Monday, March 28, 2011

A Passion For Truth

The Lion Roars Again!

I was greatly offended by a recent article I read on the online “Tablet Magazine: A New Read of Jewish Life.”

Not easily angered, typically, I could barely get past the first half-dozen paragraphs of the piece by Liel Leibovitz, titled “No Bull” without the fire in my soul bursting into flames.

Maybe there is just so much upheaval presently that I am starting to feel more and more like speaking my piece these days.

Another possibility is that writing this blog is just simply stretching my tongue.

A third slant might be -- you know how “righteous converts” can be.

Maybe I'm beginning to think like a "born again" something or other (see my stories on being the "Former anti-Semitic, Recovering Jewish American Princess"), getting on my bandwagon about injustice.

Intending no disrespect for Mr. Leibovitz's contribution to the subject of lying, particularly in the United States, my distress was not about his intent to spotlight the epidemic of lying, but that the essay seemed so distressingly unjust. Without any redeeming social contribution whatever.

In this piece Mr. Leibovitz -- in my opinion -- was guilty of adding fuel to the spreading fire of slamming others that epitomizes our politics today.

Politics is the arena where lying is reaching near-pandemic levels.

But this situation is not about everyone, everywhere, even those who care about politics (and religion).

Since I generally enjoy Mr. Lebovitz’s commentaries, I was disappointed in this instance to see him guilty of spreading that wildfire.

For starters I took the treatise (once I had completed it and read some of the comments that followed) to be such a grossly superficial examination of the subject of lying that I found myself stirred far more than I would have preferred.

When I got to the bottom line, at least, the one I was quickly able to uproot, I thought my reaction must have been the roar, again, of that mother lion part of me.

Perhaps, however, I might just be privileged, as my friend. Living not terribly far from the Washington, D.C. area, I work and live amongst almost limitless numbers of transparent, accountable social and political activists and whistle blowers.

(My friend, Jeanne, on the other hand, is feeling significantly limited these days by an absence of supportive truth –sayers down in her North Carolina neck of the woods, she tells me.

I, instead, feel surrounded by a bounty of high-minded, dedicated activists who are abundant in transparency and accountability. Admittedly, those of us who are so inclined have now moved far enough away from that D.C. rat race to have the luxury of speaking our truths without having the backlash surrounding us at a K Street pub or a rising up in our backyards.

Still, I hardly know anyone in my circle of friends and associates who does anything other than face day-to-day reality challenges with anything less than full integrity.

When I think of present challenges to our society about truth telling, my mind (and my heart) quickly turn to the words of Abraham Joshua Heschel in his beautifully written book, “A Passion For Truth”.

In this book, Heschel, the scholar, aptly describes -- and – I believe comes to reconcile our essential human challenges with honesty; the tensions we all constantly face about our truthfulness versus our compassion.

I wish Mr. Leibovitz would take a broader look at the subject of honesty, read Heschel’s perspectives on deceitfulness (if he hasn’t already) – and – take a look at the people in my life.

That would tame this mother lion’s roar quite nicely, I believe.

1 comment:

  1. I am soo sorry we are having difficulty presently with the formatting on both blogs (as you can see by our lack of line spacing),

    Fixing the problem -- a work in progress.

    Thank you for your patience