Beverly Hills Jews
(Starbucks Coffee, Olympic and Doheny, Beverly Hills)
- I sent your picture to a friend. "A typical Jewish Intellectual", she said. Are you are a "Jewish intellectual"?
- Jewish by ethnicity, not practice. Intellectual? That charge I don't think I can escape.
- Then she asked, "This isn't the Beverly Hills Jew you're always talking about?" Are you a Beverly Hills Jew?
- Don't you have anything else to talk about?
- I did most of my growing up next door in the Fairfax area. My mother lived for about a decade in Beverly Hills after I went away to college.
- And you live in Beverly Hills now.
- If you call it living.
- Who was that woman pounding on the window?
- What window?
- Here in Starbucks. Yesterday. Don't you remember?
- You mean Leah. How could I forget Leah.
- Are you going to tell me about her? Why was she pounding on the window?
- She was taunting the rabbis sitting at the round table.
- You're happy because you're back on your subject, Beverly Hills Jews.
- Your subject too. You've told me the only people you're sure read your stories are government spies and haters of Jews.
- You're in luck. Leah is fine material.
- How do you know her?
- I was at Ralphs market one night around midnight waiting for the Messiah to come out...
- The Messiah of Beverly Hills. The guy you live with.
- Yes. Leah, outfitted in the costume of an orthodox Jewish woman, long plain skirt, peasant blouse, and covered hair, was going around to every man on his way to or from his car asking whether he was Jewish and if he was did he want to marry her.
- Was she serious?
- Yes. But aware as well she was being entertaining. Before she went crazy she'd studied music at an elite academy in New York. That was long ago. She was about fifty now, divorced, with three teen-aged children. Ex-husband and children have gone to court to get a restraining order against her visiting them. The Messiah has one too now. So does Starbucks. Probably the rabbis too.
- Why was she pounding on Starbucks' window?
- I'll get to that. Leah at last came over to me, asked me her questions: am I Jewish, will I marry her? At that moment the Messiah came out of Ralphs. I told her, here comes your perfect husband. He's an orthodox Jew and crazy like you. They started talking and soon had it all arranged. They'd get married.
- Yes. There was a slight problem however. The Messiah was already married, his separated wife in constant telephone contact. But that was no problem two adult human beings couldn't handle. Sadly, it didn't work out.
- Why not?
- Leah demands money and personal assistance from everyone she meets. She has artistic and business projects. She takes being Jewish seriously. Follow the rules set by the group, be aided by the group in accordance with those rules, do something good. Unfortunately somewhere along the line she went crazy, developed this maniacal anger appearing instantly when anyone refused any of her demands for assistance. The family threw her out, got their restraining order. At the time of meeting her at Ralphs she was living in an apartment paid for by family and on a thousand dollar a month allowance from them. That's no more.
- What happened?
- She got worse. She tried to seduce the Messiah's eighty year old mother whose mind is gone.
- Thus the restraining order.
- Yes. Then she decided the carpet in her apartment was dirty so she tore it up and rolled it over the balcony to the street one floor below. She got evicted, and was to be seen wandering up and down Doheny demanding aid and services from everyone, from the rabbis at the Temple across the street, from me, from anyone going in or out of Starbucks.
- Her family won't help her?
- Apparently not. So do you know who she ended up staying with?
- How should I know?
- The Holocaust survivor down the street. Ninety-two years old, and not Jewish. She introduced me to him outside his house, had him give me a copy of his book. I was instructed to make a TV mini-series out of it.
- Was he in a concentration camp?
- The worst, Auschwitz, for about a year. I knew of the book's existence but hadn't come across it before. I saw on the back cover it was published by a marketing company. That was strange. I'd read enough of these memoirs and didn't want to read the book, especially since, as the author explained, it'd been co-written by a professional writer. The two had met when they both worked at the old Beverly Canon Theater, long only a memory, where the Montage Hotel is now.
- How is the book?
- Nicely written. I'll have to be Jewish intellectual for the rest of my answer. I hope you don't mind.
- Not at all.
- Philosophers like to play with the question, what is the human species' primary characteristic? Language, tool use, upright posture? Foresight? Or is it the ability to deliberately forget, as I myself once thought? Or better, is it mass killing? No other animal makes such a habit deliberately getting together to kill. I'd choose the last as a better answer. It brings together almost all the special characteristics. More than bringing them together, it organizes them. We humans are able to look ahead to forgetting ourselves in acts of group killing aided by technology.
