The Creative Masses

We’ve already discussed how this world is backwards. How everything about it is wrong, and therefore the ugly things in it tend to thrive.

For example, the best form of government in this world is democracy, a government that thrives on having its followers lead, where the leaders are just dogs begging at their feet for a scrap of votes.

In an ideal world, our leaders would lead, and they wouldn’t need to be voted in because they would be true leaders. They would tell us how to think and we would gladly follow.

The best economy in the world is capitalism, a system that is based completely on the assumption that people are greedy. And because people really are greedy, it works.

Every successful system in the world has a cynical worldview, a belief that people are dirty dogs.

And that’s great, it really is. For this world.

But the problem is when people start to idealize those things that are only created for an unideal (is that a word?) world. They think democracy is incredible. That capitalism rules (‘Murica!).

They don’t realize that they’re idealizing things that are only ideal because they’re a peel to a fruit. Things that, as soon as the world reaches its ideal state, won’t be necessary anymore.

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The worst part of all this is that people then look at the people who are successful in the world, the discussions that get shared in the world, and think these are the people that I need to model my life after. These are the discussions I need to be having.

They look at cable news, and they see people arguing over gun control, and think, hey, I need to either be pro or anti! I need to be political.

And so they make themselves busy-bodies. They fight for their political beliefs, whether it be on online forums or with their families over dinner.

Or maybe they’ve heard all this rhetoric about how success means having the career you want, about finding your soul in your work. That we aren’t anything if we aren’t doing the job we want to do with the pay we want with the benefits we want.

That’s what’s considered deep in the world today.

But the only reason that happens is because we live in a system that idealizes the unideal. We live in a world where to be busy, to be productive, to be political, these things are considered qualifiers for “success” or “depth”.

And so the poor masses scurry off like rats in a maze to find their own version of truth.

The problem here is that people spend so much time following what this unideal world is telling them that they forget the only reason the world is the way it is is because it’s adjusting to how crappy it is in the first place.

A career only exists because if we didn’t have one, we would be poor and homeless. But it’s not ideal.

You know what would be ideal? Connecting to truth throughout the day. Studying Torah all the freaking time. (that one’s for the Jews out there). Noodling about and staring at a lake while you meditate on the greatness of the world, the universe, G-d. Creating something from the soul straight onto paper and sharing it with your loved ones.

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But we’ve forgotten that. Somewhere along the way, people are criticized for wanting to study Torah all day. Not because they aren’t providing for their families, but because, damnit, we were put on this earth to work! Children are encouraged to stop noodling at preschool and to start preparing for the SATs ASAP.

But the truth is, we’re not wired that way. We only have to live that way because that’s the world we live in, and we have to turn it into that ideal world we should be wishing it could be.

There are a few people who truly do love this world, yes. That truly do thrive in a world of capitalism and democracy and fighting and war and death and disease and conflict. We call those people psychopaths.

The rest of us are the creative masses. The people who have been brainwashed into thinking that life is one big career move, that YOLO, that politics is deep, that gun control is important.

But really we’re all just yearning, begging, pleading, inside for our physical minds to remember what our spiritual souls need. G-dliness. Truth. Noodling about. Creative expression.

That’s life. That’s reality. All the rest is the peel on the fruit.

  • aaron leib

    Damn thats a good peace. IT’s mad hard to grasp that subject though. People’s “…begging, pleading” for TRUTH is expressed in their yearning for that job move, thinking that it will satisfy their “truth craving”. But if you sit them down in front of a Gemorrah, I’m not sure that it will assuage their hunger. Agreed that our world directs us to believe that materiality is what will help us reach our true self. But doesn’t chassidus teach that true spirituality is within materiality? Haven’t we been all taught that REAL G-dliness is not atop a mountain meditating, but actually within the mundane everyday job, family, etc, etc…So maybe it’s just about “staying within, while staying above” as Rabbi Freidman (?) wrote.

    • Glad you like it.

      To answer your question: I remember sitting in a class in yeshiva when the rabbi teaching, the rosh yeshiva, started teaching something from a maamar about how the ideal thing is to sit and learn all day. And I got all worked up and annoyed and said, “But… but… we learned all this time that we need to be IN the world. Doing things! Bringing up the sparks.”

      And I remember how he looked at me and he said, “Elad, think about it. Is that REALLY the ideal? No, that’s what we have to do in this world, but if we lived in a world that was perfect, a world where G-dliness was already revealed…”

      In other words, many of us that learned from the Chabad tradition, especially us BT’s, have grown in this tradition of thinking that we should WANT to be in this world. But the Rebbe never meant it that way. He meant that going into the world is an mesirat nefesh. We’re SACRIFICING something by going out there. The shluchim, the business men, all of them… they’re doing what they have to do, and sure, there’s a lot of joy in that work… but it’s a joy that comes from living in a world that’s backwards, that’s empty, that needs to be brought to a different place.

