Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fear - Tapestry

CBC's Tapestry had a very interesting show in which Mary Hines spoke with Rabbi Harold Kushner about Fear. Leaving all theology and philosophy aside - Kushner characterizes this theorizing as a kind of Sudoku - and concentrating on what really bothers us in everyday life and cannot be easily set aside by ratio or faith.

One might expect a lot of talk of fear of death, or of disease and disability, but eventually the attention drives to fear of failure, fear of being left behind or leaving others behind, fear of meaningless existence and most of all, what it all seems to boil down to: fear of rejection. Kushner tries to get the message passed that in this life it is not a matter of success or failure (and then, consequently rejection), but a matter of success or forgiveness. But it does require a net around you of people who care, who will forgive. Kushner emphasizes the importance of community.

He also leads us to a kind of leap of faith. He shows that in many situations in life you are so utterly unable to analyze outcomes and reactions, you eventually are presented with a choice between believing in the goodness of people, in a meaningful existence, or not. And if neither has no better or worse arguments and indicators, one might as well allow to belief optimistically. It is an fascinating show and eventually the thought stuck with me: everything Kushner says, one can take to heart and he could have said exactly the same thing had he not be a Jewish religious rabbi, but rather a proponent of any other faith or a secular. And that makes it all the more strong.

More Tapestry:
Karen Armstrong,
Terry Eagleton.