?" And from this higher point of view of "gazing" perhaps we can appreciate the power of faith and prayer, at least the way that jargon is being used by Nachman of Breslav. And in this sense we are operating as a "tselem elokim", made in "the image of God", and identifying with the point of view of "Hashem rochev ahl aravot", riding on top of the wilderness. That's what God does. God is on top of the desert of dead forms that we're stuck in during our lives, as we play our games and do our trips. He's not in it. He's on top of it. Right, You're on top of it! Mr. H: Yuuuup!! Hooooo!! I like it up here! It's so nice up here. I don't want to deal with all that crap down there! You dummies! OK. You see? So, um . . . We're doing His process. FW: Right? Mr. H: Yup! (k) BRECHT AND STANISLAVSKI So we're working in the image of God. We're gazing down from His vantage point of being "rochev ahl aravot", hovering on, riding over, the aravah, the desert. Ok. That's one thing I want to say. Now, let's look at it from a different point of view. This stuff does not have to be religion in the usual sense in order to appreciate the concrete dialectic. You can do the entire process without calling it faith or prayer. You could call it other things. Maybe we should talk about that for a minute. Take the idea of "gazing". Here we are gazing with the wisdom of hindsight, gazing back at the path we followed. Eglah and shor, the dialectical path and the gazing back are two aspects of the same process, the "concrete dialectic. The dialectic is concrete because it's here and now dealing with real experiences, real awarenesses, contact experiences. It's concrete, concrete logic, concrete dialectic. Looking at it from this point of view of being on the top and looking back at the wasteland, this stuff can be art, aesthetics, Romantic or post-romantic aesthetics. Take a look, for example, at Brecht, Brechtian theater, which is in the Romantic tradition. Brecht called his theater "epic theater". Now an actor in the epic theater learns how to be "on top of his material". First, he puts together a bunch of forms into a complicated structure. The image track is doing one thing, the voice track is doing another thing. The body track is doing this, and the face doing that. He puts it all together into an interesting collage of stuff. And then he uses the image track objectively. He gazes at the image. "La-shur", remember? And with the power of that objectively he elevates himself above the subjectivity by means of which he was stuck in the pile of junk forms to begin with. He is now a free man. He can work in the here and now and comment on the junk collage. He can express his point of view towards it, rather than being stuck in that formalistic character that he created. The character, the junk collage serve now merely as a filter, and he, the performer, is like a light illuminating the pile of junk from various points of view. And so the character takes on a momentary, a here and now, a messianic now type existence. And all those creative sparks, those indeas, those hits, go right out to the audience. They think something wonderful and mystical is happening, when all he's doing is just the same old dialectic, the same old logos, the same old demiurge, whatever you want to call it, the shor, the eglah, dialectical thinking. He's doing the moment by moment syntheses which pop into his mind when he looks down at the array of antitheses that comprise the junk collage. Now compare that with Stanislavski. Stanislavski has the actor identifying with the character subjectively, in the character, lost in the character and trying to bring the audience into the character with him. And they all follow the big idea, the superobjective of the play which has been laid out by the playwrite and the director from the beginning. And there you have Chabad, on the other side from Breslav. Stanislavski and Aristotle are on one side, while Brecht and Plato - especially the post-Brechtian formalism of Mabou Mines Theater - are on the other side. So you see, you don't have to call this religion. You can call it art if you like. And I am sure there are parallel aesthetic things about painting, about literature. We don't have to call it religion. So if you want to get down on the religious people, you don't have an excuse. If you don't use stuff like this, you're just plain dumb, ignorant. Go sell shoes. (l) SUMMARY OK. Enough for one lesson today. This tape is going on for 44 minutes. That's probably too long. Just to review, we started off using projections to do hitbod'dut, by projecting ourselves onto different nature objects. As they say in Taoism, before you paint the branch, first become the branch. So we became the branch. We became the piece of plastic, the old piece of plastic lying here and the city of Tiberius out there, and that led us to some truth. It led us up the path, Jacob's Ladder. The Christians have a long tradition of using dialectical philosophy. They talk about having faith in a grain of mustard seed. Here we had faith in a little plastic bottle laying here. Then we found our way up the ladder towards Mr. H. Right? Mr. H: Ahh yep!! Come on up here. It's nice up here! Ha haaaaahh . . . FW: Well, we had a nice trip today. Thanks for the trip. Mr. H: No problem. No problem. Anytime, anytime. So we started off with those projections, and we worked our way up the Eglah, the concrete dialectic, the spiral, the tree of life, from Abraham to Yitzchak to Yaakov, the action, the middle pillar. It makes me think of Likutei Moharan essay number 1, where Nachman says, "a Yid has got to find the inner idea in any object", the inner idea that shines in every object. We took that little object, that piece of bottle, that plastic bottle, and we found the inner idea. What's the inner idea? It's the higher level of spirituality, the macrocosmic idea, the Platonic idea, or if you want to call it Mr. H, or whatever you like, but we followed that process and we did it using dialectical thinking. We found the inner idea in that little piece of broken bottle, and now we connected up at the same time the spirituality to my mother. We connected it to my mother, to all the objects that we illuminated today: Yavniel, Tiberius, even the motorcycle and the Brechtian theater were part of it. The point was to learn how to use projections creatively, spiritually, as an of hitbod'dut, and I believe we accomplished that. (m) WHO IS MR. H? Mr. H has been a part of our hitbod'dut process, in all the various forms of it which we have looked at. But can we pinpoint more specifically exactly what is his function along the way? Certainly he is not just another projection, like a broken bottle. Certainly he was not the demiurge, the Eglah, the concrete dialectic which provides a logical framework through which energies flowed. The Mr. H which I treated somewhat irreverently during my journey up Jacob's/Yaakov's Ladder was merely a stand-in, a place-holder, pointing towards the real Mr. H, that is to say towards Hashem, "the Name" which we are not supposed to say at all. Philosophically speaking, we may say - with the Jewish philosophers - that He is that which rides on top of the aravot, as has been explained. In the Pietist tradition of Nachman of Breslav, He is to be approached holistically, by means of both deductive cogitations and inductive experiences (prayer, faith, Gestalt, the arts, etc.), with an emphasis on the latter. As Nachman put it, "What else is there to do in this world, except to pray and study and pray?" ("Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom", #287)


2. TALKING TO GOD (HITBOD'DUT) complete (90 minutes)

TALKING TO GOD (HITBOD'DUT) complete (90 minutes)

