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A Culture of Complaint; The Hagar Complex and the Culture of Victimization

Marc Gafni » Blog - Spiritually Incorrect » Certainty / Uncertainty » Essays & Articles » Teachings in Hebrew » Tears » A Culture of Complaint; The Hagar Complex and the Culture of Victimization

by Marc Gafni

This article is the second part of an article that appears below, The Seduction of Tears and the Hagar Complex. The reader is advised to read that teaching first and only then return to this teaching.

The following introduction outlines some of the sense of victimization that has become so popular in Western culture:

To be a victim is to give up on response-ability.
I was not, and am not, able to respond in a way that is dignified, powerful and active.

The victim says I am powerless.
Paradoxically, the power of the victim comes from being perpetually powerless.

The victim is always a spectator. Things happen to her.
She never shares part of the responsibility as she is always powerless.

What motivates the victim is threefold. First, a feeling of desperate emptiness. That emptiness is filled by the rage of the victim. The rage is, of course, directed externally which allows the victim to avoid (a-void-dance)―to avoid the need to look deeply inside at the source of the emptiness.

Second, the victim is motivated to never take her or his rightful responsibility. She or he always wants to be innocent. The problem is that the price of INNOCENCE is IMPOTENCE. If you are a victim, then you are not potent. You cannot shape your reality. You cannot participate in charting your destiny and in making gorgeous, dignified choices about your life or your relationships.

So, the second motive, when adopting a victim status in life or a particular situation, is to free oneself of all responsibility.

The third motive that drives one to adopt a victim status in life or in a particular situation is the desire to hurt, attack, or demonize the other. He did it to me. He convinced me. He seduced me. He was powerful―and I was powerless.

Now, of course in life there sometimes are very real victims. We need to love, support, and embrace all victims and help them get on their feet. Sometimes people do lash out at us―for all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it is obvious. For example, in stories of rape, genuine sexual harassment, or false promises in order to gain sexual relations, it is fair and right to see the woman as the victim and the man as the predator.

However, when a relationship is fully mutual and consensual; when adults engage in relationship; when they write each other countless notes and have countless conversations in which it is clear to all involved that these relationships are between parties who truly want to participate, who enjoy the relationship, who write clearly in their letters that they feel powerful and strong, who thank each other for the honor and dignity they give each other; in such a situation to later claim a victim stance is not truly to be a victim but to be a predator.

It is a terrible form of abuse; what we call in Hebrew Nitzul. Nitzul. Nitzul Mini. It is a form of sexual abuse. When one abuses the integrity of a sexual relationship that was mutual and consensual, painting it as something else with the intention of inflicting damage and destruction after the fact, this is a form of Nitzul Mini, of sexual abuse.

Sometimes we feel badly at the end of a sexual relationship. Sexuality is very complex and often difficult. Sometimes other people exacerbate our bad feelings and encourage us to act aggressively. Ultimately however we are responsible for not letting our hurt devolve into malice.

Getting hurt does not justify adopting a victim stance and demonizing the other in an attempt to destroy him or her.

One cannot hide one's power under the guise of powerlessness. This is, in fact, one of the most aggressive uses of power imaginable.

Sadly, society often invites people to play the victim role. And once someone adopts that role, it requires great courage, honesty, and love to step out of that role and reclaim your power.

But it is only in the reclaiming of her power that the victim reclaims her potency, her Eros, her joy, and her integrity.

It is only when Hagar stands in her power that she is able to redeem herself, her son, and her relationship to the divine.

A Culture of Complaint
The Hagar Complex and the Culture of Vicitimization

In the rejection of Hagar's tears biblical consciousness speaks with great power to epidemic of victim hood which threatens to cripple much of what is great and good in Western society. Hagar is abused. She is a hurt. She is a victim. And Hagar has power. She has options. She can turn fate into destiny. She can embrace the desert. Her tears become not the ritual bath of her purification but the swamp of her drowning. She falls prey to the Hagar complex of victim identity. A Hassidic Zen master of sorts, Nafatali of Rophsitz captures Hagar consciousness. There is a boy in a neighboring town, child to the wealthy but somewhat cold and sometimes cruel parents. At some point the boy begins to cry. And does not stop. A day, two days…he simply continues crying. All of the great physicians and healer and some magicians to are brought in to stop the boy's crying and return him to the land of the living; what we moderns like to call functionality.
None succeed.

Finally when all else fails someone thinks to go to the Jewish Hassidic master known for his sharp and often unconventional wisdom. The master enters the boys room. Watches him for a short time. Approaches him and whispers something in his ear. There is silence for a moment. The boy stops crying. He grows up to be a very powerful and yet compassionate landowner in the region of Rophistz in Poland. All through the years no-one knew what the master had told him for Naftali of Rophitz had refused to divulge the secret.

On this death bed the landowner calls in his children to give them his final blessings. And with it the secret. What the holy Jewish master told me said the powerful landowner, was " do not cry more then it hurts". Hagar is the victim but like the modern victim she cries more then it hurts. These are the tears that are rejected by biblical conciousness.

Tears of Creativity and Tears of Resignation

Nachman of Bratzlav in passage on the tears of creativity, relates the tears which create new Torah which we discussed in the last chapter, to the Zoharic theme redemption which will only be realized when the tears of Israel nullify the tears of Esav. Nachmans unique understanding of this Zohar gives it a stunning existential cast. Nachman writes, "There are original ideas which are created through tears, for through them, one can create a new book. And those tears stand against the decrees of the nations and nullify them, for the entire power of the nations comes from the tears of Esav. Therefore the tears {of creativity} stand against them and nullify them.”

The crying of Esav represents in the text some form of un-evolved crying. In an earlier discussion we identified tears of Esav with crying of resignation. Esav also represents the oppression and pain of the exile. Nachman teaches that the way to survive the exile and to stand against the painfully difficult objective realities of it's harsh world, without being crushed by the pain is to transform the tears of Esav, the of resignation, into tears of creativity. The impotency of Esav's tears becomes the fertile power and creativity of the tears which create new Torah. At a time when the people were in exile, lacking all and any political power and feeling completely disempowered, Nachman came to teach us that the politically impotent scholar was in fact an potentate of enormous power- for the scholar has the power through his tears to create the word of G-d. Resignation in the face of political helplessness is transformed into a sense of adequacy and dignity which emerges out of the spiritual power of human creativity. Hebrew mystical master Nachman of Bratzlav, master to a people who have good reason to claim abuse and oppression refuses the role of the victim. Tear of resignation and victimhood are transformed by Nachman into tears of hope union and creativity which create new Torah and therebye participate in the evolution of God.

CHAPTER FIVE; TEARS OF HAGAR AND THE CULTURE OF VICTIMHOOD; The Post Modern Hagar Complex

The postmodern incarnation of the Hagar complex is the culture of victimization- nation of victims, - abuse excuse consciousness which threatens to undermine the God field of contemporary consciousness. We are not talking here about the real victims – which might be any of us at any time- but of the pseudo victims who while they may have some legitimate grievance – as did Hagar; they also like Hagar have genuine options available other then the tears of resignation.