- Isn't that also your definition of evil: deliberately doing what you know as an individual is wrong for the sake of rewards acting in a group?
- Nice that you remember. It is.
- The specific characteristic of the human species is evil?
- Do you doubt it? The Holocaust memoir of Leah's host was published by a marketing company. In the marketplace of life mass murder would be the human being's trademark. Life is characterized by growth and reproduction. With our mass destruction we have to be the life form most incompetent at life.
- So we're evil.
- You said it. Here's the part of my explanation you won't like, the Jewish intellectual part. If in Nazism the individual is the agent of the group, in Jewish life the group is the agent of the individual. The group is the storehouse of the rules, is the tool the individual uses to remember. But the individual makes his deal directly with god, not with the group. The Holocaust isn't special as a mass killing, mass killing is the characteristic of human beings. But it is special as a model, a paradigm of evil.
- Because the Jews, acting as Jews, are logically incapable of evil. In Jewish life the group is the tool of the individual. Evil requires the reverse, the individual lowering himself to being the tool of the group, forgetting what he knows is good, getting in exchange rewards of group conformity. I brought this up because this model or paradigm has no applicability to the old man's Holocaust memoir. The previous ones I'd read were full of grief, confusion, anger, with the knowledge the tool of their memory, their group, was being destroyed, with disappointment and shock the rules weren't working. This book, however, was written with ironic detachment, a story of cleverness and resourcefulness that reminded me of Homer's The Odyssey more than anything else.
- The old guy committed the crime of not being Jewish.
- All I'm saying is reading the book I felt a flatness, the absence of the model, of the attempt of evil to destroy its opposite.
- So Leah is living with the Holocaust survivor down the street...
- Yes. Last night leaving Starbucks on my way home I saw a crowd gathered around the old guy's house. A police car was parked in front. You can guess what happened.
- They'd arrested Leah?
- Taken her away. One policeman, two social workers, one long-time friend of the old guy who'd driven him a few times to speak to organizations about the Holocaust, and four or five concerned neighbors. The younger of the social workers explained to me: the law allowed the police to take someone who appeared dangerously unstable to a hospital for observation, and that is what had occurred. She went on:
-They can hold her for about a week, then she'll be out again. Back here maybe. We're concerned for the old man's safety. His rib was broken the last week.
- Do you know Leah's family?
- No, but my partner has spoken with them.
- They can help her, they're rich, right? Her ex-husband the vice-director of the country's biggest Jewish organization, her brother a Beverly Hills doctor? That's what she told me.
- How are you involved?
- I know Leah. I've met her host. I have his book. I'm a concerned neighbor too. I'm worried that Leah might hurt the old guy inadvertently like a big dog lying down on an infant. So her family won't help anymore?
- No, they're tired of her.
- Tired of her? I've heard that before. The free market in action. If someone doesn't make money, it's at the individual's discretion whether it's better to see your mother dying on the street outside your window or to pay out a little cash to avoid the eye-sore. Leah's family evidently chose to save the cash and watch mother die on the street. The eye-sore parades up and down Doheny, demanding respect and cooperation from everyone, is denied by everyone, everyone except this last of the Holocaust survivors who takes her in, putting himself in danger. The man who the Nazis couldn't kill the Free Market might.
Try To Stay Home
Beverly Hills Stories
The Two Messiahs
I didn't want to write more about good and bad technology, or about magic and the metaphysics of property, and certainly not more about the Messiah of Beverly Hills, but I fell victim to fate. Walking to Westwood through Holmby Park I crossed paths with one of the two women I know in the neighborhood who wander around alone dressed in fine high fashion clothing with the added peculiarity of long hair matted in a dense pile atop the head in the form of a truncated cone, rather like a volcano or rounded pyramid. When I stop and chat she usually talks about the ghosts that inhabit regions of the city we both pass through on our walks, and today she did too, with the difference that she said she'd been thinking of me, and wanted to let me know the Defense Department was waiting for me to contact them. Why? I asked. They have something for me. Ok, I said, see you, and went on up to the UCLA campus. Where, chance would have it, I met the other woman of the neighborhood who wears fine clothes and the volcano on her head. She informed me there was a set of lectures she was going to on the subject of "Philosophy And Religious Experience", in commemoration of the retirement of a UCLA professor who'd made his name writing on the subject. I should attend, she said, I didn't need to have religious experiences to appreciate, she didn't herself, and the professor didn't either, he'd previously told her himself. Hearing that how could I resist going? The following dialog is the result.