Breslav Hassidim and Franciscan Catholics are told to talk to God in the woods. Gestalt Therapy provides us with many tools to help us get past our own ego trips and really speak to God. Part 1 of this project shows us "dumb hitbod'dut", all the wrong things to do, while parts 2-7 of this project attempt to demonstrate some of the right things to do to be more successful if and when you do talk to God. TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD ALL OF MY VIDEOS, PLUS 1500 PAGES OF MY EXPLANATORY ESSAYS (ALL AT NO CHARGE) PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: franklynwepner.com. ALSO PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH ME ANY COMMENTS ABOUT MY WORK: franklynwepner@gmail.com. IN THE LISTING OF VIDEOS THE LETTERS (HQ) REFER TO A HIGHER QUALITY VERSION OF THE VIDEO, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOUR COMPUTER CAN HANDLE IT. "HITBOD'DUT" CONVERSATIONS WITH MR. H A LOWBROW, SLIGHTLY IRREVERENT INTRODUCTION TO BRESLAV THEOLOGY by franklyn wepner december 2008 franklynwepner@gmail.com PREFACE (a) ON THE HYPOTHESIS OF THIS EXPERIMENT The teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, as embodied in today's Breslav Hassidic sect of Judaism embody a form of what traditionally goes by the name of "Pietism". Pietism emphasizes faith and simplicity over against complex intellectual explanations of religious matters. But from the day that the Baal Shem Tov, it is said, sought God by talking to Him in the woods and jumping back and forth from one side of a stream to the other, until the day Nachman published his collected essays, "Likutei Moharan", much water in the stream of Jewish Pietism has passed under the bridge. That is to say, Likutei Moharan is not simple stuff. In order to write what he writes in those pages, Rabbi Nachman had to be well versed in the complex tradition of Pietist religion. Whether he got it from the original sources or from other compilations, he had to know something about the Neoplatonism of Philo, Ibn Gabirol, Judah Halevy , Abu-l-Barakat and Leone Ebreo. He had to know something about the responses of Hasdai Crescas to the Aristotelian Jewish tradition which crystallized in Maimonides "Guide For The Perplexed". To these two traditions, Nachman of Breslav added a strong emphasis upon the philosophy of language, in the sense that the Word of God is coming to us from a Jewish God who in a profound mystical sense is a speaking God, speaking to us and speaking through us. Though it is hard to find precedents to this in Judaism, we can find it in the work of the Christian theologian Johann Georg Hamann, which appeared, shortly before the time Nachman was born, in Konigsberg, East Prussia, not far from where Nachman lived in Eastern Europe. In the work of Hamann we find much of the philosophy of language which Nachman incorporated into his teachings. In other words, since the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav are so saturated with the complex tradition of Pietism, they are anything but a return to the naivete of the Bal Shem Tov. In this respect Nachman is deliberately deceptive when he tells his disciples again and again to keep it simple, and rely mainly on prayer. But he also tells them to study! So he is not preaching mindlessness. Nor is he teaching blind following. His elevation of "the tsaddik of the generation" to the level of highest authority in the community of Hassidim is to be read both in the literal, "pshat", sense, and also in the profoundest philosophical sense as the Moses-Mashiach element potentially available in every person who submits himself to the theological process outlined in Likutei Moharan. Traditionally in Judaism it is said that each Jew shares in the living reality of Moses receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai, but for Nachman this notion is merely the tip of an iceberg which is available to those who take the trouble to fathom the ideas of Likutei Moharan. In view of these elements contained in Nachman's teachings, it should not be surprising that in what follows here I discover profundity rather than naivete in Nachman's advice to his disciples that they ought to sequester themselves every day and talk directly to God. Of course, we can talk naively to God in the manner of Tevye in Fiddler On the Roof. That procedure here I label "dumb hitbod'dut". Dumb hitbod'dut in that sense is in most cases better than no hitbod'dut at all. It can't hurt, and it might even be more useful than talking to oneself. But I am after bigger fish than that. My goal here is to begin to apply the principles of Likutei Moharan itself to the process of hitbod'dut. This introduction is not the place to spell out the complex principles of Likutei Moharan. You will find some of that in the sequel. Here I will just outline my basic assmptions for this project, which are that (i) Since Neoplatonism and Hamann's philosophy of language are examples of dialectical thinking, therefore Likutei Moharan likewise is dialectical thinking. (ii) Gestalt Therapy also is dialectical thinking, containing both Platonic and Aristotelian aspects. (iii) Therefore, applying dialectical thinking and Gestalt Therapy principles to hitbod'dut is entirely appropriate. (iv) Hitbod'dut divested of the Gestalt Thrapy list of "self-interruptions" that rob our actions of their potential for authenticity and effectiveness is better than hitbod'dut saturated with this nonsense. The list of self-interruptions includes, beginning with the most pernicious, (a) confluence, (b) introjection, (c) projection, (d) retroflection, and (e) egotism. I will present these problems, one after the other, and then I will go on and attempt to demonstrate that smart hitbod'dut is better than dumb hitbod'dut. (b) ON THE STYLE OF THIS PRESENTATION That is the rationale for this project. Now a few words about the style of this project. It is, first of all, an experiment. I never saw it done before, but I decided to try to do it anyway. I state at the beginning that it might not work. As a matter of fact, I believe that it did work. I believe it worked very well, but you might not agree. That is for you to decide. Being an experiment, it had a hypothesis and a procedure. The hypothesis I just explained above. The procedure was simply to do my own personal hitbod'dut work, talking to Mr. H (Hashem, Hebrew: The Name, i.e., God), on tape as a here and now spontaneous improvisation, with you looking on as the audience. If you have access to that CD I hope you will invest the 2 hours or so it takes to listen to it. If you do so, you will discover that this written version has been edited to make it more coherent and more readable. Also, I have taken the liberty of correcting certain blunders. But on the other hand, I purposely retained the style of a here and now spontaneous improvisation. You should know that the "actor" of that theatrical event is not such a nice guy as the erudite elderly gentleman who, with the wisdom of hindsight and in the manner of cool reflection, is writing this introduction. That actor doesn't mind insulting his audience if he feels - perhaps mistakenly - that by doing so he can better get his point across. But he has asked me to beg you please not to take it personally! It is merely poetic license. And after all, he is doing therapy up there, working on his existence. He is just exploring the range of expression available to him there and then (here and now) in his studio or up on his favorite hitbod'dut hill in Yavniel, Israel, which - by the way - is about 5 miles west of the sea of Galilee, in the vicinity of the city of Tiberias. It is Chanuka/Christman time, December 2008, but the weather is balmy, except for a breeze that occasionally makes its presence known in the form of microphone noise. He is making every effort to remain faithful to the process of hitbod'dut as he understands it based upon his sources, the Likutei Moharan text of Nachman of Breslav, and the Gestalt Therapy texts of Fritz Perls. Also, as he tells us, he is at pains to select topics personal enough to be meaningful and on the other hand not so personal that he damages himself or others by having an audience find out about them. If you think that is easy, he suggests you try it yourself sometime with your own recording equipment and send him the results. CONTENTS (1) SMART HITBOD'DUT AND DUMB HITBOD'DUT (a) WHAT IS HITBOD'DUT? (b) PROJECTION (c) INTROJECTION (d) CONFLUENCE (e) RETROFLECTION (f) EGOTISM (g) SUMMARY (2) SMART HITBOD'DUT AS INDUCTION, FAITH AND PRAYER (a) HERE & NOW ON MY FAVORITE HITBOD'DUT HILL IN YAVNIEL (b) THE TREE OF LIVING ORGANISMS: "GESTALTS" (c) MR. H "ROCHEV AHL ARAVOT"ABOVE THE SPHERES (d) LEIBNIZ' THEORY OF MONADS (e) REINTEGRATING PROJECTIONS (f) NO QUESTIONS ALLOWED (g) "PRAYER" AS RIDING THE MOMENTS (h) INDUCTIVE LOGIC VS DEDUCTIVE LOGIC (i) THE RHYTHM OF CONTACT AND WITHDRAWAL (j) THE CONCRETE DIALECTIC: THESIS/ANTITHESIS/SYNTHESIS (3) USING PROJECTIONS CREATIVELY FOR HITBOD'DUT (a) USING PROJECTIONS IN HITBOD'DUT (b) FINDING A CONCRETE SITUATION (c) THIS IS PROPHECY AND ANAMNESIS (d) DIALOGUE OF AVRAHAM, YITZCHAK & YAAKOV AS "ANGEL" (e) THE SPIRALING DIALECTIC OF EGLAH / EEGUL (f) NEW PROJECTIONS: TIBERIUS (Y) AND YAVNIEL (-Y) (g) THE SYNTHESIS: YAAKOV, JERUSALEM (h) TSELEM ELOKIM AND THE COMING SOLUTION (i) INDUCTION AS TRANSLATION AND PRAYER (j) "LA-SHUR": TO GAZE AND "SHOR" (BULL) (k) BRECHT AND STANISLAVSKI (l) SUMMARY (m) WHO IS MR. H? (1) SMART HITBOD'DUT AND DUMB HITBOD'DUT (a) WHAT IS HITBOD'DUT? Recording number one. This is an experiment. We're going to see if it works. FW: So, Mr. H, listen, it's Wepner here. I got to deal with a fly that's buzzing around me, and I got to deal with you at the same time. So, forgive me . . . if I don't quite connect! So here I am sitting in my studio, with my microphone, and my recorder, and my keyboard. (plays sounds) That was "orchestra". You want to hear a trumpet? (more sounds) Trombone? (more sounds) That's not a good trombone. (sounds) That sounded a little more like a trombone. (sounds) OK, so Mr. H, I'm not going to say who You really are, since I'm not supposed to use Your name in vain. But I'm going to play around with this project, and see what happens. So the point of the project is we're going to talk about the difference between smart hitbod'dut and dumb hitbod'dut. First of all, what is "hitbod'dut"? It's a Hebrew word meaning "being alone". But the way the religious people usually use it, when they say "hitbod'dut", is that you're supposed to be alone talking to God, like Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof. Like you say, Ha-shem! Oh, you're not supposed to say Ha-shem. Mr. H! I'm trying to peddle my work, and nobody wants to take it seriously. So I'm trying this approach, making a CD like this. Maybe somebody will listen to it. Nincompoops out there! Listen! Listen. I got something important here. If you dummies don't appreciate it, that's your problem! (b) PROJECTION In hitbod'dut, when you do a projection you think you're talking to God, but really all you're talking to is yourself! Let's see how that works. That sounds a little bit like Schopenhauer. " The World as Will and Representation (or Idea)". The Will is the force that motivates things, keeps them going along. The representation, that's our ideas, our projecting all over the place, and we make a world out of that. So from this point of view everything is a projection. If I say, FW: Mr. H out there, hi! You seem rather withdrawn today. You're not talking much. What am I doing? I'm just projecting my own "withdrawn-ness" out there into the void, into that empty space, wallpapering the world with withdrawn-ness. Basically, I'm talking about my own "withdrawn-ness". In other words, I'm experiencing some withdrawn-ness, but I don't want to acknowledge that I am withdrawing, that I am holding back, so I project it out there and I say, FW: Mr. H, you are withdrawing! That's called a projection. But if I don't realize I'm doing that, if I don't realize that I am making that projection, then I'm just going to say, FW: Hey, Mr. H, how come you won't talk to me today? I'm lost in myself. I have no contact with Mr. H, because all I'm contacting is my own projection, my own dumb projection because I'm not aware of what I'm doing. You think you're talking to God, but really all you're talking to is your own crappy ego that you're trying to get out of! You see? And there are a million different variations of the same ego game. (c) INTROJECTION We're rattling off the Gestalt list of problems, the list of "self-interruptions" as they call them. Next on the list is "introjection". So instead of interrupting your communication with God or with your soul, or whatever it is, with a projection, you might try an "introjection" that day, that moment. The roots of the word "Introjection" is "jectare", to throw, and "intro", in; so it's "throwing in" that you are doing. You're swallowing whole some authority figure in your life, most likely when you were a child, for example, if you had an authoritarian father. Father: That's it! Do what I say, and that's it. I don't want to hear from you! That's the authoritarian father. You want to do hitbod'dut. You want to talk to God but you're just talking to your introject, your dybbuk, that soul of your father that doesn't want to go away, that's possessing you, inhabiting you, polluting you So you say, Hey, Hashem! And then you imagine Hashem saying something critical. Mr. H: Oh, you dumb son-of-a-bitch, you screwed up your life today. You should crawl! So you say, (whining) Oh, Hashem, I'm so terrible. I did this today, and I hurt this person and I hurt that person. Oh, forgive me, Hashem! But really, you're not talking to Hashem. You're just talking to your father again. And, you know, it's boring. It's stupid. You're not going to get to Hashem that way. You're just going to get back to your father, and the more you get into that trip of projecting that authoritarian image out there the more lost you get in self-abuse. Oh, God, how can I possibly do all of your 10,000 mitzvot, commandments?! It's overwhelming. I can't do it. I'm a terrible Jew! That's bullshit! That's religious bullshit that you're stuck in because your rebbes don't know what they're doing so they can't teach you what you should do. You understand? You get the idea? That's "introjection". OK? You got an introjected authority figure, or maybe you got an introjected mama that was always, Mama: Oh, my poor, loving, what can I do for you this moment, you poor, helpless child? So then every time you talk to God you're going to be talking to your mother that's calling you a poor, helpless child, and you're going to say, (crying) Oh, God, I'm so helpless today, I don't know what to do! I'm so helpless. I can't deal with anything! And then you're back to being the crybaby that mother incubated in her womb cause she needed to have a crybaby so she could play her game on you. So there's another introject! (d) CONFLUENCE What else do we got here in our package of goodies, our ego goodies that we use all day long? Umm, we did projection, we did introjection. Now, another one. The worst once is "confluence". That's where you're totally out of touch with anything except your own habits. So let's say you have a habit of bossing people around, FW: Do it my way, or else, buddy! Look, I'm running the show here! So then you're going to treat Hashem that way. Mr. H! Hi. Here's my list of what I want today. I want this and I want that. I want some money. I need about 25 students, to help pay the rent. I need some credibility here. These rabbis won't take me seriously. I don't have any credential . . . but that was my problem. No! I don't have any problems. I'm perfect! You need to give me what I want, and that's it! That's it, cause I'm just in touch with me and my needs. All right, that's it. Give me this and give me that. That's an example of confluence. "Con" is "with" and "fluere" is "to flow". You're flowing with your past habit, your previous habit of being a spoiled, snotnose child that got whatever he wants. So, Hashem, here's my list. I want two pounds of coleslaw, two dozen knackniks, uh, a new pair of underwear and some perfume. OK. That's what I want today. You better deliver it, or else! (e) RETROFLECTION Let's see what else we got here? OK, there's "retroflection", the perseverator. I'm feeling a need to communicate with God, but instead of letting that need come out directly, I am putting all the energy into myself. So I'm going to dahven up a storm (Yiddish: "to pray"). I'm dahvening back and forth, (straining, pushing, working himself up to a frenzy of hysteria) Oh, I'm dahvening back and forth. I'm swaying back and forth. My muscles are tense. And I can't, and I'm tightening up my throat, and all my energy is going into me, and this repetitive, retro . . . "retro-", "back", "-flection", "turning it all back onto myself". All my energy is going back into my body. Instead of contacting Hashem, I'm just contacting my own anxieties, my own perseverating, my own compulsions. (wailing) Ohhhh, oh, I'm swaying back and forth, I'm dahvening. I'm dahvening. Hashem, you gotta give me this! My life is falling apart! I can't take it! I can't take it! I can't even breathe! I can't, I can't, I can't, I, I, I . . . (gasping for breath, wailing) That is another dumb move! That's retroflection. You don't want to do that either. It's healthier than confluence, healthier than introjection, healthier than projection, 'cause the energy at least is coming out. But instead of going to Hashem, it's going back into your own body, your own anxieties, your own trip. (f) EGOTISM What else we got? There's one more on the list: egotism. OK, now you're really getting close to Hashem. Oh, hello, God, Excuse me, I'm not supposed to say Hashem. Hello, Mr. H. This is Wepner today. And I'm . . . er, umm . . . Oh, "praise"! Praise Mr. H! You're so wonderful. You fill the world with your goodness, and all that. Now praising the Lord at least gets you a little bit, a little bit out of your head, whether the words mean anything or not. But at least it gets you out of your own ego trip. 'Cause, you know, nobody knows what Hashem is, what Mr. H is anyway. So you praise, Oh, Mr. H, you're so wonderful. You run the whole world. You create, every moment you're creating me and my life. Oh, I thank you so much! But then, when you get to the bigger things, Oh, God, I need to tell you what I really need today, and then, all of a sudden, Oh, but I'm embarrassed! (fearful, withdrawing) I'm afraid to tell you. I'm afraid. I mean, you know, Franklyn here, I'm not the kind of guy that shares this kind of stuff. I'm just not that type, you know. I'll tell you tomorrow. Maybe I'll tell you tomorrow. But today I just want to tell you how wonderful you are, and everything . . . OK, that's "egotism". What did I do? The energy almost comes out, but I short circuit it. I short circuit it, and I say, "I'm not the type that can". I'm stuck in an image of myself. So the image of myself is a box I put myself in. And again I block my impulses. I'm almost there. I'm almost communicating with Mr. H, whatever that is, but I fall back on being a certain type, and therefore my ego image of myself is my self-interruption. (g) SUMMARY So we have these five different levels of self-interruptions. (1) Confluence is the worst one, where you're not in touch with anything, except your habits. And if you're not in the back ward of a hospital, a psych ward, even then you're not functioning too well. (2) The next one is introjection. You've introjected, you've swallowed whole some authority figure, from childhood probably, so you are not aware of what you need at all. All you are aware of is what he needs. (3) And then comes projection. This time when you have a need, instead of feeling the need yourself you think they have that need towards you. You're projecting the need out there. For example, Oh, I'm so sad! And then you think of Hashem out there, God, You must be so sad at your people Israel today. Mr H, you must be so sad at your people Israel today, because of all the terrible things we did! (4) Then there's retroflection. That's the one where you're back and forth with all kinds of tension and anxiety, and all the energy flows into your own body and your compulsive repetitions. (5) And finally there's egotism, where you have a frozen image of yourself as a certain type. You're almost ready to be authentic, but then you get stuck. So that's our introduction to different ways of doing "dumb hitbod'dut". You see how stupid it is, cause all you're doing is being stuck in your own ego habits and ego trips. The trouble is you don't know how to do the process so well, so you might need to call me up, FW: Hey, give me a job, buddy. I need the money! So call me up and I can help you! Or, read the book. "Gestalt Therapy Verbatim" is one book, by Perls, Frederick Perls. That's the easiest one to read. The more thorough, more systematic one, is "Gestalt Therapy", by Perls, Hefferline and Goodman. Those are the main books of Gestalt. So if you don't want to pay me, then buy the books and do it yourself. It took me 35 years to figure this out. We'll see how long it takes you to figure it out. (2) SMART HITBOD'DUT AS INDUCTION, FAITH AND PRAYER (a) HERE & NOW ON MY FAVORITE HITBOD'DUT HILL IN YAVNIEL OK. Welcome, folks. This is good old Franklyn here, older every day. I'm sitting here on top of my favorite hitbod'dut hill, here in Yavniel. What we're trying to do here is a hitbod'dut session, smart hitdod'dut instead of dumb hitbod'dut. I hope you've done your homework and listened to the first session, the "dumb hitbod'dut" one, so you know what not to do. This time, now, I'm going to see if I can do it right. Of course, I have a split focus here, Mr. H. up there and you folks out there. We'll see what I can do. I don't know if it's going to work or not. I'm testing, testing the audio system. Test! Test! Test! OK, I guess it's all right. Testing, testing. Maybe it's too soft. Maybe it's all right. Um, I'm here and now. I'm looking out there. I see blueness. I see blueness in the clouds. And I see green-ness down there, all kinds of shades of green in the fields. And I hear some noise. I'm looking around. Now it stopped. If you're listening to the disk, you can hear that noise also. I hear a bird, some kind of . . . I hear a bird. And . . . so the first thing is we want to get into the here and now. (b) THE TREE OF LIVING ORGANISMS: "GESTALTS" You see, every moment of awareness is a gestalt, an idea, a living creature, according to this philosophy, phenomenology. We're dealing here with contact experiences, with the living reality, the living contact boundary of experience. They call it the living God, the divine soul . . . whatever you want to call it. And every moment of contact is an organism, an idea that organizes a certain amount of input, of awareness - sensory awareness or motor awareness - into a pattern, into a living organism. And then we have higher and higher levels of organisms. For example, if I look out there and see a twig blowing in the wind. I see "twig". That's organism number one. And now I feel a breeze. I'm putting together sense of "breeze" plus visual input of "twig", and that gives me a combined higher level integration of the two gestalts, the two little mini-organisms, micro-organisms, into a higher level organism. Et cetera, et cetera, right up the ladder till I get to God, who is like the highest level, or beyond the highest level. What's that noise? That sounds like some sort of a bird. Quack, quack. That sounds like a woodpecker. You hear it? Maybe it's an animal. Mm, sounds very close, doesn't it? Kah, kah. Is there something wrong with my machine, or something? What is it? What is it? There it is again. Anyway, so what does it have to do with Ha-shem? (c) MR. H "ROCHEV AL ARAVOT", ABOVE THE SPHERES Even though we haven't mentioned the word "Mr. H" yet, we're still dealing with Him, in the sense that we start on this ascent, going up and up to bigger and bigger gestalts, to higher and higher levels of integration, the little gestalts and the bigger gestalts. At the highest level we get to the outermost sphere. If we use Aristotle's terminology (and Maimonides' terminology), we're dealing with spheres. That was 500 B.C. Aristotle talked about spheres. We call them gestalts. So we've really progressed, haven't we? The same thing with a different label. According to Aristotle and Maimonides you have bigger and bigger spheres. Man is the center of the universe. And so I'm starting with little spheres and working my way out to big spheres. Mr. H's sphere is the one that's beyond the spheres. As they say in Judaism, "rochev al aravot", He "rides on the deserts" of all the dead forms that He's going to "m'chayei maytim", that He's going "to bring back to life". That's the theory, anyway. (d) LEIBNIZ' THEORY OF MONADS Another way, another jargon we can use, is Leibniz' terminology. We can call every one of these gestalts a "monad", from the word "one": one little unit of oneness, one organism. We start adding up gestalts or monads. Then, instead of building up a strong gestalt which includes many weak gestalts, we build up a "monadology", a big tree of all these little monads all integrated into one big idea or one big monadology. That's Leibniz' theory, a little bit. OK. Now we're going back to Ha-shem here. All right. So let's make it more specific. Let's talk to Mr. H. FW: Hello, Mr. H. Hope you're home today, 'cause I got an audience. (e) REINTEGRATING PROJECTIONS Now let's see. If I already did that, did I just use a projection? "I hope You're home today!", In other words, "Did You abandon me today?" "Did You leave?" "Did You close the door?" Now, that has to be my own ego projection of "abandonment". I'm feeling abandoned right now . . . by all you folks who won't pay my rent! Aggravation. So the way to deal with a projection of "abandonment", Ha-shem as "the abandoning God", is to reown it, to include that part of myself, that gestalt, that fragment of God that I just projected out there. We need to include it, integrate it. So I'm going to play God. I'm going to play the Abandoning God, and see what He has to say. Mr. H: Wepner, it's about time you got here! I'm losing my patience with you. I'm going to give you another crack at it today, to see if I can take you seriously. The sound of that voice doesn't sound too much like Mr. H. That sounds like Franklyn Wepner. I got to find a voice for Mr. H, so I can tell them apart. (f) NO QUESTIONS ALLOWED Mr. H: Well, ho ho, it's about time you got here, you dummy. I've been waiting for you. You brought all these people with you! Snotnose, can't you give me a little time by yourself? You gotta bring all your friends along! OK. Well, what do you want today? FW: There we got a gestalt problem. No questions allowed, Mr. H! We're doing Gestalt here. No questions. Everything has to be direct. You don't want to sabotage the process. Mr. H: Well, let me see now. I'll make that a statement. FW: That's right. You gotta make it a statement. Mm. Let's see. I think I'm going to stop here and see what I got here on this tape, if I got anything at all! All right? . . . OK. So where were we? All right. It worked fine, so far. I got a good recording. We'll go on. Well, we're not really going "on". It's still the same old here and now. And if we're lucky we'll be able to say we got to the "messianic now". Huh? If we succeed in this project . . . That noise! The microphone is making a noise in the pocket. I got to stop that noise . . . FW: So, Mr. H, we were saying "no questions allowed". Mr. H: Uhhh. Ya gotta worry 'bout technology up here? All right, wadaya want? Uhhh. All right, no questions. So, uh, I'd like to hear what your needs are today, Wepner. FW: Well, let's see. Like I said, I need some money. First of all, that comes to mind. Um, I got woman problems, too, because, you see, I have this girl friend I've known for 26 years, ex-wife. And she's around, visiting. On the other hand, I got on the internet and I met a few more. So the ones on the internet are upset about the ex-wife, and the ex-wife is upset about the ones on the internet. And, um, I'm not the type that can lie to people. So, (chuckle) I have a tragicomedy situation here. I might end up with nobody! Mr. H: Ha, ha, ha, ha. Serves you right! Triple timing, quadruple timing! (g) "PRAYER" AS RIDING THE MOMENTS FW: Well, so you're not going to give me advice? Help me out here, Mr. H, what should I do about these women? Mr. H: Well, umm, uh . . . FW: Oh, I'm not supposed to ask questions either! I'm supposed to say . . . something. Well, I'm just riding the moments, you know. Staying with the here and now thing and trusting, with faith. And by being in the here and now, that is a form of prayer. 'Cause I'm not anticipating, not demanding, just living the moments and trusting with a certain amount of faith that, uh, that somehow You'll take care of things! Right? Mr. H: Well, that's very good! You're beginning to get the point, buddy! FW: All right! Then I'm doing it right, huh? Oh, no questions allowed. So maybe I'm doing it right. I'm trusting, you know, and uh . . . What's real will be real, and what's not real will be not real. And that's it! Right? Mr. H: All right, what's next? What else do you want? Oh, no questions. I'm proud of you, Wepner, you're getting your act together here. You're takin' the whole show, you're takin' me on the road too. Maybe we'll get some converts, huh! You're doin' some "kiruv". "Kiruv", a Hebrew word meaning "bring 'em closer". So, you're doin' a good job. You're doin' a good job! Very good! FW: Thanks! . . . Let's see . . . Where was . . . Oh, "prayer" comes to mind. If I'm praying, I need a text. "Baruch atah adonoi, elohenu melech ha-olam, she hechiyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higiyanu la z'man ha-zeh." Mr. H: Better tell 'em what it means, huh! We might have some goyem out there, listening. FW: Well, it means: Blessed art Thou, the Lord, er, Mr. H. We're not supposed to say Your name! Um, Who got us to this moment. Um, Who caused us to live, who sustained us, and brought us to this moment, this "now". So, thanks a lot! Mr. H: Nuttin'. It's OK. It's OK. Don't worry about it. All right. So we took care of that. We did some "prayer" here. This is "prayer", according to, according to my understanding, especially when you read Breslav stuff, like "Likutei Moharan" (Collected Essays of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav). The emphasis is on faith and on prayer. It means being in the here and now, and trusting that what comes out of the here and now in your attempts, in your dialogue with God, with Mr. H, will somehow be real, in fact more real than what you started out with! So, we're testing out that hypothesis right here, in the laboratory. FW: So, Mr. H, You're my Guinea Pig today! Mr. H: Thanks a lot, buddy! I usually don't think of Myself as a guinea pig, you know . . . Well, in fact, pigs are not even kosher! FW: Well, all right, all right . . . A Guinea Chicken, all right? (h) INDUCTIVE LOGIC VERSUS DEDUCTIVE LOGIC So, uh, this is . . . Each time we take a new moment here, and stay with this thread of concentration, we're building up higher and higher levels of integration, of gestalts. This is called "inductive reasoning", "induction", "inductive logic", where we start with the particulars and work our way up the tree towards the general, towards the big oneness. FW: That's You! Mr. H: Yeah! You better not forget it, either! FW: The Big Oneness, so you're the "One Without A Second". And right now we're eliminating all the Seconds by integrating them into the Oneness. Every time I project another part of myself out there, of Your reality out there, that part needs to be integrated into the Oneness. Mr. H: Boy, that's very interesting. FW: Yeah. You see, I got you all figured out. Mr. H: I don't pay much attention to what I'm doing. I just do it! You know what I mean? FW: Well, but sometimes it helps people to understand the process a little better, 'cause a lot of people need logic to be convinced that praying is worth the trouble. Mr. H: You're right. Give 'em what they need! Well, let's see now. So, this is faith in the here and now, that this will lead to something . . . (noise) You hear that wind? Is that wind disturbing you folks there? I hear wind in my earphones. I think I'm going to close that button on my shirt where the mic is. If I close the button, less air will get in to you. I think the air is disturbing the people out there. It's disturbing me, anyway . . . The button's closed. Less air is going to get in there now . . . Yep. Quieter . . . OK. So here I am sitting on top of the hill. Now, what else is on my agenda? Let's see now . . . Brother Robert in a nursing home, in bad shape. I don't know to do! I got a conflict! Do I sell everything I own to get an airplane ticket to get to Miami to get him out of that nursing home, to bring him here to Israel? Or not? I was hoping various people - I won't mention their names to embarrass them - would come up with the money. But they didn't, so far. So unless something works, I am faced with that very difficult alternative. I got to raise a thousand bucks for a ticket. That's real! That's right now! Now, this is . . . If you're listening out there, I guess I'm doing fund raising, although I didn't plan to do that. OK, I'm doing fund raising. That's what's on my mind. What do you want from me?! Now I'm projecting onto you. I'm projecting onto you out there as "the accusing accusers". You're saying . . . I'll play your part. Accusers: You're using us! You grabbed our attention here with some fraudulent educational project, and now you're trying to bilk us for every cent we got! You no good shyster, you. Con man! I need a new voice for that one. Accuser: You no good shyster con man, you crappy guy! You're deceiving everybody, peddling garbage on the internet. Ech, ech! I'll fix you! Report you to the Federal Something-or-other! Have you banned! Abusing Frumster looking for women, and then you bilk 'em for money! Ha, ha! FW: Wait a minute. You sound like an old witch. Witch: Oh, yea! FW: You sound like an old witch. Look. If you have any compassion, you know, you're not going to be so critical. If you understand what I'm going through here. Understand! I'm not saying you have to come up with the dough, but at least you can understand. You don't have to accuse me. Witch: Well! Just like your sister said. You're just a shnorrer. Your whole life you never worked. FW: Now, come on, don't start that crap! So now we need . . . We have a strong dybbuk out there. a strong introject. It sounds like my father, a little bit. We're getting a little heavier here. We're going from association to association. We started with the judging females out there. Now we moved up to the witch. Then we moved into the association of my father. That's how . . . This process of moving from association to association is part of inductive logic, because each new point, each new association, is a new gestalt, a new moment, a new center, a new organism that's coming out of the void. Here we have a void of not knowing what to do. And each new gestalt, each new monad, each new moment of projection, whatever . . . They come by association, analogy, or types. We get into the category of judgmental types, so we jump from one judgmental individual to another judgmental individual, to another one. You notice we move from the superficial jerky women I just met this week to . . . FW: Excuse me, jerky women! I'm just making a . . . Don't take it too seriously! I'm just . . . Don't run away!! All right, so we're moving from superficial relationships to deeper ones. That is, we're moving up the great chain of being - as some people would call it. 'Cause each of these moments is associated, but they are not logically related in the usual sense of logic. They're just associations. Nachman of Breslav calls them "behinot" (Hebrew: "aspect of"). "Behinot": this is an aspect of that, and that's an aspect of that. And Leibniz would say this is a monad which is a part of that monad, and that is a monad which is a part of another monad. That's a monad, and that's another monad. Another gestalt and another gestalt and another gestalt. One behinot and another behinot. And we're moving up the path of inductive logic. By the way, the opposite of that would be deductive logic. You start from, we start with the idea and you break it down into the little things. So we start with the idea of "here I am on the mountain". Well, on the mountain there are trees and other plants. There's a dog barking. There's wind and there's clouds. OK, we just broke the idea of "mountain" down into ten elements. Or "mountain experience", and we broke it down into ten other secondary experiences. And now we move in on the plants. Let's take the plant monad and break that down into, well, there's green ones and there's white ones and brown ones, and then we move in on the brown ones and there's this particular species and that particular species. That's deductive logic, moving from the big idea , like an upside down tree. Moving from the main root and trunk down to all the little, tiny little twigs. Moving from the One to the Many. That's deduction, and induction is moving from the many to the one. So Gestalt and prayer are mostly inductive experience, the way we're doing them here. Of course, you could do it differently. Maybe in your synagogue they would say, We're gonna do the Chanukah service today! So we'll do this, and we'll do that, and then we should do this and we should do that . . . And they break the idea of Chanukah down into many parts. That is "deductive prayer", and if that works for you, fine, but it doesn't work for me very well. So we have deductive religion and we have inductive religion. You might say that Chabad is the deductive religion. You start from the one idea of the rebbe up there that knows everything and we know nothing. And he slices reality down into slices we are supposed to assimilate, weekly lessons and all this, and so it's all coming from the top. And if you like that kind of rationalist religion - where everything is analyzed and spoon fed according to what somebody thinks we're supposed to be digesting today, then you're a Chabadnik. But if you like the other path, what we're doing here, the Tevye fiddler on the roof path, then you're a Breslaver. If you're Catholic, the Breslavers are the Franciscans and the Chabadniks are the Dominicans, the Papists. So the Pope is like the Rebbe for the Catholics, and the Franciscans do what the Breslavers do, talking to God in the woods or whatever. OK, back to our lesson. Back to Ha-shem. I mean, Mr. H. FW: Hello, Mr. H. Mr. H: Humm. I'm gettin' bored of all those lectures. FW: All right, let's do something else. (i) THE RHYTHM OF CONTACT AND WITHDRAWAL Where was I? Oh, I was dealing with the conflict about women. Did I finish that one? I finished that one. Yea. My brother! So there's a very painful conflict. I don't know what to do! On the one hand, I want to save this guy's life. I don't know if I can. If I get there it might be too late to pile him into an airplane and drag him to Israel. I might be too late. But maybe I could get him to come here and maybe I could oversee him in a nursing home, and keep him alive for a while. So it's a conflict. On the other hand, I don't want to sell my equipment, my instruments and my video and everything. How am I going to do my work? Very painful conflict! Besides, in Israel I wouldn't get much for it. The video system is all NTSC, which is American style. And Israel is PAL. I would get practically nothing for the whole system. It's a painful conflict. So now, how do you deal with a conflict? Well, we have the rhythm of conflict and withdrawal. We have two opposites here. One side is saying, "you're being selfish", Side One: Sell the stuff! Go save the guy's life! Side Two: Hey, I've got a right to live, too, you know. I've got a right to live. He's my brother, but still I have a right. I worked so hard to get that stuff. Somebody already stole some of it. What do you want from me? Lay off. Lay off!!! We have two sides, and I can't . . . I don't know which is right. So we have the rhythm of contact and withdrawal. What does that mean? Simply, let the two monads, the two gestalts sit there, and go inside into the Void. You might say it's "active forgetting". Forget about them, and trust. It's prayer. Again, it's prayer. Cause we're doing faith, and we're letting go of our rational control. And we'll see what happens. I'm gonna do it right now, and see what I get. OK? It might not work at all, but let's just see what happens. I close my eyes, and stop talking for a moment, and get into my body awareness. I'm comfortable. (strong exhale) My breathing is sort of strained . . . a little chilly . . . mmm . . . my breathing feels fine . . . I don't feel much body tension. All right. I'll do a daydream . . . mmm . . . I have an image. It doesn't seem to fit, but anyway, whatever comes, comes. Right? . . . . So here I see myself sitting here with somebody . . . Maybe I shouldn't say who it is, to protect that person's privacy, if I can. I'm sitting here with somebody, in a certain comfy place . . . maybe having a cup of tea or something . . . enjoying that bit of domestic facility, felicity . . . That's my association. What does it have to do with the conflict? Don't know yet. That's the faith aspect here. Don't know. Don't have to know. I allow myself not to know, long enough to discover something. I'll stay with that image a little bit, to see what happens . . . (audible exhale) . . . New image! The image of the experimental theater world somewhere. New York, maybe. Excitement of the theater! Working with all of my skills, and my media. Makes me say to myself, "I want to hang onto my equipment. I want to hang onto my equipment." Now I go to Robert. The rabbi visited him and said he looked like he is 90 years old. Strapped to his wheelchair so he doesn't try to drive it over a, to throw himself out of it to commit suicide . . . poor guy, he's so upset about Mother's death. He doesn't want to eat . . . Now I see an image of the nursing home here in Yavniel. He could be here, if I can get him here. Another image. This morning I called the police department where my sister is, to try to get her to cooperate. He signed over his property to her, but she doesn't give a damn whether he dies or not. So I had the police go and try to find out her phone number which she cut off so I wouldn't be able to call her. Maybe the police will be able to squeeze that airfare out of her. She has power of attorney that he gave her, to sell his apartment. She'll get at least $25,000 or $50,000 for that! And if she gives me $2000 for the trip, to save his life, I think that's reasonable. (j) THE CONCRETE DIALECTIC: THESIS/ANTITHESIS/SYNTHESIS See that! We saw the process here. The process was: first, associations; one monad to another. Thesis, antithesis. The thesis was: I should sell my equipment. The antithesis was: I don't want to sell my equipment! I'm groping around in the Void. Then there is a synthesis, a possible action, and that is: "pursue her, and squeeze the money out of her". So there's the integration, the action that possibly could resolve it. So where did I get the idea from? I didn't, I wasn't thinking of it at the beginning, but you see I was trusting Mr. H. You see that, Mr. H? You're beginning to give me the new idea. Mr. H: Thank's alot. You keep me busy all day long with your problems, one after the other, you know? You're a nuisance! FW: Well, right now is a bad time. But once I get things straightened out, you'll see. You'll be proud of me! Mr. H: I got a lot of patience, you know. All right. So that's an example of faith, prayer, in the inductive, or the pietist tradition, where you don't figure it out logically. You just trust that whatever comes is somehow going to, is part of an ongoing process of the organism attempting to grow, to integrate itself, to restore the Oneness, to find the way to Hashem, the Oneness. "Echad v'ayn sheni", the One Without A Second. How do you like that?! Mr. H: Gee!! I feel appreciated. FW: You certainly are! You see that? We did it right! We did some Gestalt, But I won't call it Gestalt today. We did prayer. We did hitbod'dut, smart hitbod'dut, and we demonstrated a process. Maybe that was too easy, 'cause I . . . Actually, I knew the answer, cause, I mean, I called the police this morning, so it wasn't far from my conscious mind, although I wasn't quite ready to say that when I started out. But, uh, well . . . let's see, should I stop here? Maybe I'll stop here and take stock. All right? And then I'll decide if I want to go on today. All right. Bye bye. (3) USING PROJECTIONS CREATIVELY FOR HITBOD'DUT (a) USING PROJECTIONS IN HITBOD'DUT Recording. Recording. OK. This is the third attempt, the third project. The word "Hitbod'dut": I even forgot to say what it means. In Hebrew "bohdayd" means "alone". To "hitbodayd" means to be alone, to make yourself alone, and when religious people talk about hitbod'dut, they're usually talking about some kind of meditation or prayer procedure, being alone with God, Hashem. I'm calling Him Mr. H because we're supposed to be respectful about that name. OK. So today's project . . . well, I'll first review a little bit. In the first project I talked about dumb hitbod'dut, and one of the things we do when we're doing dumb hitbod'dut is we're making projections without being aware that we are making projections. For example, if I think that everybody's out to get me, which I do think sometimes, then I'm projecting my own aggression onto people, onto the world, instead of using it myself in a more creative way. It's easier to think that everyone, all of you, are out to get me! To get my money. Ha, ha, ha! To mess me up, to deny me success, fame and fortune, for your own ulterior motives, whatever they might be. OK. So even though you're such terrible people, I'm still motivated to try to do my work here. So today I want to try to do the opposite of dumb hitbod'dut. I want to explore how to use projections to do smart hitbod'dut or other creative things. (b) FINDING A CONCRETE SITUATION FOR HITBOD'DUT I'll take some typical situation . . . I'm trying to think of some situation which I can deal with without being too personal - so I don't mess myself up here - and personal enough that it's interesting. You know, it's very difficult to pick a topic . . . I'm going to pick my mother's death, which happened about 5 months ago, four and a half months ago, and it was very painful at the time. I'm going to explore nature objects, what I see out here. Once again I'm on top of my old, my favorite hitbod'dut hill, here in Yavniel, and here on this rock because it's the only place I could find to sit without sitting on the ground. Next time I got to bring a chair. There aren't too many objects around here. I picked a rather desolate place. But even so, maybe I can find something to work with here. Ah, I see this old piece of plastic jar, a piece of plastic from a bottle. It was once a soda pop bottle, or something. Jagged edges, and just dumped here. OK, now what can I do with that? (noise) Oops, there goes a motorcycle. (noise) Hear the motorcycle? I want to project onto that bottle my relationship to my mother. That doesn't make much sense. I don't know what its going to lead to, maybe nothing. But let's do it. OK? So, let's see . . . I see you over there. First I start with addressing the object. (loud motorcycle noises) Those crappy guys with the motorcycles are coming here! (more motorcycle noises) I come here to get away from crappy people, and the crappy people follow me out here . . . They'll probably be back. That's bad, but I'll try to work anyway. I might have to throw this attempt out . . . So, this plastic thing. I'm looking at it. I see you over there, plastic object (sound) . . . That's the wind . . . You're green, and you have what used to be a top of you. It goes around, and, uh, you're jagged, dark green, and you certainly don't belong here on top of my favorite hitbod'dut hill here in Yavniel, but somebody dumped you here . . . Gestalt therapy is a commitment to boredom. That's one of the things that Fritz Perls said. So if you're bored you can leave . . . (humming: dum, dum, dum) . . . contacting body awareness . . . I'm slouched over here . . . I'll sit up better, breathe better . . . There's a smoky smell in the air, like somebody's burning bushes or something . . . It takes time to find the images . . . A fly is bothering . . . I'm scratching a fly . . . OK, I have an image. I'm thinking of noises, disturbing noises. The image flashes back to about 1965. Then I was in Uncle Sam's Army, in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas . . . and I was a Private, and because I was a Private I was living with all these other Privates from all over the country. Here I have just walked out of medical school, big egghead type, and want to do music, to write music. That's why I walked out of medical school, to write music, and here I am listening all day long to music that I hate, rock and roll loud music. So instead of writing the music that I want to write, I'm stuck being drafted here into the Army . . . They told me if I didn't enlist they'd draft me, so I enlisted . . . The image is I am getting so angry about that noise that I pick up that radio on this guy's bed, double decker bed, and I throw it right out the window! I threw it right out the window. Of course, he came and pummeled me for that. He pummeled me for that, beat me up - but it was worth it! I felt it was worth it . . . What does that have to do with this situation today? Some things are "worth it"! That's it! You know? A person gets to a point sometimes. I get to a point sometimes, you do, where you're willing to pay the price. In this case, I so much wanted to come back to the Aretz ("the land", Israel) to try to do my work. 'Cause nine years I was in the United States and I couldn't find a way to connect to things. I couldn't . . . I tried going to New York peddling my shows. Negative. I peddled my shows in the Miami area. Negative. And then I got some video equipment and started learning how to do that. Then I felt that now that I have some skills I want to go back to Israel and do something with it. I couldn't find a project to connect to, and people to relate to in the United States. Meanwhile, mother is 101 years old. Robert's in a wheelchair, brother Robert. So nine years went by until one day . . . Mother, you're getting very belligerent. You're starting to criticize me, and saying I'm not doing what I should be doing, and all this, and here I am giving up all this to be with you here. Well, that was like, that's the last straw, Mother. FW: If you don't appreciate what I'm doing for you, well, then I'm not going to do it! I'm just going to leave. That plus all the other things I need to do. That tips the balance. So I'm leaving. I'm leaving!! I'm going!! Mother: Well, I'm going to die, and it will be your fault! It will be all your fault. (c) THIS IS PROPHECY AND ANAMNESIS You see, that's a typical ego game trip. That's me projecting the critical side of myself onto my Mother. That's the topdog criticizing the underdog. But the image gave me more. The image also gave me the power to deal with that. 'Cause like I said, a person has a center, and when you contact your center - like I just did - this image, this soul, is like a voice, a macrocosmic Idea being sucked down into the microcosm. This is the way Rabbi Nachman talks about it in Likutei Moharan, essay 3. What is it? The prophets nurse on, nurse on a particular something or other. In other words, suck on something. Yea, the prophets suck the images down from the macrocosm down into the microcosm. In this case the image goes back to 40 years ago, I was 22 years old, 45 years ago! Almost 45 years ago! So that image came back from 45 years ago. That was what we call, what Plato calls "anamnesis". And here it happens right here. Plato talked about it 2500 years ago, and here it happened here and now! And what is anamnesis? "An" means "not". "Amnesis" is "forgetting". "To forget". So, "not to forget". In other words, a kind of active remembering. Now, what are you remembering? I had a conflict. Two sides were "stuck". So the first idea of this dialectical process we are doing here is . . .The first idea is the thesis, the one side. Then, the antithesis is the other side, and the synthesis is the integration of the two of them in a higher idea. Now in this process anamnesis means going back, remembering the most basic ideas. Doing a process like this, the most basic idea is the thesis. And another one is the antithesis, and the other one is the synthesis, and that dialectic is what we call the Logos, the Word of God. Plato called it The Demiurge. (Greek: demos=people, urgos=work, i.e., an artisan, one with a special skill that does people-work, work for the people). It's the work of God being done in this world. (d) DIALECTIC OF AVRAHAM, YITZCHAK & YAAKOV AS "ANGEL" In Likutei Moharan number 7 Nachman talks about an angel. He calls it "Eglah". He says the Eglah is an angel that somehow encompasses two voids, the two "t'homot", the two abysses. That's the (Void of the) macrocosm and the (Void of the) microcosm. And an angel is a force that does the work of God in this world. That's the dialectic here. The dialectic is a process that encompasses both kinds of ideas: the higher, Platonic, macrocosmic Ideas, and the lower, microcosmic Ideas, the ideas of this world. The Platonic Ideas are the ones we need to do a process like this to remember. In Judaism you find this way of thinking all over every major Jewish philosopher. In Judaism these three major ideas usually are symbolized by Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. In Likutei Moharan, beginning with essay number 1, you see it everywhere. Yaakov is the synthesis. Avraham is the thesis. Yitzchak is the antithesis. Yaakov is the synthesis. In what sense? We started off today with awareness. Here and now I'm aware of this, I'm aware of that, Then the opposite of that is two things you are aware of, in conflict. That's Yitzchak. And the higher integration, the action that allows you to integrate those two and move on in your life, that's symbolized by Yaakov. So we have the right pillar of the Sefirot: Chokhmah, Chesed. That column is the Avraham one. The left pillar, Binah, Gevurah, that's the Yitzchak side. And the middle pillar, that's the Yaakov side, the action (proper balance of activity and passivity, middle way). OK. So in this case, going back to my little project, my little experiment here (audible exhale), I was torn between Mother saying, Mother: You should be ashamed of yourself, and me saying, I have a right to my needs also. And I have a mission even as important as our mission here, you and me, in Israel. So by going into the (microcosmic) Void, doing anamnesis, subjecting myself to, surrendering to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, the dialectic (of the combined microcosm and macrocosm), the angel Eglah . . . (e) THE SPIRALING DIALECTIC OF EGLAH / EEGUL Why did he call it an "Eglah", by the way? In Likutei Moharan 7, the root there. "Eglah" means (in Aramaic) a "bull". The word "eglah" means "bull", an angel that's somehow associates to a bull. Nachman adds: "this corresponds to Eegulim (circles), which is an aspect of faith". Now, if we use a little bit of philosophy, which I am sure Nachman of Breslav knew about, we notice that the word "eglah" has the same root as "Eegul". "Eegul" means "circle", "circling". Now, what circles? The dialectic, the spiraling dialectic. I'm torn between "X" and "-X". I somehow find my way out of that, move up to being torn between "Y" and "-Y", move out of that, get up to "Z" and "-Z". OK? So, it's a spiraling, an ascending. It's a circle! And Aristotle says, and this is one of the key passages that Maimonides brought down from Aristotle into Judaism, that the most important kind of motion is "local motion". What is local motion? Local motion is in a circle and in one place. So what kind of motion is in a circle and in one place, that also progresses? A spiral. You move from the bottom, and that's Jacob's Ladder. One beat of the dialectic, the next beat of the dialectic, the next beat of the dialectic. So in this case with my Mother I did one beat of the dialectic. I was torn between Mother and myself, my own needs, and I moved up from X/-X to Y. The new idea is "I have a higher purpose, a higher mission that I need to do, and it is worth the price!" Mother, it's worth the price. It's worth the price. Here I am in Israel, struggling at age 67 to do a little bit of what I can do, and it's worth the price. 'Cause you were taken care of by Robert, and you could have been taken of by Barbara if you would agree to go there. But no, you had to be too stuck to your own independence. You wanted to be alone, so everyone has a right to commit suicide, and you more or less did that. Barbara could have taken you over there, but you wouldn't go. I know you wanted to be with Robert, but you could have found a way to bring Robert with you to Oregon. But you didn't do it. OK, so, I moved up to Y, I moved up the angel, the dialectic. I moved up from one level to the next. And here I am at Y. Right? Now, I don't know where Y is going to lead me. (f) NEW PROJECTIONS: TIBERIUS (Y) AND YAVNIEL (-Y) So now I look around for another projection. I'll do another projection, and see where that leads me. OK? What do I see? Ah . . . This great big, prominent object over there. On the hill is the city of Tiberius, seen from the other side. Not the side where the sea of Galilee is, but the other side. It looks like a pile of junk on top of a nice green hill. White junk, grey junk. Kind of a skin disease, the way D. H. Lawrence once put it in a novel, moving towards Yavniel, year by year, as the fields disappear and the city gets bigger and bigger. OK. So maybe I can use that as a projection. FW: Tiberius, you are a skin disease, moving towards this little glade here. Ten years from now Yavniel and Tiberius might be part of the same, the same . . . skin disease. Tiberius: I am Tiberius. I am . . . (starting again, with a high cackely, rapid witchy voice) I am Tiberius, ha, ha, ha. Skin disease, you . . . You people, listen to me. I'm crawling into your minds! I'm brainwashing you, to think like me. Heh, heh, heh! I'm encroaching. I'm insidious. FW: I'm sitting over here. And I'm Yavniel. OK? I'm the fields of Yavniel. (musical, rolling voice) Oooo, I'm flowing here and I'm flowing there. Ooooooooooooo. My eyes are rolling over my rolling hills here. I'm green, and I'm brown . . . the fields and the wind blowing and nature and it's all very lovely and . . . I see that skin disease over there. Skin disease! By the time you get here I'll be somewhere else. I'll be different fields. I like the fields. You're not going to catch me! Tiberius: Ehhh! You think so, eh? You know you're not going to make a buck up here! You're gonna come back to Jerusalem, and live in one of those crappy tenements in Jerusalem, if you can afford even that! Heh, heh, heh. You, you loser, you! FW: Hey, wait a minute. I'm going to figure out a way to stay here. You know that? I figured it out! I figured it out. I think I have just enough money, and I think I can bribe the landlord. I can tell him, "Look. I'll give you all of my equipment. You can just keep it as collateral until I get caught up with the rent. You know that? You won't get to me! I'll be able to sit here and do my work, right on this hill. How do you like that! Tiberious: Yahhhhh. Shit! FW: But, sooner or later I'll have to go to Jerusalem. And that's it, you know. (g) THE SYNTHESIS: YAAKOV, JERUSALEM Association! Jerusalem as the synthesis. So we have Yavniel, the fields of Yavniel as one side, the rolling fields of nature. That somehow associates to spirituality. And we have Tiberius as a skin disease over there, with all those crappy tourists and heat and humidity and drying up lake . . . and that's the skin disease. But Jerusalem somehow could be a synthesis. 'Cause there you have spirituality and an urban environment. There's enough spirituality to balance the urban-ness. You got maybe a few decent, spiritual people there, among all the phonies. It might be worth the trouble to live there and to try to work it out. (g) TSELEM ELOKIM AND THE COMING SOLUTION So there we went from Y to -Y. Y is skin disease, or Y is Yavniel, the fields . . . No, in this case Y was Tiberius, the strong one, trying to enslave, to infest, Yavniel, the fields, the underdog. We had a conflict, and we didn't have to go into the Void. It naturally associated. "Zoht b'hinah zoht! Zoht b'hinah Zoht!" That's what Nachman of Breslav would say. "This is an aspect of that, and that's an aspect of this", and the associations led up to the next level, from Y to minus Y to Z. Now we're up to Z. We're on another level, encompassing . . . All the time we're bringing more and more aspects of me, and doing this process I'm a "tselem elokim" (Hebrew: "image of God"). I am doing God's work here, working in the image of God, doing an action in the here and now in a meditative process. So it's pure stuff. This is the demiurge of Plato at work. This is the divine soul of Chabad at work. This is . . . what does Nachman call it? . . . Yaakov, he calls it, the middle pillar. Yaakov's the middle pillar, he says, and that's the action. So we're working our way up the logos, the Word of God, the ascent. And, again, this is inductive, inductive logic here. Remember. We're going from the specifics up towards the general idea, looking towards "Hashem rochev ahl aravot", God riding, hovering over the desert of games we play, the trips we run on ourselves and on the world. Meanwhile, the coming solution somehow is beckoning us. We are reaching out to God, and God, we like to believe, is reaching out to us. FW: Mr. H, we're reaching out to you, and I hope you're reaching out to us. What do you say, Mr. H? Mr. H: You're gettin' pretty good at this stuff, boy. I really think you're doin' a good job today. I was worried you'd never get started, with all those distractions, but you finally got your concentration going there. Yea! So like I'm waitin' here for you folks, and nice to see you folks workin' towards me! So, one of these days . . . We need Mashiach. That's a job for Mashiach. You see, you guys, you people should be proud of what, you should be appreciating this Wepner guy, you know. Look, he's doing the work of Mashiach! He's doing the Moses function. He's doing the Moses-Mashiach function, which is what Nachman calls it. He is embodying the dialectic in his guf (Hebrew: body) and in his soul, sharing that with you today. You see! And that's exactly the Moses-Machiach function. He brings himself towards me, and if you watch that, if his voice is a "pure singer" (see Likutei Moharan, essay 3), like maybe it is today, if he's here and now and if he's believable, then his singing is infectious, and brings you with him. He is serving a prophetic function. But this is not new. This is old stuff! My friend Plato did the same thing. He called it "the poet", the possessed poet. The possessed poet in a poetic frenzy, like Wepner is today, infects the audience. You know what Plato called it? He called it a magnet. Plato used the example of a magnet. So Wepner here is the magnet, and you guys are the filings that he's magnetizing with his prophetic voice. Ha, ha, ha, ha! Very good, Wepner! Franklyn, you get a gold star today. FW: Well, thank you, Mr. H. Nice to be appreciated, by you anyway. Not too many people around here appreciate me. Yep. I'm doing your job! The trouble is these dummies don't appreciate it. It's so simple. You see how simple it is. But they get lost in words! They don't believe in angels. They don't follow the Eglah. They don't follow the Bull. Instead of following the Bull, they follow the bullshit! BULLSHIT! And the elephantshit! And the turkeyshit. Every kind of shit, except doing the work. (i) INDUCTION AS TRANSLATION AND PRAYER Anyway, let's see. Did we do our job? We did our job today. We did two loops of the spiral, moved up two levels. By the way, this is not particularly Jewish either. This is basic dialectical philosophy, which comes from all over the world into Judaism. In Christianity they call it "translation". The Hebrew word, "l'ha'atik", has two meanings: "to shift" and "to translate". In other words, angels move up and down the ladder, the worlds, shifting the dialectic from level to level. It's also called in Hebrew "hishtalsh'lut" (literally, "chaining" or "making a chain"), moving up and down the tree of life from one level to the next, shifting or translating. The dialectic shifts from one level to the next. So this kind of dialectical motion is the Eglah, the Logos at work. Since it works oftentimes; therefore, we can use it consciously as prayer - like we did just now - based on faith that it will work and that Hashem will help us get there. Right? Mr. H: Yup!!! I did it, and you did it. Very good. See that? It worked. Even if we don't, even if we are not aware of doing it, it happens anyway. You know? At least it happens in certain senses, that can be seen in the world. Idealistic philosophers like Hegel look back and see the whole history of the universe in that way, but maybe that's a bit much. But at least we know that when we use it as a meditative process, in the context of what Nachman of Breslav and other Pietists would call "prayer", then it works. We begin in the here and now and start from the particulars (the weak gestalts) to get to the general ideas (the strong gestalts). We work our way up the ladder, doing inductive logic rather than deductive logic, which would goes down the other side, from the One to the Many. The Eglah symbolizes the entire dialectic, both sides. The concrete here an now experience of the combined deductive and inductive aspects is what Nachman labels the Eglah. The work of the Eglah combines the work of many lower level angels The Eglah is the highest level archangel, what Kabbalists label Metatron. (j) "LA-SHUR": TO GAZE, AND "SHOR", BULL There's another sense, point of view, b'hinah, from which Nachman uses the word for 'bull" in essay 7. Rather than the Aramaic word Eglah, he also invokes the usual word for "bull" in Hebrew, "shor", and it just so happens that this word "shor" has another, apparently entirely unrelated, meaning. "La-shur" in Hebrew means, "to gaze". What might be the relevance here of "la-shur", to gaze? Here we are now, having worked through two levels of the dialectic. First of all me and my mother, and second of all Tiberius and Yavniel, Finally we got to a higher point of view which somehow encompasses those struggles. So here we are on the top, gazing back. Now that that we have found our way out of them, now that Mr. H has helped us move up with his angel, we can say to ourselves, "how did we ever get stuck in those impasses in the first place?" And from this higher point of view of "gazing" perhaps we can appreciate the power of faith and prayer, at least the way that jargon is being used by Nachman of Breslav. And in this sense we are operating as a "tselem elokim", made in "the image of God", and identifying with the point of view of "Hashem rochev ahl aravot", riding on top of the wilderness. That's what God does. God is on top of the desert of dead forms that we're stuck in during our lives, as we play our games and do our trips. He's not in it. He's on top of it. Right, You're on top of it! Mr. H: Yuuuup!! Hooooo!! I like it up here! It's so nice up here. I don't want to deal with all that crap down there! You dummies! OK. You see? So, um . . . We're doing His process. FW: Right? Mr. H: Yup! (k) BRECHT AND STANISLAVSKI So we're working in the image of God. We're gazing down from His vantage point of being "rochev ahl aravot", hovering on, riding over, the aravah, the desert. Ok. That's one thing I want to say. Now, let's look at it from a different point of view. This stuff does not have to be religion in the usual sense in order to appreciate the concrete dialectic. You can do the entire process without calling it faith or prayer. You could call it other things. Maybe we should talk about that for a minute. Take the idea of "gazing". Here we are gazing with the wisdom of hindsight, gazing back at the path we followed. Eglah and shor, the dialectical path and the gazing back are two aspects of the same process, the "concrete dialectic. The dialectic is concrete because it's here and now dealing with real experiences, real awarenesses, contact experiences. It's concrete, concrete logic, concrete dialectic. Looking at it from this point of view of being on the top and looking back at the wasteland, this stuff can be art, aesthetics, Romantic or post-romantic aesthetics. Take a look, for example, at Brecht, Brechtian theater, which is in the Romantic tradition. Brecht called his theater "epic theater". Now an actor in the epic theater learns how to be "on top of his material". First, he puts together a bunch of forms into a complicated structure. The image track is doing one thing, the voice track is doing another thing. The body track is doing this, and the face doing that. He puts it all together into an interesting collage of stuff. And then he uses the image track objectively. He gazes at the image. "La-shur", remember? And with the power of that objectively he elevates himself above the subjectivity by means of which he was stuck in the pile of junk forms to begin with. He is now a free man. He can work in the here and now and comment on the junk collage. He can express his point of view towards it, rather than being stuck in that formalistic character that he created. The character, the junk collage serve now merely as a filter, and he, the performer, is like a light illuminating the pile of junk from various points of view. And so the character takes on a momentary, a here and now, a messianic now type existence. And all those creative sparks, those indeas, those hits, go right out to the audience. They think something wonderful and mystical is happening, when all he's doing is just the same old dialectic, the same old logos, the same old demiurge, whatever you want to call it, the shor, the eglah, dialectical thinking. He's doing the moment by moment syntheses which pop into his mind when he looks down at the array of antitheses that comprise the junk collage. Now compare that with Stanislavski. Stanislavski has the actor identifying with the character subjectively, in the character, lost in the character and trying to bring the audience into the character with him. And they all follow the big idea, the superobjective of the play which has been laid out by the playwrite and the director from the beginning. And there you have Chabad, on the other side from Breslav. Stanislavski and Aristotle are on one side, while Brecht and Plato - especially the post-Brechtian formalism of Mabou Mines Theater - are on the other side. So you see, you don't have to call this religion. You can call it art if you like. And I am sure there are parallel aesthetic things about painting, about literature. We don't have to call it religion. So if you want to get down on the religious people, you don't have an excuse. If you don't use stuff like this, you're just plain dumb, ignorant. Go sell shoes. (l) SUMMARY OK. Enough for one lesson today. This tape is going on for 44 minutes. That's probably too long. Just to review, we started off using projections to do hitbod'dut, by projecting ourselves onto different nature objects. As they say in Taoism, before you paint the branch, first become the branch. So we became the branch. We became the piece of plastic, the old piece of plastic lying here and the city of Tiberius out there, and that led us to some truth. It led us up the path, Jacob's Ladder. The Christians have a long tradition of using dialectical philosophy. They talk about having faith in a grain of mustard seed. Here we had faith in a little plastic bottle laying here. Then we found our way up the ladder towards Mr. H. Right? Mr. H: Ahh yep!! Come on up here. It's nice up here! Ha haaaaahh . . . FW: Well, we had a nice trip today. Thanks for the trip. Mr. H: No problem. No problem. Anytime, anytime. So we started off with those projections, and we worked our way up the Eglah, the concrete dialectic, the spiral, the tree of life, from Abraham to Yitzchak to Yaakov, the action, the middle pillar. It makes me think of Likutei Moharan essay number 1, where Nachman says, "a Yid has got to find the inner idea in any object", the inner idea that shines in every object. We took that little object, that piece of bottle, that plastic bottle, and we found the inner idea. What's the inner idea? It's the higher level of spirituality, the macrocosmic idea, the Platonic idea, or if you want to call it Mr. H, or whatever you like, but we followed that process and we did it using dialectical thinking. We found the inner idea in that little piece of broken bottle, and now we connected up at the same time the spirituality to my mother. We connected it to my mother, to all the objects that we illuminated today: Yavniel, Tiberius, even the motorcycle and the Brechtian theater were part of it. The point was to learn how to use projections creatively, spiritually, as an of hitbod'dut, and I believe we accomplished that. (m) WHO IS MR. H? Mr. H has been a part of our hitbod'dut process, in all the various forms of it which we have looked at. But can we pinpoint more specifically exactly what is his function along the way? Certainly he is not just another projection, like a broken bottle. Certainly he was not the demiurge, the Eglah, the concrete dialectic which provides a logical framework through which energies flowed. The Mr. H which I treated somewhat irreverently during my journey up Jacob's/Yaakov's Ladder was merely a stand-in, a place-holder, pointing towards the real Mr. H, that is to say towards Hashem, "the Name" which we are not supposed to say at all. Philosophically speaking, we may say - with the Jewish philosophers - that He is that which rides on top of the aravot, as has been explained. In the Pietist tradition of Nachman of Breslav, He is to be approached holistically, by means of both deductive cogitations and inductive experiences (prayer, faith, Gestalt, the arts, etc.), with an emphasis on the latter. As Nachman put it, "What else is there to do in this world, except to pray and study and pray?" ("Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom", #287)


3. MOSHIACH COMES TO TOWN (HQ)

MOSHIACH COMES TO TOWN (HQ)