It is to this contemporary phenomenon that we turn to in appendix to chapter five - in elucidation of the Hagar's rejected tears.

Before doing so, however, a frame of interpretation is important. Like Hagar's tears Victim tears need to be understood differently at different levels of consciousness. In chapter one, the preface, we unpacked from the Baal Shem Tov three fundamental levels of consciousness. Let's now begin to apply them to the tears of the Pseudo Victim. The first was termed Hachana'ah- submission. This is the stage where the person has not yet individuated. There has not yet been a psychological or spiritual birth. As such the human being is acted upon by outside forces which move him to and fro. There is not yet the enlightened realization of personal responsibility. In that sense this stage might be called Pre-Personal. The second stage is that of Havdalah- individuation, separation and distinction. In this stage, the autonomous responsible individual- created in the image of God – with infinite value –dignity and response-ability is born. This level of consciousness rejects the attempt to locate the locus of human evil in sources outside the human being. This level of consciousness insists on personal responsibility.

The next section of this discussion will be written from this level of consciousness. We will sharply critique the forces in society which reject the essential Havdalah level of consciousness and trap the individual in the mind of Hachna'ah . However this is not the whole story. Some of the thinking that underlies the move away from radical personal responsibility and which tends to see the individual as a victim who is caught in a larger web of life actually derives from deep spiritual intuition; the level of consciousness which the Baal Shem Tov refers to as Hamtaka.

At this level one moves beyond the Monad experience of being a skin encapsulated autonomous ego towards experiencing oneself as part of larger contexts within contexts within contexts; part of the great web of life. If one is part of the great web of life then one is also naturally influence by the great web of life. This is a core point made by those who seek to lighten the load of personal responsibility and shift part of it onto to the larger organizing systems of society.

The integration of these two perspectives into a higher deeper realization, the realization of enlightenment will be the goal of this section. This integration will give us a deeply realized understanding of the Hagar Archetype and God's refusal in the biblical text to respond to her tears. Prior to integration however we need to separate out the strands of consciousness.

We begin with an affirmation of Havdalah consciousness. From this place of Havdalah we affirm the biblical critique of the Hagar complex as expressed in modernity culture of Victimization.

Colin Ferguson is a Black man accused of killing white commuters cowering on the floor on the Long Island railroad. Ferguson looks down at his victims and picks seven white people whom he indiscriminately murders in cold blood. His attorney defends him claiming that he is the victim of society discrimination against blacks which created the "Black Rage" which is the truly responsible party in the killings. Ferguson is not responsible. He is a victim. Black rage is to blame. Ferguson's attorney claimed that fully 2/3 of Blacks surveyed and fully half of whites supported the Black Rage defense! The fallacy in this defense is of course obvious. The vast majority of blacks who have suffered real discrimination do not become mass murders. Indeed the vast majority of people who have suffered abuse actually do not commit violent crimes. Some do however. But they did not have to. They were not merely a victim of circumstance.

Ask someone – why do you answer the phone? They will usually tell you – Because it rings. This however is already the first sign of victim consciousness. Someone who answers the phone because it rings is a victim. The ringing of the phone is a stimulus. The response to the ringing is a human choice. It is indeed precisely what makes us human. Mother asks son why did you hit your sister. Son's first answer may be "because she screamed at me". Mother's teaching must then be to show son his mis-perception. Your sister yelling at you was a stimulus. Your response to that stimulus by hitting was a choice for which you are responsible.

One of the most dangerous modern expressions of the Hagar complex, victim consciousness, is undermining of the core notions of crime, law, reward an punishment; a undermining which significantly weakens the God field and topples societies.
Take murder for example. There is a basic distinction drawn in all law from biblical to modern between murder and killing. Not all killing is murder. Indeed the translation of the seventh commandment as thou shalt not kill is incorrect. It is not thou shalt not kill but thou shalt not murder. Killing and murder are not necessarily the same. Contemporary law therefore allows for three types of killing which are not considered murder. The first is killing with official justification. The state executioner is therefore a killer but not a murderer. Second, killing in self defense is not considered murder. That is, when there is a clear and present danger to life one –according to biblical and western law – is obligated to kill and not be killed. Clearly – clear and present danger – is an amorphic category and must be carefully examined but the general intent of the law is clear. The third category however is most relevant to us. Insanity. An insane person- one who for examples hears voices telling her to kill – cannot be held responsible for murder.

Naturally of course, the extension is made from murder to many other forms of violent and non violent crime.
Lorena Bobbitt cuts off her husband's penis as he sleeps. Many feminists cheer. The husband who is clearly not a sympathetic character is put on trial. It is very clear from evidence that Lorena Bobbitt was not in danger. She claimed he had raped her. He was however aquitted on that charge. She was not trapped. She could have left. He had not threatened to harm her if he left. He wanted her to leave. She held a good job. Her attorneys claimed temporary insanity which "combined elements of self defense, rape trauma and battered women syndrome." She was acquitted by reason of insanity. Of course she was released very quickly after being sent for observation at a mental health facility for she was actually quite sane. In legal scholar Alan Dershowitz's analysis her insanity defense " was just a cover for the real defense of the "sexist son of a bitch had it coming". Lorena Bobbit may or may not have been a victim. We do not know. I assume that she was a genuine victim. At the end of this section I will say a word however about the virtual epidemic of false and profoundly distorted accusations in which the accuser is the true abuser. This is a the new McCarthyism of false sexual abuse claims and horrible name rapes perpetrated in it's name, which are another symptom of the "hagar victim complex"..

