Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Inspiration and The Golden Compass


Jewish date:  3 Marḥeshwan 5770 (Parashath Noaḥ).

Today’s holiday:  Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism).

Worthy cause of the day:  “ Civic Action: Stay off FOX” and “Save the Internet: Take Action!:  FCC: Stand Firm for Net Neutrality”.

Topic 1:  “Rabbis - the ultimate life coaches”:  Rav Boteach in his latest article complains about rabbis becoming spiritually irrelevant, relegated to announcing page numbers at services and making rulings on ritual matters.  He is correct that there is a lot of practical wisdom in Judaism (e.g., Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Pirqe ’Avoth, not to mention a host of colorful characters to draw upon).  Since rabbis are supposed to be conduits of Jewish tradition, it makes plenty of sense that they should be doing a lot of the inspiring, too.  Remember, people:  religion is not just about rituals.  It encompasses all of life.

Topic 2:  Chapter 13 of The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) by Philip Pullman.  The more I read of this trilogy, the less I think Mr. Pullman has a clue of what the soul is.  We see more of the previously mentioned “intercissed” child, i.e., now dæmonless.  The boy is clearly traumatized, and he does not survive very long, but his mind is still present.  Even stranger is the case of the armored bears.  The bears make their armor, yet the armor is their soul.  Clearly Mr. Pullman does not identify soul with mind, but so far he has not made it clear what “soul” means to him.