the vilna gaon dons beggar\'s clothes and goes out of town to do penance. on the way home there are some strange happenings. original music & images added to a retelling of the traditional jewish story. TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD ALL OF MY VIDEOS, PLUS 1500 PAGES OF MY EXPLANATORY ESSAYS (ALL AT NO CHARGE) PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: franklynwepner.com. ALSO PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH ME ANY COMMENTS ABOUT MY WORK: franklynwepner@gmail.com. IN THE LISTING OF VIDEOS THE LETTERS (HQ) REFER TO A HIGHER QUALITY VERSION OF THE VIDEO, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOUR COMPUTER CAN HANDLE IT. How can I justify the wild associative leaps that I make in this video? For example, by substituting Netanyahu for the Vilna Gaon, and Barak Obama for Moshiach? The answer is that I am following the formula of Nachman of Breslav, when he writes, "my Torah is completely behinot (hebrew: "associations"). A string of intuitive associations that generates a work salad, such as Nachman's "Likutei Moharan" (hebrew: "collected essays") is based on inductive rather than deductive logic. Inductive logic was taught by Francis Bacon and Georg Hamann within the Christian tradition, and no doubt Nachman found similar sources within the Jewish tradition he studied. What follows is my own essay about how inductive thinking is the key to understanding Nachman of Breslav. Since most of my videos also are constructed inductively, it is an important essay to read if you wish to make sense of what I am trying to do in the videos you have here on the net. ........................................... .... FRANKLYN WEPNER fwep@earthlink.net June 5, 2009 LM 4: BACON, HAMANN AND NACHMAN CONTENTS (1) INTRODUCTION (2) BACON TO HAMANN TO NACHMAN (3) BACON AND PERLS (4) LM 4 (5) HAMANN ON LANGUAGE: (a) imagery ("bilder") (b) analogy (c) parataxis (d) paradox (e) multiple levels of language (f) affective terminology (6) CONCLUSION REFERENCE: "JOHANN GEORG HAMANN, BY JAMES O'FLAHERTY (1) INTRODUCTION FW: The Breslaver Hassidic movement as it is set up and operates today is an introverted sect, in contrast to the Chabad Hassidic movement which is set up and operates today as an extroverted sect. Breslavers tend to keep to themselves, while Chabadniks drive around town in Mitzvah Tanks seeking wayward Jews as potential recruits. But opposite as the two sects are in that respect, one thing they have in common is an aversion to "philosophy" in its traditional academic sense. Both sects condemn "philosophy" as "chochmot chizoniot" (external wisdom) or "avodah zorah" (strange work). even through ironically they both embody philosophy in the most profound manner possible. Breslav is largely Jewish neo-Platonism, while Chabad is largely Jewish rationalist Aristotelianism. However, since, of course, their educational curriculums contain no Philosophy 101 course. they pay the price of ignorance and intolerance as a result. The Chabad press, for example, once published Nissan Mindel's excellent "The Philosophy of Chabad", but today that book is almost impossible to find, and Chabad has no plans to republish it. The book is being supressed most likely because in that book Mindel contends that Chabad is ideologically within the tradition of Moses Maimonides' "Guide For The Perplexed", which, as everybody except Chabadniks themselves know, is ideologically within the tradition of Aristotle. Breslavers are even more anti-rational than Chabadniks, since their theory base is primarily neo-Platonic mysticism. Merely mention the word Plato at a Breslaver shul on the Sabbath, and you can be sure nobody will invite you to dinner! Or go to a Breslaver mikvah after demonstrating your philosophical insights concerning the writings of Nachman, and there is a good chance that after you emerge from the holy waters you will not find the clothes you hung up! FW: Another price that Hasidic sects pay for ignoring their intellectual roots is mistranslating the writings of their own originators. The originators, fortunately, were profound philosophers, but much of what they are philosophizing is wasted on their disciples, who are preachers of the sect rather than teachers of the Word. Preachers of a sect aim at building up the sect by glorifying their colleagues, in this case the "tzaddikim" (Hebrew: pius ones) or "talmid chachams" (Hebrew: wise students, students of wisdom) of the local congregation. Teachers, on the other hand, have a primary loyalty to the subject matter they teach, i.e., to the truth. By translating the phrase "talmid chacham" as "wise student" or "Torah scholar" rather than as "student of wisdom", the deeper reference of the word "chochmah" (wisdom) to the right pillar of the tree of life, or inductive logic, goes into the trash can, and we end up with the notion that anybody who sect leaders designate as "wise student" or "Torah scholar" is thereby empowered to serve as a spiritual guide. But preachers are not necessarily teachers, and so most talmid chacham's today are serving the needs of the sect rather than propagating the message of the sect founder. Thus, for example, Nachman's emphasis on the individual's search for God by "hitbod'dut" (being alone with God) is these days transformed into a typical cult emphasis on groupie gatherings, mob hysteria, guru adoration, nonsense "bubbeh maysehs" (Yiddish: grandmother stories), 18th century sect uniforms and scribbling the name of Nachman of Breslav on public buildings. Have you heard, for example, the bubbeh mayseh about how Nachman himself is sitting up there somewhere near God's footstool sending letters or emails to the chosen few?! What ever happened to the basic belief of Judaism that God is One, not two or three or whatever? FW: But fools step in where angels fear to tread, as the saying goes, and so this essay is all about the roots of the Breslaver Hasidism in the neo-Platonic tradition as this was modified by Francis Bacon in the scientific renaissance of the 16th century. As if this topic is not heretical enough, I will in this work find much of the support for my contentions in the writings of a Christian theologian whose writings appeared in Europe not far from the doorstep of Nachman, fifty years or so before Nachman wrote his main work, his "Collected Essays" (Hebrew: Likutei Moharan). Now, I am not at all claiming here that Nachman plagiarised Johann Georg Hamann, since it is extremely unlikely that a person growing up in the communities that Nachman did had direct contact with the work of Hamann. But the mere historical fact that the two authors published books dealing with similar topics in a similar manner in the same historical period certainly suggests that they both were tapping parallel Christian and Jewish threads of the religious world that flourished in 18th and 19th century Eastern Europe. One can muse that perhaps Nachman during his occasional trips to Lemburg for medical treatment or to dialogue with members of the Haskalah movement thriving there did come upon a Yiddish translation of something by Hamann or by one of the followers of Hamann, but to date there is little basis for such fantasies. FW: My goals in this essay are modest. I will make use of an excellent commentary upon the work of Hamann by James O'Flaherty, his "Johann Georg Hamann", Twayne Publishers, and merely demonstrate how the same six key ideas which, he maintains, underlie the work of Hamann can be used as a royal highway to quickly penetrate what appears to be in the writings of Nachman of Breslav an impenetrable hermeneutic jungle. As a prelude to my interweaving of Hamann and Nachman, I will tap a bit of the philosophical tradition which underlies both authors, in particular the work of Francis Bacon who lived in the 16th century. Why Francis Bacon? Because even though Hamann and Nachman are often cited as the epitome of anti-rationalism, yet at the heart of both authors is a sort of logic which is quite profoundly rational. We will contrast inductive logic, what Bacon calls concrete, analogical logic based upon juxtaposing ideas, with deductive logic, which is abstract, mathematical, systematic, and based upon arranging ideas in syllogisms. Once we grasp this distinction between the two types of logic, we will understand why in essays that embody reasoning of the inductive sort, Hamann and Nachman can tell us - without fibbing - to avoid like the plague "philosophy" or "reason" and rely upon faith. The two theologians simply are splitting hairs between induction (which they like) and deduction (which they do not like). They mystify us, however, by calling deduction "philosophy" and induction "kabbalah" or "Judaism or "the Word of God". But obviously any philosophy or theology worth the name must incorporate both sorts of thinking. So let's stop mixing up apples and pears and recognize both of them as fruit! The Word of God is smart enough to encompass both the left pillar of sefirot (deduction, differentiation, creation, the downward path), and the right pillar of sefirot (induction, integration, redemption, the upward path back to God). We are dealing, after all, with the dialectical tradition of mainstream Judaism, within which Chabad appeals to folks that stress the left pillar, while Breslav appeals to folks that stress the right pillar. For the Catholics analogous slots are occupied by the Dominicans (rationalists) and the Franciscans (pietists), respectively. O'Flaherty says it well: O 87. A superficial analysis of Hamann's prose may result in the conclusion that its all too frequent obscurity is rooted in sheer irrationalism. This is, however, by no means the case. Its obscurity derives for the most part from an excessive use of intuitive reason rather than from true irrationalism - quite a different matter. Having seen to what extent Hamann is committed to intuitive or analogical reasoning, while at the same time rejecting the abstractions of the Enlightenment, we can more readily understand why he alternates between praise and vilification in his references to reason. Thus, when he makes such statements as "Faith has need of reason just as much as reason needs faith", "Without language we would have no reason, without reason no religion," As soon as one knows what reason is, all conflict with revelation ceases, since Hamann is obviously referring to what he considers the legitimate use of reason." FW: Most of the essays that constitute Nachman's Likutei Moharan anthology would serve as examples of Nachman's use of intuitive reason, of induction, and I have here merely selected LM 4 arbitrarily from the list. Like the others, the overall structure of LM 4 consists of a Houdini magical demonstration of how just about anything can be seen as an aspect of anything else, without losing the encompassing subordination of particulars to emerging generalities. The longer the process of finding associations and aspects (Hebrew: "behinot") goes on, the more the series of particular items coalesces into higher and higher levels of integration and encompassing general ideas. But let's now zoom in and be specific. On the side of the particulars Nachman cites at the outset a Talmudic yarn calculated to boggle any deductively oriented mind and delight the imagination of most 5 year olds. Here is the Talmudic fable. LM 4:10 Rabbah bar bar Chanah recounted: One time we were traveling on a ship and we saw this fish in whose nostrils was sitting a mudeater. The fish died and the water tossed it about and cast it ashore. It destroyed sixty cities. Sixty cities then ate from it. Sixty cities salted its flesh. And from one eyeball they filled three hundred kegs with oil. When we returned after twelve months time, we saw them sawing planks from its bones with which to rebuild those cities. (Bava Batra 73b) FW: And on the other end of the chain of exegesis in LM 4 Nachman presents his final inductively derived generalization. LM 4:11. This (the above Talmudic story) is the explanation of the opening verse: "I am God your Lord Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery." FW: The entire essay LM 4 is a string of associations and analogies that begins with the ship, the fish, the mudeater, the cities, the oil and the bones and gradually arrives at a level of intuitive wisdom sufficiently profound to qualify as an important contribution to our grasp of the meaning of God's role in the Exodus saga. You will see, of course, that during this intuitive, inductive process of "behinot" there are very few abstract, deductive syllogisms of the sort "if A and B, therefore C". The process is mostly intuitive leaps of the sort, "this is an aspect of that, and that is an aspect of something else". My project, then, outrageous as it might appear to be at the outset, is to apply an account of the methodology of Christian theologian Johann Georg Hamann, in an effort to decode the compositional procedure which Nachman has followed in this LM 4 essay. First I will set out some simple logical rules that Francis Bacon gave us in the 16th century, and then I will present a grid of six linguistic techniques which, according to O'Flaherty, 18th century Romanticism overlaid on Bacon's framework. In a word, 16th century Bacon plus 18th century Romanticism together give us a key to decode much of the vast, profound, Scriptural and kabbalistic tapestry which is the work of either Hamann or Nachman of Breslav. I am grateful to O'Flaherty for making these connections clear to me and encourage you also to profit from the work of an excellent teacher by reading his book. Just substitute Moses for Jesus as you read and your Jewish ego will be immune to indoctrination! (2) FROM BACON TO HAMANN TO NACHMAN Here then, to start off, is a brief chapter summarizing the contribution of Francis Bacon concerning these matters. My text is simply a presentation of the succinct summary given us by Vatican priest Frederick Copleston in his "History of Philosophy", Volume III. But Hamann and Nachman of Breslav are figures of the late18th century, and so in their work a tradition of Romantic style exegesis and poetry overlays and masks the underlying rigorous logical foundation provided by Bacon. Bacon's theory of induction is the philosophical seed of which Hamann and Nachman are glorious flowerings. For what appears in their work to be the exact opposite of scientific rigor is indeed, as I shall demonstrate here, a meticulously devised associative network of the most profound logical interconnections. Let us begin, therefore, with the basic logical principles of Francis Bacon, which are spelled out quite clearly by Copleston in his presentation of the influence of the new Renaissance sciences on philosophy. C 289. As a preliminary, one may remind oneself of the two elements of scientific method, namely the observational and inductive side and the deductive and mathematical side. The first aspect of scientific method, namely observation of the empirical data as a basis for induction and for discovering causes, was stressed by Francis Bacon. C 300. [According to Bacon] the purpose of science is the extension of the dominion of the human race over nature; but this can be achieved only by a real knowledge of nature; we cannot obtain effects without an accurate knowledge of causes . . . The syllogism (deduction) consists of propositions; and propositions consist of words; and words express concepts. Thus, if the concepts are confused and if they are the result of over hasty abstraction, nothing which is built upon them is secure. Our only hope lies in true induction. . . finding the truth may proceed from sense and the perception of particulars to immediately attainable axioms and thence gradually and patiently, to more general axioms. . . this is the true way. The mind proceeds from a careful and patient examination of particulars to the interpretation of nature. . . . Induction starts with the operation of the senses; but it requires the co-operation of mind, though the mind's activity must be controlled by observation . . . Bacon rejects the syllogism on the ground that induction must take its rise in the observation of things, of particular facts or events, and must stick to them as closely as possible. The logicians wing their way at once to the most general principles and deduce conclusions syllogistically . . . In induction we proceed in the opposite direction to that in which we proceed in deduction. C 302. But to attain a certain knowledge of nature is not so easy or simple as it may sound at first hearing, for the human mind is influenced by preconceptions and prejudices which bear upon our interpretation of experience and distort our judgments. It is necessary, then, to draw attention to "the idols and false notions" which inevitably influence the human mind and render science difficult of attainment unless one is aware of them and warned against them. Hence Bacon's famous doctrine of "the idols". There are four main types, the idols of the tribe, the idols of the cave or den, the idols of the market place and the idols of the theater . . . (a) The "idols of the tribe" are those errors, the tendency to which is inherent in human nature and which hinder objective judgment. For example, man is prone to rest content with that aspect of things which strikes the senses . . ."for what a man would like to be true, to that he tends to give credence". Further the human mind is prone to indulge in abstractions, and it tends to conceive as constant what is really changing or in flux. (b) The "idols of the den" are the errors peculiar to each individual, arising from his temperament, education, reading and the special influences which have weighed with him as an individual. These factors lead him to interpret phenomena according to the viewpoint of his own den or cave. (See Plato's metaphor of the cave.) (c) The "idols of the market place" are errors due to the influence of language . . . Sometimes words are employed when there are no corresponding things. (d) The "idols of the theater" are the philosophical systems of the past, which are nothing better than stage plays representing unreal worlds of man's own creation. C 305. The best demonstration is experience. But it is necessary to make a distinction. Mere experience is not enough . . . True experience is planned, . . . proceeding by an orderly and methodically inductive process. What, then, is true induction, positively considered? Human power is directed to or consists in being able to generate a new form in a given nature. (Read: a new gestalt in a new situation, here and now.) From this it follows that human science is directed to the discovery of the forms of things. Form does not refer to the final cause; the form or formal cause of a given nature is such that "given the form, the nature infallibly follows". It is the law which constitutes a nature. . . . the primary task is to prepare a "sufficient and good natural and "experimental history" based on the facts (Read: what Hegel labels an "objective history" in contrast to our subjective illusions.) . . . These tables having been constructed, the work of induction really begins (Read: what Nachman is referring to when he says, "my Torah is entirely behinot", i.e., a string of associations and interpretations.) . . . which is not completed until a positive affirmation is arrived at. (For example, the "existential message of the dream", which emerges at the end of a three hour gestalt dreamwork session, which is what Maimonides labels the unripe fruit of prophecy now ripened into a Word of God.) (3) BACON AND PERLS FW: But before we jump into the great ocean, the turbid waters of inductive interpretations and Romantic theological poetry that is the work of Hamann and Nachman, let us stop at the banks of the ocean and examine a rather clearcut version of the same process, a contemporary example cut from the same cloth. I refer to the Gestalt Therapy lore of Frederick Perls, which while it makes no pretense of being the basis of a religious sect, probably has attracted more devotees worldwide than the opus of either Hamann or Nachman of Breslav. Perls gives the seeker after truth a rather simple task to explore. He tells me, his gestalt therapy client, to talk about what pops into my awareness and to stay in the here and now. Focusing this process on a dream raises the efficiency level, but just shooting the breeze also will yield useful results. Now, if I accept Fritz's invitation and set out on this verbal monologue, a mysterious sequence of events is likely to unfold. As I listen to what comes out of my mouth and respond to those sounds, a sort of instantaneous feedback system is generated. In fact, it is genesis in the most profound biblical sense. For lo and behold, I begin to create a world. I am operating, as says Maimonides in his "Guide For The Perplexed", "in the image of God". For I am copying the manner in which God does His creating. We need to distinguish the path of Fritz Perls from the path of Sigmund Freud in these matters. For if the therapist has me lie down while I do my dreamwork monologue, and if he hides behind me and limits much of his function to being a tape recorder documenting my output, then the setting is Freudian. But if, on the other hand, the therapist takes an active role, helping me to take responsibility for my actions and deal actively with the impediments to truth which come up along the way, then we have the Gestalt approach. From the theological point of view, the crucial element that Perls and Freud share here is that language is the medium for a truth search, and that man speaking is paralleling God creating His world. FW: Entering even further into theological analogies to psychological processes, do we not have here also the unfolding of the love affair of Adam and Eve, as I, the subject, the kabbalistic First Adam, emanate language, the object, Eve from my own being and then precede to constantly impregnate it/her with my ideas as my dreamwork monologue goes on and on? Just label me, as Nachman does, the Talmid Chacham, wise student learning as I go along, and label my verbal output "my world", and we have the makings of a kabbalistic mystical system, with chochmah (Hebrew: wisdom) impregnating binah (Hebrew: building a world) with ideas. In the neo-Platonic version of the kabbalistic tradition, all this is unfolds on the level of pure Platonic ideas, known as "sefirot". The Hebrew word "sefirah" means "number", as in the use of numbers by Pythagoras in Greek philosophy to relate theological truth. In terms of the Romanticism of the 18th century I am, furthermore, during the course of my Gestalt monologue generating "poetry", in the sense of an emotionally grounded form of linguistic action. Returning to Francis Bacon, let me repeat the previous quote and we will explore what else we may learn from it. C: Human science is directed to the discovery of the forms of things. Form does not refer to the final cause; the form or formal cause of a given nature is such that "given the form, the nature infallibly follows". It is the law which constitutes a nature. . . . The primary task is to prepare a "sufficient and good natural and "experimental history" based on the facts. . . These tables having been constructed, the work of induction really begins . . which is not completed until a positive affirmation is arrived at. FW: Let us interweave these words of Bacon with the Gestalt therapy monologue. The monologue of here and now verbal expression is part of the flow of here and now contact experiences. These experiences constitute what Bacon labels an objectively real "experimental history based on the facts", and what Hegel labels an "objective history" of real experiences. Then, "these tables having been constructed the work of induction really begins, which is not completed until a positive affirmation is arrived at". The positive affirmation that is the result of the work of induction is a new idea which is the result of "Platonic collection", i.e., gestalt formation or a figure emerging from a ground here and now. In Gestalt dreamwork, this could be, for example, the "existential message of the dream" that might occur to the protagonist after three hours of exploring his objective history in the here and now dreamwork process. The protagonist is working his way up from specific concrete contact moments, weak gestalts (Perls), low level monads (Leibniz), some would say angels (Maimonides), towards more and more encompassing strong gestalts, monadologies, some would say archangels. Maimonides labels them "cherubim", since the Hebrew root is "karov" (near), and cherubim are closer to the oneness that is God than are ordinary angels. The new idea emerging from the void of not knowing the answer is what Bacon labels "the form of things", the "law which constitutes its nature". He is referring to the distinction between matter and form, the form being the idea which is the gestalt or pattern which man imposes upon the items of his sensory and motor experience. Nachman says in LM 1:1, "The Jew must always focus on the inner intelligence/idea of every thing, and bind himself to the wisdom and inner idea that is to be found in each thing. This so that the idea which is in each thing may enlighten him, that he may draw closer to God through that thing." We already have here the logical seed upon which Nachman built his LM 4, but as a transition into the text of Nachman let us see what his contemporary Hamann has to say concerning similar matters. Hamann is a convenient bridge here, linking Francis Bacon with Nachman of Breslav. O: While it is correct to say that Hamann stands in the empirical tradition of Francis Bacon, John Locke, and Hume, the important qualification must be added that for him experience is always crystalized in language. There exists, of course, an inner correlate of the objective facts of language, the invisible essence of our soul which is conjoined with the outer correlate by an "incomprehensible bond", which he describes, invoking religious terminology, as a "sacrament". But whatever the nature of the inner correlate, it is the evidence of the objective facts of language to which Hamann appeals, and from which he draws inferences as to the nature of mind and of reality. "I concern myself with the letter and with what is visible and material" . . . In his view God is above all a speaking God, indeed an Author: "God reveals Himself; the Creator of the World is a Writer". It is always God's Word which evokes our rational powers in the first place. Hamann employs a sexual metaphor in this connection, stating that our reason must be "impregnated" by the "seed of the divine Word". FW: It is this mysterious freely associating monologue in the here and now, this mix of thinking and speaking unimpeded by the distractions of everyday cause and effect logic, which is the open sesame which for inductive "science" (from the Latin, "scire", to know) unleashes something analogous to The Word. C: Such unity as man possesses is mysterious in its origins, and derives from a source which lies outside of himself. Only through the individual positive response to the Logos can man's collective powers of faith, passion, and reason be brought into harmony. Otherwise they fall all too easily into strife with one another. For Hamann God is the One in whom all opposites coincide, and it is this principle of the coincidentia oppositorum which, embodied in the Logos and manifested above all in the "form of a servant" in which Christ appeared, which succeeds in reconciling the opposites within the human psyche. . . . "Here on this earth there is no possibility of a metamorphosis or transfiguration into the divine nature, but only the old message of rebirth". FW: Jews do not need the allusion to Jesus as "the form of a servant". In LM 4, which we are considering here, Nachman attributes to Moses the same function. LM 4:9. This is: "No man knows [the burial place of Moses] - even Moses did not know. For he was negated in Ein Sof (Hebrew: God as Endless). All this was at his death. However, also during his lifetime Moses certainly stripped away all corporeality and attached himself to the Light of Ein Sof. But then, this stripping was in an aspect of "the living creatures ran [from being an ego] and returned [to being an ego](Ezekiel 1:14). This is because the Holy One desires our service, as is written (Yom Kippur Liturgy), "You desire praise from mounds of dust, from lumps of clay." FW: Hamann, writing only a few years before Nachman, created his own theology by portraying language as a powerful creative or destructive force in the world. We need not now grope further back into the history of religion to find other predecessors of Hamann and Nachman. It is sufficient to recognize that the two authors here under scrutiny are drinking from the same fountain, with some minor variations. One of these is the question whether we are to label the holistic embodiment of language the Jesus function or the Moses function. We will ignore that battle, but now we are ready to appreciate Nachman's contribution in LM 4 to this linguistically inspired tradition of the theology of The Word. As we read, we will keep in mind (a) that YHVH and the Talmid Chakham (wise student, Torah Scholar) are standing in for the subject, the Divine Author learning as he creates His world, and (b) that Elohim is standing in for the object, the world being created, and (c) that the Kingdom of God, Malkhut d'Kedushah, is standing in for the language of the dreamwork monologue on the material level. The problem, for Nachman in particular and for Romanticism in general, is that language in its pure, primordial form of "poetry" has been co-opted by the system of deductive logic and lost its original roots in inductive logic. For Nachman, as for Hamann, it is only the complete system encompassing deduction and induction in a higher synthesis which will give us a "foretaste of the World to Come", the messianic idea, and get us out of Egyptland. This is a longing, paradoxically, on the one hand for the messianic future and on the other hand for the pre-Industrial middle ages of shtetl life. Nachman is talking primarily about a Gestalt or hitbod'dut (being alone with myself and talking to God) monologue here, even though he provides a second level of meaning for those not privy to philosophy and linguistics, and for those who need an excuse to follow Torah Scholars and other gurus blindly. For as a matter of fact, (a) hitbod'dut and (b) confessing in front of a Torah Scholar, and (c) doing a Gestalt Therapy monologue, all mean the same thing, given the manner in which the concepts are used in Breslav theology. FW: Confessing in front of a Wise Student means doing my Gestalt Therapy monologue in the manner of a feedback loop and carefully (as the "subject") paying attention myself to what comes out of my mouth (the "object"). Just substitute "God is listening" for "I am listening" or "the wise student is listening" and this will be clear. Basically, it is The Author, the Creator, the Gestalt client, who is listening to Him creating, and this feedback loop by itself re-animates the dead forms, the selfinterrupting non-creative speech habits and manipulations, which man in his Fallen state tends to spew forth. In the down-to-earth jargon of Fritz Perls, instead of verbalizing my usual elephantshit in defense of my ego games, I need to emanate poetry, sacred truth from my true source. What clearly distinguishes Breslav pietism from Chabad rationalism is the emphasis on being alone before God, me being immersed in my monologue and relying on faith, rather than me being part of a vast pyramid of scholars and relying on guidance from a Jewish pope on the top of the pyramid. The Catholic parallel here is the Dominican sect versus the Franciscan sect, or more generally the Catholics versus the Protestants. (4) LM 4 FW: Here, then, is the beginning of Nachman's LM 4, as it is published by the official Breslaver translators. Let's immerse ourselves in Nachman's poetically inspired prose for a few moments, to get a sense of the overwhelming assault to which our rational, deductive faculties is subjected in such an experience. PROLOGUE. I am God your Lord, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. (Exodus 20:2) LM 4:1. When a person knows that everything that happens to him is for his benefit, this perception is a foretaste of the World to Come. As said, "When He is YHVH, I will praise His word; when He is Elohim, I will praise His word" (Psalms 56:11). And this perception is a foretaste of the World to Come, as our Sages taught: "On that day God shall be one and His name one" (Zechariah 14:9). They asked: Is He now not one? And our Sages answered: At present the blessing "Who is good and beneficent" is recited over good, whereas "the truthful Judge" is recited over bad. But in the Future it will be entirely "Who is good and beneficent"(Pesachim 50a). The holy name YHVH and the holy name Elohim will be totally one. LM 4:2. Now it is impossible for a person to grasp this perception except when he uplifts Malkhut d'Kedushah (Kingdom of Holiness) from its exile among the nations. For presently, malkhut and rule the nations. This is the reason . They nurse from the aspect of Malkhut, which is called Elohim, as is written (Psalms 74:122) "Elohim is my King from long ago". But when a person raises Malkhut from among the nations, it is the fulfillment of the verse (Psalms 47:8) "For Elohim is King of all the earth." LM 4:3 Yet it is impossible to return the kingdom to the Holy One, except by means of spoken confession in the presence of a Talmid Chakham (Torah scholar). Through this one rectifies the aspect of Malkhut and raises it to its source. [Take d'varim (words) with you and return to YHVH (God) (Hosea 14:3)] This is the meaning of "Take D'VaRim with you . . ." - i.e., spoken confession. This is the aspect of Malkhut, as in, "one DaBoR (spokesman) to a generation" (Sanhedrin 8a) - dabor connotes and ruler. " . . . and return to YHVH - so that they rectify and elevate the aspect of d'varim/Malkhut/Elohim to [the level of] YHVH. As mentioned above, "When He is YHVH I will praise His word; when He is Elohim, I will praise His word." This is, to know that everything that happens to him is all for his good, and to recite the blessing "Who is good and beneficent" over everything. LM 4:4 Knowing all this is called complete awareness. For the essence of awareness is the union of . This is called daat. In other words, he does not differentiate between lovingkindness and judgment, but blesses "Who is good and beneficent" over everything. This is called "YHVH is one and His Name is one". As our Sages taught: In the Future there will be total oneness and it will be entirely "Who is good and Beneficent". This is: YHVH is echod (one) [and His Name is echod]." "His Name corresponds to Elohim/Malkhut, as is written (2 Samuel 8:13) "David made a name for himself" - . Echod has the same numerical value as ahavah (love). Therefore, whether it be YHVH - which is compassion - or whether it be "His Name" - which corresponds to Elohim judgment - all is for your benefit and a result of the love which the Holy One has for you. As it is written, "For those whom God loves He rebukes (Proverbs 3:12); and "Of all the families of th earth I knew only you [Israel}]. That is why I will punish you for all your iniquities (Amos 3:2). (5) HAMANN ON LANGUAGE FW: Rather than a crystal clear Torah message graspable by deductive logic, the above word salad strikes us as a murky bowl of borsht or shabbat cholent. Therefore, we will turn now to Bacon and to Hamann to help us get our bearings in decoding Nachman's Torah offering. The allusion to goyishkeit suggested by the names "Bacon" and "Ham" need not, I hope, deter us! I stated above that aside from the philosophy of language, much of Hamann (and Nachman) is an update on the philosophy of Francis Bacon, in the context of an 18th century aesthetics of Romanticism. In support of that contention, here are six specific techniques of Romantic style poetic expression which, according to O'Flaherty, lend themselves to the purposes of intuitive (inductive) rather than abstract (deductive) reason. but to start off here is Hamann's version of Francis Bacon. O 83. In order to comprehend Hamann's understanding of reason it is necessary to distinguish between two modes of cognition, namely, the intuitive and the abstract . . . Abstract reason affects language in precisely the opposite ways from intuitive reason . . . "Human living seems to consist of a series of symbolic actions by means of which our soul is capable of revealing its invisible nature, and produces and communicates beyond itself an intuitive knowledge of its effective existence" FW: And now comes Hamann's list of the six Romantic techniques for poetic expression, which in the sequel we will illustrate using the text of Nachman's LM 4. In my essay our focus is to illustrate these six techniques. Therefore, we will not give as much attention as perhaps we should to other important aspects of Nachman's text. Most of what Nachman has to say he says again and again, we surely will run into these other themes in the sequel. Here, then, is a preliminary listing of Hamann's six techniques of language expression. O 83. Since in Hamann's view there is no thought apart from language, it seems quite appropriate that we should look to language for the earmarks of reason. It will be seen that there are six salient features which characterize the language of intuitive reason, i.e., reason functioning within its appropriate limits. To be specific, we may say that intuitive reason manifests itself in language by the following: (a) the abundance of concrete images (Bilder); (b) the employment of analogical reasoning; (c) the frequent recourse to paradoxes; (d) the presence of multiple levels of meaning; (e) paratactic sentence structure; and (f) the presence of affective terminology. O83 FW: We will examine how Hamann explains these six poetic tools, and at the same time we will illustrate how Nachman of Breslav brings over each technique into the realm of Hasidic Torah commentary. (a) CONCRETE IMAGERY OF EXPERIENCE VS. ABSTRACT RELATIONSHIPS OF WORDS O 84. Hamann maintains that natural language is, to adopt Henri Bergson's phrase, "molded on reality". Ordinary language or "the language of nature" is for him the historically developed vernacular of a people, which has been "unimproved" by grammarians or the creators of technical jargon. It is this kind of language which can be raised to the level of poetic expression . . . Wrote Hamann, "The sphere of poetry does not lie outside of the world as a fantastic possibility conceived by the brain of a poet; it strives to be precisely the opposite, the unadorned expression of truth, and must for just that reason reject the deceptive finery of the alleged reality of the man of culture" . . . Hamann's conviction is grounded in the essential nature of both God and man. Hence, God, "the Poet at the beginning of days", always speaks to man in poetic language. "The Scriptures cannot speak with us as human beings otherwise than in parables because all our knowledge is sensory, figurative; and because understanding and reason transform the images of external things everywhere into allegories and signs of more abstract, more intellectual, more lofty concepts." FW: Analogous to Hamann's theory of poetic expression is that of today's Gestalt therapists, as laid out by Perls, Hefferline and Goodman in their text, "Gestalt Therapy". For Gestaltists poetic speech refers to contactful speech, supported by man in action, rather than man stuck at an impasse and brooding abstractly about his life. The choice is between a concrete reality and mere aboutism. If I see a fly buzzing over there and I say, "I am aware of that fly buzzing over there", that is "language molded to reality", even more so if I identify with that fly and say "I am a fly buzzing over here, hoping that my buzzing will get you interested in my ideas." By identifying with the fly, finding the inner idea of that fly as Nachman puts it in LM 1:1, I am concretely at this moment in touch with my existence. But if I am an entomologist and I say "flies are arthropods", that particular fly out there has disappeared from my life into abstract jargon. Verbalizing has replaced poetry. The fly buzzing out there had the potential to be part of my existence, say, my tragic death as one day it may buzz around my rotting corpse, while the "arthropod" of an entomologist is cut off from my existential experience by being locked into a grid of dead, abstract terminology concerning, for example, information about how many legs it has. Likewise God, the "poet at the beginning of days" is engaged in a living action of creating His world, while a geologist who lists the layers of rocks making up a particular mountain range is cut off from the real experience of creating that mountain range. How does Nachman of Breslav deal with this requirement that expression be poetic? That is to say, how do Nachman's Torah commentaries serve as a symbolic overlay for human action? First of all, he is assuming he, Nachman, the writer, and we, his readers, and also the protagonist he is describing all are spiritual pilgrims, seeking to return to God. All three personnas therefore share a common grounding in concrete here and now experience. Let us see how all this works in the continuation of Nachman's LM 4 text. LM 4:5 And a person's iniquities are on his bones, as is written (Ezekiel 32:27), "And their iniquities will be etched upon their bones". Each sin has its own combination of letters. When a person commits a particular sin, a negative letter combination is etched upon his bones. This brings the spoken aspect of the prohibition which he has transgressed into the realm of impurity. In other words, he brings the aspect of Malkhut among the nations, giving them the power to rule. For example: If he transgressed the utterance of the prohibition "You shall have no [other gods besides Me]" (Exodus 20:3), then he destroys the utterance's positive letter combination and forms a negative letter combination. This letter combination is etched upon his bones "It is your iniquities that have turned away these things (Jeremiah 5:25). And it is written, "Evil is the deathblow of the wicked" (Psalms 34:22). By means of spoken confession, however, the letters disappear from the bones into which they have been etched and are transformed into the words of confession. For speech emanates from one's bone, as is written (Psalms 35:10), "All my bones will say". He tears down the negative structure and combinations, and from [the letters] builds Makhut d'Kedushah. This is what the Sages said: During the time the Israelites traveled in the desert, Yehudah's bones rolled about [in his coffin] until Moshe said (Deuteronomy 33:7) "Hear, O God, the voice of Yehudah" (Sotah 7b). Moshe requested that the Holy One remember for Yehudah's sake the confession he had made. And this is just what happened. Thus it was specifically "his bones rolled about", as is written, "and their iniquities will be etched upon their bones." But by means of the confession they were rectified and each one went into its place. And Yehudah corresponds to Malkhut - an allusion that the aspect of Malkhut is rectified through spoken confession. This was accomplished with the aid of Moshe, who recalled the confession. For it is necessary that the confession take place in the presence of a Talmid Chakham. And every Torah scholar is an aspect of Moshe "Moshe, you said it well" (Shabbat 101b). By Moshe's mentioning the confession, it was considered as if [Yehudah] had now confessed . This caused the aspect of Malkhut to be rectified and the negative letter combination, which had been etched upon [Yehudah's ] bones to be torn down. FW: There is a real life struggle going on here in Nachman's text, involving bones, Yehuda and Moshe, as though the story has been told around a campfire or dreamed by a Gestalt client. Nachman is not merely "talking literature", but is presenting an epic human action being carried out by a protagonist, and by implication also by a reader who is struggling with the iniquities etched in his own bones. Moses first identifies with the needs of the bones of Yehudah. Then the confession, hitbod'dut, mini-Gestalt session that Moses expresses in language brings those needs of Yehudah into the midst of a committed authentic action by Moses. Moses as strong gestalt and encompassing messianic monad here fulfills the logical function of induction, Platonic collection, in relation to the bones and essences of the existence of Yehudah. The parallel to Gestalt dreamwork is very clear here. According to Perls, we must