Even, however, genuine victim hood does not allow the victim to then become an abuser. Even if victim hood cannot be turned to compassion it must at least not be turned to violence. Once that is true it is a short distance to justifying the husband who finds his wife of many years has been consistently cheating on him with his best friend and then brutally murders the wife and the friend. The husband is a victim. His rage is real. And it does not justify murder.
One of the most famous cases of this ilk is the Menendez brothers. They plan the murder of their parents – the perfect crime- for several months. When they are finally arrested their defense is based on their fathers alleged abuse. Alan Dershowitz in retelling the story suggests that they may have made up the defense. But let us assume that their father did abuse them. Why did they kill their mother who was sitting eating strawberries and filling out her son's college application. Indeed after the first bullet they chased her bleeding down the hall and pumped several more bullets into her. The point of course is that even if there was abuse – parricide – the killing of parents is not the only response to abuse on the part of adult children who have left the parental home. And yet their claim of victim hood as the key to their exoneration was taken enormously seriously by the court and by much of the public. The usual strategy of the victim defense is to place the actual legal victim- in this case the dead parents on trial. The implied point is –"The victim had it coming" which is not a valid legal or moral defense for it terribly weakens the god matrix in which society rests. The micro and the macro are intimately related. Once the rage elicited by being victimized becomes accepted as a legitimate excuse for violence, the world explodes in cycles of violence which will very quickly destroy it. If one conflates in bold relief the Menendez brothers with Alice Millers well know book "The drama of the Gifted child" the situation becomes truly frightening. Millers book which has been a run away best seller for over twenty years that not only the Menendez brothers but all children are victims of their parents. "The repression of brutal abuse experienced during childhood destroys many people to destroy their lives and the lives of others". Those who have not been therapeutically transformed – which is most of everyone –are according to Miller "damaged…victims of the past….{of the}cruel invisible prison of childhood". She talks of the "despair of the tormented child". Every child's traumatic experiences remain locked in the darkness". Miller in these descriptions is not referring to a specific group of children but to all children. She has succeeded in turning every human being, by the essential virtue of their born and raised, into a victim. Thus it is legitimate to conclude we are all killers in potential and that if we act out parricide we can all claim the "brutal abuse" defense of the Menendez brothers.
When Bin Laden burned thousands of innocent people alive in the world trade center he was also moved by his own self experienced holy rage. When Fatah terrorists in Israel blow school buses full of children it is also explained by the CNN commentator as an expression of Palestinian rage and is embraces as a legitimate expression of that rage by the vast majority of Palestinian society. Moral context is obliterated. History is obliterated. All becomes a great morass of rage. Moral equivalences rule the day and great evil is loosed on the world, all excused in the name of victimhood. It suggests of course that perpetuating the abuse is the only response to being abused and victimized. This is of course completely not true. This response is a choice is response to a stimulus. Other responses are available. The highest response – and the one virtually demanded by the covenant- is alchemy- to transform the "lead" of abuse and victim hood into the shining metal of compassion and transformation. This is the way of the covenant.

It all begins with core notion of personal responsibility. This biblical notion of the human being created Homo Imago Dei. The human being is not merely in contact with the divine; the human being actually participates in divinity. What that means is that the human being is not trapped in nature. In the great dharma of genesis nature emanates from a God who is both present within and beyond nature. The notion of an evolving creation indicates purpose and direction; a divine life force which guides and ultimately controls nature. This notion of a God force which inheres in and orders an evolving nature and together with the notion of a human being, who participates in that divine nature, is the fertile ground which birthed to western science, the idea of progress, democracy, and much more that we correctly hold dear. It also gives birth to the notion of personal responsibility. The human being is both part of a nature and beyond nature. Thus the human being in the biblical narrative is created not once but twice. First in chapter one of Genesis as part of the natural order and then again in chapter two as a unique being who both transcends and includes the natural order. If man is not merely part of nature but also beyond nature then he can control his nature. He is granted the joy and dignity of personal responsibility. It is precisely this notion that is undermined in the fabric of the god field by the victim defense so popular today in the legal system. Lisa B. Kemler who successfully defended Lora Bobbit write as follows. "The more we learn about how and why we act in a certain way….the more we are able to offer up viable defenses". For Kemler the ability to explain the internal psychological or social dynamics that give birth to action, removes the illusion of our response-ability for those very actions. As Alan Dershowitz has already pointed out this is but a legal expression of the old and discredited naturalistic fallacy in the philosophy. Nature has a voice in morality but not a veto. Nature in-forms but does not determine our standard of the ethical. The God point in the human being has the ability to control, sublimate, and redirect and most importantly to access and act from deeper levels of consciousness then those places usually referred to as human nature. An equation between nature and morality is a morally dangerous one. For example the natural relationship between homosexuality and aids might be misinterpreted as morally condemning homosexuality or the fact that women are naturally physically weaker sex then men as a whole might condone sexism and discrimination against women. The point of the Genesis narrative is that while biological and social nature are always important contributing factors, they can virtually always be trumped by the divine image in the human being. The human being, baby faced divine that she is, is capable of transcending her surface nature and accessing her deeper divine nature. Therefore while rage is a natural impulse in certain circumstances, rage does not necessarily need to lead to murder. Rage is a stimulus and murder is a decision. Hiding behind victim hood this essential notion of spiritual consciousness is rapidly being effaced in modern society.

Once a victim posture takes hold in society it becomes far more pervasive then then merely credulous insanity defense in murder trials. It begins to show up everyplace.
An FBI agent embezzles two thousand dollars from the government and loses it in an afternoon at a gambling casino. He is fired. However he is re-instated after suing because the court rules that that his penchant for gambling with other people money is a handicap and thus protected under federal law. Or take the case of an employee who is fired because he show up to work consistently late. He is fired. He sues for re-instatement claiming he is a victim of what his lawyer terms chronic lateness syndrome.
Another case. A man has admitted exposing himself between ten and twenty thousand times in public places. He has been convicted thirty times of flashing. He is turned down for a job as a parking attendant in Dane County Wisconsin based on his arrest record. He sues claiming that he only exposes himself in Laundromats and libraries and not in parking lots. An initial determination finds that he has been the probable victim of "illegal job discrimination".
A tragic example. A young man steals a car from a lot and kills someone. The family retains legal counsel who sues the proprietor of the car lot for not making the cars harder to steal!.
Finally a last example of an enraged victim's cry for justice.

"I'm not female and I'm not black. I'm not even poor. Nevertheless, in the past few years, I've had the chance to taste powerlessness, to experience minority status, to be treated as a pariah by a society that embraces different values, to be subjected to ridicule, abuse and violence. "
How?
"I've been riding a bicycle."
Like bigotry of'gender (sexism) and race (racism), he insists, the bigotry of the highway also needs an "ism."
"The essence of `motorism,' " he explains, "is the belief that having control over a vehicle equipped with an internal combustion engine creates an elite status.... In contrast with drivers generally, `motorists' have a lot in common with racists and sexists. Bigotry in all its forms is about unequal power and lack of _respect. It is about treating people as members of a class rather than as individuals. When I'm on a bicycle, who I am becomes irrelevant. Every personal trait is subsumed by my status as member of a despised group. The absence of motor brands me as `other' and unworthy of respect."
Warming to his theme, he compares disrespect to bicyclists to "cross burning, swastika painting, gay bashing," and other "hate crimes motivated by the status of the victim." Emulating victims of racism and sexism, he writes, victimized bicyclers "adopt behaviors" that merely perpetuate their victimization. They "hunt for underused roads where traffic is light." Although there is simple prudence at
work here, the professor declares that "there is also an element of self-hatred.... You begin to victimize yourself

If this was not so tragic then it would be funny. Before pointing out the tragic consider one more example of the almost funny. According to one important study by Aaron Wildavsky, if you add up all of the people today who consider themselves oppressed minorities their numbers add up to 374 percent of the population. In a report by CBS another example of the creation of victim consciousness became apparent in the dramatic revelation of what the CBS news story called the Hidden Homeless- that is people living with their relatives. A Washington post reporter commenting on the story wryly remarked, "Once we called these situations families".
A series of articles perceptive articles in the popular media have documented this phenomena from a New York Magazine cover story called "The New Culture of Victimization; Don't Blame Me"; Time did a cover story called "Crybabies –Eternal Victims"; Harpers ran a major story entitled "Victims All"? And even Esquire began to wake up with a piece called "A Confederacy of Complainers".
The situation however is not funny but tragic and in vital need of healing if we are going to evolve as individuals and as a society towards enlightenment.

