Fishelman Work
Redemption Accomplished

פישלמן יונת השלום

The Prison of Ideas

January 7, 2016 – “Man is born free, and is everywhere in chains.” Freedom-loving creatures everywhere serve a dense web of social obligations of their own making. Many live under dictatorships that tightly control behavior.
A mature adult learns to accept and love a mostly unfree condition. The coin falls and the change comes when another angry adolescent begins to take full satisfaction from partial satisfactions. His compensation for taking something for everything is feeling happy despite his frustration. His compensation is good companionship. It is contentment itself.
People are not really free. Society has us all pinned down. Unfree men automatically draw their still free brethren into their unfree condition. People whose dreams of freedom have been defeated make up the fiercely jealous majority intent on bringing rebels into line.
Man is a social animal. Our behavior impinges on others. We have no right to unlimited freedom. Social obligations rightly pin us down.
Social obligations come with real threats and destructive consequences. The individual either takes his cue from others, or he is seen as subversive and attacked. Society circumscribes acceptable behavior narrowly. Small towns are notorious for intolerance; so are dictatorships. There must be a line to which we are held for law and order’s sake. Why must it be narrow?
People suffer from too much regimentation driven by collective moral indignation. We are oppressed by fundamentally justified social demands on us to live politically correct lives. The demand for correctness is voiced increasingly in America as individual freedom slips away in the world’s greatest democracy.
The Sons of Adam are driven by suspicion and mutual distrust. Intolerant cultural views and hateful, fear-driven political opinions make a prison in which people are held for the duration of their lives. Socially imposed lines of thought twist healthy feelings and lives painfully out of shape.
An eternal war rages between each considered as an individual and the many considered as the social order. The individual wants his freedom. Society sets limits. Society demands order. Individuals must get in line.
Pagan religion glorifies healthy social order. God sides with inspired individuals fighting against social norms. God repeatedly throws prophets into power struggles of hopeless odds against respectable society.
God gratuitously commands Abraham to violate human decency and natural law in the arbitrary sacrifice of Isaac. Moses defies the Egyptian sense of maat, divinely ordained order, to give orders (in the Name of God) to Pharaoh.
The story of Jesus exemplifies the Jewish way. Gathering a faithful band of followers, Jesus peacefully invades Jerusalem to demonstrate that he is Israel’s rightful king. Jesus attempts a coup d’etat in overturning the money tables. He was executed for his effort. Jesus had prophesied his death; he promised triumph in his resurrection; and so it came to be.
Jesus was an enlightened person that stood up to many that were walking in darkness by shining a light. The collectivity commonly stands for darkness in the Jewish scheme of things. The inspired individual is the light bearer.
It was one against many and light against dark as Mohammed, gathering a small band of faithful followers, defied the rulers and religious customs of all Arabia. In Mohammed’s personal battle to convert Arabia to Islam, God stood with Mohammed against the whole world. It is the Jewish way.
How do societies justify unreasonable demands for conformity? Together people believe that politically correct living and right thinking are vital to public safety. Through holding wrong ideas, merely, societies take individuals by the heart and squeeze their hearts to death.
In all forms of fundamentalist monotheism – Franciscans, Quakers, Shakers, Puritans, Hassidim, Sunni and Shiite – freedom of behavior and expression is narrowly restricted by social codes justified by faith in God.
The faithful of all monotheist flocks tend to look and act alike: like other flock members.
Judaism is a religion in which God, after intervals, suddenly changes the form of His teaching. In Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, God inspires new champions with new explanations of previously taught truths.
How does a religion that is championed by a succession of social rebels, each exercising his right of conscience to differ from the norm, come everywhere to demand strict social conformity in which no one is allowed to differ from the norm?
Judaism, Christianity and Islam exist through repeated acts of individual rebellion: the assertion of freedom of conscience. Serious practitioners of monotheism restrict freedom strictly. Belief in a God Which exists by virtue of freedom of conscience is everywhere employed to rationalize social enslavement.
How has this massive contradiction come about?
Truly we humans live in a prison of our own ideas.

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