identify with each of the different images and aspects of the dream we are exploring, in order to grasp the overall existential message of the dream. We move from ordinary everyday objects, like trees and clouds and bones, more and more in the direction of encompassing ideas, encompassing essences of our existence, as we move inductively upwards towards the final encompassing existential idea and message of our work on this particular dream. And yet in this dreamwork process everything must remain concrete, articulated, eventually, in terms of the unfinished business of important childhood relationships. The inductive ascent is not at the same time a flight to abstractions. That is to say, the three personnas involved in the ongoing storytelling process are active readers. They (we) maintain their (our) identification with the story which is unfolding. Here is an analogous message from the work of Hamann, with the messianic role shifted from Moses to Jesus. O 86. The abstract language of the philosophers fails, according to Hamann, to take into account the fact that God's infinite love for man is revealed precisely in His willingness to condescend to man's estate. God has humbled himself to the extent of speaking in the everyday idiom of the people by means of "little contemptible events" and "humanly foolish, indeed sinful actions . . . For Hamann does not subscribe to any form of the double-truth theory; spiritual truth does not require two forms, one for the philosopher, another for the masses. "To say that Moses wrote only for the common people is either meaningless or a ridiculous view of the matter" . . . Philosophically speaking, the "images" (German: Bilder) of natural language represent for Hamann "objects", which may be defined as uncritically perceived entities of ordinary experience, principally visual in nature. Abstract or discursive reason has the power, however, to eliminate such objects and to replace them with terms which actually stand for relations . . . "Existence [ i.e., concrete existence in a world of real objects] is realism, and must be believed; relations are idealism and rest upon connective and discriminatory procedures" . . . Metaphysics misuses "all the word-songs and figures of speech of our empirical knowledge" by transforming them into "nothing but hieroglyphs and types of ideal relations" . . . Another fundamental aspect of imagery is, of course, its strong appeal to the emotions, a quality which is lacking in the case of abstract terminology. FW: In Hamann's reference here to concrete objects of experience disappearing into abstract verbal relationships no longer in touch with their initial concrete reality, we recognize the terminology of 14th century Nominalism as articulated in those days by William of Ockham. See my essay on "Nominalism: the Here and Now, There and Then", for more about this. (b) ANALOGY VS. LOGICAL SYLLOGISMS O 87. The second characteristic of Hamann's use of reason is his preference for analogical, as opposed to purely logical, thinking. Whereas the rationalist establishes a principle, whether deductively or inductively, and thereupon proceeds to draw inferences from it, the intuitive thinker establishes a model on nonrational grounds, as, for example, instinct or faith, and thereupon proceeds to draw parallels to the model. This latter procedure accords, in Hamann's view, with the proper use of reason, despite the fact that reasoning from analogy does not yield the certainty one might desire. Thus, he writes that "reason cannot grasp anything but analogies in order to obtain a very ambiguous light" . . . Following the lead of Francis Bacon, Hamann maintains that man, in his original state, thought analogically rather than logically. This idea is clearly stated in the famous passage at the beginning of the Aesthetica In Nuce: "Poetry is the mother tongue of the human race" . . . Hamann places analogical thinking, as opposed to the later development of discursive thinking, within the framework of his general anthropology with its emphasis on man's retrograde development away from his primordial state. It is more natural for man to think in metaphors or parables, which involve analogical thinking, than to arrive at deductions based on rational principles . . . "All mortal creatures are able to see the truth and essence of things only in parables". For Hamann to metaschematize means to substitute one set of objective relationships for another, analogous set of subjective, personal, or existential relationships, in order to throw some light on their meaning. FW: Hamann here is saying what Nachman says when he says "My Torah is all behinot (Hebrew: aspects, interpretations, associations, analogies)". The notion of "man's retrograde development away from his primordial state" stems from the Platonic theory of anamnesis, "not forgetting" that primordial state by groping in the void for primordial ideas. Anamnesis entails immersing oneself in a chaotic sea of fragments and using Platonic collection or kabbalistic tsimtsum in the cognitive void of "not knowing" to discover/remember the primordial ideas by means of a series of associations, behinot. The obvious illustration in Nachman's LM 4 text is the endless string of associations, behinot, which lead Nachman from concrete particulars towards his final grand conclusions. "A" is an aspect of "B", and "B" is an aspect of "C", etc., etc. In the section which follows, for example, the string of behinot leads on and on, apparently endlessly, from (a) the lust of Nevatt to (b) fire to (c) purging via fire to (d) the fire of sin to (e) sins themselves to (f) crossing over to bundles of fragments being collected into a new idea (Platonic collection), and then on to (f) the wrath of God as fire negating all the negations of the One Without A Second, which itself leads on by means of tsimtsum to (g) nothingness, which is analogous to (h) humility as an aspect of (i) wisdom, leading to (j) the elevation of language, which itself is analogous to (k) the kingdom of God and refers by contrast to (l) the secular government, which needs to be brought back to its source by means of (m) the intervention of Moses, who is aspect of (n) Mashiach himself! All this in two pages. Note how Nachman gives Moses the Mashiach function of pulling all the fragments together, in exactly the same manner that Hamann gives that messianic function of Platonic collection to Jesus. For both Hamann and Nachman what is lost in logical precision is more than compensated for by the vast range of insightful sparks generated in the process of induction - provided, of course, that the spiritual pilgrim and the audience are receptive to this sort of pietist, Romantic, poetry. What makes this word salad "poetry" in the profound Gestalt and Aristotelian sense of committed personal action is Nachman's own biography, i.e., his self-proclaimed role of Tsaddik of the generation and messianic savior of the world. Whether we take him seriously or not, we at least know that Nachman is not just writing a book. He also is living the role he has carved out for himself in his own pained existence. FW: As Hegel in his "Aesthetics" points out, one major characteristic of Romantic art that distinguishes it from Classical art is that Romanticism allows emotional content to flood and overwhelm the forms in which it is packaged, leaving an audience gasping for breath. Hegel was less than appreciative of this form of expression, and he regarded the Absolute or God to which it all finally associates as "the night in which all cows are black". That is to say, most people, like the rationalist Hegel, prefer to let words mean what they do mean rather than have them all end up being symbols for the same thing: the Void of all-knowing and all not-knowing. Here, then, is Nachman's version of Platonic collection or tsimtsum in the void, from (a) to (n), from the lust of Nevatt to Mashiach himself! See if you can find your way through the maze, and at the same time see how many insightful associations are stimulated in your mind as you follow the creative mind of Nachman along his chosen trajectory. LM 4:6 This is the aspect of returning Malkhut to its source. For the source of Malkhut is fire, as our "Sages taught: 'why did Nevatt err? because he saw fire escape from his member (Sanhedrin 101b). And the Torah is called fire, because it is from there that Malkhut originates. As it is written (Jeremiah 23:29) "Behold, My Word is like fire," and (Proverbs 8:15), "Through me kings rule." And the essence of Torah is the Torah scholar, as our Sages taught (Makkot 222b): How foolish are those who stand up before a Torah scroll and yet do not stand before a rabbinical scholar! This is: "Every davar (thing) that was used in fire must go through fire " (Numbers 31:23). "Davar corresponds to Malkhut, which has been into the realm of impurity the heat of the evil inclination, as in "the fire of Amram" (Kiddusin 81a). ". . . must go through the fire" - its rectification is by means of fire, i.e., spoken confession before a Talmid Chakham. And this is the connotation of aveyrah (transgression): the AVeyRah letter combination OVeR (crosses) within his bones, from AyVeR to AyVeR (side to side). The word mitzvah, however, connotes joining together. When a person performs bundles of commandments, he binds together the shattered fragments of his bones, as is written (Psalms 34:21), "[God] safeguards all his bones, [not one of them is broken]." FW: Note: not one bone is broken; not one fragment of the symbolic collage is lost or damaged in the process of Platonic collection. All the antitheses, one after the other, are encompassed in the higher inductive synthesis. But there's more to come . . . LM 4:7. ["The King's wrath is a messenger of death, but a wise man can pacify it." (Proverbs 16:14)] And this is the explanation of the verse: "The King's wrath is a messenger of death." For the wrath of the Holy One is on account of Makhut , " . . . but a wise man can pacify it" - i.e., the aspect of Talmid Chakham/Moshe who will atone for [the sinner]. As it is written (Micah 7:18), "[The Lord] forgives the transgression for the remnant " - for the sake of the one who considers himself as remnants (Rosh HaShanah 17a). We find, then, that when he comes before a Torah scholar and expresses all his letter combinations in a Talmid Chakham's presence . . . The Torah scholar is an aspect of Moshe who considered himself as remnants, as is written (Numbers 12:3), "The man Moshe, however, was very humble." This is the reason he is called a wise man, as is written (Job 28:12), "Wisdom comes from Ayin (Nothingness)." Through this the wise man has the power to appease, as is written, "but a wise man can pacify it." This is why when Moshe prayed that the sin of the Golden Calf [be pardoned], he said (Exodus 32:32), "If You would, forgive their sin. But if not, please blot me out [ from the book that You have written]!" It is impossible for a person not to feel some pride when he hears himself being praised. All the more so, when a great king praises and lauds the person; then it is certainly impossible that he would not be moved to some feelings of self-importance. However, this necessitates the negation of all one's emotions and corporeality. Then, a person can hear himself being praised and not come to any pride. This was the case with Moshe Rabbeinu, who saw it written in the Torah: "God spoke to Moshe," [and] "God said to Moshe." Each day the Jewish people read in the Torah [God's] praise of Moshe. What's more, he himself related his praise to them. Yet Moshe had no feelings of haughtiness or pride from this, as is written, "The man Moshe, however, was very humble." And certainly, by means of his humility Moshe had the power to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf, as is written, ". . . but a wise man can pacify it." FW: The mashiach function that Moses or Jesus fulfils here is that of identifying with all the fragments, one after another, and then, by means of consumate humility, negating all of those fragments by negating himself. He then is the true servant, serving God as the negation of all negations. Each fragment is an extreme antithesis of the others, and the messiah manages to negate all of these negations of the One Without A Second. Also here, once again, not one bone is broken; not one fragment is lost or damaged in the process of Platonic collection. All the antitheses are encompassed in the higher synthesis by means of the Platonic messiah/poet/artist that Nachman or Hamann is embodying in his writing. What Plato labels a "poetic frenzy" of artistic interpretation, based on passionate personal involvement in a process of committed action, Nachman relates to the state of humility he sees Moses attaining in the biblical text. Nachman concludes his series of behinot by stressing the humility of Moses as the quality which qualifies him for the messiah function. LM 4:7 This was Moshe's argument: "But if not" - i.e., if You do not forgive their sin, You are demonstrating that I do not posses the humility needed to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf. This is why I requested, "please blot me out," so as not to be tripped up by pride. For I constantly see and hear the recounting of my name and praise in the Torah. Who can stand up to this - hearing his praise recounted and not become haughty - if not a very humble person? And if I am humble, You must pardon their sin, as is written, "[The Lord] forgives the transgression for the remnant . . ." This is (Deuteronomy 33:5) "There was a MeLeKh (king) in Yeshurun" - indicating that MaLKhut had risen to its source, as it is written (Psalms 37:11), "But the humble will inherit the earth." "Earth" is dina d'malkhuta (the law of the government) as is written (Job 20:27), "Earth rises up against him." FW: Moses with his messianic degree of humility has here re-elevated language (Malkhut d'kedushah, the kingdom of God) back to its primordial holistic power. This is anamnesis, "not forgetting" that the primordial idea of language as The Word has emerged from the void of nonbeing. Looking back at the entire journey of inductive logic through which Nachman just has led us, and with just a bit more analogical thinking, the parallel to Gestalt dreamwork ought to be clear. (a) First, Nachman expects you to find the inner idea of each thing by identifying with each image of the series. In Gestalt dreamwork you do that by play acting each dream image and attempt to say it with your whole body. In Nachman's poetic style Torah exegesis you, as Orthodox Jew, are expected to identify totally with each nuance since it all is God's word, right out of the Torah with chapter and verse included. How can it possibly not be the truth? (b) The second part of the process, in Gestalt dreamwork, is to commit your whole being to the project as a whole and negate your ego totally by the "rhythm of contact and withdrawal", which is the Gestalt version of tsimtsum. This death of ego is the negation of negations that translates you inductively up beyond your own existence, as you serve as a vessel for the existential message of that particular dream. The dream itself was only 1/60th of prophecy, while the dreamwork provides the other 59/60. The dreamwork is the Platonic collection or kabbalistic tsimtsum which accesses the messianic idea which was implicit from the primordial beginning of the dream itself when in the middle of the night you dreamed it. Again we have Platonic anamnesis of primordial ideas by means of tsimtsum, as the Gestalt therapy protagonist contracts his ego down to zero in order to embody the intuitive dialectical logic of induction, in order to serve as the messiah capable of redeeming his own fallen state. FW: And what is the equivalent to this "rhythm of contact and withdrawal" in a Torah lesson being given by Nachman or one of his disciples? The answer is, likewise, to commit yourself totally to the quest for truth. In your daily life you are to embodying as many Torah commandments as you can find the time and resources to accomplish, and also you are to commit your will completely to following the guidance of your Torah teachers, whether they make much sense to your rational mind or not! Along with that you are to assimilate each and every word of the mind boggling Torah lessons. You are not, God forbid, to try to understand it all using deductive logic, since most of it is inductively written and admittedly too lofty for your rational understanding. Rather, accept it all on faith as absolute truth. If you find yourself bewildered, get advice from your Torah teachers (who, unfortunately, also are forbidden to understand it), and then go talk to God out in the woods if there are any loose ends. FW: Nachman taught that the messianic soul of Moses is re-embodied to some extent in the tsaddik ha-dor, the righteous man of each generation. But, Nachman maintains, only in certain key historical figures, especially Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai and Nachman himself, is the embodiment totalized. Fritz Perls begs to differ, and encourages each of his clients to do fulfill the mashiach function himself. Fritz was Jewish, but not religious. Neither did he know Yiddish. But if someone had asked him why he gave his clients that option, and if indeed he had spoken Yiddish, perhaps he would have given the famous Yiddish retort, "Far vus nit?" (English: "Why not?") Now, my own suggestion is to meld the two approaches, that of Nachman and that of Fritz, which brings the caricature of Nachman's teachings which I just have presented back to the source that Nachman intended in the beginning. That is to say, begin with hitbod'dut, with the verbalized monologue. Do it rigorously, according to the system of Fritz, so you do get the results you need. Then, from that foundation go about dealing with the commandments and the Torah exegesis. This puts Tevye's "Fiddler On The Roof" horse back in front of Tevye's cart, with the proper Kantian stress on conscience as a liberation from the closed system of everyday habits, groupiness and chit-chat. This also puts Nachman very close to the position of Fichte, and historically exactly where he belongs as an heir to Kant's theory of the moral autonomy of the practical reason. See my essays on Fichte and Nachman for more of this. Doing hitbod'dut intelligently clarifies most of Nachman's enigmatic texts and helps balance the conflicting demands of 613 different commandments. Having discovered your own built in Moses function, you will not be flying blind and you will less vulnerable to demagoguery. This inner gyroscope was lacking when Hitler's Nazis adapted the teachings of Fichte as the basis of national socialism. They made a travesty of the teachings of Fichte. Hopefully you will not make a similar travesty of the teachings of Nachman of Breslav. (c) PARATAXIS FW: O'Flaherty makes a distinction between parataxic and hypotaxic sentence structure, a distinction which is as relevant to the work of Nachman as it is to the work of Hamann. O: The roots of the terms are "para" (by the side) + "tassein" (to place). "Parataxis" is the placing of clauses or phrases one after the other, without coordinating or subordinating connectives. On the other hand, from "hypo" (under) we get "hypotaxis", which is arranging clauses with a conjunction that subordinates one to the other. Paratactic sentences are characterized by brevity and the absence of long involved dependent clauses; the word order tends to be natural or to follow elementary logic in that the subject and predicate are expressed at or near the beginning of the sentence, with the other elements following generally in the order of their importance. Aphorisms, epigrams, etc., because of their laconic nature, are necessarily paratactic in structure. Hypotactic sentences, on the other hand, are characterized by greater length, involving, as they do, longer dependent clauses . . . Because of its frequent use of dependent clauses, hypotaxis involves the subordination of certain elements within a sentence, whereas parataxis involves their coordination. Both styles do occur in Hamann's writings . . . In his most characteristic and influential writings the aphoristic mode dominates . . . It is precisely in these works that we find him employing intuitive, as opposed to abstract, reason. FW: The following sections from Nachman's LM 4 illustrate nicely this contrast between parataxic and hypotaxic use of language. Nachman begins with an introductory fable in the style of parataxic language. PARATAXIS: TYPE 1 A SIMPLE FABLE LM 4:8. This is the meaning of what the Sages said: It is comparable to someone who was walking along a path in the utter darkness of night. He was afraid of the thorns and the ditches, of wild beasts and bandits, not knowing which path he was on. When he happened upon a lit torch he was saved from the thorns and the ditches but he was still afraid of wild beasts and bandits, not knowing which path he was on. When dawn broke, he was saved from wild beasts and bandits, yet still did not know which path he was on. What is this crossroads? Rabbi Chisda said: It is a Talmid Chakhkam and the day of death (Sotah 21a). PARATAXIS:TYPE 2 SIMPLE SENTENCES LIST FOUR ALCHEMICAL ELEMENTS FW: Next we learn of the four alchemical elements, mineral, vegetable, animal and human, which are variants of the usual water, earth, air, fire sequence. Here the presentation also is in the parataxic style, though a bit more complex. LM 4:8 It is known that all evil character traits and their derivatives stem from the four yesodot (fundamental elements), the four humors. As is brought in Mishnat Chassidim: Melancholy and its derivatives stem from the mineral life form; evil passions and their derivatives stem from the vegetable life form; idle chatter and its derivatives stem from the animal life form; pride and its derivatives stem from the human life form. Anyone who would take the path of must break all of the vices in the presence of a Talmid Chakham - i.e., spoken confession. The Torah scholar will then define and clarify a path in line with the roots of his soul. PARATAXIS: TYPE 3 COMPLEX SENTENCES, WITH BEHINOT FW: Also presented parataxically are three steps for attachment to a tzaddik, which also are a code for three stages of human action in general. Since Nachman's version will get a bit murky, I'll do the dissection as a preface, in my own inimitable Fallen, deductive, hypotaxic manner. If this were a Gestalt session, Fritz no doubt would have me examine my own need to insert prefaces and dissections into the flow of life. Anyway, concerning the tsaddik, (a) first, perceive him properly, (b) second, give him charity and (c) third, accept his advice at the moment of crucial existential choices in your life. To each of these simple instructions, Nachman adds subordinate and related ideas. (a) For the first instruction, more generally establish contact with the situation, (b) for the second instruction, undergo death of ego by giving it away charitably, and (c) for the third instruction, choose a new idea in the void of not knowing. But these corollaries are not appended to the initial three ideas deductively using hypotaxic sentence structure, the way I just have taken pains to do it. That is to say, Nachman's stress is not on making sure we "understand" it all by laying out his ideas in a series of primary and subordinate clauses. Rather, to the first three ideas he appends a series of only tangentially related ideas, parataxically by simply laying them down, one after the other. Then he leaves it up to us, the readers, to open our minds and hearts to discover the higher level encompassing experiences. For Nachman wants us inductively to "grasp" macrocosmic Platonic ideas, and not merely deductively to "understand" microcosmic concepts. LM 4 is not just a textbook of clinical psychology, it is also inductive science and Platonically inspired Romantic poetry. Hence, Nachman injects into the basic flow of the hypotaxic framework quite a bit of parataxic embellishment. Nachman begins with the three themes, in the manner in which a Beethoven or Mozart might begin a symphony with three simple themes. Then, in the manner of a fugue or stretto, more and more interlocking variations and distantly related motifs pile up as a magical information overload. Schopenhauer, a 19th century philosopher who shared this Romantic aesthetic, held that music is the highest form of art, since it embodies ideas purely without needing to incorporate naturalistic content. Nachman's prose in his stretto sections approaches the level of musical art, as kaleidoscopic ideas overload their reference to the deductive framework and leap up inductively from our Fallen microcosmic world to the liberated macrocosm of pure Platonic/Torah ideas. When Nachman does it, it works fine. Of course, when an Adolf uses a media blitz inductively to peddle an overgrown Idea of the Third Reich we may have second thoughts about "inductive science". LM 4:8 Now, there are three steps in attachment to the tzaddikim. Through these three steps everything is rectified. The three steps are as follows: The first step entails seeing the tzaddik, as in (Isaiah 30:20), "your eyes will see your teacher," This step negates the vices that stem from the two yedodot, mineral and vegetable - namely, melancholy with its derivatives, and evil passions. For the tzaddik of the generation is called "Mother" because he nurses the Jewish people with the light of his Torah. And the Torah is called "milk", as is written (Song of Songs 4:11). "Honey and milk under your tongue." We have empirical validation for this: Even when a child is sad and lethargic, if he sees his mother, he very quickly stirs toward her - i.e., toward his source. We also see clearly that when a child is absorbed in his own nonsense, even through he has a great desire for this, if he sees his mother, he throws away all of his desires and draws close to her. We find, then, that the vices stemming from the two yesodot, mineral and vegetable, are negated by gazing at the countenance of the tzaddik. This is: He was afraid of the thorns, the aspect of the vegetable life form; and the ditches, the aspect of the mineral life for. When he happened upon a lit torch - this is a Talmid Chakham, who with the light of the Torah. Through him he is saved from the vices that stem from the two yesodot, mineral and vegetable; and then he is saved form the thorns and the ditches. LM 4:8 The second step is the charity one gives to a Talmid Chakham . Through this he is saved from the vices that stem from the two yesodot, animal and human - the aspects of wild beasts and bandits, which are idle chatter and pride and their derivatives. This is because idle chatter and slanderous gossip engender poverty, as is written (Exodus 4:19), "All the men have died" - this is poverty (Nedarim 64b). Also concerning pride it is taught: Poverty is a sign of a haughty spirit (Kiddushin 49b). But by giving charity a person becomes wealthy. As the Sages taught: "Though they were united and likewise many, even so they are over and gone; I have afflicted you, but will afflict you no more" (Nahum 1:12) - he is never again made to experience the markings of poverty (Gitten 7b). And this is: When dawn broke, he was saved from wild beasts and bandits. The break of dawn is an allusion to charity, as is written (Isaiah 58 7-8), "When you see the naked, and you clothe him . . . Then your light shall burst forth like the dawn." We find, then, that through charity one is saved from the vices that stem from the two yesodot, animal and human, corresponding to wild beasts and bandits. LM 4:8 The third step is when one makes a spoken confession in a Torah scholar's presence. Through this the Talmid Chakham guides him on a proper path in line with the root of his soul. This is: When he came to a crossroads. And Sages comment, It is a Talmid Chakham and the day of death. This is the step of spoken confession before a Talmid Chakham. The day of death is an allusion to confesson, as the Sages taught: All those about to be put to death confess (Sanhedrin 43b). This is called PaRaShat DeRaKhim (a crossroads), because the Torah scholar maPhRiSh lo DeReKh (defines his path ) in line with the root of his soul. Then, he was saved from all of them. Because, before he confessed, even through he was close to the Torah scholar and had given him money, he still does not know which path he was on. For "A path may seem right to a man, but its end leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12). But when he comes to "a crossroads," which is a Talmid Chakham and the day of death - i.e., spoken confession before a Talmid Chakham - then, he was saved from all of them. PARATAXIS: TYPE 4 COMPLEX SENTENCES, WITH BEHINOT AND ALSO WITH PARALLELS OF FORM AND CONTENT FW: Later, as the style of the text approaches pure poetry, content joins form in telling the tale, which in this case is the tale of a completed action. The actor/poet Moses/ messiah undergoes death of ego at the crossroads of his life, the moment of committed choice during an action. At that moment, according to Aristotle, the knower, the known and the knowing all are one. Ego is minimal in the midst of an action. The theological context of an action for Nachman here is "the word of God", and for him, like for Hamann, that means language in the sense of The Word as the Kingdom of God, Malkhut. Language and action here are parallel concepts, grounded in the dialectical framework of deduction/induction, the descending and ascending sides of the tree of life, the kabbalistic sefirot. Each counterclockwise cycle around the complete tree of life is one "beat" of the dialectic, one cycle of the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, one moment of running and returning, one moment of action. If the process works properly we have induction, intuitive reason, positive letter combinations, poetry, If the process does not work properly we are stuck in deduction, abstract aboutism, negative letter combinations, verbalizing. After completing the action, the protagonist retains a sense of what is was all about. In the context of a Gestalt Therapy session he can tell us what was the existential message of the dreamwork, what he got from the session. He can see the details of his present life situation (Elohim, the left pillar of the tree of life) in the context of the Oneness of authentic action (YHVH, the right pillar of the tree of life), and at that moment he has a sense that the One and the Many are One Without A Second. A parallel in the aesthetics of Romanticism and the work of an actor in the Brechtian theater is the notion of "the performer on top of his material" creating "live form". When, in this style of work, an actor prepares his material, he works deductively and assembles a junk collage of forms into a complex poetic image which is his "character". Then, at the moment of presentation for an audience, he relies upon his here and now reactions to images that flash in his imagination to give him macrocosmic ideas with which to illuminate that microcosmic junk collage of forms. The result, when it works properly, is "live form", a meld of content (ideas discovered inductively) and form (the junk collage which was derived deductively), which is, theologically speaking, the macrocosm in the microcosm, the One in the Many. LM 4:9 This applies each time a Torah scholar. The Talmid Chakham is an aspect of Moshe, who is an aspect of Ayin, as is written, "Wisdom comes from Ayin." And in this way you become encompassed in Ein Sof (Infinite One). This is the concept of Zarka: it is thrown back to the place from which it was taken (Tikkuney Zohar #21). This is return Malkhut to Ein Sof, which is the will in all the wills. For Malkhut corresponds to the letters of speech, with the will of God clothed in each and every letter. It was God's will that one letter have such and such a shape, and another letter have a different shape. We find, then, that [God's] wills - i.e., the forms of the letters - serve to reveal His Malkhut, And all these wills, the forms, stem from the will of Ein Sof - which has no form . And all the objects and material existence in the world originate from the letters, i.e., from Malkhut. This is because material existence is a consequence of Malkhut, of the Holy One's desire that His Malkhut be revealed in the world. Through this He created the world ex nihilo. All the wills - the forms and all material existence corresponding to Malkhut - receive their vitality from the will of Ein Sof. As is taught (Migillah 31a): "In every place that you find the greatness of the Holy One - i.e., His Malkhut wills - "There you find His humility" - i.e., the will of Ein Sof. And this is an aspect of stripping oneself of corporeality. For when a person wants to be encompassed in the will of Ein Sof, he must negate his material being. This is what is written in the Zohar (II 88b), that Moshe passed away on Shabbat, at the time of Minchah. For that is when raava d'raaven (Will of Wills) is revealed. This is the will of Ein Sof, from whom all wills receive their vitality. This was because Moshe had totally negated his material being, as is written, "After all, nachnu mah (what are we)?" (Exodus 16:7). "So Moshe, the servant of God, died there, in the land of Moav, by the kiss of God. [God] buried him in the valley in the land of Moav, opposite Beit Pe'or. No man knows his burial place to this day" (Deuteronomy 34: 5-7). This is the meaning of "[God] buried him in the valley" - it alludes to as is written (Isaiah 40:4), "Every valley shall be elevated." "In the land of Moav" - this alludes to Malkhut, for King David descended from Moav. Moshe ascended into Ein Sof, into Will of Wills, raava d'raaven. This corresponds to the will of Ein Sof, which is clothed in the wills/forms of the letters, the aspect of Malkhut. As explained, "In every place that you find His greatness" - i.e., Malkhut, the aspect of - "there you find " - i.e., the will of Ein Sof. FW: For the kabbalistic tradition, the metaphor of "running and returning" tells this story, in the sense that we first run away from ego and later return to ego. The jargon of Gestalt Therapy here overlaps that of Romanticism. Gestalt speaks of the rhythm of contact and withdrawal. During action we move from contact, from awareness of the contact boundary, to withdrawal, withdrawal from the contact boundary. Withdrawal from the contact boundary, by means of tsimtsum, puts us in the void of not knowing, the messianic now, and then we return to awareness of the contact boundary as the action comes to an end. Nachman describes running and returning by invoking the notion of "da'at" (Hebrew: knowing, knowledge). But "da'at" is a slippery term, used by many authors in many ways. Here is reference is knowing in the sense of the Gestalt process of establishing contact by means of awareness. Da'at here is awareness. Awareness establishes a bubble contactful experience, a "world" that the protagonist "knows", in the sense that Adam knows Eve during an orgasm. When the contact boundary becomes clouded by neurotic games, by self-interruptions of the life force, and the Gestalt client finds himself deductively at an impasse of polarized cloudy ideas, he needs to withdraw from that contact boundary into the realm of inductive, intuitive experience by closing his eyes and going into his body awareness and fantasies. This is the moment of withdrawal and tsimtsum, contraction of ego. And this also is "running" from his ego and the microcosm in general into the void, where hopefully new macrocosmic ideas await him. After his moment of gnostic enlightenment, then he "returns" to his ego in its new form. But he brings with him a vague trace or "reshimu" (Hebrew: remainder) of his other worldly experience. Overall, then, he runs from deduction to induction, and then he returns from induction to deduction bringing with him the results of the induction. LM 4:9 This is "opposite Beit Pe'or". As the Sages taught: Why was [the idol] called Pe'or? Because it opens its mouth wide. For when one blemishes Malkhut, [Pe'or} then has the power to open its mouth wide with negative letter combinations. But Moshe rectified the aspect of Malkhut, and as a result Pe'or could not open its mouth wide (Sotah 14a), This is "No man knows [his burial place]" - even Moshe did not know (ibid.). For he was negated in Ein Sof. All this was at his death. However, also during his lifetime [Moshe] certainly stripped away all corporeality and attached himself to the Light of Ein Sof. But then, this stripping was in an aspect of "the living creatures ran and returned". (Ezekial 1:14). This is because the Holy One desires our service, as is written (Yom Kippur Liturgy), "You desire praise from mounds of dust, from lumps of clay." Therefore, it is imperative not to remain [in this state of negation] until such a time that the Holy One Himself comes and takes one's soul. LM 4:9 This is why we see that now and then a person becomes inspired while praying and he recites several words with tremendous fervor. This is due to God's compassion for him; the Light of Ein Sof has been opened to him and shines for him. When a person sees this radiance - and even though he might not see, his mazal sees (Megillah 3a) - his soul is instantly ignited in great devotion, so that he attaches himself to the Light of Ein Sof. And to the degree that Ein Sof is revealed - commensurate with the number of words that have been opened and begun to radiate - he recites all these words with great devotion, with a surrender of self, and with a negation of all his senses. Then, during the time he is negated in Ein Sof, he is in a state of "and no man knows" so that he himself is unaware of his own existence. But this must be in the aspect of "running and returning" in order to preserve . We find then that when he is in a state of "returning" he must also disclose to his daat. For at the beginning, at the time of devotion, his daat was nullified, as in, "and no man knows". But when he is in a state of "returning", returning to his material being, then he returns to his daat. And when he returns to his daat, he knows the oneness and beneficence of Ein Sof. Then there is no difference between YHVH and Elohim, between the divine attribute of judgment and the divine attribute of compassion. For a change of will is not applicable to Ein Sof, Heaven forbid. Changes only occur in the changing of the forms. Nevertheless, by virtue of a person's attachment to Ein Sof - where there is no change of will, for there the will is uniform - afterwards an imprint of this oneness remains within him. Then later, when he is in a state of "returning", this imprint illuminates , so that he knows that all is good and all is one. This is what Moshe said to his generation: "It has been clearly demonstrated to your daat that YHVH (God) is the Elohim (Lord)". (Deuteronomy 4: 35). For Moshe corresponds to Thus it was fitting for his generation, who were attached to him, to [have] daat - i.e., to illuminate the daat with an awareness of Ein Sof/raava d/raaven, the aspect of "YHVH is the Elohim." (d) PARADOX O: An important aspect of Hamann's conception of reason as it emerges from his use of language is his acceptance of the paradox as a vehicle for the expression of spiritual truth. His reason for such a positive view of the paradox is, in the last resort, theological. Since God has condescended to reveal Himself in lowly, even contemptible form - as the Scriptures everywhere attest - the paradox possesses the highest possible legitimation. "One must view with astonishment how God accomodates Himself to all small circumstances, and prefers to reveal His government through the everyday event of human life rather than the singular and extraordinary events." The supreme paradox of Christianity is, to be sure, the incarnation in Christ, the appearance of the Creator of heaven and earth in the form of a servant. FW: To appreciate the relevance of paradox in this sense to the work of Nachman of Breslav, let us backtrack a bit now and zero in on the last section of LM 4 which we just cited under the heading of "parataxis". These six techniques of Romantic poetic language certainly overlap, and there is no reason why we may not find all six of them at work in a single passage from Nachman's "Likutei Moharan". In this last section we found an obvious parallel between the messianic function Christ serves for the Christians and the same messianic function the soul Moses serves for the Jews. As is the case for Christ in the work of Hamann, Moses for Jews is a supreme example of paradox, the apparent contradiction that the pure idea of Moses/Mashiach - Moses as symbolic code for the messianic idea - embodies on the one hand the most encompassing notion of all-reality and on the other hand the idea of absolute nothingness, total self-obliterating humility. This rudimentary example of dialectical thinking, a thesis and an antithesis encompassed in a higher synthesis, is basic to kabbalistic metaphysics. In this respect, then, the parallel between Hamann and Nachman is clear. However, in what follows, as we decode the jargon to get to the philosophical foundation, we find that this clear conceptual parallel is fogged over by the work of the official Breslaver translators. We unearth one more example of what happens when the sorcerer's apprentice, ignorant of the dialectical powers of his master, grabs his master's broom and makes a big mess the laboratory! Once again we will see the dangers of preaching dialectical religion rather than teaching dialectical religion. I repeat, a preacher aims at propagating the sect, primarily by glorifying his colleagues, while a teacher has other objectives, especially ferreting out the truth of his subject matter. Watch, now, how the translators of LM 4 muddle the dialectical message of Nachman in this passage, and shift the focus from the individual's search for God towards the direction of creating a herd of sheep following other sheep following other sheep, just as lemmings might follow other lemmings right off a cliff into the sea! Here once is LM 4:9. LM 4:9 This applies each time a Torah scholar. The Talmid Chakham is an aspect of Moshe, who is an aspect of Ayin, as is written, "Wisdom comes from Ayin." And in this way you become encompassed in Ein Sof (Infinite One). FW: Nachman begins with the pshat, the superficial code. This is step one in creating the paradox, the apparent contradiction that this Torah scholar you meet in the street is at the same time an aspect of Moses and the Jewish version of the messiah. LM 4:9 This is the concept of Zarka: it is thrown back to the place from which it was taken (Tikkuney Zohar #21). This is returning Malkhut to Ein Sof, which is the will in all the wills. For Malkhut corresponds to the letters of speech, with the will of God clothed in each and every letter. It was God's will that one letter have such and such a shape, and another letter have a different shape. We find, then, that [God's] wills - i.e., the forms of the letters - serve to reveal His Malkhut, FW: Another paradox, then, is that the all encompassing Kingdom God corresponds to the tiny individual letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and each letter has its particular form and message. LM 4:9 And all these wills, the forms, stem from the will of Ein Sof - which has no form . And all the objects and material existence in the world originate from the letters, i.e., from Malkhut. This is because material existence is a consequence of Malkhut, of the Holy One's desire that His Malkhut be revealed in the world. Through this He created the world ex nihilo. All the wills - the forms and all material existence corresponding to Malkhut - receive their vitality from the will of Ein Sof. As is taught (Migillah 31a): "In every place that you find the greatness of the Holy One - i.e., His Malkhut wills - "There you find His humility" - i.e., the will of Ein Sof. And this is an aspect of stripping oneself of corporeality. For when a person wants to be encompassed in the will of Ein Sof, he must negate his material being. FW: Here is the paradox cited by Hamann above, that the messiah (Christ or Moses) embodies the apparent contradiction that what is the All is also Nothingness, abject humility and the will of God. LM 4:9 For a change of will is not applicable to Ein Sof, Heaven forbid. Changes only occur in the changing of the forms. Nevertheless, by virtue of a person's attachment to Ein Sof - where there is no change of will, for there the will is uniform - afterwards an imprint of this oneness remains within him. Then later, when he is in a state of "returning", this imprint illuminates