First we need to note that pseudo victims do significant damage not only to themselves and to those they falsely accuse, but also to real victims. Pseudo Victims take the template of real abuse, whether it be sexual, domestic, racial political or whatever and then exaggerate it or distort it out of all integrity . There is real abuse in the world. There are real victims who deserve our radical love compassion and support. In the cacophony of pseudo victim claims the true cry of the oppressed, the true widow and orphan are drowned out. Hagar literally claims the name of "The Stranger". But she is really but the Pseduo stranger- who has a genuine path of liberation open to her but chooses not to take it. Her tears however drown out the tears of the real Ger, the real victim. The essential goal of biblical enlightenment is to open the heart to the cries of the genuine stranger. In order to do so one needs to be capable of distinguishing between the victim and the pseudo victim. There are two kinds of pseudo victims. In the first kind both the victim and the pseudo victim may truly be victims of abuse. The Pseudo victim however has genuine options which she refuses to action; she refuses to turn fate into destiny and cries more then it hurts. The second kind of pseudo victim also may have some level of real hurt but more often then not the hurt is more imagined then real and being a victim is a feely chose role which has many hidden benefits which the pseudo victim seeks to exploit. The hidden victims of pseudo victims therefore are real victims.

The underlying dogma of the Culture of Victimization is the location of human evil outside of the human being. This belief significantly undermines the God field.
The premise is simply that since human beings are naturally good, all evil must be the result of some external force which warps natural human goodness. The argument between the very many streams of thought who affirm this position is merely about which cause, external to the person actually is the major factor is causing evil. For Marxist it is the capitalist structure of economies and societies; for the staunch republican it might be big government or television violence or liberals. For liberals it might be the old church or handguns or Patriarchy. Unfortunately however the dogma that all evil is located outside the human being has several destructive implications which significantly weaken the God field.

First, one does not feel called on to change oneself; Second one does not feel called to teach goodness. For if the problem of evil is external to man, in the world, then he way to achieve goodness and eradicate evil is to change the world.

In biblical consciousness however the locus of human evil and therefore the locus of human change is within the self! The core issues are not handguns pornography or big government but things like Selfishness Addiction, Greed, Ingratitude, Jealousy, and laziness. This is default program of much of human nature. This surface nature must be transcended in order to access the deeper god self which is the true essence of the human being. However if one believe that people are naturally good then he will never do work necessary to access his deeper divine self. One of the great pieces of evidences cited by the mid 19th century romantics who popularized this idea that people are naturally good were no less then Babies said to be born, "trailing clouds of glory". In fact however while babies are for the most part born cute they are not born good. In fact the baby is very often a tyrant ignoring the needs of his parents in order to fulfill his own. Just ask any couple who have not made love for the last eight months since the baby was born; they finally have time and energy and will and the baby starts screaming ….. It is only after individuating from his mother that the baby, as an autonomous moral being can decide to be good. In order to do so the human being needs to exert effort to transcend his superficial sense of being a fully independent and disconnected being whose primary instinct is to insure it's own comfort and survival. He has to work to uncover his empathy, his sense of wholeness and interconnectivity and his vital sense of Eros love and commitment.
The belief that people are naturally good and only do evil when moved by an external force gives birth to a dangerous popular belief. That when people do perform acts which are evil it is not because they have chosen evil and are therefore responsible for their actions, but rather because they are sick. They are victims of their own sickness or syndrome and therefore not responsible. The basic line of reasoning is that no sane person would actually commit murder for example so anyone who does commit murder must be psychologically sick i.e. in some sense insane. So while Ernest Becker argued that the denial of death is the hidden driving force of culture, we might want to add the denial of evil. Good and evil have been replaced by adectives like sociopathic, acting out, rage, paranoid, or pathologic.
All of this is the product of what we might call a therapeutic culture in which moral context has been replaced by psychological context. The basic argument in therepautic culture is I am not at fault – the Devil made me do it. However in modernity the devil has been replaced with co-dependency syndrome, abuse syndrome, enraged husband syndrome, all forms of temporary insanity, and the like.
Two examples among the thousands available. First what has become known as the Twinkie Defense. San Fransisco City Supervisor Dan White was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter instead of first degree murder for the killing of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. The reason; The jury accepted White's claim that at he metally unfit at the time of the killings in part because of his known high consumption of junk foods whose sugar content contributed to his instability. A second example. A state trooper stops on swerving BMW on thanksgiving. Smelling strong alcoholic odor moved to arrest her. In the process of her arrest she assaulted the officer both verbally and phsycially. The woman was an Orthopedic surgeon. Her defense was that she was right before her period and was suffering from PMS syndrome. The inhernt lie in this defense is of course clear to any thinking person. If her hormones are really beyond her control has she made her patients aware of this dangerous reality. Unlikely at best. Does this woman not perform surgery during her PMS period every month. Again Unlikely. Rather this is another example of making a psychologically true fact- PMS syndrome- into an abuse accuse. Instead of being the aggressor in this story the doctor suggests that is not responsible because she is a victim of the PMS syndrome.
Sometimes the sickness which frees the individual from responsibility and casts him as a victim is not seen as residing in the individual , but in the culture as a whole. A powerful advocate for the idea that self, voluntary decision making, and responsibility are irrelevant terms in post-modernity is Swarthmore psychology professor Kenneth J. Gergen. A suburban Philadelphia women dressed in army fatigues went on a shooting spree in the mall killing and wounding several people before being stopped. Gergen argued that a post modern conception of justice needed to be applied. He explicitly insisted that in the contemporary world the concept "of the individual who chooses wrong loses tenability". Blame says Gergen "should not be attributed to the individual but to the networks of relationships that he or she is a part of" and what Gergen innocuously terms the " complicities of daily life". Gergen writes "As the traditional concept of "immoral decision" become moot…the issue is ….to vitally expand the sensitivity to the network of relations in which we participate". He approvingly notes that the lawyers on her case "have broadly extended the notion of responsibility, bringing suit against mental health officials who knew of her distraught condition, against the local police department,…the shopping mall…the shop which sold her a weapon and so on"201. The basic point, is that the correct post modern insight that we are all contexts within contexts, is distorted by Gergen to deny personal responsibility. To use the formal terms from the social sciences the human being is seen as being total communion, that is enmeshed within a defining network of relationships which extend to infinity, with no real agency, that is no sense of the integrity of individuality which would make the person autonomous and responsible. Thus if the person is part of a sick society –and which person is not- then the pathology and irresponsibility of society serve to absolve the individual of responsibility. The individual is sick because he has caught the disease of his society.
British Psychiatrist Garth Word, an important critic of the Therapeutic culture gets it almost perfectly when he talks about the tendency of the Zeitgeist to "extend infinitely the boundaries of mental illness" and thus undermines the basic notion of the choosing and responsible individual. In his words "Extreme wickedness is no surer indicator of mental illness then is extreme goodness and we would do well not to confuse evil with disease." In his wonderful novel Satan, Jeremy Leven puts this sentence on the therapeutic culture in his archvillians script; "It keeps turning evil into neuroses and explaining away people's behavior with drives and Neurosis…..Modern Psychiatry is putting me out of business".
Wall of Church from Nation of Victoms pp. 135 Dafna add in?*
This notion of the therapeutic culture is in violation of one of the core principles of thought in all the great traditions- that is – the whole is greater then the sum of it's parts. A person is both a bundle of traumas, complexes, traumas and syndromes and a person is more then that. The notion of the human being homo imago dei- a part of the eternal life divine life principle is a higher organizing principle which includes but also transcends all of the syndromes and complexes. It is in becoming aligned with that deeper nature which is God, that the human beings transcends the determinism of his enslaved self and enters into the radically free space of his divine self. When this sacred wisdom is forgotten or ignored then it is only natural that virtually every one of these syndromes has been used as a defense in a violent crimes trial.202