- Do you know what?
- It occurs to me that you both live with a Messiah and are one yourself, sort of. How are things at the Messiah's by the way? His eighty year old mother still attacking you as you try to leave in the morning, bug eyed and foaming at the mouth, raving about her lost chicken leg?
- Yes. I slip in late at night and hope she doesn't see me, leave at six in the morning before she is awake. It doesn't always work. Sometimes she lies in wait for me, stays up late or keeps waking vigil, then goes on the attack. While she rages, shouts, tries to close in on me, the Messiah goes on reading his Torah or playing with his telephone as though nothing is happening. If it goes on too long, five or ten minutes, the disturbance comes to his attention. He gets to his feet, shouts. This has no effect, as he knows. He shouts again, to no effect. Finally he does what he knows will work, goes into the dining room and starts swiping with his hand at the crystals dangling from the chandelier. That does the trick. Nothing is more important than property, shows of rage have to be forgotten.
- You lead an interesting life.
- Getting more interesting all the time. As I was coming home last night a neighbor told me the police had been there.
- Yes. As I was coming home last night a neighbor told me the police had been there.
- What about?
- Some woman visitor.
- One of the crazy prostitutes from the strip clubs the Messiah frequents?
- The neighbor didn't know. The Messiah grabbed the visitor, or maybe grabbed his mother. Police were called. No big deal, police are there once a month, usually called by the Messiah himself to eject the crazy prostitute he's taken home to live with him and his mother. Proudly declaring his disdain for the world and his detachment from people, he can't be still, is always stirring things up. He goes in and out of the apartment all day long. There's always a crisis, or one brewing. Once you get used to it though being there can be quite enjoyable, restful even, reassuringly regular.
- You like these people.
- What does the Messiah do when he goes out?
- Gives away a few dollars here, a few dollars there, to people he meets on the street, at Ralphs or Starbucks, until his allowance runs out.
- Didn't you ask him what had happened?
- No. Besides, he wouldn't tell me the truth. He is the savior because he follows god's rules. But one of god's rules is what he calls the "Wisdom of Solomon", that is, lying.
- God allows lying when it makes following god's rules easier?
- Yes. So tell me why I am a messiah.
- Around a month ago you told me this story. Computer scientists were having trouble getting robots to search out in an unfamiliar place the things they were programmed to operate on. One computer scientist had a brother who was a philosopher, a phenomenologist, and explained the problem to him. The philosopher taught the computer scientist that we learn to see by moving through the world. What computer scientists had to do with the robots was get them to do what we do, they had to move them through the motions that they wanted them to perform and have them associate those movements with the images cameras recorded of the room as they were moved through it, which images later could be recognized and responded to. It worked.
- As that research was supported by the U.S. Defense Department so is research I just heard about into what is being called "blending", previously known to philosophy in the practice of dialog and imitation. According to this theory, civilization started when human beings could "blend" themselves with others, put themselves in the position of other human beings. They - the blending researchers - have been given millions of dollars to work out how to use this idea to facilitate communication between robot soldiers.
- That's what I was getting at. If philosophy is being mined by the military to make machines of destruction placed in the hands of a government no one in his right mind could possibly say is well intentioned, can't philosophy be enlisted to do some good instead?
- And I'm supposed to be the messiah of philosophy-used-right and save the world?
- The job is open.
- What I can do is something like the computer scientists did, mine the history of philosophy, not to develop technology but to understand how technology is likely to be misused, find a language to describe that misuse.
- Go ahead. Save us from technology.
- It's philosophy that's going to do the saving. The enemy technologist found weapons in philosophy of "seeing by doing" and of building up "blends" of different individual's ideas. Our saving philosophy is going to offer us "matter", and "magic". We go back to the ancient view of Parmenides in which there are two worlds, one real and one imitation. The real one we see when we stop moving, and in that world there is no movement or separate things. All is one.
- Religious experience.
- Yes. The other world is the one we see when we are in movement. It isn't real, but we need to learn how to move through it to get out of it to the real world. Are you with me?
- Learning how to move through the world of appearance is a matter of technique: mastering ways of doing things that lead you to love, to beauty, to truth. You stop moving in the sight of these good things because you are out of the world of separate things. There is no place to go, and no time to get there in: there are no events in the fullness of the experience of being at one with the world. Now there is another, fundamental technique of life, opposed to this one. When an ape scares another ape by making faces, or a king scares his subjects by a show of his magnificence, the king and ape rest from their labor of show and sign making. Ape and kind have practiced the technique of arranging people or apes with each other, and when they look at lower ape and subject they see "material", they see a sign of their own power to use them. The technique of arrangement they practice is a kind of magic, in which power resides in the "matter" or capacity of the lower ape or human to do the upper human or ape's bidding. The rest from movement is in this world of separate things, so is not really rest. The seeming rest is filled with the imagined movement that can be released out of the matter, the imagined future movement of that matter, the "form" the matter can take on.