4. THE BRANCH gestalt dreamwork on a painting, part 4 (HQ)

THE BRANCH gestalt dreamwork on a painting, part 4 (HQ)

gestalt dreamwork on a painting instead of a dream, done by franklyn wepner. TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD ALL OF MY VIDEOS, PLUS 1500 PAGES OF MY EXPLANATORY ESSAYS (ALL AT NO CHARGE) PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: franklynwepner.com. ALSO PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH ME ANY COMMENTS ABOUT MY WORK: franklynwepner@gmail.com. IN THE LISTING OF VIDEOS THE LETTERS (HQ) REFER TO A HIGHER QUALITY VERSION OF THE VIDEO, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOUR COMPUTER CAN HANDLE IT. FRANKLYN WEPNER JUNE 2009 ESSAY: "HEIDEGGER & NACHMAN ON THE ORIGIN OF ART" REFERENCES: (1) NACHMAN OF BRESLAV, "COLLECTED ESSAYS" ("LIKUTEI MOHARAN"), SECTION 5 (2) MARTIN HEIDEGGER, "THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART", IN "PHILOSOPHIES OF ART AND BEAUTY", ED. HOFSTADTER & KUHNS (1) THE "OPEN" & THE PURE PROCESS MODE (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO & MASHIACH (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC (1) THE "OPEN" AND THE PURE PROCESS MODE H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The above is a typical sentence taken from Martin Heidegger's essay, "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". This sentence is loaded with Heidegger technical jargon: world, earth, battle, unconcealedness, beings and truth. Also in this sentence, these terms are laid out in an interlocking manner such that words that we thought we understood suddenly become very strange to us. We are mystified. But let us try now to decode this knot of dialectical jargon. Decoding even this one sentence will reveal much of the underlying logic of Heidegger's philosophy of art. Our project in this short essay is to see whether Heidegger's recondite reflections about art can shed valuable light on the work of Nachman of Breslav. We have been approaching Nachman mainly from the perspective of Isaac Luria's dialectic of conflict, which was Nachman's own reference point in 1800. But doing so required jumping right away into the tsimtsum theory, and we risked explaining something very obscure in an even more obscure manner. Fortunately, we have available a magic carpet tool from the performing arts which in one quick, painless stroke will land us in the middle of the dialectical universe of both Heidegger and Luria and allow us from those two starting points to converge on our primary target, the work Nachman of Breslav. This tool is a world class technique with a long history. It constitutes a major foundation of the dance theaters of Asia, and in today's avant garde theater world it is known as the "pure process mode". Again I express my gratitude to the Mabou Mines Theater Company for initiating me into this bit of esoterica. FW: The pure process mode as performed looks a lot like Tai Ch'i, but then again you might not know about Tai Ch'i either so I'll start from the basic idea. A group of performers is told to focus on awareness rather than thinking. Like in Gestalt Therapy, awareness here includes contact with one's environment using senses, with one's body using proprioception, and with one's fantasies. The stress in this exercise is on environment awareness. Along with work on awareness, the group is instructed to begin a holistic, total movement of all body parts, very slowly and very relaxed so as not to let the movements or body tension interfere with the awareness. All this is here and now work, passively responding to what is happening in one's awareness. What to do next stems from passively reacting to what already is happening, and going with that flow in a non-deliberate manner. Philosophically, what we have here is "induction" or Platonic collection, or gestalt formation, in the sense that from the particular details the performer infers a single new encompassing idea which then becomes the rule that guides his next choices. From the ground of what is happening arise potential figures, weak gestalts, until one of them becomes the strong gestalt or monad which then is the new world of that emerging moment. And here we have Heidegger's key term, "world", emerging as a product of inductive, intuitive thinking. The world that worlds, using Heidegger jargon, is the emerging gestalt or figure that then is the organizing center of the organism's existence until the next strong gestalt (world) takes over. For Gestalt Therapists a neurotic is an individual who interferes with, who interrupts his natural figure/ground process such that strong gestalts do not congeal and the ground keeps churning up weak gestalts aimlessly. FW: So far we have presented half of the pure process mode concept, the side of passivity and induction. The other, complementary side of the pure process mode is the active, deliberate, deductive side. Here is how that works. As I am doing my awareness and movement exercise, I am instructed also to allow any particular focus that emerges strongly enough from the ground that it attracts my conscious attention to continue to develop, and then I see where it takes me. In other words, I am looking for associations, or what Nachman would label "behinot". This is an aspect of that and that is an aspect of the next thing, endlessly. The main motor of the pure process mode is the passive, induction side, but riding on it is a series of deductive moments or deliberate active choices to accept the hint and go with that idea to its completion as a particular "thing". For example, I notice that my body is doing something like a swimming breast stroke, and I allow myself gradually to go almost fully into the breast stroke form. But here I interrupt the naturalistic form I am performing and remind myself that I need the active/passive balance, the middle way. And so I now allow the breast stroke form - again gradually with full awareness - to dissolve back into the passive aspect of the pure process mode. We now have the two poles of Heidegger's dialectic. The deliberate, active point of view Heidegger calls "earth", and the passive point of view Heidegger calls "world". Here again is our initial Heidegger quote. H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The "battle" is the competition between world and earth, induction and deduction. Usually when we do the breast stroke in the pool as part of our 20 minute exercise routine, the choice is deliberate, and the details of the stroke fit into a vast grid of distinctions of different kind of muscular and breathing activities. The ramification of the basic idea of "swimming" into all these strokes and nuances of strokes is an example of deductive logic, moving from the general idea of "swimming" to the particular differences of each stroke. The opposite of deduction in this sense is the passive experience of letting all those details and nuances fade away into no-thing-ness. The combination of deduction and induction, earth and world, kabbalistic left pillar and right pillar, is the concrete dialectic which grounds much of sophisticated world culture, east and west. Doing the pure process exercise is like a slow motion movie of some sport which reveals the seams linking the individual moves. These seams usually are a hidden, "concealed" ground for the chain of deliberate moves. The pure process mode reverses our usual figure/ground process, thereby "unconcealing" the ground of "being as a whole". If we think of our usual daily existence as packed with habitual, mechanical behavior, then the pure process mode opens up or clears a space in that dense structure. Here is another Heidegger statement, This time he describes this "open center" of our existence. H 679. In the midst of beings as a whole an open place occurs. There is a clearing, a lighting. Thought of in reference to what is, to beings, this clearing is in a greater degree than are beings. This open center is therefore not surrounded by what is; rather the lighting center itself encircles all that is, like the a Nothing which we scarcely know. FW: Just substitute no-thing-ness for Nothing, and we have again the pure process mode, with things coming into existence and going out of existence devoid of their usual thingness as specific objects that we make use of or relate to. FW: Turning now back to Nachman of Breslav, let us read Heidegger's prose from the point of view of the dialectic of conflict and the tradition of alchemy which Nachman inherited from Isaac Luria. Immediately we see a likely source for Heidegger's choice of the word "earth" to suggest the process of deduction in opposition to the process of induction. For the process of deduction or creation on the left pillar of the tree of life descends deductively from alchemical water to alchemical earth, before ascending inductively through alchemical air to alchemical fire. Moving through these four elements, water, earth, air and fire, completes the cycle. Alchemical air is what becomes revealed (unconcealed) at the moment of tsimtsum, as God or man contracts his frozen x/-x polarities to allow a relative vacuum. Into the void emerges or overflows inductively a new idea from the macrocosm which then encompasses the two sides of the former impasse in a higher integration. The encompassing new idea Nachman labels, logically enough, the "maqqif", since in Hebrew the word "maqqif" means "encompasses". The void is the "open" of Heidegger, which begins as an air pocket and then does a figure/ground reversal from air pocket to encompassing no-thing-ness in which the two sides, x/-x, of the former impasse disappear. This disappearing is the negation of the negations of the One Without A Second. The negations, the stuck antagonists of the impasse, are thus burnt up in alchemical fire, completing the circle of alchemical elements of the concrete dialectic. FW: By stressing the impasse at the expense of the pure process mode, kabbalists like Luria and Nachman of Breslav highlight the absence of new ideas flowing from on high. This is like building up charge on a condenser. The ideas certainly are there, since God is in all the world, but they are apparently absent. Arthur Green shows how Nachman made his own personal experience of the apparent absence of God a central dogma of his renovated hasidism. The Breslaver hasid is instructed to seek out more and more challenging conflicts, "maqqifim", as a way to stimulate his need to rely upon faith rather than look for an intellectual understanding of God. Eastern religions, without as much stress on a personal God as has Judaism, can do without such a condenser model of faith and rely more upon the natural power of awareness as a tool to access divinity. Here is Nachman's version of Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. It's the same dialectic, with different cultural overlays to mask it. Since the Fall, since the Tower of Babel, since the decree, different peoples need to disguise their prayers with different codes, different "stories", lest the accusing angels on the left (our need to maintain cultural distinctions, our "gevurot") protest. LM 5:5. Know as well that a person must couple the gevurot (severities) with chasadim (benevolences), left with right, as is written (Psalms 20:7), "with the saving gevurot of His right arm" . For the main revelation comes about by means of chasadim, as is written (ibid 110:1), "Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies your footstool". It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This love is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). . . ."The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere." and this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in , "Sit at My right hand while I make your enemies your footstool." FW: Both Heidegger and Nachman point toward resolving the "battle" of world vs earth dialectically. In LM 5:5 Nachman uses alchemical water rather than alchemical earth to symbolize the side of deduction, and "love" symbolizes the power of induction to encompass strong polarities (enemies) in a higher unity. Parallel to this dichotomy is that between the Fear of Heaven and love, in the sense that extreme polarities in our existence drive us to the breaking point, abyss, void, and instill thereby in us a "fear of heaven". Thunder in LM 5 symbolizes these extreme opposites reverberating in our lives. The reverberations of thunder reach on high and invite drops of dew (new ideas from the macrocosm) to enter the void in the microcosm and open up new possibilities. The new possibilities, dew drops, at first are merely weak gestalts/figures percolating up from the ground, analogous to the weak figures or gestalts that pass through the body and mind of the performer in the pure process mode. Thus, thunder and lightning serve Nachman in LM 5:5 as structural equivalents to Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. Nachman's version of the conflict dialectic makes the conflict much more explicit, in order to stimulate a greater reliance on pietist faith in a personal God than is necessary in the Eastern equivalents. (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO, AND MASHIACH H 670. A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. FW: Again Heidegger approaches the conflict dialectic, this time with a metaphor much closer to the tsimtsum framework invoked by Nachman in LM 5. Rather than associating to the gentle pure process mode, the allusion to the conflict dialectic and tsimtsum is here much more direct. First we see this in the location of this Greek temple: "the middle of a rock cleft valley", i.e., the two extremes making up the impasse that opens up the void. The word "building" points immediately to the left pillar headed by "binah", from the Hebrew root "to build". The figure of the god is the emerging new macrocosmic, Platonic idea, the "maqqif" which negates the "pnimi" (the impasse of one's heart) and supplants it dialectically. In the pure process mode it is "the Open" (world) which houses the forms which come and pass away (earth), but here it is the rigid structure of a temple (earth) that houses the constantly emerging open (world, god). Here we are back in the typical Lurianic kabbalah terrain that is Nachman's home ground. H 671. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple's firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. FW: Around the temple crashes the thunder and lightning of a great storm, which is the moment of tsimtsum in the concrete dialectic. And this time it is alchemical air which Heidegger cites to remind us of his own grounding in the traditional dialectic. Or perhaps in this compact temple image we have the entire dialectic: water (the storm), earth (temple as rigid framework), air (the space for the emerging maqqif idea) and fire (the lightning and the heat of the sun). Let's see how our two gurus articulate these alchemical ideas, each with his own "story". First Heidegger: a Greek pilgrim approaching in the valley sees first the temple in the distance, before the small figure of the god inside is visible. And Nachman says in LM 5:6, LM 5:6. This is the aspect of fear which precedes. For fear of Heaven precedes all else, as is written (Psalms 111:10), "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God". FW: But what exactly is the function or work of this Greek temple? H 670. It is the temple work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation. FW: The work that is done in the temple and by means of the temple itself is the concrete dialectic, which for both Heidegger and Nachman includes the Platonic concepts of collection and anamnesis (Greek: "not forgetting"). Specifically, the temple work (dialectic) gathers around itself (collects) the unity of those paths and relations (the weak gestalts encompassed by strong gestalts, maqqifim). Heidegger was a contemporary of Fritz Perls, and a glance at the Gestalt model will clear away a lot of metaphorical muddle here. The gestalt work (temple work) that the Gestalt patient does by identifying with pair after pair of his polarities in his work on his games and unfinished business serves to encompass all the inner ideas of these points of view within his own emerging self-as-process. This is Platonic collection of weaker ideas, gestalts or monads within stronger ideas, gestalts or monads. The "coming solution" with which the patient identifies as his goal is thus on a higher level of integration than his previous game playing self. It is as though an unruly mob has been integrated into a mature human populace with a clear sense of purpose. This is the return of the members of the nation to its true self, its archetypal dialectical ideas and logic, and the grasping of its destiny ("vocation"). Plato, like Heidegger, placed the needs of the republic above the needs of individuals. Heidegger as Nazi leader showed us the ugly side of Platonism, while the restraints imposed by hasidic halachah kept Nachman and his followers closer to a balanced position. The "world" of a historical people is for both thinkers inhabited by ideas associated with the folklore of that tribe. These are the personages of Wagner's operas for Germans and the patriarchs of the Bible for Jews. In LM 5 Nachman makes use of Yitzchak and Avraham for this purpose, and likewise for Yaakov in LM 1. LM 5:3. This is what our Sages taught: When a person has fear of Heaven his words are heard (Berakhot 6b). For when someone possesses fear of Heaven, his voice is converted into thunder. This is because thunder is from the side of Yitzchak, as in, "the thunder of His gevurot." This causes his words to be heard - i.e., "the voice is transmitted to the creation." For hearing is linked to [the fear of Heaven], as is written (Habakkuk 3:2), "O God, I heard of Your message; I feared" (Zohar III, 230a). . . This also corresponds to the sound of the shofar - i.e., the shofar horn of the ram, the ram of Yitzchak (Zohar III 235b) - which is an aspect of "the thunder of His gevurot". LM 5:5. It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This [love] is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). This is (Exodus 14:27). "The sea" alludes to the sea of wisdom, "when it turned morning" - this is the morning of Avraham (Zohar II, 170b), corresponding to "Avraham My beloved" (Isaiah 41:8), "to its might" - this is gevurot, corresponding to "The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere.." And this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in, "Sit at My right . . ." LM 1:2. For the Jew must always focus on the inner intelligence of every matter, and bind himself to the wisdom and inner intelligence that is to be found in each thing. This, so that the intelligence which is in each thing may enlighten him that he ma draw closer to God through that thing. For inner intelligence is a great light that shines for a person in all his ways, As is written (Ecclesiastes 8:1), "A person's wisdom causes his countenance to shine. This is the concept of Yaakov. For YaAKoV merited the right of the first born, which is reishit (beginning), the concept of wisdom. FW: Let's relate these two sets of metaphors to each other, i.e., Heidegger's account of the temple and Nachman's account of the patriarchs. Yitzchak, symbolizing the left pillar, (gevurot, severities, distinctions, judgments, deductions) is likened to the Fear of Heaven arising from the extreme polarities associated with tsimtsum/thunder. Avraham, symbolizing the right pillar (love, grace, benevolence, induction, ideas from above, maqqifim) is depicted as powerful enough to encompass "the waters" of deduction. Thunder in LM 5 has a double reference to tsimtsum. In regard to Yitzchak thunder suggests the extreme polarities of the storm, while in regard to Avraham the allusion of thunder is close to that of "the Open" in the pure process mode. "In the morning" the naturalistic forms which congealed dissolve back into the pure process mode. Earth gives itself up to world, in order to restore the balance of the middle way. This is Yaakov as maqqif, encompassing Yitzchak and Avraham in a higher integration. FW: Again, Gestalt practice can help to get the point here. Think of the Gestalt pilgrim working his way through his objective history. After identifying with the inner ideas of each of his x/-x polarities and doing the work of each dialogue in the ascending spiral of the dialectic, the Gestalt pilgrim is instructed to "identify with the coming solution", close your eyes and enter your body and fantasies. This is the rhythm of contact and withdrawal which is the Gestalt equivalent of the tsimtsum idea. The result of this process is grasping the existential message of the entire work, i.e., Yaakov, the balanced wisdom, the sword of the messiah that veers neither to the left or to the right. For Nachman, the tsaddik function, represented by himself as paradigm and potentially available in each Jew, is this archetypal dialectic, the messianic soul Jews receive from Adam, from Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, etc. and lastly from himself as Mashiach ben Joseph. This original messianic soul incorporates the three patriarchal ideas dialectically: Avraham as the thesis, Yitzchak as the antithesis, and Yaakov as the synthesis. Recalling these patriarchs in the context of an ongoing spiritual search grounded in faith is Nachman's version of Platonic anamnesis. Learning, for Jews, is remembering the wisdom of our original founding fathers, our origin. FW: Heidegger had an analogous philosophy of education which he attempted to implement in 1933 as Nazi party member and rector of the University of Berlin in Hitler's Germany. Like Nachman, he found active messianism a bit too difficult and was forced to give up the job. Also like Nachman, he then turned to art as a sublimation of his messianic longings. Hence the title of this essay which we are studying, which Heidegger wrote in 1935, is "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". The essay announces that for Heidegger art - Nazi art, that is - serves the messianic function, with the artist standing in for Jesus or some Aryan equivalent. This parallels Nachman's grand messianic vision of the role of the tsaddik - especially himself - in Jewish lore. Nachman's Platonic gathering and inductive collaging of quotes from traditional Jewish sources as a code for the conflict dialectic is an example of religious art fulfilling the messianic function using anamnesis of archetypal ideas in a Platonic manner. Wagner's operas, with their teutonic patriarchal heroes, serve a parallel Platonic collection function for a Nazi German soul. (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION FW: Doing a Gestalt dreamwork session and moving dialectically through a series of polarities according to the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, is, dialectically speaking - in the sense of Heidegger - setting up a temple with the "coming solution" as the god inside who is illuminating the entire structure. If this is the Gestalt client's first such experience, then Heidegger would speak of "consecrating" the temple. In fact, the process also alludes to the "B'reishit" moment of Genesis, which from a philosophical point of view is happening at every moment of authentic action as God constantly renews his creation. H 672. To dedicate means to consecrate, in the sense that in setting up the work the holy is opened up as holy and the god is invoked into the openness of his presence. . . To e-rect means: to open the right in the sense of a guiding measure, a form in which what belongs to the nature of being gives guidance. FW: We have seen the notion of "measure" in LM 5, in Nachman's stress on attaining a proper balance of left and right pillars, the Fear of Heaven on one side and love on the other side, this being the state of Yaakov, which dialectically synthesizes the antithetical relationship between Avraham and Yitzchak as they usually are portrayed in the kabbalah. Arthur Green has shown clearly that identifying with these three patriarchs was for Nachman a major part of his spiritual quest. Nachman considered the dialectic of the patriarchs as a symbol of his own struggle to attain a level of spirituality appropriate for the leader of a hasidic community. Green maintains that Nachman's journey to the land of Israel was primarily a need for a symbolic rite of passage, the goal of which is in Judaism represented by the dialectic of the three patriarchs. Here is Green's argument. After returning from his journey to Israel, amidst Napoleon's naval bombardment of the Turkish fleet, Nachman TM 85. had "passed through water" for the sake of God, and had seen his faith withstand the threat of imminent death. He was now one who could deserve the vision of the patriarchs, having followed their example by the utter denial of his corporeal self. TM 84. It is now clear that Nachman's journey to the Holy Land may best be defined as a rite de passage, or a voyage of initiation, the likes of which have been studied in various other religious cultures, both pre-literate and classical, but which are not generally considered to be a part of latter day Judaism. TM 82. The patriarchs, who fulfilled the mitzvot in purely spiritual ways, are, in Nachman's imagination, symbols of complete transcendence of the bodily self. Chayay 5:19 Shortly before he departed for the land of Israel, someone asked him why he did not draw the disciples near and speak with them. He said that he now had no words, but said that "by means of the verse "When you pass through the water I shall be with you" (Isaiah 43:2) it has become known to me how one may see the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whenever one wants." FW: Green cites Eliade on the relationship between rite of passage and consecration. TM 92. The road is arduous, fraught with perils, because it is, in fact, a rite of the passage from the profane to the sacred, from the ephemeral and illusory to reality and eternity, from death to life, from man to the divinity. Attaining the center is equivalent to a consecration, an initiation; yesterday's profane and illusory existence gives place to a new life, to a life that is real, enduring. M. Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return (Cosmos And History), p. 18 FW: Finally, here in LM 5 we find all of these themes succinctly expressed with Nachman's usual collage of Torah quotations. LM 5:5. When you guard your mind from the aspect of chametz, so that it does not become clogged, then your voice will strike your skull and be converted into thunder, and the heart's crookedness will be made straight. Then, you will merit joy, as in, "and joy for the straight of heart." This is the meaning of (Psalms 81:8), "When you called in secret, I answered you thunderously, I tested you at the Waters of Conflict. Selah" FW: Nachman asks his disciples to surrender themselves to an intense, harrowing rite of passage by doing their work of hitbod'dut, talking to God, in a manner directly analogous to the Gestalt therapy monologue process of creating a world of one's own. The Waters of Conflict his followers will pass through thereby are the descending pillar of the conflict of dialectic. His hasidim are to seek to obtain a properly balanced dialectical relationship between the patriarchs symbolizing the left, right and middle pillars, which is Nachman's kabbalistic way of speaking about what Plato calls "measure", and other call the middle way. Initiating this monologue by calling out to God is what Heidegger labels a consecration of the temple, which is at the same time an opening up of a world of holiness and an invoking of the god. Nachman, of course, is referring to the tsimtsum experience which opens up the void and invites new ideas to descend from the macrocosm. We also have heard him refer to this process as attaining the place from which the prophets suckle, and also in LM 5 we recall we have found right in the text the main points of Luzzatto's theory of prophecy articulated in terms of seeking the most unclouded aspaklariot (lenses) through which to experience the word of God. Luzzatto uses the word unclouded, while Heidegger says more or less the same thing in his own idiosyncratic manner by using referring to the unconcealment of truth. (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV FW: A very clear parallel between Heidegger's use above of the terms "world" and "right" for the notion of opening up a holy space is a homily Nachman delivered shortly after moving to Bratslav, which perhaps served to commemorate the opening of a new temple. At TM 137 we have the following taken from LM 44, in which Nachman likens his arrival in Bratslav to Abraham's arrival in Israel. Nachman viewed his own arrival in Bratslav as the founding of a new Jerusalem, the center of a world based on his teachings. TM 137. Thus our sages say: "Whoever establishes a fixed place for prayer, the God of Abraham helps him." For by his hand a new world is built, and this new building is through Abraham, as Scripture says: "The world is build by chesed". (Psalms 89:3). Abraham was the first to attain Erez Israel. FW: Heidegger makes the dialectical foundation of this consecration very explicit. H 72. What does the work, as work, set up? Towering up within itself, the work opens up a world and keeps it abidingly in force. To be a work means to set up a world . . . Wherever those decisions of our history that relate to our very being are made, are taken up and abandoned by us, go unrecognized and are rediscovered by new inquiry, there the world worlds. FW: Going back to our paradigm case of a Gestalt dreamwork session, the "work" is the dialectic initiated by beginning a session, as the pilgrim sets out to work his way through the series of x/-x polarities, the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, that constitutes what Hegel labels the "objective history" of the pilgrim's soul. Going deeper, the overall superobjective that guides the Gestalt session, what Aristotle labels the actuality which is prior to the potentiality of each of the beats of the dialectic, is this opening within the denseness of Being. The via negativa way of formulating the opening is to invoke the notion of a vacuum, what Luria and Nachman refer to as the tsimtsum process. Likewise, in terms of the sefirot, at the moment of Genesis it is chochmah, the new idea, which opens up a world within the pre-existent being of God, binah, which already is built up. The Hebrew root of "binah" is "to build". Likewise chesed, God's grace or benevolence, is the opening up of a space within a pre-existent state of judgment, limitation or Fear of Heaven. Chochmah and chesed are on the right pillar. Nachman's goal is that left and right will combine to give the balanced middle pillar/middle way, symbolized by Yaakov. In the following passage Heidegger specifically mentions the role of grace (chesed) and its absence, (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC H 73. In a world's worlding is gathered that spaciousness out of which the protective grace of the gods is granted or withheld. Even this doom of the gods remaining absent is a way in which world worlds. FW: Here Heidegger zeroes in on exactly the founding principle of Nachman's dialectic, the apparent absence of God in the secular world, and we wonder if the grand theoretician of Nazi Germany in 1935 had perhaps got his hands on a translation of Nachman's work as a pretext for his own projects. If Heidegger had read LM 44 he might have found in Nachman himself much of the same racist magical wishful thinking which his own colleagues later perfected to make their own conquered lands "Judenrein", cleaned out of Jews. Nachman's recipe for instantly ridding a town of goyish presence was very simple: just clap your hands. It is reminiscent of Mary Poppins' advice to the children on how to get rid of unpleasant thoughts by singing a happy tune. Nachman said, in that same sermon at Bratslav, TM 137. All things are called the power of His deeds, the word power [ko'ach, numerically twenty eight] corresponding to the twenty-eight letters [in the first verse] of Creation and to the twenty-eight joints on a person's hand. As is well known, the atmosphere of the pagans' lands is polluted, while the air of the land of Israel is holy and pure, since God has taken it away from the other nations and given it to us. Outside the Holy Land, however, the air remains impure. When we clap our hands together in prayer [using the twenty eight joints] we arouse the power of the twenty-eight letters of Creation, the "power of his deeds", showing that He has the power to give us the inheritance of the nations, since everything belongs to God. Thus we are able to purify the air of other peoples' lands, as these lands are brought back under the rule of God, and He can distribute them as He wishes. FW: All this is one more example of why hasidism (for Nachman) or hegelianism (for Heidegger) without education concerning the philosophical roots of what all the mumbo-jumbo means is irresponsible at best. At worst, we need only look back at the last century to see the fruits of a world run amuck after uncritically gobbling down a too generous helping of dialectical thinking. Clapping our hands to push aside polluted air and open up a space of pure air is alchemy, with alchemical air representing the kabbalistic empty space of tsimtsum which opens up within alchemical earth. Alchemy and dlalectics are elements of renaissance science, which hovered on the borderline between science and magic. Pushing back the borders of hard logic (deduction) to allow "the Open" of wishful thinking (induction) is a wonderful tool for liberation of the human spirit, so long as what then enters the vacuum is carefully monitored. Monitored by what? Monitored by who? Perhaps just asking these questions is sufficient here. Building a temple is a noble enterprise in itself, but then we need to ask what god will then be invited into this new temple to serve as Aristotelian final cause, pure Platonic idea, or to embody alchemical fire ignited to negate all negations of the One?


5. THE BRANCH (complete) gestalt dreamwork on a painting

THE BRANCH (complete) gestalt dreamwork on a painting

complete session (60 minutes) gestalt dreamwork on a painting instead of a dream, done by franklyn wepner. TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD ALL OF MY VIDEOS, PLUS 1500 PAGES OF MY EXPLANATORY ESSAYS (ALL AT NO CHARGE) PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: franklynwepner.com. ALSO PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH ME ANY COMMENTS ABOUT MY WORK: franklynwepner@gmail.com. IN THE LISTING OF VIDEOS THE LETTERS (HQ) REFER TO A HIGHER QUALITY VERSION OF THE VIDEO, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOUR COMPUTER CAN HANDLE IT. FRANKLYN WEPNER JUNE 2009 ESSAY: "HEIDEGGER & NACHMAN ON THE ORIGIN OF ART" REFERENCES: (1) NACHMAN OF BRESLAV, "COLLECTED ESSAYS" ("LIKUTEI MOHARAN"), SECTION 5 (2) MARTIN HEIDEGGER, "THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART", IN "PHILOSOPHIES OF ART AND BEAUTY", ED. HOFSTADTER & KUHNS (1) THE "OPEN" & THE PURE PROCESS MODE (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO & MASHIACH (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC (1) THE "OPEN" AND THE PURE PROCESS MODE H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The above is a typical sentence taken from Martin Heidegger's essay, "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". This sentence is loaded with Heidegger technical jargon: world, earth, battle, unconcealedness, beings and truth. Also in this sentence, these terms are laid out in an interlocking manner such that words that we thought we understood suddenly become very strange to us. We are mystified. But let us try now to decode this knot of dialectical jargon. Decoding even this one sentence will reveal much of the underlying logic of Heidegger's philosophy of art. Our project in this short essay is to see whether Heidegger's recondite reflections about art can shed valuable light on the work of Nachman of Breslav. We have been approaching Nachman mainly from the perspective of Isaac Luria's dialectic of conflict, which was Nachman's own reference point in 1800. But doing so required jumping right away into the tsimtsum theory, and we risked explaining something very obscure in an even more obscure manner. Fortunately, we have available a magic carpet tool from the performing arts which in one quick, painless stroke will land us in the middle of the dialectical universe of both Heidegger and Luria and allow us from those two starting points to converge on our primary target, the work Nachman of Breslav. This tool is a world class technique with a long history. It constitutes a major foundation of the dance theaters of Asia, and in today's avant garde theater world it is known as the "pure process mode". Again I express my gratitude to the Mabou Mines Theater Company for initiating me into this bit of esoterica. FW: The pure process mode as performed looks a lot like Tai Ch'i, but then again you might not know about Tai Ch'i either so I'll start from the basic idea. A group of performers is told to focus on awareness rather than thinking. Like in Gestalt Therapy, awareness here includes contact with one's environment using senses, with one's body using proprioception, and with one's fantasies. The stress in this exercise is on environment awareness. Along with work on awareness, the group is instructed to begin a holistic, total movement of all body parts, very slowly and very relaxed so as not to let the movements or body tension interfere with the awareness. All this is here and now work, passively responding to what is happening in one's awareness. What to do next stems from passively reacting to what already is happening, and going with that flow in a non-deliberate manner. Philosophically, what we have here is "induction" or Platonic collection, or gestalt formation, in the sense that from the particular details the performer infers a single new encompassing idea which then becomes the rule that guides his next choices. From the ground of what is happening arise potential figures, weak gestalts, until one of them becomes the strong gestalt or monad which then is the new world of that emerging moment. And here we have Heidegger's key term, "world", emerging as a product of inductive, intuitive thinking. The world that worlds, using Heidegger jargon, is the emerging gestalt or figure that then is the organizing center of the organism's existence until the next strong gestalt (world) takes over. For Gestalt Therapists a neurotic is an individual who interferes with, who interrupts his natural figure/ground process such that strong gestalts do not congeal and the ground keeps churning up weak gestalts aimlessly. FW: So far we have presented half of the pure process mode concept, the side of passivity and induction. The other, complementary side of the pure process mode is the active, deliberate, deductive side. Here is how that works. As I am doing my awareness and movement exercise, I am instructed also to allow any particular focus that emerges strongly enough from the ground that it attracts my conscious attention to continue to develop, and then I see where it takes me. In other words, I am looking for associations, or what Nachman would label "behinot". This is an aspect of that and that is an aspect of the next thing, endlessly. The main motor of the pure process mode is the passive, induction side, but riding on it is a series of deductive moments or deliberate active choices to accept the hint and go with that idea to its completion as a particular "thing". For example, I notice that my body is doing something like a swimming breast stroke, and I allow myself gradually to go almost fully into the breast stroke form. But here I interrupt the naturalistic form I am performing and remind myself that I need the active/passive balance, the middle way. And so I now allow the breast stroke form - again gradually with full awareness - to dissolve back into the passive aspect of the pure process mode. We now have the two poles of Heidegger's dialectic. The deliberate, active point of view Heidegger calls "earth", and the passive point of view Heidegger calls "world". Here again is our initial Heidegger quote. H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The "battle" is the competition between world and earth, induction and deduction. Usually when we do the breast stroke in the pool as part of our 20 minute exercise routine, the choice is deliberate, and the details of the stroke fit into a vast grid of distinctions of different kind of muscular and breathing activities. The ramification of the basic idea of "swimming" into all these strokes and nuances of strokes is an example of deductive logic, moving from the general idea of "swimming" to the particular differences of each stroke. The opposite of deduction in this sense is the passive experience of letting all those details and nuances fade away into no-thing-ness. The combination of deduction and induction, earth and world, kabbalistic left pillar and right pillar, is the concrete dialectic which grounds much of sophisticated world culture, east and west. Doing the pure process exercise is like a slow motion movie of some sport which reveals the seams linking the individual moves. These seams usually are a hidden, "concealed" ground for the chain of deliberate moves. The pure process mode reverses our usual figure/ground process, thereby "unconcealing" the ground of "being as a whole". If we think of our usual daily existence as packed with habitual, mechanical behavior, then the pure process mode opens up or clears a space in that dense structure. Here is another Heidegger statement, This time he describes this "open center" of our existence. H 679. In the midst of beings as a whole an open place occurs. There is a clearing, a lighting. Thought of in reference to what is, to beings, this clearing is in a greater degree than are beings. This open center is therefore not surrounded by what is; rather the lighting center itself encircles all that is, like the a Nothing which we scarcely know. FW: Just substitute no-thing-ness for Nothing, and we have again the pure process mode, with things coming into existence and going out of existence devoid of their usual thingness as specific objects that we make use of or relate to. FW: Turning now back to Nachman of Breslav, let us read Heidegger's prose from the point of view of the dialectic of conflict and the tradition of alchemy which Nachman inherited from Isaac Luria. Immediately we see a likely source for Heidegger's choice of the word "earth" to suggest the process of deduction in opposition to the process of induction. For the process of deduction or creation on the left pillar of the tree of life descends deductively from alchemical water to alchemical earth, before ascending inductively through alchemical air to alchemical fire. Moving through these four elements, water, earth, air and fire, completes the cycle. Alchemical air is what becomes revealed (unconcealed) at the moment of tsimtsum, as God or man contracts his frozen x/-x polarities to allow a relative vacuum. Into the void emerges or overflows inductively a new idea from the macrocosm which then encompasses the two sides of the former impasse in a higher integration. The encompassing new idea Nachman labels, logically enough, the "maqqif", since in Hebrew the word "maqqif" means "encompasses". The void is the "open" of Heidegger, which begins as an air pocket and then does a figure/ground reversal from air pocket to encompassing no-thing-ness in which the two sides, x/-x, of the former impasse disappear. This disappearing is the negation of the negations of the One Without A Second. The negations, the stuck antagonists of the impasse, are thus burnt up in alchemical fire, completing the circle of alchemical elements of the concrete dialectic. FW: By stressing the impasse at the expense of the pure process mode, kabbalists like Luria and Nachman of Breslav highlight the absence of new ideas flowing from on high. This is like building up charge on a condenser. The ideas certainly are there, since God is in all the world, but they are apparently absent. Arthur Green shows how Nachman made his own personal experience of the apparent absence of God a central dogma of his renovated hasidism. The Breslaver hasid is instructed to seek out more and more challenging conflicts, "maqqifim", as a way to stimulate his need to rely upon faith rather than look for an intellectual understanding of God. Eastern religions, without as much stress on a personal God as has Judaism, can do without such a condenser model of faith and rely more upon the natural power of awareness as a tool to access divinity. Here is Nachman's version of Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. It's the same dialectic, with different cultural overlays to mask it. Since the Fall, since the Tower of Babel, since the decree, different peoples need to disguise their prayers with different codes, different "stories", lest the accusing angels on the left (our need to maintain cultural distinctions, our "gevurot") protest. LM 5:5. Know as well that a person must couple the gevurot (severities) with chasadim (benevolences), left with right, as is written (Psalms 20:7), "with the saving gevurot of His right arm" . For the main revelation comes about by means of chasadim, as is written (ibid 110:1), "Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies your footstool". It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This love is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). . . ."The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere." and this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in , "Sit at My right hand while I make your enemies your footstool." FW: Both Heidegger and Nachman point toward resolving the "battle" of world vs earth dialectically. In LM 5:5 Nachman uses alchemical water rather than alchemical earth to symbolize the side of deduction, and "love" symbolizes the power of induction to encompass strong polarities (enemies) in a higher unity. Parallel to this dichotomy is that between the Fear of Heaven and love, in the sense that extreme polarities in our existence drive us to the breaking point, abyss, void, and instill thereby in us a "fear of heaven". Thunder in LM 5 symbolizes these extreme opposites reverberating in our lives. The reverberations of thunder reach on high and invite drops of dew (new ideas from the macrocosm) to enter the void in the microcosm and open up new possibilities. The new possibilities, dew drops, at first are merely weak gestalts/figures percolating up from the ground, analogous to the weak figures or gestalts that pass through the body and mind of the performer in the pure process mode. Thus, thunder and lightning serve Nachman in LM 5:5 as structural equivalents to Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. Nachman's version of the conflict dialectic makes the conflict much more explicit, in order to stimulate a greater reliance on pietist faith in a personal God than is necessary in the Eastern equivalents. (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO, AND MASHIACH H 670. A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. FW: Again Heidegger approaches the conflict dialectic, this time with a metaphor much closer to the tsimtsum framework invoked by Nachman in LM 5. Rather than associating to the gentle pure process mode, the allusion to the conflict dialectic and tsimtsum is here much more direct. First we see this in the location of this Greek temple: "the middle of a rock cleft valley", i.e., the two extremes making up the impasse that opens up the void. The word "building" points immediately to the left pillar headed by "binah", from the Hebrew root "to build". The figure of the god is the emerging new macrocosmic, Platonic idea, the "maqqif" which negates the "pnimi" (the impasse of one's heart) and supplants it dialectically. In the pure process mode it is "the Open" (world) which houses the forms which come and pass away (earth), but here it is the rigid structure of a temple (earth) that houses the constantly emerging open (world, god). Here we are back in the typical Lurianic kabbalah terrain that is Nachman's home ground. H 671. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple's firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. FW: Around the temple crashes the thunder and lightning of a great storm, which is the moment of tsimtsum in the concrete dialectic. And this time it is alchemical air which Heidegger cites to remind us of his own grounding in the traditional dialectic. Or perhaps in this compact temple image we have the entire dialectic: water (the storm), earth (temple as rigid framework), air (the space for the emerging maqqif idea) and fire (the lightning and the heat of the sun). Let's see how our two gurus articulate these alchemical ideas, each with his own "story". First Heidegger: a Greek pilgrim approaching in the valley sees first the temple in the distance, before the small figure of the god inside is visible. And Nachman says in LM 5:6, LM 5:6. This is the aspect of fear which precedes. For fear of Heaven precedes all else, as is written (Psalms 111:10), "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God". FW: But what exactly is the function or work of this Greek temple? H 670. It is the temple work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation. FW: The work that is done in the temple and by means of the temple itself is the concrete dialectic, which for both Heidegger and Nachman includes the Platonic concepts of collection and anamnesis (Greek: "not forgetting"). Specifically, the temple work (dialectic) gathers around itself (collects) the unity of those paths and relations (the weak gestalts encompassed by strong gestalts, maqqifim). Heidegger was a contemporary of Fritz Perls, and a glance at the Gestalt model will clear away a lot of metaphorical muddle here. The gestalt work (temple work) that the Gestalt patient does by identifying with pair after pair of his polarities in his work on his games and unfinished business serves to encompass all the inner ideas of these points of view within his own emerging self-as-process. This is Platonic collection of weaker ideas, gestalts or monads within stronger ideas, gestalts or monads. The "coming solution" with which the patient identifies as his goal is thus on a higher level of integration than his previous game playing self. It is as though an unruly mob has been integrated into a mature human populace with a clear sense of purpose. This is the return of the members of the nation to its true self, its archetypal dialectical ideas and logic, and the grasping of its destiny ("vocation"). Plato, like Heidegger, placed the needs of the republic above the needs of individuals. Heidegger as Nazi leader showed us the ugly side of Platonism, while the restraints imposed by hasidic halachah kept Nachman and his followers closer to a balanced position. The "world" of a historical people is for both thinkers inhabited by ideas associated with the folklore of that tribe. These are the personages of Wagner's operas for Germans and the patriarchs of the Bible for Jews. In LM 5 Nachman makes use of Yitzchak and Avraham for this purpose, and likewise for Yaakov in LM 1. LM 5:3. This is what our Sages taught: When a person has fear of Heaven his words are heard (Berakhot 6b). For when someone possesses fear of Heaven, his voice is converted into thunder. This is because thunder is from the side of Yitzchak, as in, "the thunder of His gevurot." This causes his words to be heard - i.e., "the voice is transmitted to the creation." For hearing is linked to [the fear of Heaven], as is written (Habakkuk 3:2), "O God, I heard of Your message; I feared" (Zohar III, 230a). . . This also corresponds to the sound of the shofar - i.e., the shofar horn of the ram, the ram of Yitzchak (Zohar III 235b) - which is an aspect of "the thunder of His gevurot". LM 5:5. It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This [love] is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). This is (Exodus 14:27). "The sea" alludes to the sea of wisdom, "when it turned morning" - this is the morning of Avraham (Zohar II, 170b), corresponding to "Avraham My beloved" (Isaiah 41:8), "to its might" - this is gevurot, corresponding to "The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere.." And this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in, "Sit at My right . . ." LM 1:2. For the Jew must always focus on the inner intelligence of every matter, and bind himself to the wisdom and inner intelligence that is to be found in each thing. This, so that the intelligence which is in each thing may enlighten him that he ma draw closer to God through that thing. For inner intelligence is a great light that shines for a person in all his ways, As is written (Ecclesiastes 8:1), "A person's wisdom causes his countenance to shine. This is the concept of Yaakov. For YaAKoV merited the right of the first born, which is reishit (beginning), the concept of wisdom. FW: Let's relate these two sets of metaphors to each other, i.e., Heidegger's account of the temple and Nachman's account of the patriarchs. Yitzchak, symbolizing the left pillar, (gevurot, severities, distinctions, judgments, deductions) is likened to the Fear of Heaven arising from the extreme polarities associated with tsimtsum/thunder. Avraham, symbolizing the right pillar (love, grace, benevolence, induction, ideas from above, maqqifim) is depicted as powerful enough to encompass "the waters" of deduction. Thunder in LM 5 has a double reference to tsimtsum. In regard to Yitzchak thunder suggests the extreme polarities of the storm, while in regard to Avraham the allusion of thunder is close to that of "the Open" in the pure process mode. "In the morning" the naturalistic forms which congealed dissolve back into the pure process mode. Earth gives itself up to world, in order to restore the balance of the middle way. This is Yaakov as maqqif, encompassing Yitzchak and Avraham in a higher integration. FW: Again, Gestalt practice can help to get the point here. Think of the Gestalt pilgrim working his way through his objective history. After identifying with the inner ideas of each of his x/-x polarities and doing the work of each dialogue in the ascending spiral of the dialectic, the Gestalt pilgrim is instructed to "identify with the coming solution", close your eyes and enter your body and fantasies. This is the rhythm of contact and withdrawal which is the Gestalt equivalent of the tsimtsum idea. The result of this process is grasping the existential message of the entire work, i.e., Yaakov, the balanced wisdom, the sword of the messiah that veers neither to the left or to the right. For Nachman, the tsaddik function, represented by himself as paradigm and potentially available in each Jew, is this archetypal dialectic, the messianic soul Jews receive from Adam, from Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, etc. and lastly from himself as Mashiach ben Joseph. This original messianic soul incorporates the three patriarchal ideas dialectically: Avraham as the thesis, Yitzchak as the antithesis, and Yaakov as the synthesis. Recalling these patriarchs in the context of an ongoing spiritual search grounded in faith is Nachman's version of Platonic anamnesis. Learning, for Jews, is remembering the wisdom of our original founding fathers, our origin. FW: Heidegger had an analogous philosophy of education which he attempted to implement in 1933 as Nazi party member and rector of the University of Berlin in Hitler's Germany. Like Nachman, he found active messianism a bit too difficult and was forced to give up the job. Also like Nachman, he then turned to art as a sublimation of his messianic longings. Hence the title of this essay which we are studying, which Heidegger wrote in 1935, is "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". The essay announces that for Heidegger art - Nazi art, that is - serves the messianic function, with the artist standing in for Jesus or some Aryan equivalent. This parallels Nachman's grand messianic vision of the role of the tsaddik - especially himself - in Jewish lore. Nachman's Platonic gathering and inductive collaging of quotes from traditional Jewish sources as a code for the conflict dialectic is an example of religious art fulfilling the messianic function using anamnesis of archetypal ideas in a Platonic manner. Wagner's operas, with their teutonic patriarchal heroes, serve a parallel Platonic collection function for a Nazi German soul. (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION FW: Doing a Gestalt dreamwork session and moving dialectically through a series of polarities according to the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, is, dialectically speaking - in the sense of Heidegger - setting up a temple with the "coming solution" as the god inside who is illuminating the entire structure. If this is the Gestalt client's first such experience, then Heidegger would speak of "consecrating" the temple. In fact, the process also alludes to the "B'reishit" moment of Genesis, which from a philosophical point of view is happening at every moment of authentic action as God constantly renews his creation. H 672. To dedicate means to consecrate, in the sense that in setting up the work the holy is opened up as holy and the god is invoked into the openness of his presence. . . To e-rect means: to open the right in the sense of a guiding measure, a form in which what belongs to the nature of being gives guidance. FW: We have seen the notion of "measure" in LM 5, in Nachman's stress on attaining a proper balance of left and right pillars, the Fear of Heaven on one side and love on the other side, this being the state of Yaakov, which dialectically synthesizes the antithetical relationship between Avraham and Yitzchak as they usually are portrayed in the kabbalah. Arthur Green has shown clearly that identifying with these three patriarchs was for Nachman a major part of his spiritual quest. Nachman considered the dialectic of the patriarchs as a symbol of his own struggle to attain a level of spirituality appropriate for the leader of a hasidic community. Green maintains that Nachman's journey to the land of Israel was primarily a need for a symbolic rite of passage, the goal of which is in Judaism represented by the dialectic of the three patriarchs. Here is Green's argument. After returning from his journey to Israel, amidst Napoleon's naval bombardment of the Turkish fleet, Nachman TM 85. had "passed through water" for the sake of God, and had seen his faith withstand the threat of imminent death. He was now one who could deserve the vision of the patriarchs, having followed their example by the utter denial of his corporeal self. TM 84. It is now clear that Nachman's journey to the Holy Land may best be defined as a rite de passage, or a voyage of initiation, the likes of which have been studied in various other religious cultures, both pre-literate and classical, but which are not generally considered to be a part of latter day Judaism. TM 82. The patriarchs, who fulfilled the mitzvot in purely spiritual ways, are, in Nachman's imagination, symbols of complete transcendence of the bodily self. Chayay 5:19 Shortly before he departed for the land of Israel, someone asked him why he did not draw the disciples near and speak with them. He said that he now had no words, but said that "by means of the verse "When you pass through the water I shall be with you" (Isaiah 43:2) it has become known to me how one may see the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whenever one wants." FW: Green cites Eliade on the relationship between rite of passage and consecration. TM 92. The road is arduous, fraught with perils, because it is, in fact, a rite of the passage from the profane to the sacred, from the ephemeral and illusory to reality and eternity, from death to life, from man to the divinity. Attaining the center is equivalent to a consecration, an initiation; yesterday's profane and illusory existence gives place to a new life, to a life that is real, enduring. M. Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return (Cosmos And History), p. 18 FW: Finally, here in LM 5 we find all of these themes succinctly expressed with Nachman's usual collage of Torah quotations. LM 5:5. When you guard your mind from the aspect of chametz, so that it does not become clogged, then your voice will strike your skull and be converted into thunder, and the heart's crookedness will be made straight. Then, you will merit joy, as in, "and joy for the straight of heart." This is the meaning of (Psalms 81:8), "When you called in secret, I answered you thunderously, I tested you at the Waters of Conflict. Selah" FW: Nachman asks his disciples to surrender themselves to an intense, harrowing rite of passage by doing their work of hitbod'dut, talking to God, in a manner directly analogous to the Gestalt therapy monologue process of creating a world of one's own. The Waters of Conflict his followers will pass through thereby are the descending pillar of the conflict of dialectic. His hasidim are to seek to obtain a properly balanced dialectical relationship between the patriarchs symbolizing the left, right and middle pillars, which is Nachman's kabbalistic way of speaking about what Plato calls "measure", and other call the middle way. Initiating this monologue by calling out to God is what Heidegger labels a consecration of the temple, which is at the same time an opening up of a world of holiness and an invoking of the god. Nachman, of course, is referring to the tsimtsum experience which opens up the void and invites new ideas to descend from the macrocosm. We also have heard him refer to this process as attaining the place from which the prophets suckle, and also in LM 5 we recall we have found right in the text the main points of Luzzatto's theory of prophecy articulated in terms of seeking the most unclouded aspaklariot (lenses) through which to experience the word of God. Luzzatto uses the word unclouded, while Heidegger says more or less the same thing in his own idiosyncratic manner by using referring to the unconcealment of truth. (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV FW: A very clear parallel between Heidegger's use above of the terms "world" and "right" for the notion of opening up a holy space is a homily Nachman delivered shortly after moving to Bratslav, which perhaps served to commemorate the opening of a new temple. At TM 137 we have the following taken from LM 44, in which Nachman likens his arrival in Bratslav to Abraham's arrival in Israel. Nachman viewed his own arrival in Bratslav as the founding of a new Jerusalem, the center of a world based on his teachings. TM 137. Thus our sages say: "Whoever establishes a fixed place for prayer, the God of Abraham helps him." For by his hand a new world is built, and this new building is through Abraham, as Scripture says: "The world is build by chesed". (Psalms 89:3). Abraham was the first to attain Erez Israel. FW: Heidegger makes the dialectical foundation of this consecration very explicit. H 72. What does the work, as work, set up? Towering up within itself, the work opens up a world and keeps it abidingly in force. To be a work means to set up a world . . . Wherever those decisions of our history that relate to our very being are made, are taken up and abandoned by us, go unrecognized and are rediscovered by new inquiry, there the world worlds. FW: Going back to our paradigm case of a Gestalt dreamwork session, the "work" is the dialectic initiated by beginning a session, as the pilgrim sets out to work his way through the series of x/-x polarities, the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, that constitutes what Hegel labels the "objective history" of the pilgrim's soul. Going deeper, the overall superobjective that guides the Gestalt session, what Aristotle labels the actuality which is prior to the potentiality of each of the beats of the dialectic, is this opening within the denseness of Being. The via negativa way of formulating the opening is to invoke the notion of a vacuum, what Luria and Nachman refer to as the tsimtsum process. Likewise, in terms of the sefirot, at the moment of Genesis it is chochmah, the new idea, which opens up a world within the pre-existent being of God, binah, which already is built up. The Hebrew root of "binah" is "to build". Likewise chesed, God's grace or benevolence, is the opening up of a space within a pre-existent state of judgment, limitation or Fear of Heaven. Chochmah and chesed are on the right pillar. Nachman's goal is that left and right will combine to give the balanced middle pillar/middle way, symbolized by Yaakov. In the following passage Heidegger specifically mentions the role of grace (chesed) and its absence, (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC H 73. In a world's worlding is gathered that spaciousness out of which the protective grace of the gods is granted or withheld. Even this doom of the gods remaining absent is a way in which world worlds. FW: Here Heidegger zeroes in on exactly the founding principle of Nachman's dialectic, the apparent absence of God in the secular world, and we wonder if the grand theoretician of Nazi Germany in 1935 had perhaps got his hands on a translation of Nachman's work as a pretext for his own projects. If Heidegger had read LM 44 he might have found in Nachman himself much of the same racist magical wishful thinking which his own colleagues later perfected to make their own conquered lands "Judenrein", cleaned out of Jews. Nachman's recipe for instantly ridding a town of goyish presence was very simple: just clap your hands. It is reminiscent of Mary Poppins' advice to the children on how to get rid of unpleasant thoughts by singing a happy tune. Nachman said, in that same sermon at Bratslav, TM 137. All things are called the power of His deeds, the word power [ko'ach, numerically twenty eight] corresponding to the twenty-eight letters [in the first verse] of Creation and to the twenty-eight joints on a person's hand. As is well known, the atmosphere of the pagans' lands is polluted, while the air of the land of Israel is holy and pure, since God has taken it away from the other nations and given it to us. Outside the Holy Land, however, the air remains impure. When we clap our hands together in prayer [using the twenty eight joints] we arouse the power of the twenty-eight letters of Creation, the "power of his deeds", showing that He has the power to give us the inheritance of the nations, since everything belongs to God. Thus we are able to purify the air of other peoples' lands, as these lands are brought back under the rule of God, and He can distribute them as He wishes. FW: All this is one more example of why hasidism (for Nachman) or hegelianism (for Heidegger) without education concerning the philosophical roots of what all the mumbo-jumbo means is irresponsible at best. At worst, we need only look back at the last century to see the fruits of a world run amuck after uncritically gobbling down a too generous helping of dialectical thinking. Clapping our hands to push aside polluted air and open up a space of pure air is alchemy, with alchemical air representing the kabbalistic empty space of tsimtsum which opens up within alchemical earth. Alchemy and dlalectics are elements of renaissance science, which hovered on the borderline between science and magic. Pushing back the borders of hard logic (deduction) to allow "the Open" of wishful thinking (induction) is a wonderful tool for liberation of the human spirit, so long as what then enters the vacuum is carefully monitored. Monitored by what? Monitored by who? Perhaps just asking these questions is sufficient here. Building a temple is a noble enterprise in itself, but then we need to ask what god will then be invited into this new temple to serve as Aristotelian final cause, pure Platonic idea, or to embody alchemical fire ignited to negate all negations of the One?