The therapeutic culture has argued for a virtual equation between violence and psychological sickness. This notion is simply not true. First it need be noted that violence can often be moral and healthy. To kill a Nazi soldier in order to liberate the concentration camps was certainly an moral and healthy act. Similarly a woman who is a real victim of a violent husband who uses violence to stop herself from being hurt once again is a much healthier response then women who are so degraded by their abusers that they submit to repeated violence. No less important however is the rejection by biblical consciousness and it's daughter, classical western law, of the assumption that a normal and responsible person cannot commit violent acts. A person whose God field is weakened by a lack of values, or a lack of training and discipline may well commit murder. The best modern expression of this core truth in popular culture comes from a surprising source. Woody Allen's excellent movie Crimes and Misdemeanors. The plot concerns a respected Jewish Opthamologist who is having an affair. The woman threatens to expose both the affair and his less then honest business dealings unless he leaves his wife and marries her. He is certain that if he does not accede to her request she will ruin his life as he knows it. He however does not want to leave his wife or his life as he knows it. He simply wants to end the affair and move on with his life. The doctor asks his sleazy brother for advice. His brother tells him that he can arrange for the woman's murder. Initially the good doctor is horrified at the notion. He seeks counsel from his local rabbi and is visited by memories of his father, both which reinforce the essential values of the God field. "God has eyes". That is to say there is a notion of losing one's alignment with the God field and that loss of alignment –what is sometimes called sin, has karmic results, what is sometimes called punishment. Karma does not always play itself out in one life time but ultimately all the great traditions teach some notion of accountability. In the end the doctor – seeking to save the life that he has grown accustomed to, has his lover killed. However rather then being destroyed, he slowly recovers from the shock of it and returns to his life, having gotten away with murder. The point is that the doctor is a perfectly normal man. He is a normal and immoral man. His ego won out over his values and committed an evil act but not one that should label him as temporarily insane or any of the other syndromes affixed to label evil by the therapeutic culture.
This is precisely Dostoyevsky points in his epic novel Crime and Punishment. Raskolnikov kills an old woman. Without a notion of God, Raskolnikov could easily live with his act and get away with murder. It is only the god field of values and the loss of alignment with the divine ground of life which makes murder, even the kind that one can get away with- a horrible violation. It is however clear for Dostoyevsky that Raskolnikov is eminently normal and thus responsible. In Dostoyevsky phrase "Without God all is permitted" or in Woody Allens phrase, without God "life is a cesspool"; that is to say without being deeply connected to the values and sacred life energy of the God field, there is little to prevent perfectly sane people, when threatened, from doing their best to get away with all sorts murder and mayhem. Moreover it is also worth stating that acts of great goodness are not at all necessarily sane. Was the Polish Christian couple that hid my mother from the Nazis during world war two and therebye risked both their own lives and the lives of their children- normal or sane. By some standards they could be easily be labeled insane and abnormal. All of these simple truths seem to be lost on the thought leaders of our therapeutic culture

Morevoer for these thought leaders everyone is a victim, everyone is sick; either personally or by virtue of being part of a pathological society. The result however is not only the rending of the essential fabric of the God field woven as it is by the strands of response-ability and accountability, there is also a degradation of those who truly are victims of pathological society. Like my Tanta Ester who was 'forced' by a society which was truly insane to kill her two children. Consider the following. "Mothers who kill their children have claimed they suffered from post partum depression, a defense that has even proved successful for a pediatric nurse who suffocated to of her babies and attempted to smother a third"203. Here the sacred desperation of Tanta Esther struggling with the great and gorgeous call of the mother is dishonored and defiled.
The culture of vicitmazation which seeks to exonerate the individual is ultimately – in so many ways- his worst enemy. Victimization in it's very essence re-inforces low self esteem – which paradoxically is the ultimate source of evil according the therapeutic culture. Instead of proclaiming the power and competence of the individual it renders him im-potent and power-less. It tells him that when buffeted by the inevitable winds of fate which will challenge and threaten him throughout his life he has no fundamental response- ability. The basic stance of victim politics is that the person is fundamentally innocent. In some sense this may be understood to be a delayed response to the initial puritan ethic which founded America, which viewed the human being as essentially depraved. Both extremes however are ultimately emasculating of the human being. For as Garth Woods writes "we pay a terrible price for our absolution"204. For can we have any sense of self respect if we are not responsible for what we are?
Here we touch one of the great debilitating features of victimization which deserves so deeper elaboration. It is really very simple. Whenever something goes wrong in the world a person is confronted with a choice. Either choose fate or choose destiny. The man of fate says – it is not my fault. Someone or something is to blame. We all recognize this phenomena on both a Micro and a Macro level. The traffic is to blame, production people did not meet their deadlines, my parents really traumatized me, black rage, anti-Semitism. Now here is the hard truth; all of these factors have some real gravitas. Black rage is real and for a reason, so is the horrible abuse of anti-semitism and so is traffic. The question is do I consider
myself a victim of capricious fate or do I have the ability to identify and use whatever the narrow band of my choice and responsibility might be, as the leverage point which allows me to transform fate into destiny. This is the act of the master; he uses himself – his responsibility – no matter how narrow it may be – to change the action of the whole system. Hebrew wisdom master calls this the "point of choice. It is the point when the alcoholic shows up at his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Or when the victim of trauma and abuse decides to let go of one small packet of hatred or to to make some small choice for health and life. The effect of this choice functions much like the famed butterfly effect of modern chaos theory. It changes everything forever. In making that small choice you are declaring that you are a a player. You are not merely a spectator. You are part of the system and therefore you have the ability to change the system through changing yourself. You are capable of not simply responding to external circumstance but of choosing my response. That is the key to enlightened behavior. There is a very simple questionnaire litmus test for this kind of enlightenment. It has only one question on it. Why do you pick up the phone. If your answer his "because it rings" then you are prone to victim thinking. For the truth is that the phone ringing is but external stimuli. Remember again that how you react to that stimulus is a choice; it is a decision which you freely make! The urge to claim victim status is the desire to be innocent. However the price of innocence at this level of consciousness is impotence.