- I don't understand.
- When the king looks at his subjects he sees his power. He imagines future movement of the subjects, separate things in the world. The subject can take on the "story" of whatever work assigned to him. Getting the subject to respect his power is a kind of magic. An ape doesn't understand why making faces and threatening gestures gets the other apes to accede to his authority, but it happens. Same goes for kings and subjects. And the same goes for the alchemist, putting one metal in contact with another, saying words which are intended to do exactly what the faces the apes make do: grant power over "matter". Science develops when the relations between things is studied carefully, not left to associations and resemblances of words and appearances. I'll give you an example. When the Messiah's crazy mother had attacked me a few times I discovered the best thing to do was growl at her like a bear. Did I see this as a discovered magic power to be used in the world, as psychological science? No. I laughed. Laughing gets you out of the world. Compare the Messiah's reaction - it turns out the Messiah was in the bedroom he shares with his mother, and sleepy audience to his mother attack on me heard and enjoyed my growling defense.
- Did he laugh?
- No. He gloated. Here was a nice defeat for the old woman who'd dedicated her life to controlling his life.
- Tell me again what matter is.
- Matter is what you see when you gain knowledge and technique and don't get out of the world. And matter itself, going by the name of god, becomes the ultimate goal.
- Because if you don't have the end of getting out of the world some other final goal in the world has to be found. Power is means to an end. Power for the sake of power is meaningless. You need to have a reason to do something and gain power to do more things. When philosophy left behind the distinction between movement and rest it began to incorporate god, formerly unmoving and undivided in his own world, now as an element among other elements in the world of movement and separate things.
- Lost me.
- Leaving behind the two worlds view, philosophers made hierarchies, charts, of different matters used to realize different powers. Body was at the bottom, realized or actualized by the soul that kept it together. Ideas were a bit higher, realized by groups of ideas, "blends" as the Defense Department researchers would call them. And above all was the matter of the whole world, with god being the realized power of every magical technique practiced in that whole world of matter.
- But why bother with this?
- Because, as I said, there had to be a goal to all the increase of power aimed at. If there was not ever to be a rest, there had to be something fixed in all the movement to be aimed at, and that fixed thing was god.
- Ok. You tell all these stories of your Messiah because he so clearly has god in his corner, in his own world. He is authorized by god to perform his magic on the world, getting power over people by giving them money, doing on a smaller scale what the big power broker in the sky does. Philosophy tells us how the misusers of philosophy misuse it. What do we do about it?
- We do to ourselves what we did for the robots: we move ourselves through the world of ideas looking for signs of absence of rest and signs of matter, we learn the world as the robot learned its room.
- We locate our gods in Beverly Hills, see our gods in raving old woman and their whoring messiah sons.
- Yes. We laugh. We avoid secrets and powers. I wrote a story about girl gangs starting an anarchist revolution in the U.S. I put it on the internet, with the sense that this in itself was a beautiful thing to do. I didn't expect to cause a revolution, though I thought the government might not know it. In fact shortly after writing and posting the story I got a message from one of my Linkedin connections, praising my technique. I'd been getting a lot of visits lately from Arlington, Virginia, site of the Pentagon, and I'd supposed I was being spied on. This LinkedIn connection worked at the Pentagon. I wrote asking what he did there. He responded, did I want to know his official job or his real one, implying of course he couldn't tell me the real one.
- He was admitting he was a spy.
- Yes. He didn't have to worry I was going anywhere with my idea, that is, anywhere in this world.
- He doesn't need to hide because you aren't hiding. There might be secret power in matter ready to be explosively released in an revolution, but you weren't interested. Any kind of direct change is no goal for you. Your use of power is not in the world, but to get out of the world. My question is, if people become able to recognize the wrong way, if philosophy can do with us poor human beings what the computer scientists did with the robots, guide us through the world by giving us experience of it of the kind that gives us sight of what is better or worse, isn't the job of messiah open to us all? Doesn't the practice of the power to get out of the world exert some power on the world we get out of? I mean, would it not be true that the more people who practice the power to get out, the fewer there are to be enslaved by those practicing the power to stay in?