6. THE BRANCH gestalt work on a painting, part 5 (HQ)

THE BRANCH gestalt work on a painting, part 5 (HQ)

part 5 (conclusion) of gestalt dreamwork on a painting instead of a dream, done by franklyn wepner. TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD ALL OF MY VIDEOS, PLUS 1500 PAGES OF MY EXPLANATORY ESSAYS (ALL AT NO CHARGE) PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: franklynwepner.com. ALSO PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH ME ANY COMMENTS ABOUT MY WORK: franklynwepner@gmail.com. IN THE LISTING OF VIDEOS THE LETTERS (HQ) REFER TO A HIGHER QUALITY VERSION OF THE VIDEO, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOUR COMPUTER CAN HANDLE IT. FRANKLYN WEPNER JUNE 2009 ESSAY: "HEIDEGGER & NACHMAN ON THE ORIGIN OF ART" REFERENCES: (1) NACHMAN OF BRESLAV, "COLLECTED ESSAYS" ("LIKUTEI MOHARAN"), SECTION 5 (2) MARTIN HEIDEGGER, "THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART", IN "PHILOSOPHIES OF ART AND BEAUTY", ED. HOFSTADTER & KUHNS (1) THE "OPEN" & THE PURE PROCESS MODE (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO & MASHIACH (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC (1) THE "OPEN" AND THE PURE PROCESS MODE H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The above is a typical sentence taken from Martin Heidegger's essay, "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". This sentence is loaded with Heidegger technical jargon: world, earth, battle, unconcealedness, beings and truth. Also in this sentence, these terms are laid out in an interlocking manner such that words that we thought we understood suddenly become very strange to us. We are mystified. But let us try now to decode this knot of dialectical jargon. Decoding even this one sentence will reveal much of the underlying logic of Heidegger's philosophy of art. Our project in this short essay is to see whether Heidegger's recondite reflections about art can shed valuable light on the work of Nachman of Breslav. We have been approaching Nachman mainly from the perspective of Isaac Luria's dialectic of conflict, which was Nachman's own reference point in 1800. But doing so required jumping right away into the tsimtsum theory, and we risked explaining something very obscure in an even more obscure manner. Fortunately, we have available a magic carpet tool from the performing arts which in one quick, painless stroke will land us in the middle of the dialectical universe of both Heidegger and Luria and allow us from those two starting points to converge on our primary target, the work Nachman of Breslav. This tool is a world class technique with a long history. It constitutes a major foundation of the dance theaters of Asia, and in today's avant garde theater world it is known as the "pure process mode". Again I express my gratitude to the Mabou Mines Theater Company for initiating me into this bit of esoterica. FW: The pure process mode as performed looks a lot like Tai Ch'i, but then again you might not know about Tai Ch'i either so I'll start from the basic idea. A group of performers is told to focus on awareness rather than thinking. Like in Gestalt Therapy, awareness here includes contact with one's environment using senses, with one's body using proprioception, and with one's fantasies. The stress in this exercise is on environment awareness. Along with work on awareness, the group is instructed to begin a holistic, total movement of all body parts, very slowly and very relaxed so as not to let the movements or body tension interfere with the awareness. All this is here and now work, passively responding to what is happening in one's awareness. What to do next stems from passively reacting to what already is happening, and going with that flow in a non-deliberate manner. Philosophically, what we have here is "induction" or Platonic collection, or gestalt formation, in the sense that from the particular details the performer infers a single new encompassing idea which then becomes the rule that guides his next choices. From the ground of what is happening arise potential figures, weak gestalts, until one of them becomes the strong gestalt or monad which then is the new world of that emerging moment. And here we have Heidegger's key term, "world", emerging as a product of inductive, intuitive thinking. The world that worlds, using Heidegger jargon, is the emerging gestalt or figure that then is the organizing center of the organism's existence until the next strong gestalt (world) takes over. For Gestalt Therapists a neurotic is an individual who interferes with, who interrupts his natural figure/ground process such that strong gestalts do not congeal and the ground keeps churning up weak gestalts aimlessly. FW: So far we have presented half of the pure process mode concept, the side of passivity and induction. The other, complementary side of the pure process mode is the active, deliberate, deductive side. Here is how that works. As I am doing my awareness and movement exercise, I am instructed also to allow any particular focus that emerges strongly enough from the ground that it attracts my conscious attention to continue to develop, and then I see where it takes me. In other words, I am looking for associations, or what Nachman would label "behinot". This is an aspect of that and that is an aspect of the next thing, endlessly. The main motor of the pure process mode is the passive, induction side, but riding on it is a series of deductive moments or deliberate active choices to accept the hint and go with that idea to its completion as a particular "thing". For example, I notice that my body is doing something like a swimming breast stroke, and I allow myself gradually to go almost fully into the breast stroke form. But here I interrupt the naturalistic form I am performing and remind myself that I need the active/passive balance, the middle way. And so I now allow the breast stroke form - again gradually with full awareness - to dissolve back into the passive aspect of the pure process mode. We now have the two poles of Heidegger's dialectic. The deliberate, active point of view Heidegger calls "earth", and the passive point of view Heidegger calls "world". Here again is our initial Heidegger quote. H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The "battle" is the competition between world and earth, induction and deduction. Usually when we do the breast stroke in the pool as part of our 20 minute exercise routine, the choice is deliberate, and the details of the stroke fit into a vast grid of distinctions of different kind of muscular and breathing activities. The ramification of the basic idea of "swimming" into all these strokes and nuances of strokes is an example of deductive logic, moving from the general idea of "swimming" to the particular differences of each stroke. The opposite of deduction in this sense is the passive experience of letting all those details and nuances fade away into no-thing-ness. The combination of deduction and induction, earth and world, kabbalistic left pillar and right pillar, is the concrete dialectic which grounds much of sophisticated world culture, east and west. Doing the pure process exercise is like a slow motion movie of some sport which reveals the seams linking the individual moves. These seams usually are a hidden, "concealed" ground for the chain of deliberate moves. The pure process mode reverses our usual figure/ground process, thereby "unconcealing" the ground of "being as a whole". If we think of our usual daily existence as packed with habitual, mechanical behavior, then the pure process mode opens up or clears a space in that dense structure. Here is another Heidegger statement, This time he describes this "open center" of our existence. H 679. In the midst of beings as a whole an open place occurs. There is a clearing, a lighting. Thought of in reference to what is, to beings, this clearing is in a greater degree than are beings. This open center is therefore not surrounded by what is; rather the lighting center itself encircles all that is, like the a Nothing which we scarcely know. FW: Just substitute no-thing-ness for Nothing, and we have again the pure process mode, with things coming into existence and going out of existence devoid of their usual thingness as specific objects that we make use of or relate to. FW: Turning now back to Nachman of Breslav, let us read Heidegger's prose from the point of view of the dialectic of conflict and the tradition of alchemy which Nachman inherited from Isaac Luria. Immediately we see a likely source for Heidegger's choice of the word "earth" to suggest the process of deduction in opposition to the process of induction. For the process of deduction or creation on the left pillar of the tree of life descends deductively from alchemical water to alchemical earth, before ascending inductively through alchemical air to alchemical fire. Moving through these four elements, water, earth, air and fire, completes the cycle. Alchemical air is what becomes revealed (unconcealed) at the moment of tsimtsum, as God or man contracts his frozen x/-x polarities to allow a relative vacuum. Into the void emerges or overflows inductively a new idea from the macrocosm which then encompasses the two sides of the former impasse in a higher integration. The encompassing new idea Nachman labels, logically enough, the "maqqif", since in Hebrew the word "maqqif" means "encompasses". The void is the "open" of Heidegger, which begins as an air pocket and then does a figure/ground reversal from air pocket to encompassing no-thing-ness in which the two sides, x/-x, of the former impasse disappear. This disappearing is the negation of the negations of the One Without A Second. The negations, the stuck antagonists of the impasse, are thus burnt up in alchemical fire, completing the circle of alchemical elements of the concrete dialectic. FW: By stressing the impasse at the expense of the pure process mode, kabbalists like Luria and Nachman of Breslav highlight the absence of new ideas flowing from on high. This is like building up charge on a condenser. The ideas certainly are there, since God is in all the world, but they are apparently absent. Arthur Green shows how Nachman made his own personal experience of the apparent absence of God a central dogma of his renovated hasidism. The Breslaver hasid is instructed to seek out more and more challenging conflicts, "maqqifim", as a way to stimulate his need to rely upon faith rather than look for an intellectual understanding of God. Eastern religions, without as much stress on a personal God as has Judaism, can do without such a condenser model of faith and rely more upon the natural power of awareness as a tool to access divinity. Here is Nachman's version of Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. It's the same dialectic, with different cultural overlays to mask it. Since the Fall, since the Tower of Babel, since the decree, different peoples need to disguise their prayers with different codes, different "stories", lest the accusing angels on the left (our need to maintain cultural distinctions, our "gevurot") protest. LM 5:5. Know as well that a person must couple the gevurot (severities) with chasadim (benevolences), left with right, as is written (Psalms 20:7), "with the saving gevurot of His right arm" . For the main revelation comes about by means of chasadim, as is written (ibid 110:1), "Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies your footstool". It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This love is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). . . ."The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere." and this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in , "Sit at My right hand while I make your enemies your footstool." FW: Both Heidegger and Nachman point toward resolving the "battle" of world vs earth dialectically. In LM 5:5 Nachman uses alchemical water rather than alchemical earth to symbolize the side of deduction, and "love" symbolizes the power of induction to encompass strong polarities (enemies) in a higher unity. Parallel to this dichotomy is that between the Fear of Heaven and love, in the sense that extreme polarities in our existence drive us to the breaking point, abyss, void, and instill thereby in us a "fear of heaven". Thunder in LM 5 symbolizes these extreme opposites reverberating in our lives. The reverberations of thunder reach on high and invite drops of dew (new ideas from the macrocosm) to enter the void in the microcosm and open up new possibilities. The new possibilities, dew drops, at first are merely weak gestalts/figures percolating up from the ground, analogous to the weak figures or gestalts that pass through the body and mind of the performer in the pure process mode. Thus, thunder and lightning serve Nachman in LM 5:5 as structural equivalents to Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. Nachman's version of the conflict dialectic makes the conflict much more explicit, in order to stimulate a greater reliance on pietist faith in a personal God than is necessary in the Eastern equivalents. (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO, AND MASHIACH H 670. A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. FW: Again Heidegger approaches the conflict dialectic, this time with a metaphor much closer to the tsimtsum framework invoked by Nachman in LM 5. Rather than associating to the gentle pure process mode, the allusion to the conflict dialectic and tsimtsum is here much more direct. First we see this in the location of this Greek temple: "the middle of a rock cleft valley", i.e., the two extremes making up the impasse that opens up the void. The word "building" points immediately to the left pillar headed by "binah", from the Hebrew root "to build". The figure of the god is the emerging new macrocosmic, Platonic idea, the "maqqif" which negates the "pnimi" (the impasse of one's heart) and supplants it dialectically. In the pure process mode it is "the Open" (world) which houses the forms which come and pass away (earth), but here it is the rigid structure of a temple (earth) that houses the constantly emerging open (world, god). Here we are back in the typical Lurianic kabbalah terrain that is Nachman's home ground. H 671. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple's firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. FW: Around the temple crashes the thunder and lightning of a great storm, which is the moment of tsimtsum in the concrete dialectic. And this time it is alchemical air which Heidegger cites to remind us of his own grounding in the traditional dialectic. Or perhaps in this compact temple image we have the entire dialectic: water (the storm), earth (temple as rigid framework), air (the space for the emerging maqqif idea) and fire (the lightning and the heat of the sun). Let's see how our two gurus articulate these alchemical ideas, each with his own "story". First Heidegger: a Greek pilgrim approaching in the valley sees first the temple in the distance, before the small figure of the god inside is visible. And Nachman says in LM 5:6, LM 5:6. This is the aspect of fear which precedes. For fear of Heaven precedes all else, as is written (Psalms 111:10), "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God". FW: But what exactly is the function or work of this Greek temple? H 670. It is the temple work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation. FW: The work that is done in the temple and by means of the temple itself is the concrete dialectic, which for both Heidegger and Nachman includes the Platonic concepts of collection and anamnesis (Greek: "not forgetting"). Specifically, the temple work (dialectic) gathers around itself (collects) the unity of those paths and relations (the weak gestalts encompassed by strong gestalts, maqqifim). Heidegger was a contemporary of Fritz Perls, and a glance at the Gestalt model will clear away a lot of metaphorical muddle here. The gestalt work (temple work) that the Gestalt patient does by identifying with pair after pair of his polarities in his work on his games and unfinished business serves to encompass all the inner ideas of these points of view within his own emerging self-as-process. This is Platonic collection of weaker ideas, gestalts or monads within stronger ideas, gestalts or monads. The "coming solution" with which the patient identifies as his goal is thus on a higher level of integration than his previous game playing self. It is as though an unruly mob has been integrated into a mature human populace with a clear sense of purpose. This is the return of the members of the nation to its true self, its archetypal dialectical ideas and logic, and the grasping of its destiny ("vocation"). Plato, like Heidegger, placed the needs of the republic above the needs of individuals. Heidegger as Nazi leader showed us the ugly side of Platonism, while the restraints imposed by hasidic halachah kept Nachman and his followers closer to a balanced position. The "world" of a historical people is for both thinkers inhabited by ideas associated with the folklore of that tribe. These are the personages of Wagner's operas for Germans and the patriarchs of the Bible for Jews. In LM 5 Nachman makes use of Yitzchak and Avraham for this purpose, and likewise for Yaakov in LM 1. LM 5:3. This is what our Sages taught: When a person has fear of Heaven his words are heard (Berakhot 6b). For when someone possesses fear of Heaven, his voice is converted into thunder. This is because thunder is from the side of Yitzchak, as in, "the thunder of His gevurot." This causes his words to be heard - i.e., "the voice is transmitted to the creation." For hearing is linked to [the fear of Heaven], as is written (Habakkuk 3:2), "O God, I heard of Your message; I feared" (Zohar III, 230a). . . This also corresponds to the sound of the shofar - i.e., the shofar horn of the ram, the ram of Yitzchak (Zohar III 235b) - which is an aspect of "the thunder of His gevurot". LM 5:5. It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This [love] is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). This is (Exodus 14:27). "The sea" alludes to the sea of wisdom, "when it turned morning" - this is the morning of Avraham (Zohar II, 170b), corresponding to "Avraham My beloved" (Isaiah 41:8), "to its might" - this is gevurot, corresponding to "The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere.." And this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in, "Sit at My right . . ." LM 1:2. For the Jew must always focus on the inner intelligence of every matter, and bind himself to the wisdom and inner intelligence that is to be found in each thing. This, so that the intelligence which is in each thing may enlighten him that he ma draw closer to God through that thing. For inner intelligence is a great light that shines for a person in all his ways, As is written (Ecclesiastes 8:1), "A person's wisdom causes his countenance to shine. This is the concept of Yaakov. For YaAKoV merited the right of the first born, which is reishit (beginning), the concept of wisdom. FW: Let's relate these two sets of metaphors to each other, i.e., Heidegger's account of the temple and Nachman's account of the patriarchs. Yitzchak, symbolizing the left pillar, (gevurot, severities, distinctions, judgments, deductions) is likened to the Fear of Heaven arising from the extreme polarities associated with tsimtsum/thunder. Avraham, symbolizing the right pillar (love, grace, benevolence, induction, ideas from above, maqqifim) is depicted as powerful enough to encompass "the waters" of deduction. Thunder in LM 5 has a double reference to tsimtsum. In regard to Yitzchak thunder suggests the extreme polarities of the storm, while in regard to Avraham the allusion of thunder is close to that of "the Open" in the pure process mode. "In the morning" the naturalistic forms which congealed dissolve back into the pure process mode. Earth gives itself up to world, in order to restore the balance of the middle way. This is Yaakov as maqqif, encompassing Yitzchak and Avraham in a higher integration. FW: Again, Gestalt practice can help to get the point here. Think of the Gestalt pilgrim working his way through his objective history. After identifying with the inner ideas of each of his x/-x polarities and doing the work of each dialogue in the ascending spiral of the dialectic, the Gestalt pilgrim is instructed to "identify with the coming solution", close your eyes and enter your body and fantasies. This is the rhythm of contact and withdrawal which is the Gestalt equivalent of the tsimtsum idea. The result of this process is grasping the existential message of the entire work, i.e., Yaakov, the balanced wisdom, the sword of the messiah that veers neither to the left or to the right. For Nachman, the tsaddik function, represented by himself as paradigm and potentially available in each Jew, is this archetypal dialectic, the messianic soul Jews receive from Adam, from Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, etc. and lastly from himself as Mashiach ben Joseph. This original messianic soul incorporates the three patriarchal ideas dialectically: Avraham as the thesis, Yitzchak as the antithesis, and Yaakov as the synthesis. Recalling these patriarchs in the context of an ongoing spiritual search grounded in faith is Nachman's version of Platonic anamnesis. Learning, for Jews, is remembering the wisdom of our original founding fathers, our origin. FW: Heidegger had an analogous philosophy of education which he attempted to implement in 1933 as Nazi party member and rector of the University of Berlin in Hitler's Germany. Like Nachman, he found active messianism a bit too difficult and was forced to give up the job. Also like Nachman, he then turned to art as a sublimation of his messianic longings. Hence the title of this essay which we are studying, which Heidegger wrote in 1935, is "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". The essay announces that for Heidegger art - Nazi art, that is - serves the messianic function, with the artist standing in for Jesus or some Aryan equivalent. This parallels Nachman's grand messianic vision of the role of the tsaddik - especially himself - in Jewish lore. Nachman's Platonic gathering and inductive collaging of quotes from traditional Jewish sources as a code for the conflict dialectic is an example of religious art fulfilling the messianic function using anamnesis of archetypal ideas in a Platonic manner. Wagner's operas, with their teutonic patriarchal heroes, serve a parallel Platonic collection function for a Nazi German soul. (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION FW: Doing a Gestalt dreamwork session and moving dialectically through a series of polarities according to the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, is, dialectically speaking - in the sense of Heidegger - setting up a temple with the "coming solution" as the god inside who is illuminating the entire structure. If this is the Gestalt client's first such experience, then Heidegger would speak of "consecrating" the temple. In fact, the process also alludes to the "B'reishit" moment of Genesis, which from a philosophical point of view is happening at every moment of authentic action as God constantly renews his creation. H 672. To dedicate means to consecrate, in the sense that in setting up the work the holy is opened up as holy and the god is invoked into the openness of his presence. . . To e-rect means: to open the right in the sense of a guiding measure, a form in which what belongs to the nature of being gives guidance. FW: We have seen the notion of "measure" in LM 5, in Nachman's stress on attaining a proper balance of left and right pillars, the Fear of Heaven on one side and love on the other side, this being the state of Yaakov, which dialectically synthesizes the antithetical relationship between Avraham and Yitzchak as they usually are portrayed in the kabbalah. Arthur Green has shown clearly that identifying with these three patriarchs was for Nachman a major part of his spiritual quest. Nachman considered the dialectic of the patriarchs as a symbol of his own struggle to attain a level of spirituality appropriate for the leader of a hasidic community. Green maintains that Nachman's journey to the land of Israel was primarily a need for a symbolic rite of passage, the goal of which is in Judaism represented by the dialectic of the three patriarchs. Here is Green's argument. After returning from his journey to Israel, amidst Napoleon's naval bombardment of the Turkish fleet, Nachman TM 85. had "passed through water" for the sake of God, and had seen his faith withstand the threat of imminent death. He was now one who could deserve the vision of the patriarchs, having followed their example by the utter denial of his corporeal self. TM 84. It is now clear that Nachman's journey to the Holy Land may best be defined as a rite de passage, or a voyage of initiation, the likes of which have been studied in various other religious cultures, both pre-literate and classical, but which are not generally considered to be a part of latter day Judaism. TM 82. The patriarchs, who fulfilled the mitzvot in purely spiritual ways, are, in Nachman's imagination, symbols of complete transcendence of the bodily self. Chayay 5:19 Shortly before he departed for the land of Israel, someone asked him why he did not draw the disciples near and speak with them. He said that he now had no words, but said that "by means of the verse "When you pass through the water I shall be with you" (Isaiah 43:2) it has become known to me how one may see the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whenever one wants." FW: Green cites Eliade on the relationship between rite of passage and consecration. TM 92. The road is arduous, fraught with perils, because it is, in fact, a rite of the passage from the profane to the sacred, from the ephemeral and illusory to reality and eternity, from death to life, from man to the divinity. Attaining the center is equivalent to a consecration, an initiation; yesterday's profane and illusory existence gives place to a new life, to a life that is real, enduring. M. Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return (Cosmos And History), p. 18 FW: Finally, here in LM 5 we find all of these themes succinctly expressed with Nachman's usual collage of Torah quotations. LM 5:5. When you guard your mind from the aspect of chametz, so that it does not become clogged, then your voice will strike your skull and be converted into thunder, and the heart's crookedness will be made straight. Then, you will merit joy, as in, "and joy for the straight of heart." This is the meaning of (Psalms 81:8), "When you called in secret, I answered you thunderously, I tested you at the Waters of Conflict. Selah" FW: Nachman asks his disciples to surrender themselves to an intense, harrowing rite of passage by doing their work of hitbod'dut, talking to God, in a manner directly analogous to the Gestalt therapy monologue process of creating a world of one's own. The Waters of Conflict his followers will pass through thereby are the descending pillar of the conflict of dialectic. His hasidim are to seek to obtain a properly balanced dialectical relationship between the patriarchs symbolizing the left, right and middle pillars, which is Nachman's kabbalistic way of speaking about what Plato calls "measure", and other call the middle way. Initiating this monologue by calling out to God is what Heidegger labels a consecration of the temple, which is at the same time an opening up of a world of holiness and an invoking of the god. Nachman, of course, is referring to the tsimtsum experience which opens up the void and invites new ideas to descend from the macrocosm. We also have heard him refer to this process as attaining the place from which the prophets suckle, and also in LM 5 we recall we have found right in the text the main points of Luzzatto's theory of prophecy articulated in terms of seeking the most unclouded aspaklariot (lenses) through which to experience the word of God. Luzzatto uses the word unclouded, while Heidegger says more or less the same thing in his own idiosyncratic manner by using referring to the unconcealment of truth. (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV FW: A very clear parallel between Heidegger's use above of the terms "world" and "right" for the notion of opening up a holy space is a homily Nachman delivered shortly after moving to Bratslav, which perhaps served to commemorate the opening of a new temple. At TM 137 we have the following taken from LM 44, in which Nachman likens his arrival in Bratslav to Abraham's arrival in Israel. Nachman viewed his own arrival in Bratslav as the founding of a new Jerusalem, the center of a world based on his teachings. TM 137. Thus our sages say: "Whoever establishes a fixed place for prayer, the God of Abraham helps him." For by his hand a new world is built, and this new building is through Abraham, as Scripture says: "The world is build by chesed". (Psalms 89:3). Abraham was the first to attain Erez Israel. FW: Heidegger makes the dialectical foundation of this consecration very explicit. H 72. What does the work, as work, set up? Towering up within itself, the work opens up a world and keeps it abidingly in force. To be a work means to set up a world . . . Wherever those decisions of our history that relate to our very being are made, are taken up and abandoned by us, go unrecognized and are rediscovered by new inquiry, there the world worlds. FW: Going back to our paradigm case of a Gestalt dreamwork session, the "work" is the dialectic initiated by beginning a session, as the pilgrim sets out to work his way through the series of x/-x polarities, the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, that constitutes what Hegel labels the "objective history" of the pilgrim's soul. Going deeper, the overall superobjective that guides the Gestalt session, what Aristotle labels the actuality which is prior to the potentiality of each of the beats of the dialectic, is this opening within the denseness of Being. The via negativa way of formulating the opening is to invoke the notion of a vacuum, what Luria and Nachman refer to as the tsimtsum process. Likewise, in terms of the sefirot, at the moment of Genesis it is chochmah, the new idea, which opens up a world within the pre-existent being of God, binah, which already is built up. The Hebrew root of "binah" is "to build". Likewise chesed, God's grace or benevolence, is the opening up of a space within a pre-existent state of judgment, limitation or Fear of Heaven. Chochmah and chesed are on the right pillar. Nachman's goal is that left and right will combine to give the balanced middle pillar/middle way, symbolized by Yaakov. In the following passage Heidegger specifically mentions the role of grace (chesed) and its absence, (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC H 73. In a world's worlding is gathered that spaciousness out of which the protective grace of the gods is granted or withheld. Even this doom of the gods remaining absent is a way in which world worlds. FW: Here Heidegger zeroes in on exactly the founding principle of Nachman's dialectic, the apparent absence of God in the secular world, and we wonder if the grand theoretician of Nazi Germany in 1935 had perhaps got his hands on a translation of Nachman's work as a pretext for his own projects. If Heidegger had read LM 44 he might have found in Nachman himself much of the same racist magical wishful thinking which his own colleagues later perfected to make their own conquered lands "Judenrein", cleaned out of Jews. Nachman's recipe for instantly ridding a town of goyish presence was very simple: just clap your hands. It is reminiscent of Mary Poppins' advice to the children on how to get rid of unpleasant thoughts by singing a happy tune. Nachman said, in that same sermon at Bratslav, TM 137. All things are called the power of His deeds, the word power [ko'ach, numerically twenty eight] corresponding to the twenty-eight letters [in the first verse] of Creation and to the twenty-eight joints on a person's hand. As is well known, the atmosphere of the pagans' lands is polluted, while the air of the land of Israel is holy and pure, since God has taken it away from the other nations and given it to us. Outside the Holy Land, however, the air remains impure. When we clap our hands together in prayer [using the twenty eight joints] we arouse the power of the twenty-eight letters of Creation, the "power of his deeds", showing that He has the power to give us the inheritance of the nations, since everything belongs to God. Thus we are able to purify the air of other peoples' lands, as these lands are brought back under the rule of God, and He can distribute them as He wishes. FW: All this is one more example of why hasidism (for Nachman) or hegelianism (for Heidegger) without education concerning the philosophical roots of what all the mumbo-jumbo means is irresponsible at best. At worst, we need only look back at the last century to see the fruits of a world run amuck after uncritically gobbling down a too generous helping of dialectical thinking. Clapping our hands to push aside polluted air and open up a space of pure air is alchemy, with alchemical air representing the kabbalistic empty space of tsimtsum which opens up within alchemical earth. Alchemy and dlalectics are elements of renaissance science, which hovered on the borderline between science and magic. Pushing back the borders of hard logic (deduction) to allow "the Open" of wishful thinking (induction) is a wonderful tool for liberation of the human spirit, so long as what then enters the vacuum is carefully monitored. Monitored by what? Monitored by who? Perhaps just asking these questions is sufficient here. Building a temple is a noble enterprise in itself, but then we need to ask what god will then be invited into this new temple to serve as Aristotelian final cause, pure Platonic idea, or to embody alchemical fire ignited to negate all negations of the One?