It is only in this light that one can begin to understand the insistence of biblical consciousness and kabalistic thought on the radical nexus between sin and suffering. It is not that they were so convinced of the metaphysical explanation of suffering which they themselves offered. Indeed there is ample text in both biblical and kabbalistic sources to insist on the ultimately unknowability of the rules of divine karama. What drove them however was the radical belief in human power coupled with the radical rejection of human helplessness. If sin and suffering are in a nexus then I am able to alleviate suffering by healing sin. That is a profoundly empowering idea. Sin for the kabbalist is no more and not less then a mis-alignment with the Kosmos. Thus by the practices of of re-alignment suffering can be alleviated and humanity may even be healed. In the short term victim thinking may be comforting as it frees the human being from the onus of choice and responsibility. In the long term however it is debilitating and even deadly. It is a terrible killer of human spirit and occluder of divine light. There is little joy in impotence.

Moreover the implied impotence of victim conciousness is built on a hidden fallacy. I am impotent but everyone else is potent. A depressing self experience to say the least but also a logically impossible conception. It's basic premise is "I am not responsible, someone else is" and that someone else can be filled in with parents, teachers, abusive clergy corrupt government, television violence etc. etc. The problem is that all of those who are guilty instead of me will also make precisely the same argument. They also will lay claim to the sacred absolving mantle of victim hood. What emerges is that there is literally no one all the way back through time except maybe the original abuser- who may well be God - who is every responsible.

What happened? Why caused this explosion of victim consciousness that so contaminates the God field?
Clearly the answer to that question is multi-determined. America has more lawyers per capita then any other country in the world. America has about 290 lawyers per 100,000 people compared to 11 for Japan and 82 in England for the same number. Add to that the baby boomer generation post world war two who were told by their parents that any thing was possible and every thing was their unique birth right. Put those two figures together and you go along way towards understanding how - as one social critic commented acerbically- "The National Anthem has become the whine". But it is deeper still. There is a far more fundamental matrix to the culture of victimization. Fundamental and at it's core elegantly simple. Victim consciousness gives people a sense of sense of pseudo identity that fills up there otherwise dessicated, lonely and alienated self experience. Being a victim, feeling the anger, blaming the other, the evil ones gives one a pseudo sense fullness and eros. Pseduo identity and pseudo eros of course only are necessary when there neither real eros nor real identity. Hagar's name is the translated literally The Stranger which essentially means in the context of her biblical tale The Victim. Clearly this is not an actual name but a designation of identity and character. At the moment of Hagar's tears in Genesis 21, read on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Hagar incarnates the archetype victim identity. Again we insist on pointing out, Hagar does not imagine her pain. She is abused by Sarah. In that sense she is a victim. But she takes the fact of victimhood and makes it the irreducible essence of her identity. Once that happens she can no longer see. She cannot see the well of water, the path to transformation of victim fate to hero destiny which lies before her. When she first entered the desert years earlier as recorded in the first Hagar desert story which we unpacked in the previous chapter- she immediately found herself with water. She heard the divine voice. She befriended her life - which meant at that juncture - to befriend the desert. In the key crying moment in the second story she is blinded by her tears; victim tears which do not cleanse but bind. She has lost what we referred to in the chapter on Sisera's mother, as her Essential I. She is disconnected from her gorgeousness. She is ruptured from her divine identity. Lost in her emptiness she reaches for the Eros of Pseudo identity, the identity of the victim.
The loss of the essential I was noticed by perceptive englightened critics even in the midst of America's post war boom. W.H. Auden characterized the post war era in the west and particularly in America, as the Age of Anxiety. The war had given a temporary respite in man's insistence on finding and living a meaningful life. The war itself offered a clear enemy and a clear set of goals and goods. Freedom from despotism and cruelty are sufficient meaning to fill a man's emptiness when he is asked to fight for them and lay his life down. The war provided a framework of meaning. But ultimately "freedom from" never answers the deeper question of "freedom for". What am I free to do? Why do I exist for this passing moment in the kosmos.
The pursuit of the white picket fence life of comfort and security, as a sufficient goal of living, is exploded once the white picket fence is achieved. Living not driven to a purpose more noble then itself is not living.
A person in pursuit of nothing other then his own survival in the most comfortable context soons becomes comfortably numb deadened to his own true vitality. So he needs to create newer and more grand illusions to help him paper over the emptiness. Even as Disney opened it's doors on July 18 in 1955, in the American generation which immediately preceded the rise of the victim culture enlightened observers felt the underlying quiet desperation at the root of western societies. In 1952 C. Wright Mills already wrote of a deep malaise hidden in what seemed to be a comfortable and therefore contented middle class. "The absence of any order of belief" has left them….defenseless….and impotent".
"Newly created …white collar man has no culture to lean on except the contents of a mass society that has shaped him and seeks to manipulate him to its alien ends"205. Other enlightened observers writing at the same time spoke of the moral estrangement and spiritual isolation of modern society".206
Continues Nisbet, "Impersonality, moral neutrality, individualism and mechanism have become in recent decades the terms to describe the pathological conditions of society". What happened? How was this generation which was to give birth to what Phillp Reifff would come to call the Triumph of the Therapeutic, come to be born?
We need to expose the deeper of the Thearapuetic culture matrix for only in understanding the matrix is one freed from the matrix. Classically the human being was seen as being embedded in a nest of transcendent values and meanings which made up what was called culture. Culture is another name for a design of motives directing the self ….towards those… purposes in which alone the self can be realized and satisfied" It is these purposes which anchor man and allow him to access his infinite value freeing him from the infinite variety of panics and emptiness's which assault the human being every day of his existence. Modernity however was in large part based on the "systematic hunting down of all settled convictions". It is this anti cultural predicate upon which the modern personality is being organized. The "unreligion of the age and it's master science" has been the idol of modernity with no ulimtate issues at stake other then a manipulabe sense of well being.
This modern context which gives birth to the culture of victimization is itself however rooted in a deeper and wider story which is the key to healing the victim and the culture together.
The Wider Story
This wider story has been told by several enlightened critics and watchers of our reality from Jurgen Habermas to Michel Focault to Charles Taylor, Chogyam Trungpa and a number of others. The person who best assimilates all of their insights and tells the most complete story in contemporary Integral Philosopher Ken Wilber207. All of reality has two core features to it. What we might term a surface dimension and a depth dimension. Or said differently an interior reality and an exterior reality. If we extend the picture a little further we realize that there is another basic distinction in reality. The split between the individual and the community. If we put both of these simple distinctions together we get a picture of four basic quadrants of reality. The first would be the depth or interior of the individual and the second would be the depth and interior of the collective. The third might be the surface or exterior of the individual and the fourth might be the depth and exterior of the collective. Each one of these four arenas reflects a different face of reality or in kabbalistic terms a different one of the four faces of the chariot.
If we wanted to phrase this in a slightly different way which might give us an even deeper view we might say that the four quadrants are essentially identical with what the Gikitilia called in his master work on the Sefirot, three perspectives- The I, We {thou} and It.208 I is the place of interior reality; the subjective experience of the I. This is the realm of love, and consciousness and individual value. The interior view of one's I reality would include things like love, joy, pain, disappointment and all of the internal grids of conciousness, trust, meaning, transcendent values, through which the individual understands his reality. This is generally called first person. We is the place of shared reality between the I and the thou. This might be the I and the thou of interpersonal relationship, which is the whole realm of morals and communal values. It might also be the we of the human being and God. Finally the We is the internal view of the we reality which includes the basic interior prism which the group uses to interpret and guide its reality. Different expressions and levels of development in regard to these internal levels might be pluralism, multicultural thought, rational egoic thought, magical thinking and the like.
This is generally called second person. The third realm is the territory of the "it". This is the realm of objective realities that have simple location. They can be measured using the classic instruments of science. The exterior surface view of reality both on the individual and group level is the It dimension. This might include the social sciences, globalization theory, modern medicine, , systems theory and just about every other perspective that studies reality in the third person. Thus the It is generally called third person.
Jurgen Habermas points that until the advent of the modern period these three value spheres of the I the We and the It were not differentiated. Thus for example religion which is in the I space and the We space claimed the right to dominate the It space. Thus the church told Galileo what was permitted and what was forbidden for him to see from his telescope. Medical knowledge became part of church dogma and the notion of a science independent of the church was considered heretical. So instead of these three vital spheres, each one a face of God, in-forming each other, one face, that of the Interior I formalized and expressed in the We of organized religion, dominated the other faces. The great dignity of modernity was that this domination by the church of all three value spheres was stopped. Thus the I of religion and interior consciousness, the we of social theory and the it of science each went their separate ways to develop according to their own internal logic. The problem was that while the "it" of science was making great and sacred progress – and perhaps because of that progress-along side science emerged something else, what is usually called scientism. What scientism claims –and it is still the reigning metaphor of contemporary culture – is that it is the only reality. Another name for Scientism might be what Wilber refers to as Flatland. Basically flatland insists that is the only reality. Since it can be measured using very defined instruments and because of science's enormous success in so many arenas of living, it became emboldened and moved to colonize the other value spheres. This results in the reduction of love to hormonal releases in the brain while trust and sincerity are reduced to mere social conventions of great utilitarian value. This is the colonization of the I by the It.
Similarly morals and notions of duty, the morals of the We are read not as internal heart issues but issues of social policy and conveniences. In this example the It has colonized the We. This is what Lewis Mumford has called the disqualification of the universe. What basically happened was that by the mid 18th century the breathtaking advance in the we dimension began to throw the system out of balance. The it truth not only began to eclipse the I and the We truths, they actually began to deny them altogether. The new emerging dogma became Science and Science alone is capable of pronouncing on Ulitmate issues. The entire interior world of reality from love to loyalty to transpersonal states of conciousness to ethics and values all were made subject to third person It science. The battle cry of the age was "Its alone are real". This move was further emboldened when interior realities were shown to have correlates in the exterior realities. For example when scientists realized that love expressed itself in particular brain wave patterns and hormonal releases, love was reduced to being a mere biological reality.
In fact every event in reality shows up in all three perspectives or if you will in all four quadrants. So love has subjective interior expression and expresses itself in the objective physical reality of the Brain. Whom one chooses to love and what that love actually means is also greatly impacted by the internal consciousness of the group and the external structures of the society. Love however can clearly not be reduced to one quadrant, specifically not to the surfaces exterior quadrant of the individual.