- If the philosophy was good enough, maybe. There have always been people who wanted to live in the right way. How much difference it makes having a better, more high-tech language to describe the right way - that history will have to decide.
- Come on, you can do better than that. You haven't given more than a hint of what that high-tech goodness would look like.
- Our sense of possession, ownership of property is seeing a thing as matter. Without secrets, without magical language, technology can re-evaluate what is an acceptable relation to property in society. Happy now?
- Actually, I am. Could be a beginning like that is all we've been waiting for.
- Tomorrow in Europe is the official Holocaust Remembrance Day.
- As if we could learn from history, as if that particular mass murder was unusual and other mass murders were not a fixture of our history.
- We can't learn from history because it never repeats itself in exactly the same way, but that doesn't mean history can't teach.
- We can't learn from history but history can teach?
- Much of what happens in what we call history is of unimportant things, different varieties of enslavement, degrees of mass murder, innovations in popular deception. Many different models of prediction can be made. It is difficult to learn from them, to know which applies in our own time and place's enslavements, murders, indoctrinations. However...
- Sometimes, as in the Holocaust, history teaches because it models good and bad in conflict, shows two clear moral models in battle. On one side, a civilization that rewarded those who individually knew what was good but were willing to do bad when the group demanded...
- The Nazis.
- And on the other side, a civilization that required of the individual to do good on his own responsibility while resisting social influence to bad. Good ranged against bad, teaching us not what to do in a particular confluence of events of murder, enslavement, and indoctrination, but in general.
- And you think that technology, the good and bad use of it, are two moral models that have come into conflict in our times so enabling history to teach?
- I do.
- No one seems to have learned anything from the Holocaust so why should we learn from a civil war in technology?
- It may be learning from the model of good and evil in mass murder, by the mere demonstration that such models can exist, leads us to the model of technological good and bad. Technology has been raiding philosophy for its knowledge of how we think and see. Philosophy may be beginning to test and improve models one after another, to mine science for an experimental approach to moral modeling.
The Technology Of Good
The Girls (A Story Of Revolution)
Prostitution & Torture
- Anti-sex trafficking organizations say prostitution is torture. What do you think?
- Obviously they are not identical. We might look at how they are the same and how they are different.
- How are they the same?
- Both the seller of sex and the tortured have force applied to their bodies.
- You mean forced sex? Don't sellers agree to trade sex for money?
- Assuming they feel no desire to be with those they have to be paid to be with, their bodies are being forced to act against desire.
- How is acting against desire torture?
- Buying sex like torture works to disable normal functioning of the bought or bound subject's body.
- Torture and buying sex are both about disabling the subject's body. How else are torture and buying sex similar?
- Both aim to force particular thoughts into the minds of their bound or bought subjects, or to imagine this happening. The torturer wants a confession, the sex buyer wants the bought to pretend to like the buyer.
- So we have two elements: disabling the body's functioning, and forcing into existence shows of certain thoughts. We know people torture for reasons other than gaining information, that in most cases torture is not done to achieve practical results. Do you think people buy sex also for no practical reason? That it is not about sex?
- I think it is about what we've said: sex buying constructs a social relation in which the body of the bought is disabled and the seller imagines he is desired by someone whose body is socially considered desirable.
- A matter of power and status.
- Ok. How are sex buying and torture different?
- Instead of being physically bound, the sex seller is subject to severe economic and social pressure. Because selling sex disables the body and necessitates lying no one voluntarily chooses to sell sex.
- Then why do some say they enjoy what they do?
- The same reason slaves say they accept slavery: they find security in the only way of life they know that provides some predictability. We've talked before* about how feeling at home comes from habit, and habit comes from the body. We want to be at home because that is the place where we know from experience we are safe and can move on to get what else we want. The tortured and bought body cannot easily feel anywhere at home. We also talked** about how in our societies we do things for the sake of doing them: another way of saying, we are a society of people without home. We are a people without home because we force each other to do what the bound for torture and bought for sex are forced to do: against our bodies, under threat of economic and social death to produce representations of our liking of each other, to constantly adjust our relations to each other.
- Your point being that violence and sex are extremes of relation between bodies, but in our everyday life where our bodies keep more distance we see the same relations we see in torture and prostitution.
- Yes, but because of the physical distance maintained the effects much weakened. Torture is still torture.
- And prostitution is still torture.