7. THE BRANCH gestalt dreamwork on a painting, part 3 (HQ)

THE BRANCH gestalt dreamwork on a painting, part 3 (HQ)

gestalt dreamwork on a painting instead of a dream, done by franklyn wepner. TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD ALL OF MY VIDEOS, PLUS 1500 PAGES OF MY EXPLANATORY ESSAYS (ALL AT NO CHARGE) PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: franklynwepner.com. ALSO PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH ME ANY COMMENTS ABOUT MY WORK: franklynwepner@gmail.com. IN THE LISTING OF VIDEOS THE LETTERS (HQ) REFER TO A HIGHER QUALITY VERSION OF THE VIDEO, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOUR COMPUTER CAN HANDLE IT. FRANKLYN WEPNER JUNE 2009 ESSAY: "HEIDEGGER & NACHMAN ON THE ORIGIN OF ART" REFERENCES: (1) NACHMAN OF BRESLAV, "COLLECTED ESSAYS" ("LIKUTEI MOHARAN"), SECTION 5 (2) MARTIN HEIDEGGER, "THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART", IN "PHILOSOPHIES OF ART AND BEAUTY", ED. HOFSTADTER & KUHNS (1) THE "OPEN" & THE PURE PROCESS MODE (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO & MASHIACH (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC (1) THE "OPEN" AND THE PURE PROCESS MODE H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The above is a typical sentence taken from Martin Heidegger's essay, "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". This sentence is loaded with Heidegger technical jargon: world, earth, battle, unconcealedness, beings and truth. Also in this sentence, these terms are laid out in an interlocking manner such that words that we thought we understood suddenly become very strange to us. We are mystified. But let us try now to decode this knot of dialectical jargon. Decoding even this one sentence will reveal much of the underlying logic of Heidegger's philosophy of art. Our project in this short essay is to see whether Heidegger's recondite reflections about art can shed valuable light on the work of Nachman of Breslav. We have been approaching Nachman mainly from the perspective of Isaac Luria's dialectic of conflict, which was Nachman's own reference point in 1800. But doing so required jumping right away into the tsimtsum theory, and we risked explaining something very obscure in an even more obscure manner. Fortunately, we have available a magic carpet tool from the performing arts which in one quick, painless stroke will land us in the middle of the dialectical universe of both Heidegger and Luria and allow us from those two starting points to converge on our primary target, the work Nachman of Breslav. This tool is a world class technique with a long history. It constitutes a major foundation of the dance theaters of Asia, and in today's avant garde theater world it is known as the "pure process mode". Again I express my gratitude to the Mabou Mines Theater Company for initiating me into this bit of esoterica. FW: The pure process mode as performed looks a lot like Tai Ch'i, but then again you might not know about Tai Ch'i either so I'll start from the basic idea. A group of performers is told to focus on awareness rather than thinking. Like in Gestalt Therapy, awareness here includes contact with one's environment using senses, with one's body using proprioception, and with one's fantasies. The stress in this exercise is on environment awareness. Along with work on awareness, the group is instructed to begin a holistic, total movement of all body parts, very slowly and very relaxed so as not to let the movements or body tension interfere with the awareness. All this is here and now work, passively responding to what is happening in one's awareness. What to do next stems from passively reacting to what already is happening, and going with that flow in a non-deliberate manner. Philosophically, what we have here is "induction" or Platonic collection, or gestalt formation, in the sense that from the particular details the performer infers a single new encompassing idea which then becomes the rule that guides his next choices. From the ground of what is happening arise potential figures, weak gestalts, until one of them becomes the strong gestalt or monad which then is the new world of that emerging moment. And here we have Heidegger's key term, "world", emerging as a product of inductive, intuitive thinking. The world that worlds, using Heidegger jargon, is the emerging gestalt or figure that then is the organizing center of the organism's existence until the next strong gestalt (world) takes over. For Gestalt Therapists a neurotic is an individual who interferes with, who interrupts his natural figure/ground process such that strong gestalts do not congeal and the ground keeps churning up weak gestalts aimlessly. FW: So far we have presented half of the pure process mode concept, the side of passivity and induction. The other, complementary side of the pure process mode is the active, deliberate, deductive side. Here is how that works. As I am doing my awareness and movement exercise, I am instructed also to allow any particular focus that emerges strongly enough from the ground that it attracts my conscious attention to continue to develop, and then I see where it takes me. In other words, I am looking for associations, or what Nachman would label "behinot". This is an aspect of that and that is an aspect of the next thing, endlessly. The main motor of the pure process mode is the passive, induction side, but riding on it is a series of deductive moments or deliberate active choices to accept the hint and go with that idea to its completion as a particular "thing". For example, I notice that my body is doing something like a swimming breast stroke, and I allow myself gradually to go almost fully into the breast stroke form. But here I interrupt the naturalistic form I am performing and remind myself that I need the active/passive balance, the middle way. And so I now allow the breast stroke form - again gradually with full awareness - to dissolve back into the passive aspect of the pure process mode. We now have the two poles of Heidegger's dialectic. The deliberate, active point of view Heidegger calls "earth", and the passive point of view Heidegger calls "world". Here again is our initial Heidegger quote. H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The "battle" is the competition between world and earth, induction and deduction. Usually when we do the breast stroke in the pool as part of our 20 minute exercise routine, the choice is deliberate, and the details of the stroke fit into a vast grid of distinctions of different kind of muscular and breathing activities. The ramification of the basic idea of "swimming" into all these strokes and nuances of strokes is an example of deductive logic, moving from the general idea of "swimming" to the particular differences of each stroke. The opposite of deduction in this sense is the passive experience of letting all those details and nuances fade away into no-thing-ness. The combination of deduction and induction, earth and world, kabbalistic left pillar and right pillar, is the concrete dialectic which grounds much of sophisticated world culture, east and west. Doing the pure process exercise is like a slow motion movie of some sport which reveals the seams linking the individual moves. These seams usually are a hidden, "concealed" ground for the chain of deliberate moves. The pure process mode reverses our usual figure/ground process, thereby "unconcealing" the ground of "being as a whole". If we think of our usual daily existence as packed with habitual, mechanical behavior, then the pure process mode opens up or clears a space in that dense structure. Here is another Heidegger statement, This time he describes this "open center" of our existence. H 679. In the midst of beings as a whole an open place occurs. There is a clearing, a lighting. Thought of in reference to what is, to beings, this clearing is in a greater degree than are beings. This open center is therefore not surrounded by what is; rather the lighting center itself encircles all that is, like the a Nothing which we scarcely know. FW: Just substitute no-thing-ness for Nothing, and we have again the pure process mode, with things coming into existence and going out of existence devoid of their usual thingness as specific objects that we make use of or relate to. FW: Turning now back to Nachman of Breslav, let us read Heidegger's prose from the point of view of the dialectic of conflict and the tradition of alchemy which Nachman inherited from Isaac Luria. Immediately we see a likely source for Heidegger's choice of the word "earth" to suggest the process of deduction in opposition to the process of induction. For the process of deduction or creation on the left pillar of the tree of life descends deductively from alchemical water to alchemical earth, before ascending inductively through alchemical air to alchemical fire. Moving through these four elements, water, earth, air and fire, completes the cycle. Alchemical air is what becomes revealed (unconcealed) at the moment of tsimtsum, as God or man contracts his frozen x/-x polarities to allow a relative vacuum. Into the void emerges or overflows inductively a new idea from the macrocosm which then encompasses the two sides of the former impasse in a higher integration. The encompassing new idea Nachman labels, logically enough, the "maqqif", since in Hebrew the word "maqqif" means "encompasses". The void is the "open" of Heidegger, which begins as an air pocket and then does a figure/ground reversal from air pocket to encompassing no-thing-ness in which the two sides, x/-x, of the former impasse disappear. This disappearing is the negation of the negations of the One Without A Second. The negations, the stuck antagonists of the impasse, are thus burnt up in alchemical fire, completing the circle of alchemical elements of the concrete dialectic. FW: By stressing the impasse at the expense of the pure process mode, kabbalists like Luria and Nachman of Breslav highlight the absence of new ideas flowing from on high. This is like building up charge on a condenser. The ideas certainly are there, since God is in all the world, but they are apparently absent. Arthur Green shows how Nachman made his own personal experience of the apparent absence of God a central dogma of his renovated hasidism. The Breslaver hasid is instructed to seek out more and more challenging conflicts, "maqqifim", as a way to stimulate his need to rely upon faith rather than look for an intellectual understanding of God. Eastern religions, without as much stress on a personal God as has Judaism, can do without such a condenser model of faith and rely more upon the natural power of awareness as a tool to access divinity. Here is Nachman's version of Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. It's the same dialectic, with different cultural overlays to mask it. Since the Fall, since the Tower of Babel, since the decree, different peoples need to disguise their prayers with different codes, different "stories", lest the accusing angels on the left (our need to maintain cultural distinctions, our "gevurot") protest. LM 5:5. Know as well that a person must couple the gevurot (severities) with chasadim (benevolences), left with right, as is written (Psalms 20:7), "with the saving gevurot of His right arm" . For the main revelation comes about by means of chasadim, as is written (ibid 110:1), "Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies your footstool". It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This love is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). . . ."The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere." and this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in , "Sit at My right hand while I make your enemies your footstool." FW: Both Heidegger and Nachman point toward resolving the "battle" of world vs earth dialectically. In LM 5:5 Nachman uses alchemical water rather than alchemical earth to symbolize the side of deduction, and "love" symbolizes the power of induction to encompass strong polarities (enemies) in a higher unity. Parallel to this dichotomy is that between the Fear of Heaven and love, in the sense that extreme polarities in our existence drive us to the breaking point, abyss, void, and instill thereby in us a "fear of heaven". Thunder in LM 5 symbolizes these extreme opposites reverberating in our lives. The reverberations of thunder reach on high and invite drops of dew (new ideas from the macrocosm) to enter the void in the microcosm and open up new possibilities. The new possibilities, dew drops, at first are merely weak gestalts/figures percolating up from the ground, analogous to the weak figures or gestalts that pass through the body and mind of the performer in the pure process mode. Thus, thunder and lightning serve Nachman in LM 5:5 as structural equivalents to Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. Nachman's version of the conflict dialectic makes the conflict much more explicit, in order to stimulate a greater reliance on pietist faith in a personal God than is necessary in the Eastern equivalents. (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO, AND MASHIACH H 670. A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. FW: Again Heidegger approaches the conflict dialectic, this time with a metaphor much closer to the tsimtsum framework invoked by Nachman in LM 5. Rather than associating to the gentle pure process mode, the allusion to the conflict dialectic and tsimtsum is here much more direct. First we see this in the location of this Greek temple: "the middle of a rock cleft valley", i.e., the two extremes making up the impasse that opens up the void. The word "building" points immediately to the left pillar headed by "binah", from the Hebrew root "to build". The figure of the god is the emerging new macrocosmic, Platonic idea, the "maqqif" which negates the "pnimi" (the impasse of one's heart) and supplants it dialectically. In the pure process mode it is "the Open" (world) which houses the forms which come and pass away (earth), but here it is the rigid structure of a temple (earth) that houses the constantly emerging open (world, god). Here we are back in the typical Lurianic kabbalah terrain that is Nachman's home ground. H 671. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple's firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. FW: Around the temple crashes the thunder and lightning of a great storm, which is the moment of tsimtsum in the concrete dialectic. And this time it is alchemical air which Heidegger cites to remind us of his own grounding in the traditional dialectic. Or perhaps in this compact temple image we have the entire dialectic: water (the storm), earth (temple as rigid framework), air (the space for the emerging maqqif idea) and fire (the lightning and the heat of the sun). Let's see how our two gurus articulate these alchemical ideas, each with his own "story". First Heidegger: a Greek pilgrim approaching in the valley sees first the temple in the distance, before the small figure of the god inside is visible. And Nachman says in LM 5:6, LM 5:6. This is the aspect of fear which precedes. For fear of Heaven precedes all else, as is written (Psalms 111:10), "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God". FW: But what exactly is the function or work of this Greek temple? H 670. It is the temple work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation. FW: The work that is done in the temple and by means of the temple itself is the concrete dialectic, which for both Heidegger and Nachman includes the Platonic concepts of collection and anamnesis (Greek: "not forgetting"). Specifically, the temple work (dialectic) gathers around itself (collects) the unity of those paths and relations (the weak gestalts encompassed by strong gestalts, maqqifim). Heidegger was a contemporary of Fritz Perls, and a glance at the Gestalt model will clear away a lot of metaphorical muddle here. The gestalt work (temple work) that the Gestalt patient does by identifying with pair after pair of his polarities in his work on his games and unfinished business serves to encompass all the inner ideas of these points of view within his own emerging self-as-process. This is Platonic collection of weaker ideas, gestalts or monads within stronger ideas, gestalts or monads. The "coming solution" with which the patient identifies as his goal is thus on a higher level of integration than his previous game playing self. It is as though an unruly mob has been integrated into a mature human populace with a clear sense of purpose. This is the return of the members of the nation to its true self, its archetypal dialectical ideas and logic, and the grasping of its destiny ("vocation"). Plato, like Heidegger, placed the needs of the republic above the needs of individuals. Heidegger as Nazi leader showed us the ugly side of Platonism, while the restraints imposed by hasidic halachah kept Nachman and his followers closer to a balanced position. The "world" of a historical people is for both thinkers inhabited by ideas associated with the folklore of that tribe. These are the personages of Wagner's operas for Germans and the patriarchs of the Bible for Jews. In LM 5 Nachman makes use of Yitzchak and Avraham for this purpose, and likewise for Yaakov in LM 1. LM 5:3. This is what our Sages taught: When a person has fear of Heaven his words are heard (Berakhot 6b). For when someone possesses fear of Heaven, his voice is converted into thunder. This is because thunder is from the side of Yitzchak, as in, "the thunder of His gevurot." This causes his words to be heard - i.e., "the voice is transmitted to the creation." For hearing is linked to [the fear of Heaven], as is written (Habakkuk 3:2), "O God, I heard of Your message; I feared" (Zohar III, 230a). . . This also corresponds to the sound of the shofar - i.e., the shofar horn of the ram, the ram of Yitzchak (Zohar III 235b) - which is an aspect of "the thunder of His gevurot". LM 5:5. It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This [love] is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). This is (Exodus 14:27). "The sea" alludes to the sea of wisdom, "when it turned morning" - this is the morning of Avraham (Zohar II, 170b), corresponding to "Avraham My beloved" (Isaiah 41:8), "to its might" - this is gevurot, corresponding to "The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere.." And this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in, "Sit at My right . . ." LM 1:2. For the Jew must always focus on the inner intelligence of every matter, and bind himself to the wisdom and inner intelligence that is to be found in each thing. This, so that the intelligence which is in each thing may enlighten him that he ma draw closer to God through that thing. For inner intelligence is a great light that shines for a person in all his ways, As is written (Ecclesiastes 8:1), "A person's wisdom causes his countenance to shine. This is the concept of Yaakov. For YaAKoV merited the right of the first born, which is reishit (beginning), the concept of wisdom. FW: Let's relate these two sets of metaphors to each other, i.e., Heidegger's account of the temple and Nachman's account of the patriarchs. Yitzchak, symbolizing the left pillar, (gevurot, severities, distinctions, judgments, deductions) is likened to the Fear of Heaven arising from the extreme polarities associated with tsimtsum/thunder. Avraham, symbolizing the right pillar (love, grace, benevolence, induction, ideas from above, maqqifim) is depicted as powerful enough to encompass "the waters" of deduction. Thunder in LM 5 has a double reference to tsimtsum. In regard to Yitzchak thunder suggests the extreme polarities of the storm, while in regard to Avraham the allusion of thunder is close to that of "the Open" in the pure process mode. "In the morning" the naturalistic forms which congealed dissolve back into the pure process mode. Earth gives itself up to world, in order to restore the balance of the middle way. This is Yaakov as maqqif, encompassing Yitzchak and Avraham in a higher integration. FW: Again, Gestalt practice can help to get the point here. Think of the Gestalt pilgrim working his way through his objective history. After identifying with the inner ideas of each of his x/-x polarities and doing the work of each dialogue in the ascending spiral of the dialectic, the Gestalt pilgrim is instructed to "identify with the coming solution", close your eyes and enter your body and fantasies. This is the rhythm of contact and withdrawal which is the Gestalt equivalent of the tsimtsum idea. The result of this process is grasping the existential message of the entire work, i.e., Yaakov, the balanced wisdom, the sword of the messiah that veers neither to the left or to the right. For Nachman, the tsaddik function, represented by himself as paradigm and potentially available in each Jew, is this archetypal dialectic, the messianic soul Jews receive from Adam, from Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, etc. and lastly from himself as Mashiach ben Joseph. This original messianic soul incorporates the three patriarchal ideas dialectically: Avraham as the thesis, Yitzchak as the antithesis, and Yaakov as the synthesis. Recalling these patriarchs in the context of an ongoing spiritual search grounded in faith is Nachman's version of Platonic anamnesis. Learning, for Jews, is remembering the wisdom of our original founding fathers, our origin. FW: Heidegger had an analogous philosophy of education which he attempted to implement in 1933 as Nazi party member and rector of the University of Berlin in Hitler's Germany. Like Nachman, he found active messianism a bit too difficult and was forced to give up the job. Also like Nachman, he then turned to art as a sublimation of his messianic longings. Hence the title of this essay which we are studying, which Heidegger wrote in 1935, is "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". The essay announces that for Heidegger art - Nazi art, that is - serves the messianic function, with the artist standing in for Jesus or some Aryan equivalent. This parallels Nachman's grand messianic vision of the role of the tsaddik - especially himself - in Jewish lore. Nachman's Platonic gathering and inductive collaging of quotes from traditional Jewish sources as a code for the conflict dialectic is an example of religious art fulfilling the messianic function using anamnesis of archetypal ideas in a Platonic manner. Wagner's operas, with their teutonic patriarchal heroes, serve a parallel Platonic collection function for a Nazi German soul. (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION FW: Doing a Gestalt dreamwork session and moving dialectically through a series of polarities according to the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, is, dialectically speaking - in the sense of Heidegger - setting up a temple with the "coming solution" as the god inside who is illuminating the entire structure. If this is the Gestalt client's first such experience, then Heidegger would speak of "consecrating" the temple. In fact, the process also alludes to the "B'reishit" moment of Genesis, which from a philosophical point of view is happening at every moment of authentic action as God constantly renews his creation. H 672. To dedicate means to consecrate, in the sense that in setting up the work the holy is opened up as holy and the god is invoked into the openness of his presence. . . To e-rect means: to open the right in the sense of a guiding measure, a form in which what belongs to the nature of being gives guidance. FW: We have seen the notion of "measure" in LM 5, in Nachman's stress on attaining a proper balance of left and right pillars, the Fear of Heaven on one side and love on the other side, this being the state of Yaakov, which dialectically synthesizes the antithetical relationship between Avraham and Yitzchak as they usually are portrayed in the kabbalah. Arthur Green has shown clearly that identifying with these three patriarchs was for Nachman a major part of his spiritual quest. Nachman considered the dialectic of the patriarchs as a symbol of his own struggle to attain a level of spirituality appropriate for the leader of a hasidic community. Green maintains that Nachman's journey to the land of Israel was primarily a need for a symbolic rite of passage, the goal of which is in Judaism represented by the dialectic of the three patriarchs. Here is Green's argument. After returning from his journey to Israel, amidst Napoleon's naval bombardment of the Turkish fleet, Nachman TM 85. had "passed through water" for the sake of God, and had seen his faith withstand the threat of imminent death. He was now one who could deserve the vision of the patriarchs, having followed their example by the utter denial of his corporeal self. TM 84. It is now clear that Nachman's journey to the Holy Land may best be defined as a rite de passage, or a voyage of initiation, the likes of which have been studied in various other religious cultures, both pre-literate and classical, but which are not generally considered to be a part of latter day Judaism. TM 82. The patriarchs, who fulfilled the mitzvot in purely spiritual ways, are, in Nachman's imagination, symbols of complete transcendence of the bodily self. Chayay 5:19 Shortly before he departed for the land of Israel, someone asked him why he did not draw the disciples near and speak with them. He said that he now had no words, but said that "by means of the verse "When you pass through the water I shall be with you" (Isaiah 43:2) it has become known to me how one may see the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whenever one wants." FW: Green cites Eliade on the relationship between rite of passage and consecration. TM 92. The road is arduous, fraught with perils, because it is, in fact, a rite of the passage from the profane to the sacred, from the ephemeral and illusory to reality and eternity, from death to life, from man to the divinity. Attaining the center is equivalent to a consecration, an initiation; yesterday's profane and illusory existence gives place to a new life, to a life that is real, enduring. M. Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return (Cosmos And History), p. 18 FW: Finally, here in LM 5 we find all of these themes succinctly expressed with Nachman's usual collage of Torah quotations. LM 5:5. When you guard your mind from the aspect of chametz, so that it does not become clogged, then your voice will strike your skull and be converted into thunder, and the heart's crookedness will be made straight. Then, you will merit joy, as in, "and joy for the straight of heart." This is the meaning of (Psalms 81:8), "When you called in secret, I answered you thunderously, I tested you at the Waters of Conflict. Selah" FW: Nachman asks his disciples to surrender themselves to an intense, harrowing rite of passage by doing their work of hitbod'dut, talking to God, in a manner directly analogous to the Gestalt therapy monologue process of creating a world of one's own. The Waters of Conflict his followers will pass through thereby are the descending pillar of the conflict of dialectic. His hasidim are to seek to obtain a properly balanced dialectical relationship between the patriarchs symbolizing the left, right and middle pillars, which is Nachman's kabbalistic way of speaking about what Plato calls "measure", and other call the middle way. Initiating this monologue by calling out to God is what Heidegger labels a consecration of the temple, which is at the same time an opening up of a world of holiness and an invoking of the god. Nachman, of course, is referring to the tsimtsum experience which opens up the void and invites new ideas to descend from the macrocosm. We also have heard him refer to this process as attaining the place from which the prophets suckle, and also in LM 5 we recall we have found right in the text the main points of Luzzatto's theory of prophecy articulated in terms of seeking the most unclouded aspaklariot (lenses) through which to experience the word of God. Luzzatto uses the word unclouded, while Heidegger says more or less the same thing in his own idiosyncratic manner by using referring to the unconcealment of truth. (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV FW: A very clear parallel between Heidegger's use above of the terms "world" and "right" for the notion of opening up a holy space is a homily Nachman delivered shortly after moving to Bratslav, which perhaps served to commemorate the opening of a new temple. At TM 137 we have the following taken from LM 44, in which Nachman likens his arrival in Bratslav to Abraham's arrival in Israel. Nachman viewed his own arrival in Bratslav as the founding of a new Jerusalem, the center of a world based on his teachings. TM 137. Thus our sages say: "Whoever establishes a fixed place for prayer, the God of Abraham helps him." For by his hand a new world is built, and this new building is through Abraham, as Scripture says: "The world is build by chesed". (Psalms 89:3). Abraham was the first to attain Erez Israel. FW: Heidegger makes the dialectical foundation of this consecration very explicit. H 72. What does the work, as work, set up? Towering up within itself, the work opens up a world and keeps it abidingly in force. To be a work means to set up a world . . . Wherever those decisions of our history that relate to our very being are made, are taken up and abandoned by us, go unrecognized and are rediscovered by new inquiry, there the world worlds. FW: Going back to our paradigm case of a Gestalt dreamwork session, the "work" is the dialectic initiated by beginning a session, as the pilgrim sets out to work his way through the series of x/-x polarities, the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, that constitutes what Hegel labels the "objective history" of the pilgrim's soul. Going deeper, the overall superobjective that guides the Gestalt session, what Aristotle labels the actuality which is prior to the potentiality of each of the beats of the dialectic, is this opening within the denseness of Being. The via negativa way of formulating the opening is to invoke the notion of a vacuum, what Luria and Nachman refer to as the tsimtsum process. Likewise, in terms of the sefirot, at the moment of Genesis it is chochmah, the new idea, which opens up a world within the pre-existent being of God, binah, which already is built up. The Hebrew root of "binah" is "to build". Likewise chesed, God's grace or benevolence, is the opening up of a space within a pre-existent state of judgment, limitation or Fear of Heaven. Chochmah and chesed are on the right pillar. Nachman's goal is that left and right will combine to give the balanced middle pillar/middle way, symbolized by Yaakov. In the following passage Heidegger specifically mentions the role of grace (chesed) and its absence, (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC H 73. In a world's worlding is gathered that spaciousness out of which the protective grace of the gods is granted or withheld. Even this doom of the gods remaining absent is a way in which world worlds. FW: Here Heidegger zeroes in on exactly the founding principle of Nachman's dialectic, the apparent absence of God in the secular world, and we wonder if the grand theoretician of Nazi Germany in 1935 had perhaps got his hands on a translation of Nachman's work as a pretext for his own projects. If Heidegger had read LM 44 he might have found in Nachman himself much of the same racist magical wishful thinking which his own colleagues later perfected to make their own conquered lands "Judenrein", cleaned out of Jews. Nachman's recipe for instantly ridding a town of goyish presence was very simple: just clap your hands. It is reminiscent of Mary Poppins' advice to the children on how to get rid of unpleasant thoughts by singing a happy tune. Nachman said, in that same sermon at Bratslav, TM 137. All things are called the power of His deeds, the word power [ko'ach, numerically twenty eight] corresponding to the twenty-eight letters [in the first verse] of Creation and to the twenty-eight joints on a person's hand. As is well known, the atmosphere of the pagans' lands is polluted, while the air of the land of Israel is holy and pure, since God has taken it away from the other nations and given it to us. Outside the Holy Land, however, the air remains impure. When we clap our hands together in prayer [using the twenty eight joints] we arouse the power of the twenty-eight letters of Creation, the "power of his deeds", showing that He has the power to give us the inheritance of the nations, since everything belongs to God. Thus we are able to purify the air of other peoples' lands, as these lands are brought back under the rule of God, and He can distribute them as He wishes. FW: All this is one more example of why hasidism (for Nachman) or hegelianism (for Heidegger) without education concerning the philosophical roots of what all the mumbo-jumbo means is irresponsible at best. At worst, we need only look back at the last century to see the fruits of a world run amuck after uncritically gobbling down a too generous helping of dialectical thinking. Clapping our hands to push aside polluted air and open up a space of pure air is alchemy, with alchemical air representing the kabbalistic empty space of tsimtsum which opens up within alchemical earth. Alchemy and dlalectics are elements of renaissance science, which hovered on the borderline between science and magic. Pushing back the borders of hard logic (deduction) to allow "the Open" of wishful thinking (induction) is a wonderful tool for liberation of the human spirit, so long as what then enters the vacuum is carefully monitored. Monitored by what? Monitored by who? Perhaps just asking these questions is sufficient here. Building a temple is a noble enterprise in itself, but then we need to ask what god will then be invited into this new temple to serve as Aristotelian final cause, pure Platonic idea, or to embody alchemical fire ignited to negate all negations of the One?


8. THE BRANCH gestalt dreamwork done on a painting, part 1 (HQ)

THE BRANCH gestalt dreamwork done on a painting, part 1 (HQ)

gestalt dreamwork on a painting instead of a dream, done by franklyn wepner. TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD ALL OF MY VIDEOS, PLUS 1500 PAGES OF MY EXPLANATORY ESSAYS (ALL AT NO CHARGE) PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: franklynwepner.com. ALSO PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH ME ANY COMMENTS ABOUT MY WORK: franklynwepner@gmail.com. IN THE LISTING OF VIDEOS THE LETTERS (HQ) REFER TO A HIGHER QUALITY VERSION OF THE VIDEO, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOUR COMPUTER CAN HANDLE IT. FRANKLYN WEPNER JUNE 2009 ESSAY: "HEIDEGGER & NACHMAN ON THE ORIGIN OF ART" REFERENCES: (1) NACHMAN OF BRESLAV, "COLLECTED ESSAYS" ("LIKUTEI MOHARAN"), SECTION 5 (2) MARTIN HEIDEGGER, "THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART", IN "PHILOSOPHIES OF ART AND BEAUTY", ED. HOFSTADTER & KUHNS (1) THE "OPEN" & THE PURE PROCESS MODE (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO & MASHIACH (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC (1) THE "OPEN" AND THE PURE PROCESS MODE H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The above is a typical sentence taken from Martin Heidegger's essay, "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". This sentence is loaded with Heidegger technical jargon: world, earth, battle, unconcealedness, beings and truth. Also in this sentence, these terms are laid out in an interlocking manner such that words that we thought we understood suddenly become very strange to us. We are mystified. But let us try now to decode this knot of dialectical jargon. Decoding even this one sentence will reveal much of the underlying logic of Heidegger's philosophy of art. Our project in this short essay is to see whether Heidegger's recondite reflections about art can shed valuable light on the work of Nachman of Breslav. We have been approaching Nachman mainly from the perspective of Isaac Luria's dialectic of conflict, which was Nachman's own reference point in 1800. But doing so required jumping right away into the tsimtsum theory, and we risked explaining something very obscure in an even more obscure manner. Fortunately, we have available a magic carpet tool from the performing arts which in one quick, painless stroke will land us in the middle of the dialectical universe of both Heidegger and Luria and allow us from those two starting points to converge on our primary target, the work Nachman of Breslav. This tool is a world class technique with a long history. It constitutes a major foundation of the dance theaters of Asia, and in today's avant garde theater world it is known as the "pure process mode". Again I express my gratitude to the Mabou Mines Theater Company for initiating me into this bit of esoterica. FW: The pure process mode as performed looks a lot like Tai Ch'i, but then again you might not know about Tai Ch'i either so I'll start from the basic idea. A group of performers is told to focus on awareness rather than thinking. Like in Gestalt Therapy, awareness here includes contact with one's environment using senses, with one's body using proprioception, and with one's fantasies. The stress in this exercise is on environment awareness. Along with work on awareness, the group is instructed to begin a holistic, total movement of all body parts, very slowly and very relaxed so as not to let the movements or body tension interfere with the awareness. All this is here and now work, passively responding to what is happening in one's awareness. What to do next stems from passively reacting to what already is happening, and going with that flow in a non-deliberate manner. Philosophically, what we have here is "induction" or Platonic collection, or gestalt formation, in the sense that from the particular details the performer infers a single new encompassing idea which then becomes the rule that guides his next choices. From the ground of what is happening arise potential figures, weak gestalts, until one of them becomes the strong gestalt or monad which then is the new world of that emerging moment. And here we have Heidegger's key term, "world", emerging as a product of inductive, intuitive thinking. The world that worlds, using Heidegger jargon, is the emerging gestalt or figure that then is the organizing center of the organism's existence until the next strong gestalt (world) takes over. For Gestalt Therapists a neurotic is an individual who interferes with, who interrupts his natural figure/ground process such that strong gestalts do not congeal and the ground keeps churning up weak gestalts aimlessly. FW: So far we have presented half of the pure process mode concept, the side of passivity and induction. The other, complementary side of the pure process mode is the active, deliberate, deductive side. Here is how that works. As I am doing my awareness and movement exercise, I am instructed also to allow any particular focus that emerges strongly enough from the ground that it attracts my conscious attention to continue to develop, and then I see where it takes me. In other words, I am looking for associations, or what Nachman would label "behinot". This is an aspect of that and that is an aspect of the next thing, endlessly. The main motor of the pure process mode is the passive, induction side, but riding on it is a series of deductive moments or deliberate active choices to accept the hint and go with that idea to its completion as a particular "thing". For example, I notice that my body is doing something like a swimming breast stroke, and I allow myself gradually to go almost fully into the breast stroke form. But here I interrupt the naturalistic form I am performing and remind myself that I need the active/passive balance, the middle way. And so I now allow the breast stroke form - again gradually with full awareness - to dissolve back into the passive aspect of the pure process mode. We now have the two poles of Heidegger's dialectic. The deliberate, active point of view Heidegger calls "earth", and the passive point of view Heidegger calls "world". Here again is our initial Heidegger quote. H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The "battle" is the competition between world and earth, induction and deduction. Usually when we do the breast stroke in the pool as part of our 20 minute exercise routine, the choice is deliberate, and the details of the stroke fit into a vast grid of distinctions of different kind of muscular and breathing activities. The ramification of the basic idea of "swimming" into all these strokes and nuances of strokes is an example of deductive logic, moving from the general idea of "swimming" to the particular differences of each stroke. The opposite of deduction in this sense is the passive experience of letting all those details and nuances fade away into no-thing-ness. The combination of deduction and induction, earth and world, kabbalistic left pillar and right pillar, is the concrete dialectic which grounds much of sophisticated world culture, east and west. Doing the pure process exercise is like a slow motion movie of some sport which reveals the seams linking the individual moves. These seams usually are a hidden, "concealed" ground for the chain of deliberate moves. The pure process mode reverses our usual figure/ground process, thereby "unconcealing" the ground of "being as a whole". If we think of our usual daily existence as packed with habitual, mechanical behavior, then the pure process mode opens up or clears a space in that dense structure. Here is another Heidegger statement, This time he describes this "open center" of our existence. H 679. In the midst of beings as a whole an open place occurs. There is a clearing, a lighting. Thought of in reference to what is, to beings, this clearing is in a greater degree than are beings. This open center is therefore not surrounded by what is; rather the lighting center itself encircles all that is, like the a Nothing which we scarcely know. FW: Just substitute no-thing-ness for Nothing, and we have again the pure process mode, with things coming into existence and going out of existence devoid of their usual thingness as specific objects that we make use of or relate to. FW: Turning now back to Nachman of Breslav, let us read Heidegger's prose from the point of view of the dialectic of conflict and the tradition of alchemy which Nachman inherited from Isaac Luria. Immediately we see a likely source for Heidegger's choice of the word "earth" to suggest the process of deduction in opposition to the process of induction. For the process of deduction or creation on the left pillar of the tree of life descends deductively from alchemical water to alchemical earth, before ascending inductively through alchemical air to alchemical fire. Moving through these four elements, water, earth, air and fire, completes the cycle. Alchemical air is what becomes revealed (unconcealed) at the moment of tsimtsum, as God or man contracts his frozen x/-x polarities to allow a relative vacuum. Into the void emerges or overflows inductively a new idea from the macrocosm which then encompasses the two sides of the former impasse in a higher integration. The encompassing new idea Nachman labels, logically enough, the "maqqif", since in Hebrew the word "maqqif" means "encompasses". The void is the "open" of Heidegger, which begins as an air pocket and then does a figure/ground reversal from air pocket to encompassing no-thing-ness in which the two sides, x/-x, of the former impasse disappear. This disappearing is the negation of the negations of the One Without A Second. The negations, the stuck antagonists of the impasse, are thus burnt up in alchemical fire, completing the circle of alchemical elements of the concrete dialectic. FW: By stressing the impasse at the expense of the pure process mode, kabbalists like Luria and Nachman of Breslav highlight the absence of new ideas flowing from on high. This is like building up charge on a condenser. The ideas certainly are there, since God is in all the world, but they are apparently absent. Arthur Green shows how Nachman made his own personal experience of the apparent absence of God a central dogma of his renovated hasidism. The Breslaver hasid is instructed to seek out more and more challenging conflicts, "maqqifim", as a way to stimulate his need to rely upon faith rather than look for an intellectual understanding of God. Eastern religions, without as much stress on a personal God as has Judaism, can do without such a condenser model of faith and rely more upon the natural power of awareness as a tool to access divinity. Here is Nachman's version of Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. It's the same dialectic, with different cultural overlays to mask it. Since the Fall, since the Tower of Babel, since the decree, different peoples need to disguise their prayers with different codes, different "stories", lest the accusing angels on the left (our need to maintain cultural distinctions, our "gevurot") protest. LM 5:5. Know as well that a person must couple the gevurot (severities) with chasadim (benevolences), left with right, as is written (Psalms 20:7), "with the saving gevurot of His right arm" . For the main revelation comes about by means of chasadim, as is written (ibid 110:1), "Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies your footstool". It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This love is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). . . ."The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere." and this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in , "Sit at My right hand while I make your enemies your footstool." FW: Both Heidegger and Nachman point toward resolving the "battle" of world vs earth dialectically. In LM 5:5 Nachman uses alchemical water rather than alchemical earth to symbolize the side of deduction, and "love" symbolizes the power of induction to encompass strong polarities (enemies) in a higher unity. Parallel to this dichotomy is that between the Fear of Heaven and love, in the sense that extreme polarities in our existence drive us to the breaking point, abyss, void, and instill thereby in us a "fear of heaven". Thunder in LM 5 symbolizes these extreme opposites reverberating in our lives. The reverberations of thunder reach on high and invite drops of dew (new ideas from the macrocosm) to enter the void in the microcosm and open up new possibilities. The new possibilities, dew drops, at first are merely weak gestalts/figures percolating up from the ground, analogous to the weak figures or gestalts that pass through the body and mind of the performer in the pure process mode. Thus, thunder and lightning serve Nachman in LM 5:5 as structural equivalents to Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. Nachman's version of the conflict dialectic makes the conflict much more explicit, in order to stimulate a greater reliance on pietist faith in a personal God than is necessary in the Eastern equivalents. (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO, AND MASHIACH H 670. A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. FW: Again Heidegger approaches the conflict dialectic, this time with a metaphor much closer to the tsimtsum framework invoked by Nachman in LM 5. Rather than associating to the gentle pure process mode, the allusion to the conflict dialectic and tsimtsum is here much more direct. First we see this in the location of this Greek temple: "the middle of a rock cleft valley", i.e., the two extremes making up the impasse that opens up the void. The word "building" points immediately to the left pillar headed by "binah", from the Hebrew root "to build". The figure of the god is the emerging new macrocosmic, Platonic idea, the "maqqif" which negates the "pnimi" (the impasse of one's heart) and supplants it dialectically. In the pure process mode it is "the Open" (world) which houses the forms which come and pass away (earth), but here it is the rigid structure of a temple (earth) that houses the constantly emerging open (world, god). Here we are back in the typical Lurianic kabbalah terrain that is Nachman's home ground. H 671. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple's firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. FW: Around the temple crashes the thunder and lightning of a great storm, which is the moment of tsimtsum in the concrete dialectic. And this time it is alchemical air which Heidegger cites to remind us of his own grounding in the traditional dialectic. Or perhaps in this compact temple image we have the entire dialectic: water (the storm), earth (temple as rigid framework), air (the space for the emerging maqqif idea) and fire (the lightning and the heat of the sun). Let's see how our two gurus articulate these alchemical ideas, each with his own "story". First Heidegger: a Greek pilgrim approaching in the valley sees first the temple in the distance, before the small figure of the god inside is visible. And Nachman says in LM 5:6, LM 5:6. This is the aspect of fear which precedes. For fear of Heaven precedes all else, as is written (Psalms 111:10), "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God". FW: But what exactly is the function or work of this Greek temple? H 670. It is the temple work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation. FW: The work that is done in the temple and by means of the temple itself is the concrete dialectic, which for both Heidegger and Nachman includes the Platonic concepts of collection and anamnesis (Greek: "not forgetting"). Specifically, the temple work (dialectic) gathers around itself (collects) the unity of those paths and relations (the weak gestalts encompassed by strong gestalts, maqqifim). Heidegger was a contemporary of Fritz Perls, and a glance at the Gestalt model will clear away a lot of metaphorical muddle here. The gestalt work (temple work) that the Gestalt patient does by identifying with pair after pair of his polarities in his work on his games and unfinished business serves to encompass all the inner ideas of these points of view within his own emerging self-as-process. This is Platonic collection of weaker ideas, gestalts or monads within stronger ideas, gestalts or monads. The "coming solution" with which the patient identifies as his goal is thus on a higher level of integration than his previous game playing self. It is as though an unruly mob has been integrated into a mature human populace with a clear sense of purpose. This is the return of the members of the nation to its true self, its archetypal dialectical ideas and logic, and the grasping of its destiny ("vocation"). Plato, like Heidegger, placed the needs of the republic above the needs of individuals. Heidegger as Nazi leader showed us the ugly side of Platonism, while the restraints imposed by hasidic halachah kept Nachman and his followers closer to a balanced position. The "world" of a historical people is for both thinkers inhabited by ideas associated with the folklore of that tribe. These are the personages of Wagner's operas for Germans and the patriarchs of the Bible for Jews. In LM 5 Nachman makes use of Yitzchak and Avraham for this purpose, and likewise for Yaakov in LM 1. LM 5:3. This is what our Sages taught: When a person has fear of Heaven his words are heard (Berakhot 6b). For when someone possesses fear of Heaven, his voice is converted into thunder. This is because thunder is from the side of Yitzchak, as in, "the thunder of His gevurot." This causes his words to be heard - i.e., "the voice is transmitted to the creation." For hearing is linked to [the fear of Heaven], as is written (Habakkuk 3:2), "O God, I heard of Your message; I feared" (Zohar III, 230a). . . This also corresponds to the sound of the shofar - i.e., the shofar horn of the ram, the ram of Yitzchak (Zohar III 235b) - which is an aspect of "the thunder of His gevurot". LM 5:5. It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This [love] is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). This is (Exodus 14:27). "The sea" alludes to the sea of wisdom, "when it turned morning" - this is the morning of Avraham (Zohar II, 170b), corresponding to "Avraham My beloved" (Isaiah 41:8), "to its might" - this is gevurot, corresponding to "The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere.." And this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in, "Sit at My right . . ." LM 1:2. For the Jew must always focus on the inner intelligence of every matter, and bind himself to the wisdom and inner intelligence that is to be found in each thing. This, so that the intelligence which is in each thing may enlighten him that he ma draw closer to God through that thing. For inner intelligence is a great light that shines for a person in all his ways, As is written (Ecclesiastes 8:1), "A person's wisdom causes his countenance to shine. This is the concept of Yaakov. For YaAKoV merited the right of the first born, which is reishit (beginning), the concept of wisdom. FW: Let's relate these two sets of metaphors to each other, i.e., Heidegger's account of the temple and Nachman's account of the patriarchs. Yitzchak, symbolizing the left pillar, (gevurot, severities, distinctions, judgments, deductions) is likened to the Fear of Heaven arising from the extreme polarities associated with tsimtsum/thunder. Avraham, symbolizing the right pillar (love, grace, benevolence, induction, ideas from above, maqqifim) is depicted as powerful enough to encompass "the waters" of deduction. Thunder in LM 5 has a double reference to tsimtsum. In regard to Yitzchak thunder suggests the extreme polarities of the storm, while in regard to Avraham the allusion of thunder is close to that of "the Open" in the pure process mode. "In the morning" the naturalistic forms which congealed dissolve back into the pure process mode. Earth gives itself up to world, in order to restore the balance of the middle way. This is Yaakov as maqqif, encompassing Yitzchak and Avraham in a higher integration. FW: Again, Gestalt practice can help to get the point here. Think of the Gestalt pilgrim working his way through his objective history. After identifying with the inner ideas of each of his x/-x polarities and doing the work of each dialogue in the ascending spiral of the dialectic, the Gestalt pilgrim is instructed to "identify with the coming solution", close your eyes and enter your body and fantasies. This is the rhythm of contact and withdrawal which is the Gestalt equivalent of the tsimtsum idea. The result of this process is grasping the existential message of the entire work, i.e., Yaakov, the balanced wisdom, the sword of the messiah that veers neither to the left or to the right. For Nachman, the tsaddik function, represented by himself as paradigm and potentially available in each Jew, is this archetypal dialectic, the messianic soul Jews receive from Adam, from Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, etc. and lastly from himself as Mashiach ben Joseph. This original messianic soul incorporates the three patriarchal ideas dialectically: Avraham as the thesis, Yitzchak as the antithesis, and Yaakov as the synthesis. Recalling these patriarchs in the context of an ongoing spiritual search grounded in faith is Nachman's version of Platonic anamnesis. Learning, for Jews, is remembering the wisdom of our original founding fathers, our origin. FW: Heidegger had an analogous philosophy of education which he attempted to implement in 1933 as Nazi party member and rector of the University of Berlin in Hitler's Germany. Like Nachman, he found active messianism a bit too difficult and was forced to give up the job. Also like Nachman, he then turned to art as a sublimation of his messianic longings. Hence the title of this essay which we are studying, which Heidegger wrote in 1935, is "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". The essay announces that for Heidegger art - Nazi art, that is - serves the messianic function, with the artist standing in for Jesus or some Aryan equivalent. This parallels Nachman's grand messianic vision of the role of the tsaddik - especially himself - in Jewish lore. Nachman's Platonic gathering and inductive collaging of quotes from traditional Jewish sources as a code for the conflict dialectic is an example of religious art fulfilling the messianic function using anamnesis of archetypal ideas in a Platonic manner. Wagner's operas, with their teutonic patriarchal heroes, serve a parallel Platonic collection function for a Nazi German soul. (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION FW: Doing a Gestalt dreamwork session and moving dialectically through a series of polarities according to the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, is, dialectically speaking - in the sense of Heidegger - setting up a temple with the "coming solution" as the god inside who is illuminating the entire structure. If this is the Gestalt client's first such experience, then Heidegger would speak of "consecrating" the temple. In fact, the process also alludes to the "B'reishit" moment of Genesis, which from a philosophical point of view is happening at every moment of authentic action as God constantly renews his creation. H 672. To dedicate means to consecrate, in the sense that in setting up the work the holy is opened up as holy and the god is invoked into the openness of his presence. . . To e-rect means: to open the right in the sense of a guiding measure, a form in which what belongs to the nature of being gives guidance. FW: We have seen the notion of "measure" in LM 5, in Nachman's stress on attaining a proper balance of left and right pillars, the Fear of Heaven on one side and love on the other side, this being the state of Yaakov, which dialectically synthesizes the antithetical relationship between Avraham and Yitzchak as they usually are portrayed in the kabbalah. Arthur Green has shown clearly that identifying with these three patriarchs was for Nachman a major part of his spiritual quest. Nachman considered the dialectic of the patriarchs as a symbol of his own struggle to attain a level of spirituality appropriate for the leader of a hasidic community. Green maintains that Nachman's journey to the land of Israel was primarily a need for a symbolic rite of passage, the goal of which is in Judaism represented by the dialectic of the three patriarchs. Here is Green's argument. After returning from his journey to Israel, amidst Napoleon's naval bombardment of the Turkish fleet, Nachman TM 85. had "passed through water" for the sake of God, and had seen his faith withstand the threat of imminent death. He was now one who could deserve the vision of the patriarchs, having followed their example by the utter denial of his corporeal self. TM 84. It is now clear that Nachman's journey to the Holy Land may best be defined as a rite de passage, or a voyage of initiation, the likes of which have been studied in various other religious cultures, both pre-literate and classical, but which are not generally considered to be a part of latter day Judaism. TM 82. The patriarchs, who fulfilled the mitzvot in purely spiritual ways, are, in Nachman's imagination, symbols of complete transcendence of the bodily self. Chayay 5:19 Shortly before he departed for the land of Israel, someone asked him why he did not draw the disciples near and speak with them. He said that he now had no words, but said that "by means of the verse "When you pass through the water I shall be with you" (Isaiah 43:2) it has become known to me how one may see the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whenever one wants." FW: Green cites Eliade on the relationship between rite of passage and consecration. TM 92. The road is arduous, fraught with perils, because it is, in fact, a rite of the passage from the profane to the sacred, from the ephemeral and illusory to reality and eternity, from death to life, from man to the divinity. Attaining the center is equivalent to a consecration, an initiation; yesterday's profane and illusory existence gives place to a new life, to a life that is real, enduring. M. Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return (Cosmos And History), p. 18 FW: Finally, here in LM 5 we find all of these themes succinctly expressed with Nachman's usual collage of Torah quotations. LM 5:5. When you guard your mind from the aspect of chametz, so that it does not become clogged, then your voice will strike your skull and be converted into thunder, and the heart's crookedness will be made straight. Then, you will merit joy, as in, "and joy for the straight of heart." This is the meaning of (Psalms 81:8), "When you called in secret, I answered you thunderously, I tested you at the Waters of Conflict. Selah" FW: Nachman asks his disciples to surrender themselves to an intense, harrowing rite of passage by doing their work of hitbod'dut, talking to God, in a manner directly analogous to the Gestalt therapy monologue process of creating a world of one's own. The Waters of Conflict his followers will pass through thereby are the descending pillar of the conflict of dialectic. His hasidim are to seek to obtain a properly balanced dialectical relationship between the patriarchs symbolizing the left, right and middle pillars, which is Nachman's kabbalistic way of speaking about what Plato calls "measure", and other call the middle way. Initiating this monologue by calling out to God is what Heidegger labels a consecration of the temple, which is at the same time an opening up of a world of holiness and an invoking of the god. Nachman, of course, is referring to the tsimtsum experience which opens up the void and invites new ideas to descend from the macrocosm. We also have heard him refer to this process as attaining the place from which the prophets suckle, and also in LM 5 we recall we have found right in the text the main points of Luzzatto's theory of prophecy articulated in terms of seeking the most unclouded aspaklariot (lenses) through which to experience the word of God. Luzzatto uses the word unclouded, while Heidegger says more or less the same thing in his own idiosyncratic manner by using referring to the unconcealment of truth. (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV FW: A very clear parallel between Heidegger's use above of the terms "world" and "right" for the notion of opening up a holy space is a homily Nachman delivered shortly after moving to Bratslav, which perhaps served to commemorate the opening of a new temple. At TM 137 we have the following taken from LM 44, in which Nachman likens his arrival in Bratslav to Abraham's arrival in Israel. Nachman viewed his own arrival in Bratslav as the founding of a new Jerusalem, the center of a world based on his teachings. TM 137. Thus our sages say: "Whoever establishes a fixed place for prayer, the God of Abraham helps him." For by his hand a new world is built, and this new building is through Abraham, as Scripture says: "The world is build by chesed". (Psalms 89:3). Abraham was the first to attain Erez Israel. FW: Heidegger makes the dialectical foundation of this consecration very explicit. H 72. What does the work, as work, set up? Towering up within itself, the work opens up a world and keeps it abidingly in force. To be a work means to set up a world . . . Wherever those decisions of our history that relate to our very being are made, are taken up and abandoned by us, go unrecognized and are rediscovered by new inquiry, there the world worlds. FW: Going back to our paradigm case of a Gestalt dreamwork session, the "work" is the dialectic initiated by beginning a session, as the pilgrim sets out to work his way through the series of x/-x polarities, the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, that constitutes what Hegel labels the "objective history" of the pilgrim's soul. Going deeper, the overall superobjective that guides the Gestalt session, what Aristotle labels the actuality which is prior to the potentiality of each of the beats of the dialectic, is this opening within the denseness of Being. The via negativa way of formulating the opening is to invoke the notion of a vacuum, what Luria and Nachman refer to as the tsimtsum process. Likewise, in terms of the sefirot, at the moment of Genesis it is chochmah, the new idea, which opens up a world within the pre-existent being of God, binah, which already is built up. The Hebrew root of "binah" is "to build". Likewise chesed, God's grace or benevolence, is the opening up of a space within a pre-existent state of judgment, limitation or Fear of Heaven. Chochmah and chesed are on the right pillar. Nachman's goal is that left and right will combine to give the balanced middle pillar/middle way, symbolized by Yaakov. In the following passage Heidegger specifically mentions the role of grace (chesed) and its absence, (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC H 73. In a world's worlding is gathered that spaciousness out of which the protective grace of the gods is granted or withheld. Even this doom of the gods remaining absent is a way in which world worlds. FW: Here Heidegger zeroes in on exactly the founding principle of Nachman's dialectic, the apparent absence of God in the secular world, and we wonder if the grand theoretician of Nazi Germany in 1935 had perhaps got his hands on a translation of Nachman's work as a pretext for his own projects. If Heidegger had read LM 44 he might have found in Nachman himself much of the same racist magical wishful thinking which his own colleagues later perfected to make their own conquered lands "Judenrein", cleaned out of Jews. Nachman's recipe for instantly ridding a town of goyish presence was very simple: just clap your hands. It is reminiscent of Mary Poppins' advice to the children on how to get rid of unpleasant thoughts by singing a happy tune. Nachman said, in that same sermon at Bratslav, TM 137. All things are called the power of His deeds, the word power [ko'ach, numerically twenty eight] corresponding to the twenty-eight letters [in the first verse] of Creation and to the twenty-eight joints on a person's hand. As is well known, the atmosphere of the pagans' lands is polluted, while the air of the land of Israel is holy and pure, since God has taken it away from the other nations and given it to us. Outside the Holy Land, however, the air remains impure. When we clap our hands together in prayer [using the twenty eight joints] we arouse the power of the twenty-eight letters of Creation, the "power of his deeds", showing that He has the power to give us the inheritance of the nations, since everything belongs to God. Thus we are able to purify the air of other peoples' lands, as these lands are brought back under the rule of God, and He can distribute them as He wishes. FW: All this is one more example of why hasidism (for Nachman) or hegelianism (for Heidegger) without education concerning the philosophical roots of what all the mumbo-jumbo means is irresponsible at best. At worst, we need only look back at the last century to see the fruits of a world run amuck after uncritically gobbling down a too generous helping of dialectical thinking. Clapping our hands to push aside polluted air and open up a space of pure air is alchemy, with alchemical air representing the kabbalistic empty space of tsimtsum which opens up within alchemical earth. Alchemy and dlalectics are elements of renaissance science, which hovered on the borderline between science and magic. Pushing back the borders of hard logic (deduction) to allow "the Open" of wishful thinking (induction) is a wonderful tool for liberation of the human spirit, so long as what then enters the vacuum is carefully monitored. Monitored by what? Monitored by who? Perhaps just asking these questions is sufficient here. Building a temple is a noble enterprise in itself, but then we need to ask what god will then be invited into this new temple to serve as Aristotelian final cause, pure Platonic idea, or to embody alchemical fire ignited to negate all negations of the One?