So basically all of really real reality was thought by the dogmatist of scientism, to have simple location. This is what Alfred North Whitehead called the Fallacy of Simple location. Intoxicated by the stupendous progress in the realm of it’s an implicit and later explicit dogma of scientism began to emerge. Scientism and it's dogma of course have nothing to do with Science. Science is method of unpacking and understanding a particular dimension of reality, namely the surface dimension of its. These its may well be scene to be connected in a vast even infinite holistic web. Yet they remain its. Its in the sense that they are the surface of reality with some level of exterior reality and have some level of simple location measurable the instruments and rules of formal science. All of this is total great - clearly modern science has brought great benefit to human dignity through medicine, social services, education,all forms of technology, communication and so much more of the goods that we take as given in modernity.
Scientism however goes one dogmatic and fatal step beyond science. It makes the claim that in all three basic domain of reality; The I, the We and the It, only science with it's hypo deductive empirical methodology is capable of speaking truth. Scientism tried to apply to the inner realms of interior conciousness, the I and to the intersubjective realms of morals, the rule of science. However since science quickly realized that it's attempts to colonize these realms were doomed to failure since, what can science really teaching us about love, it began to dismiss these realm as being not really real. The clarion call of scientism is that science and science along can pronounce on ultimate reality.
What scientism failed to acknowledge is that each one of the three great domains of truth has it's own truth claims which are verifiable – but only by using the internal methods of that field of endeavor. One cannot validate truth claims of one realm using the standards of a different realm. To give two examples which should make this point totally clear. Meditation reveals an infinite world of interior depth and meaning. This is not a claim of faith. Rather a person sits in meditation following the particular guidelines over an extended period of time and the person will realize some of the core truths of meditation. That is if one performs a particular actions that action will consistently produce the same result. Morevover one can check the results by having differently people unknown to each other over vast periods of time engage in the same core activity and then check and compare the results. If it turns out that in these conditions everyone produces the same results and yields these same truths then you have some prettey important and dramatic information. And you have arrived at this information not trough the measurement tools of science but through the core scientific method of performing an act and yielding consistently identical results under double blind conditions; that is the same experiment performed by different people without any relationship between them. Now Liebiniz already talked about what he called the Perennial philosophy. This term made famous by Aldous Huxley refers to the core set of truths proclaimed independently by virtually all the great systems of spirit as a result of their contact with the infinite. Scientism missed this core understanding and makes the claim that only that which is measurable in simple location is said to be real. Thus the great truths of the perennial philosophy which mesh perfectly with the actual claims science are dogmatically denied by scientism.
Scientism unlike science did not merely aggressively pursue it's own truths, a noble endeavor in and of itself, it proclaimed that the other truths of the We and I realms were not truths at all. The entire interior realm of consciousness and morals, the realms that provide transcendent meaning and infinite texture meaning and depth to human life were largely desiccated. In Wilber's evocative summation "The entire interior dimension in all {reality} human and otherwise- were completely gutted- and the ghost in the machine began it's long and modern moan made all the more plaintative in that it had not even the power to attract attention." The realm of spirit as being both the ground of all being and a level of consciousness- the transpersonal – which transcends and includes the personal- was largely lost. At the same time the old pre- modern religious truths no longer held in the same way. Religion had overreached itself. In it's hey day religion had made to many truth claims in realms where it had no authority; namely the It realm of science and the We realm of morals, political and social systems. The result was that when these false dogmatic claims were exploeded by modernity religion lost credibility for many of the more thoughtful citzens of the world.
A good example of the colonization of the I by the It is Sigmund Frued. Frued, who contributed so much to the mapping of one level of consciousness, was trapped in the scientism of his age. The result is the Achilles heel of Freud's system, namely the belief that all transpersonal phenomenon are really regressive and infantile. This is Freud's basic understanding in his Future of an Illusion. For Frued, a total product of his zeitgeist the ultimate goal of the human endeavor is rational thought. Anything that is not rational is then thought to be irrational, pre-personal and regressive. A more profound view of reality however, the one adopted by the perennial philosophy, recognizes that the limitations of the rational which are addressed not by a regression to the pre- rational but by an ascent to the transrational. Much in human life from who to marry, what kind of job to pursue, where to live, the wisdom and values that guide my life, the moments of truth sincerity and compassion that are most precious, the friendship that make life sweets; indeed almost all of what makes life both meaningful and pleasurable is non rational. It is not irrational. It is not regressive. It is merely beyond the important but limited vessel of the rational. All of this was ignored by Freud who was simply intoxicated by the Zetigiest of his age and it's correct rebellion against religion. The rebellion was correct because religion had arrogantly over reached itself, denying the rational it's rightful places and making claims in the world of we and I which had no validity. However the result for modern man was the entire domain of consciousness morals and meaning, the entire realm of interior consciousness was emptied of all power and wisdom and thus could neither comfort guide nor heal him. All of this produced the social and spiritual reality which would give birth the the rise of the Victim as the great star of the post modern era. Social critic Robert Nisbett summarizes well the matrix which will give birth the culture of victimization as seen through the eyes of literature.

