Friday, February 23, 2007

Four Impulses, Gin and Tonic

I really should take back what i said a couple blogs back about idol worship in far rockaway. No more jokes about avi shimon christopherson, who delivered the most amazing religious philosophy lecture i've ever heard last night over a couple of frosty gin and tonics on long island. He wasn't trying to lecture, or convince, or even be original--he was just trying to relate his idea for a movie about the book "The Way of God," but he didn't realize the things he put into perspective.
For instance, he said that every person in a microcosmic world, home to the four basic elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. These elements are biological impulses in all of us, and, like Aristotle echoed, we can use the fifth element--intellect--to govern these potentially fatal forces. All four carry a base temptation, as fire embodies anger and haugtiness, water encompasses sexual tempation, wind represents idleness and the urge to waste time, while earth symbolizes laziness. And, since man is constructed vertically (unlike animals, who walk on all fours and are built horizontally), it is his privelege alone to be able to decide, with his intellect, whether he will give in to temption, and let the decision filter down, literally, to his heart. An animal, on the other hand, has no intellect (except dolphins, maybe, but i'll ask a rabbi), and so its brain matter yields no power over its impulse decisions.
Now here's the cool part: according to the Way of God, as interpreted by Mr. Christopherson, tragedies are not Divine punishment. They are the regaining of the natural equilibrium that humans disturbed, and the element used to exact pain and suffering always corresponds to the element that inspired us to evil in the first place. Using biblical and religious examples, Mr. Christopherson said that Noah's generation was killed because of sexual misconduct. And, since water is the element that urges to wanton sexuality, God used a flood to kill them. Furthermore, the sages say that the Temple was destroyed because of blind hatred that ran rampant among the Israelites. Therefore, the temple was destroyed with fire.
Whether or not you believe this is your own business, and, moreover, it is impossible to prove the validity of any of this. It's all personal philosophy, which historically is impossible to confirm or disprove. That's why everybody gets A's on philosophy assignments. But still--and maybe this is the lingering effects of the gin and tonic talking--I find it intriguing that the remedy for being horny is taking a cold shower.

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