      The best shliach is no shliach, because his work would be done.

  • Shoshana

    i agrea

  • I don’t understand why you think the ideal is to have people tell us what to think and democracy is a compromise with a crappy world. Why would it be ideal for people to have to be told what to think by others?

    • I don’t think I described the ideal as people “telling us what to think”. But I do think that an ideal leader is someone worth following, as opposed to them following the followers. A leader by definition should be someone who can make unpopular decisions and challenge the status quo in a true way.

      Maybe a good example would be Steve Jobs. This was a person who led because he deserved to lead. It’s interesting to note that he was kicked out of his position for a number of years which led to the decline of Apple. It was only because his leaving effected the company so profoundly that he was able to have his own resurrection.

      That’s not how it works in democracy. You get elected as long as you do what everyone wants you to do (obviously it’s more gray shaded than that, but you see my point). Bush was reelected not because he made good decisions but because he spoke the language of America better than his opponents. Same for basically every president in recent history.

      Also, on a personal note, it’s kind of blowing my mind that the writer of my favorite episodes of Futurama commented on a post of mine. You are awesome, and I hope to see you in these parts again sometime.

  • Made me think. Thanks.

  • The Rambam writes in Misneh Torah that a person whose main occupation is Torah is a leach on Society. VERY FEW meet his acceptable standards that are based on the Sages of Misneh and Gemara who ALL had jobs except for R’ Shimon Bar Yochi’s school. A person can have a job and believe with 100% emunah that Hashem will provide for all his needs. This means when you clock out at 5pm you actually clock out and dont take home work with you physically or mentally. This also means dedicating time for a Seder of Torah. 30min-3hrs daily depending on your availability. Everything has a balance. The Rebbe instructed Chassidim to work and “Kollel” outside of the first few years of marriage is not a Chabad thing or a Chassidic Der Baal Shem Tov thing. The Chassidic groups that embrace full time kollel are a result of mixed marriages with Litvaks 🙂 I would like to read articles about more positive and less negative. I know negative sells as I not your paypal subscribe button above… What about inspiring people with the Torah learning and infusing it with the world and work.

    V’Atah Tetzaveh is coming home. Maybe write about how the Maamar connects you to G-d, the Tzaddik, and your Souls essence.

    • 1. You misunderstood my blog post. I’m not saying that working is bad. I’m saying that all those gedolim you mention were talking about how to live in a world of Galut. I’m not talking about Galut.

      2. If you see my blog as negative, that’s most unfortunate. I work my butt off to make this a positive place for everyone. I do think that sometimes we need to address negative themes, though. All Maamarim and Sichas start off with a question, something lacking. All stories have a conflict. This theory that you can only write strictly positive things is false and what makes so many Jewish blogs stale as death.

      3. It seems to me as if, in the last bit that you wrote, you are telling me to write what YOU want written. This isn’t a blog where I talk about the mammarim I study (not explicitly anyway). If you’re looking for that, there are plenty of other blogs. Perhaps YOU should write those blogs.

      • You have at various points in this blog claimed to be a Chasid, have hiskashrus to the Rebbe and a relationship with Chabad Chassidus.

        1. We live in Galus. Bring Moshiach, but dont deny that we are in galus. While the Rebbe said learning about Geula hastens the coming of Moshiach, he also said to be aware that we are in Galus.

        2. Let me reword my words as I see they were not my intent based on your response. Your blog needs to be more constructive. No one says ignore the “seemingly bad and evil” in this world. The Alter Rebbe writes in Lekutei Torah that it is a Jews job to reveal the good even in the bad. This means that when you discuss negative things, you should be more constructive on solutions and revealing the light vested within it. Dont make it so Black and White.

        3. This comment just sounds like a snobby artist, which I dont think you are. No one wants you to “summarize” V’Atah Tetzaveh. But to look at life through the lens of Chassidus is the outlook of a Chasid. If you arent a Chasid, then I dont need to convince you of anything. I wish I had time to sit and write but 3 kids, a wife, Torah study, and a full time job doesnt give me much time. Soon though I hope. I would rather be painting though.

        • Karen Tunkel

          Why should he have to write his blog to suit you…or me…or anyone? These are his thoughts, which he chooses to share freely. Any of us could start a blog to do the same. I also don’t think that sharing his thoughts on the ideal world versus the world we live in should be a basis for questioning his Chassidus, devotion to the Rebbe, or relationship with Chabad.

          These comments, to me, seem more negative than the blog content.