* Prostitution, Employment, Slavery
** Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, Doing For The Sake Of Doing
- Have you thought about why we like to cause others pain for the sake of an imaginary social relation? Is it that we've come to the conclusion that the social forms we want are so unnatural we have to cause pain to construct them?
- I think something opposite: a kind of natural process is involved here, one that we have talked much about.
- Yes. Ritual involves an old weak god dying and reborn into a new strong god. Enacting ritual we are a weak old god in pain, yet imagine the reborn strong god we will become.
- We are both in pain and act out an imagined social relation, like the victim of torture, or those bought for sex.
- Yes. The torturer and buyer of sex set the ritual going. By the end of the ritual pain has turned into pleasure of security and the imagined social world is accepted as real.
- The torturer and buyer of sex imagine they are initiating a ritual, and look ahead to their victims willingly accepting beliefs they at the beginning only pretended to. On the strength of this projection, torturers and buyers of sex believe their victims like or respect them.
- They imagine they are transforming their victims into versions of themselves, god-like confident in their ability to force an imagined world into existence, that they are forming a community with their victims through ritual.
- Even though sellers of sex or tortured slaves rarely reach the point of feeling secure in the regularities of their subjection?
- Merely setting the ritual going is enough. That's just how it is. Ritual is action taken among other people meant to change the mind of the individual. It doesn't do anything consistent or meaningful in the world. For those who've learned the rituals of everyday life unconsciously, and unconsciously teach them in their turn, deliberately applied ritual of the kind of prostitution and torture reassures; maybe that is what is happening. I always feel uncomfortable and uncertain bringing ritual into an argument, find myself falling back on what Socrates liked to say: something like this must be the truth.
- I think I'm coming to understand your technique. Other people talk about power-madness, about treating each other as commodities. They talk about power and things. You, though, say you don't know what power is, or what a thing is, and launch yourself into your visionary mathematics. You keep talking and talking, lying in wait to capture a new idea. Talking with me about prostitution and torture you captured a definition involving destroyed desire, imagined community, and ritual. I think you'd claim that, unlike power and thing, you know what destroyed desire is and you know what imagined relationship is. Am I right?
- You talk all the time about living with the Messiah because he's funny, but also because the extremes he goes to make such a good example. You've looked at the economic and political* implications of his behavior, but I can't recall you delving into the sociological and psychological. Do you mind if I take on the job, try to disentangle some of the complexities of prostitution and torture, destroyed desire, imagined relationship, and ritual?
- Not at all.
- His crazy mother - anything new on that front?
- She's taken to attacking me with a broom stick.
- Beautiful. The Messiah's mother is like the government: obsessed with the defense of property, violent, malicious, the slave and prostitute who loves her work. Her behavior, like that of the government, appears crazy because desire has been completely destroyed, and an imagined community constructed through coercion out of nowhere is accepted as real. A prostitute loves her work like a country like ours love to wage useless war and torture people. Ok so far?
- Go on.
- Behind the government are the interests that employ the politicians. Interests are communities of those who have unconsciously learned to torture and prostitute themselves and others, who accept prostitution and torture as unchallenged, everyday life. The politicians, on the other hand, are ritually proud, openly proclaimed lovers of their prostitution and torture of themselves and others. The unseen interests behind the mother are the Messiah's family that pays the bills for the Beverly Hills apartment where you all live. The Messiah stands between the two, between mother and family. Between the family's everyday life of unconscious prostitution and torture, and his mother with her ritually established love of being a prostitute and torturer. The Messiah himself is not crazy. He doesn't see the world falsely, or repeat the same actions in response to the falsely seen world. He is not compulsive or paranoid. He appears insane because the principle he lives his life on is false.
- And what is that principle?
- Power. Security of his self image. When he does his good deeds, doing god's work, handing out cash to the desperate of the neighborhood, he takes the credit of being the only one who really obeys god's commandments. He hasn't the slightest interest in the lives of anyone and is open about it. Following our argument, we can say that behind what he calls the power of his image is prostitution and torture. He brings prostitutes home, demands sex, calls the police to have the women thrown out when they become uncooperative.
- You might add what places the Messiah in his intermediate position: that unlike the government politicians and his mother, with their unseen interests and family behind them, the Messiah establishes his rituals absolutely on his own without aid of any community.
- Thanks. And there is you. How do you fit in? The insane mother, like the country itself, wants to rid the world of you as a non-participant in their torture and prostitution. End of exercise. How'd I do?
- Good job.
At The Spiritual Film Festival
* Totalitarianism, Public & Private