9. THE BRANCH gestalt dreamwork on a painting, part 2 (HQ)

THE BRANCH gestalt dreamwork on a painting, part 2 (HQ)

gestalt dreamwork on a painting instead of a dream, done by franklyn wepner. TO VIEW OR DOWNLOAD ALL OF MY VIDEOS, PLUS 1500 PAGES OF MY EXPLANATORY ESSAYS (ALL AT NO CHARGE) PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: franklynwepner.com. ALSO PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH ME ANY COMMENTS ABOUT MY WORK: franklynwepner@gmail.com. IN THE LISTING OF VIDEOS THE LETTERS (HQ) REFER TO A HIGHER QUALITY VERSION OF THE VIDEO, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOUR COMPUTER CAN HANDLE IT. FRANKLYN WEPNER JUNE 2009 ESSAY: "HEIDEGGER & NACHMAN ON THE ORIGIN OF ART" REFERENCES: (1) NACHMAN OF BRESLAV, "COLLECTED ESSAYS" ("LIKUTEI MOHARAN"), SECTION 5 (2) MARTIN HEIDEGGER, "THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART", IN "PHILOSOPHIES OF ART AND BEAUTY", ED. HOFSTADTER & KUHNS (1) THE "OPEN" & THE PURE PROCESS MODE (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO & MASHIACH (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC (1) THE "OPEN" AND THE PURE PROCESS MODE H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The above is a typical sentence taken from Martin Heidegger's essay, "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". This sentence is loaded with Heidegger technical jargon: world, earth, battle, unconcealedness, beings and truth. Also in this sentence, these terms are laid out in an interlocking manner such that words that we thought we understood suddenly become very strange to us. We are mystified. But let us try now to decode this knot of dialectical jargon. Decoding even this one sentence will reveal much of the underlying logic of Heidegger's philosophy of art. Our project in this short essay is to see whether Heidegger's recondite reflections about art can shed valuable light on the work of Nachman of Breslav. We have been approaching Nachman mainly from the perspective of Isaac Luria's dialectic of conflict, which was Nachman's own reference point in 1800. But doing so required jumping right away into the tsimtsum theory, and we risked explaining something very obscure in an even more obscure manner. Fortunately, we have available a magic carpet tool from the performing arts which in one quick, painless stroke will land us in the middle of the dialectical universe of both Heidegger and Luria and allow us from those two starting points to converge on our primary target, the work Nachman of Breslav. This tool is a world class technique with a long history. It constitutes a major foundation of the dance theaters of Asia, and in today's avant garde theater world it is known as the "pure process mode". Again I express my gratitude to the Mabou Mines Theater Company for initiating me into this bit of esoterica. FW: The pure process mode as performed looks a lot like Tai Ch'i, but then again you might not know about Tai Ch'i either so I'll start from the basic idea. A group of performers is told to focus on awareness rather than thinking. Like in Gestalt Therapy, awareness here includes contact with one's environment using senses, with one's body using proprioception, and with one's fantasies. The stress in this exercise is on environment awareness. Along with work on awareness, the group is instructed to begin a holistic, total movement of all body parts, very slowly and very relaxed so as not to let the movements or body tension interfere with the awareness. All this is here and now work, passively responding to what is happening in one's awareness. What to do next stems from passively reacting to what already is happening, and going with that flow in a non-deliberate manner. Philosophically, what we have here is "induction" or Platonic collection, or gestalt formation, in the sense that from the particular details the performer infers a single new encompassing idea which then becomes the rule that guides his next choices. From the ground of what is happening arise potential figures, weak gestalts, until one of them becomes the strong gestalt or monad which then is the new world of that emerging moment. And here we have Heidegger's key term, "world", emerging as a product of inductive, intuitive thinking. The world that worlds, using Heidegger jargon, is the emerging gestalt or figure that then is the organizing center of the organism's existence until the next strong gestalt (world) takes over. For Gestalt Therapists a neurotic is an individual who interferes with, who interrupts his natural figure/ground process such that strong gestalts do not congeal and the ground keeps churning up weak gestalts aimlessly. FW: So far we have presented half of the pure process mode concept, the side of passivity and induction. The other, complementary side of the pure process mode is the active, deliberate, deductive side. Here is how that works. As I am doing my awareness and movement exercise, I am instructed also to allow any particular focus that emerges strongly enough from the ground that it attracts my conscious attention to continue to develop, and then I see where it takes me. In other words, I am looking for associations, or what Nachman would label "behinot". This is an aspect of that and that is an aspect of the next thing, endlessly. The main motor of the pure process mode is the passive, induction side, but riding on it is a series of deductive moments or deliberate active choices to accept the hint and go with that idea to its completion as a particular "thing". For example, I notice that my body is doing something like a swimming breast stroke, and I allow myself gradually to go almost fully into the breast stroke form. But here I interrupt the naturalistic form I am performing and remind myself that I need the active/passive balance, the middle way. And so I now allow the breast stroke form - again gradually with full awareness - to dissolve back into the passive aspect of the pure process mode. We now have the two poles of Heidegger's dialectic. The deliberate, active point of view Heidegger calls "earth", and the passive point of view Heidegger calls "world". Here again is our initial Heidegger quote. H 681. Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won. FW: The "battle" is the competition between world and earth, induction and deduction. Usually when we do the breast stroke in the pool as part of our 20 minute exercise routine, the choice is deliberate, and the details of the stroke fit into a vast grid of distinctions of different kind of muscular and breathing activities. The ramification of the basic idea of "swimming" into all these strokes and nuances of strokes is an example of deductive logic, moving from the general idea of "swimming" to the particular differences of each stroke. The opposite of deduction in this sense is the passive experience of letting all those details and nuances fade away into no-thing-ness. The combination of deduction and induction, earth and world, kabbalistic left pillar and right pillar, is the concrete dialectic which grounds much of sophisticated world culture, east and west. Doing the pure process exercise is like a slow motion movie of some sport which reveals the seams linking the individual moves. These seams usually are a hidden, "concealed" ground for the chain of deliberate moves. The pure process mode reverses our usual figure/ground process, thereby "unconcealing" the ground of "being as a whole". If we think of our usual daily existence as packed with habitual, mechanical behavior, then the pure process mode opens up or clears a space in that dense structure. Here is another Heidegger statement, This time he describes this "open center" of our existence. H 679. In the midst of beings as a whole an open place occurs. There is a clearing, a lighting. Thought of in reference to what is, to beings, this clearing is in a greater degree than are beings. This open center is therefore not surrounded by what is; rather the lighting center itself encircles all that is, like the a Nothing which we scarcely know. FW: Just substitute no-thing-ness for Nothing, and we have again the pure process mode, with things coming into existence and going out of existence devoid of their usual thingness as specific objects that we make use of or relate to. FW: Turning now back to Nachman of Breslav, let us read Heidegger's prose from the point of view of the dialectic of conflict and the tradition of alchemy which Nachman inherited from Isaac Luria. Immediately we see a likely source for Heidegger's choice of the word "earth" to suggest the process of deduction in opposition to the process of induction. For the process of deduction or creation on the left pillar of the tree of life descends deductively from alchemical water to alchemical earth, before ascending inductively through alchemical air to alchemical fire. Moving through these four elements, water, earth, air and fire, completes the cycle. Alchemical air is what becomes revealed (unconcealed) at the moment of tsimtsum, as God or man contracts his frozen x/-x polarities to allow a relative vacuum. Into the void emerges or overflows inductively a new idea from the macrocosm which then encompasses the two sides of the former impasse in a higher integration. The encompassing new idea Nachman labels, logically enough, the "maqqif", since in Hebrew the word "maqqif" means "encompasses". The void is the "open" of Heidegger, which begins as an air pocket and then does a figure/ground reversal from air pocket to encompassing no-thing-ness in which the two sides, x/-x, of the former impasse disappear. This disappearing is the negation of the negations of the One Without A Second. The negations, the stuck antagonists of the impasse, are thus burnt up in alchemical fire, completing the circle of alchemical elements of the concrete dialectic. FW: By stressing the impasse at the expense of the pure process mode, kabbalists like Luria and Nachman of Breslav highlight the absence of new ideas flowing from on high. This is like building up charge on a condenser. The ideas certainly are there, since God is in all the world, but they are apparently absent. Arthur Green shows how Nachman made his own personal experience of the apparent absence of God a central dogma of his renovated hasidism. The Breslaver hasid is instructed to seek out more and more challenging conflicts, "maqqifim", as a way to stimulate his need to rely upon faith rather than look for an intellectual understanding of God. Eastern religions, without as much stress on a personal God as has Judaism, can do without such a condenser model of faith and rely more upon the natural power of awareness as a tool to access divinity. Here is Nachman's version of Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. It's the same dialectic, with different cultural overlays to mask it. Since the Fall, since the Tower of Babel, since the decree, different peoples need to disguise their prayers with different codes, different "stories", lest the accusing angels on the left (our need to maintain cultural distinctions, our "gevurot") protest. LM 5:5. Know as well that a person must couple the gevurot (severities) with chasadim (benevolences), left with right, as is written (Psalms 20:7), "with the saving gevurot of His right arm" . For the main revelation comes about by means of chasadim, as is written (ibid 110:1), "Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies your footstool". It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This love is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). . . ."The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere." and this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in , "Sit at My right hand while I make your enemies your footstool." FW: Both Heidegger and Nachman point toward resolving the "battle" of world vs earth dialectically. In LM 5:5 Nachman uses alchemical water rather than alchemical earth to symbolize the side of deduction, and "love" symbolizes the power of induction to encompass strong polarities (enemies) in a higher unity. Parallel to this dichotomy is that between the Fear of Heaven and love, in the sense that extreme polarities in our existence drive us to the breaking point, abyss, void, and instill thereby in us a "fear of heaven". Thunder in LM 5 symbolizes these extreme opposites reverberating in our lives. The reverberations of thunder reach on high and invite drops of dew (new ideas from the macrocosm) to enter the void in the microcosm and open up new possibilities. The new possibilities, dew drops, at first are merely weak gestalts/figures percolating up from the ground, analogous to the weak figures or gestalts that pass through the body and mind of the performer in the pure process mode. Thus, thunder and lightning serve Nachman in LM 5:5 as structural equivalents to Heidegger's "the open" and the Asian dance theater pure process mode. Nachman's version of the conflict dialectic makes the conflict much more explicit, in order to stimulate a greater reliance on pietist faith in a personal God than is necessary in the Eastern equivalents. (2) THE TEMPLE, PLATO, AND MASHIACH H 670. A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. FW: Again Heidegger approaches the conflict dialectic, this time with a metaphor much closer to the tsimtsum framework invoked by Nachman in LM 5. Rather than associating to the gentle pure process mode, the allusion to the conflict dialectic and tsimtsum is here much more direct. First we see this in the location of this Greek temple: "the middle of a rock cleft valley", i.e., the two extremes making up the impasse that opens up the void. The word "building" points immediately to the left pillar headed by "binah", from the Hebrew root "to build". The figure of the god is the emerging new macrocosmic, Platonic idea, the "maqqif" which negates the "pnimi" (the impasse of one's heart) and supplants it dialectically. In the pure process mode it is "the Open" (world) which houses the forms which come and pass away (earth), but here it is the rigid structure of a temple (earth) that houses the constantly emerging open (world, god). Here we are back in the typical Lurianic kabbalah terrain that is Nachman's home ground. H 671. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple's firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. FW: Around the temple crashes the thunder and lightning of a great storm, which is the moment of tsimtsum in the concrete dialectic. And this time it is alchemical air which Heidegger cites to remind us of his own grounding in the traditional dialectic. Or perhaps in this compact temple image we have the entire dialectic: water (the storm), earth (temple as rigid framework), air (the space for the emerging maqqif idea) and fire (the lightning and the heat of the sun). Let's see how our two gurus articulate these alchemical ideas, each with his own "story". First Heidegger: a Greek pilgrim approaching in the valley sees first the temple in the distance, before the small figure of the god inside is visible. And Nachman says in LM 5:6, LM 5:6. This is the aspect of fear which precedes. For fear of Heaven precedes all else, as is written (Psalms 111:10), "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God". FW: But what exactly is the function or work of this Greek temple? H 670. It is the temple work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation. FW: The work that is done in the temple and by means of the temple itself is the concrete dialectic, which for both Heidegger and Nachman includes the Platonic concepts of collection and anamnesis (Greek: "not forgetting"). Specifically, the temple work (dialectic) gathers around itself (collects) the unity of those paths and relations (the weak gestalts encompassed by strong gestalts, maqqifim). Heidegger was a contemporary of Fritz Perls, and a glance at the Gestalt model will clear away a lot of metaphorical muddle here. The gestalt work (temple work) that the Gestalt patient does by identifying with pair after pair of his polarities in his work on his games and unfinished business serves to encompass all the inner ideas of these points of view within his own emerging self-as-process. This is Platonic collection of weaker ideas, gestalts or monads within stronger ideas, gestalts or monads. The "coming solution" with which the patient identifies as his goal is thus on a higher level of integration than his previous game playing self. It is as though an unruly mob has been integrated into a mature human populace with a clear sense of purpose. This is the return of the members of the nation to its true self, its archetypal dialectical ideas and logic, and the grasping of its destiny ("vocation"). Plato, like Heidegger, placed the needs of the republic above the needs of individuals. Heidegger as Nazi leader showed us the ugly side of Platonism, while the restraints imposed by hasidic halachah kept Nachman and his followers closer to a balanced position. The "world" of a historical people is for both thinkers inhabited by ideas associated with the folklore of that tribe. These are the personages of Wagner's operas for Germans and the patriarchs of the Bible for Jews. In LM 5 Nachman makes use of Yitzchak and Avraham for this purpose, and likewise for Yaakov in LM 1. LM 5:3. This is what our Sages taught: When a person has fear of Heaven his words are heard (Berakhot 6b). For when someone possesses fear of Heaven, his voice is converted into thunder. This is because thunder is from the side of Yitzchak, as in, "the thunder of His gevurot." This causes his words to be heard - i.e., "the voice is transmitted to the creation." For hearing is linked to [the fear of Heaven], as is written (Habakkuk 3:2), "O God, I heard of Your message; I feared" (Zohar III, 230a). . . This also corresponds to the sound of the shofar - i.e., the shofar horn of the ram, the ram of Yitzchak (Zohar III 235b) - which is an aspect of "the thunder of His gevurot". LM 5:5. It is likewise necessary to couple love with fear of Heaven, in order to generate thunder. This [love] is from the right side, from "a mind as white as silver" (Tikkuney Zohar #70). This is (Exodus 14:27). "The sea" alludes to the sea of wisdom, "when it turned morning" - this is the morning of Avraham (Zohar II, 170b), corresponding to "Avraham My beloved" (Isaiah 41:8), "to its might" - this is gevurot, corresponding to "The sound of Your thunder was in the sphere.." And this is (Song of Songs 8:7), "Many waters cannot extinguish the love." For the ability to conquer is mainly by means of love, as in, "Sit at My right . . ." LM 1:2. For the Jew must always focus on the inner intelligence of every matter, and bind himself to the wisdom and inner intelligence that is to be found in each thing. This, so that the intelligence which is in each thing may enlighten him that he ma draw closer to God through that thing. For inner intelligence is a great light that shines for a person in all his ways, As is written (Ecclesiastes 8:1), "A person's wisdom causes his countenance to shine. This is the concept of Yaakov. For YaAKoV merited the right of the first born, which is reishit (beginning), the concept of wisdom. FW: Let's relate these two sets of metaphors to each other, i.e., Heidegger's account of the temple and Nachman's account of the patriarchs. Yitzchak, symbolizing the left pillar, (gevurot, severities, distinctions, judgments, deductions) is likened to the Fear of Heaven arising from the extreme polarities associated with tsimtsum/thunder. Avraham, symbolizing the right pillar (love, grace, benevolence, induction, ideas from above, maqqifim) is depicted as powerful enough to encompass "the waters" of deduction. Thunder in LM 5 has a double reference to tsimtsum. In regard to Yitzchak thunder suggests the extreme polarities of the storm, while in regard to Avraham the allusion of thunder is close to that of "the Open" in the pure process mode. "In the morning" the naturalistic forms which congealed dissolve back into the pure process mode. Earth gives itself up to world, in order to restore the balance of the middle way. This is Yaakov as maqqif, encompassing Yitzchak and Avraham in a higher integration. FW: Again, Gestalt practice can help to get the point here. Think of the Gestalt pilgrim working his way through his objective history. After identifying with the inner ideas of each of his x/-x polarities and doing the work of each dialogue in the ascending spiral of the dialectic, the Gestalt pilgrim is instructed to "identify with the coming solution", close your eyes and enter your body and fantasies. This is the rhythm of contact and withdrawal which is the Gestalt equivalent of the tsimtsum idea. The result of this process is grasping the existential message of the entire work, i.e., Yaakov, the balanced wisdom, the sword of the messiah that veers neither to the left or to the right. For Nachman, the tsaddik function, represented by himself as paradigm and potentially available in each Jew, is this archetypal dialectic, the messianic soul Jews receive from Adam, from Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, etc. and lastly from himself as Mashiach ben Joseph. This original messianic soul incorporates the three patriarchal ideas dialectically: Avraham as the thesis, Yitzchak as the antithesis, and Yaakov as the synthesis. Recalling these patriarchs in the context of an ongoing spiritual search grounded in faith is Nachman's version of Platonic anamnesis. Learning, for Jews, is remembering the wisdom of our original founding fathers, our origin. FW: Heidegger had an analogous philosophy of education which he attempted to implement in 1933 as Nazi party member and rector of the University of Berlin in Hitler's Germany. Like Nachman, he found active messianism a bit too difficult and was forced to give up the job. Also like Nachman, he then turned to art as a sublimation of his messianic longings. Hence the title of this essay which we are studying, which Heidegger wrote in 1935, is "The Origin Of The Work Of Art". The essay announces that for Heidegger art - Nazi art, that is - serves the messianic function, with the artist standing in for Jesus or some Aryan equivalent. This parallels Nachman's grand messianic vision of the role of the tsaddik - especially himself - in Jewish lore. Nachman's Platonic gathering and inductive collaging of quotes from traditional Jewish sources as a code for the conflict dialectic is an example of religious art fulfilling the messianic function using anamnesis of archetypal ideas in a Platonic manner. Wagner's operas, with their teutonic patriarchal heroes, serve a parallel Platonic collection function for a Nazi German soul. (3) CONSECRATING THE TEMPLE AS RITE OF INITIATION FW: Doing a Gestalt dreamwork session and moving dialectically through a series of polarities according to the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, is, dialectically speaking - in the sense of Heidegger - setting up a temple with the "coming solution" as the god inside who is illuminating the entire structure. If this is the Gestalt client's first such experience, then Heidegger would speak of "consecrating" the temple. In fact, the process also alludes to the "B'reishit" moment of Genesis, which from a philosophical point of view is happening at every moment of authentic action as God constantly renews his creation. H 672. To dedicate means to consecrate, in the sense that in setting up the work the holy is opened up as holy and the god is invoked into the openness of his presence. . . To e-rect means: to open the right in the sense of a guiding measure, a form in which what belongs to the nature of being gives guidance. FW: We have seen the notion of "measure" in LM 5, in Nachman's stress on attaining a proper balance of left and right pillars, the Fear of Heaven on one side and love on the other side, this being the state of Yaakov, which dialectically synthesizes the antithetical relationship between Avraham and Yitzchak as they usually are portrayed in the kabbalah. Arthur Green has shown clearly that identifying with these three patriarchs was for Nachman a major part of his spiritual quest. Nachman considered the dialectic of the patriarchs as a symbol of his own struggle to attain a level of spirituality appropriate for the leader of a hasidic community. Green maintains that Nachman's journey to the land of Israel was primarily a need for a symbolic rite of passage, the goal of which is in Judaism represented by the dialectic of the three patriarchs. Here is Green's argument. After returning from his journey to Israel, amidst Napoleon's naval bombardment of the Turkish fleet, Nachman TM 85. had "passed through water" for the sake of God, and had seen his faith withstand the threat of imminent death. He was now one who could deserve the vision of the patriarchs, having followed their example by the utter denial of his corporeal self. TM 84. It is now clear that Nachman's journey to the Holy Land may best be defined as a rite de passage, or a voyage of initiation, the likes of which have been studied in various other religious cultures, both pre-literate and classical, but which are not generally considered to be a part of latter day Judaism. TM 82. The patriarchs, who fulfilled the mitzvot in purely spiritual ways, are, in Nachman's imagination, symbols of complete transcendence of the bodily self. Chayay 5:19 Shortly before he departed for the land of Israel, someone asked him why he did not draw the disciples near and speak with them. He said that he now had no words, but said that "by means of the verse "When you pass through the water I shall be with you" (Isaiah 43:2) it has become known to me how one may see the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whenever one wants." FW: Green cites Eliade on the relationship between rite of passage and consecration. TM 92. The road is arduous, fraught with perils, because it is, in fact, a rite of the passage from the profane to the sacred, from the ephemeral and illusory to reality and eternity, from death to life, from man to the divinity. Attaining the center is equivalent to a consecration, an initiation; yesterday's profane and illusory existence gives place to a new life, to a life that is real, enduring. M. Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return (Cosmos And History), p. 18 FW: Finally, here in LM 5 we find all of these themes succinctly expressed with Nachman's usual collage of Torah quotations. LM 5:5. When you guard your mind from the aspect of chametz, so that it does not become clogged, then your voice will strike your skull and be converted into thunder, and the heart's crookedness will be made straight. Then, you will merit joy, as in, "and joy for the straight of heart." This is the meaning of (Psalms 81:8), "When you called in secret, I answered you thunderously, I tested you at the Waters of Conflict. Selah" FW: Nachman asks his disciples to surrender themselves to an intense, harrowing rite of passage by doing their work of hitbod'dut, talking to God, in a manner directly analogous to the Gestalt therapy monologue process of creating a world of one's own. The Waters of Conflict his followers will pass through thereby are the descending pillar of the conflict of dialectic. His hasidim are to seek to obtain a properly balanced dialectical relationship between the patriarchs symbolizing the left, right and middle pillars, which is Nachman's kabbalistic way of speaking about what Plato calls "measure", and other call the middle way. Initiating this monologue by calling out to God is what Heidegger labels a consecration of the temple, which is at the same time an opening up of a world of holiness and an invoking of the god. Nachman, of course, is referring to the tsimtsum experience which opens up the void and invites new ideas to descend from the macrocosm. We also have heard him refer to this process as attaining the place from which the prophets suckle, and also in LM 5 we recall we have found right in the text the main points of Luzzatto's theory of prophecy articulated in terms of seeking the most unclouded aspaklariot (lenses) through which to experience the word of God. Luzzatto uses the word unclouded, while Heidegger says more or less the same thing in his own idiosyncratic manner by using referring to the unconcealment of truth. (4) NACHMAN'S TEMPLE IN BRATSLAV FW: A very clear parallel between Heidegger's use above of the terms "world" and "right" for the notion of opening up a holy space is a homily Nachman delivered shortly after moving to Bratslav, which perhaps served to commemorate the opening of a new temple. At TM 137 we have the following taken from LM 44, in which Nachman likens his arrival in Bratslav to Abraham's arrival in Israel. Nachman viewed his own arrival in Bratslav as the founding of a new Jerusalem, the center of a world based on his teachings. TM 137. Thus our sages say: "Whoever establishes a fixed place for prayer, the God of Abraham helps him." For by his hand a new world is built, and this new building is through Abraham, as Scripture says: "The world is build by chesed". (Psalms 89:3). Abraham was the first to attain Erez Israel. FW: Heidegger makes the dialectical foundation of this consecration very explicit. H 72. What does the work, as work, set up? Towering up within itself, the work opens up a world and keeps it abidingly in force. To be a work means to set up a world . . . Wherever those decisions of our history that relate to our very being are made, are taken up and abandoned by us, go unrecognized and are rediscovered by new inquiry, there the world worlds. FW: Going back to our paradigm case of a Gestalt dreamwork session, the "work" is the dialectic initiated by beginning a session, as the pilgrim sets out to work his way through the series of x/-x polarities, the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, that constitutes what Hegel labels the "objective history" of the pilgrim's soul. Going deeper, the overall superobjective that guides the Gestalt session, what Aristotle labels the actuality which is prior to the potentiality of each of the beats of the dialectic, is this opening within the denseness of Being. The via negativa way of formulating the opening is to invoke the notion of a vacuum, what Luria and Nachman refer to as the tsimtsum process. Likewise, in terms of the sefirot, at the moment of Genesis it is chochmah, the new idea, which opens up a world within the pre-existent being of God, binah, which already is built up. The Hebrew root of "binah" is "to build". Likewise chesed, God's grace or benevolence, is the opening up of a space within a pre-existent state of judgment, limitation or Fear of Heaven. Chochmah and chesed are on the right pillar. Nachman's goal is that left and right will combine to give the balanced middle pillar/middle way, symbolized by Yaakov. In the following passage Heidegger specifically mentions the role of grace (chesed) and its absence, (5) CLAPPING HANDS AS ALCHEMICAL MAGIC H 73. In a world's worlding is gathered that spaciousness out of which the protective grace of the gods is granted or withheld. Even this doom of the gods remaining absent is a way in which world worlds. FW: Here Heidegger zeroes in on exactly the founding principle of Nachman's dialectic, the apparent absence of God in the secular world, and we wonder if the grand theoretician of Nazi Germany in 1935 had perhaps got his hands on a translation of Nachman's work as a pretext for his own projects. If Heidegger had read LM 44 he might have found in Nachman himself much of the same racist magical wishful thinking which his own colleagues later perfected to make their own conquered lands "Judenrein", cleaned out of Jews. Nachman's recipe for instantly ridding a town of goyish presence was very simple: just clap your hands. It is reminiscent of Mary Poppins' advice to the children on how to get rid of unpleasant thoughts by singing a happy tune. Nachman said, in that same sermon at Bratslav, TM 137. All things are called the power of His deeds, the word power [ko'ach, numerically twenty eight] corresponding to the twenty-eight letters [in the first verse] of Creation and to the twenty-eight joints on a person's hand. As is well known, the atmosphere of the pagans' lands is polluted, while the air of the land of Israel is holy and pure, since God has taken it away from the other nations and given it to us. Outside the Holy Land, however, the air remains impure. When we clap our hands together in prayer [using the twenty eight joints] we arouse the power of the twenty-eight letters of Creation, the "power of his deeds", showing that He has the power to give us the inheritance of the nations, since everything belongs to God. Thus we are able to purify the air of other peoples' lands, as these lands are brought back under the rule of God, and He can distribute them as He wishes. FW: All this is one more example of why hasidism (for Nachman) or hegelianism (for Heidegger) without education concerning the philosophical roots of what all the mumbo-jumbo means is irresponsible at best. At worst, we need only look back at the last century to see the fruits of a world run amuck after uncritically gobbling down a too generous helping of dialectical thinking. Clapping our hands to push aside polluted air and open up a space of pure air is alchemy, with alchemical air representing the kabbalistic empty space of tsimtsum which opens up within alchemical earth. Alchemy and dlalectics are elements of renaissance science, which hovered on the borderline between science and magic. Pushing back the borders of hard logic (deduction) to allow "the Open" of wishful thinking (induction) is a wonderful tool for liberation of the human spirit, so long as what then enters the vacuum is carefully monitored. Monitored by what? Monitored by who? Perhaps just asking these questions is sufficient here. Building a temple is a noble enterprise in itself, but then we need to ask what god will then be invited into this new temple to serve as Aristotelian final cause, pure Platonic idea, or to embody alchemical fire ignited to negate all negations of the One?


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