Saturday, April 4, 2009

interview, part III

my early teen years in high school were unenjoyable,
which did not necessarily lead to rebellion
but more like war footing emotionally-
just get through this.

the chevra i idealized was back in chicago where torah was not a dirty word, so to the degree that my nostalgia and need for belonging was satisfied with the image of chicago, torah was not something that i wanted to jettison, but rather ... and there i would be hard pressed to answer.

but i do recall thinking that god might have created the world and since removed himself.

in any case the second half of my teens i was in yeshiva in israel.

RS: did you like gush etzion?
yr: i idealized belonging and though it took some time i was able to achieve an element of belonging in the yeshiva.

the other value was knowing what i was talking about, if only by a handful. if you are exposed to smart orthodox jews, with top 1% I.Q.'s and years of study, it feels a bit arrogant to say, this is nothing. and on an intellectual level it pays to know as much as possible about the jewish tradition (as it pays to know as much as possible about other topics as well) if one is going to exile oneself from the "city of faith" and still hold onto faith, it will be a challenging obstacle from an intellectual standpoint if you have not enough knowledge.

but emotionally the extended belief period sealed my fate as someone who is going to rebel too late.

RS: too late?
yr: well, it's never too late, but certainly one of my primary "what ifs"of my life is: what if i had rebelled sooner in my teens rather than after yeshiva, might i have been freer and led a more fulfilling life. i guess you turn into a pillar of salt if you look backward like that.

RS: you use bible imagery rather readily
yr: of course. i'm proud of it. but on the other hand it is a symptom of my self torture, so there is a perverse self hating pride as well.

RS: so you are a self hating jew
yr: i am a self hating person, if i had been an amoeba i would have been a self hating amoeba. i think many people in a society of esteem and turf have their "self hating" mechanism turned on. and it's almost impossible to defeat it and it's sometimes tough to even turn the volume down. but i think that critical artists or artist wannabes or critical thinking people quite often have a kvetch gene and this is part of the process of thought. personally, there is nothing intellectual that does not touch me emotionally. if there is such a topic i drop it mighty quick, because if you don't engage my emotions, it means that the best part of me (or the part of me with the most turbine action available) has been left out.

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