"The notion of an impersonal, even hostile society is common- a society in which all actions and motives seem to have equal value and seem to be perversely detached from human direction.
Common as well is the helplessness of the individual before alien forces- not the Hero who does things, but as Wyndam Lewis has put it, the Hero to whom things are done. The disenchanted lonely figure, searching for ethical significance in the smallest of things, struggling for identification with race class or group, incessantly striving to answer the question, "Who am I. What am I, has become ….almost the central …literary .type of the age. Not the free individual but the lost individual; not independence but isolation; not self discovery but self obsession; …. these are major states of mind in contemporary literature"

At one point the central literary image of the west was to envision itself as existing together inside of church, at this point dominant literary image became the desiccated human sculptures of Giacomettii each living in separate cages. {Picture Here} Inadequate, insufficient, disenchanted man" took center stage. The Essential I was lost. Man forgot who he was. He forgot his transpersonal grandeur. He forgot that he was crowned with wonder and glory that he was" "but little less then God". Indeed he forgot his core identity with the divine. So into that gaping hole in the weave of human Eros stepped a new and unholy holiness. The sacred status of victim hood. Victimhood takes the place of the Essential I. Pseudo identity replaces identify. Oppressed self comes instead of authentic self. The victim in this new social paradigm become not only worthy of our compassion but is conferred with a sacred status. The victim becomes the new priest whose ritual act is to express not his potency but to cry out his impotence.
This holy status of victimhood has roots already in the Romantic Movement where angst and suffering – whether or not related to any substantive or significant cause were in and of themselves badges of honor and meaning. "To suffer as Jean Jacques Rosseau, founder and master of the art of self cultivation, taught, made one sensitive, serious, interesting, something other then a superficial materialistic and vulgar member of the middle class….".209 Modern society has elevated the victim to martyr status. Not only as a result of genuine compassion but more often then not to ameliorate society's own sense that is has lost it's mooring and direction long ago. Victim identity serves insidiously to filll the hole in Eros at the core of the life of the individual and fills the hole in purpose at the core of the life of a society. So victimization became a growth industry spawning in the words of enlightened social critic, carreers, studies, experts, college departments, films, laws, hairdos, name changes, federal programs, and so many books. Blessed are the Victims the new catechism taught for " they have solved for a time the crisis of meaning and identity without which man cannot survive.
The tragedy of the Hagar complex, victimhood, becomes completely apparent in two different directions. Victimhood is transformed by victim identity from accident to essence. The victim himself by transforming his hurt into victim identity which transcends all of features of his self and becomes his moral center actually traps himself in his victim hood. Paradoxically the power of the victim becomes his powerlessness. Identity is what provides life with it's virility and vitality. The vitality of the victim however depends on his impotence. If he were to become potent he would lose his virility. If he moves to transform his fate into destiny and assert his rightful power then he loses his identity which itself has been experienced by him until this point as the source of his power. The result is that the victim suffocates on his own suffering unable to breath the healthy air of true worth adequacy and dignity. For dignity is a direct corollary of responsibility. And the victim's essential identity is an abdication of any sense of his own response- ability. The victim seeks absolution from responsibility. But the price of his absolution is very high. He buys his innocence at the price of his perpetual impotence. The victim is forces to embrace his very helplessness. It is his weakness which becomes his addiction. It allows him to avoid the cold turkey which his inevitably necessary to claim the Soul Print idenity of the Essential I. The victim connects his very identity not to his essential I, to his soul print but to his weakness and helplessness.
Thus classical kabbalisitc theodicy preferred to hold man responsible for the suffering in the universe over any other external explanation or excuse for suffering. This is the core concept of sin which is introduced to the word through biblical consciousness. Sin is not a pagan failure to appease the ultimately arbitrary God. It is a severing of connection with the aligned energy of the universe which is caused by a conscious choice of the human being and therefore can be healed by reverse engineering the process and choosing the good.
The cause of these great evils is clearly the payoff that both the victim and the alleged victim rights advocates receive from playing their parts in pathetic and tragic drama of man grasping for any sort of pseudo identity in order to stave off the emptiness. One of the ways this moral evil expresses itself is by the victims comparrision of their ostensible oppressor to Nazism. This theme is rampant in victim literature and if of course understandable. The more vile the oppressor the more powerful and holy is the victim identity. To cite but one example activist Shulamit Firestone compares the life of a suburban housewife to that of a victim of the Nazi holocaust. To cite her directly "Why should a woman give up her precious seat in the cattle car"210. The second evil of victim hood is caused both to victim himself and to those who are either falsely accused, subject to wildly exaggerated or distorted accusation or obsessively persecuted by the alleged victim and her friends long after any moral statute of limitations should have run it's course.
This rampant Hagar complex has produced what social critics have correctly labeled sexual mcarthyism and name rape. Sexual abuse is clearly a terrible thing for which society should have zero tolerance. Communism which was directly responsible for the death of tens of millions of people in mass genocidal actions of cleansing is also a great evil. Joseph McCarthy during the fifties saw his role as the combating of communism is the United States. Legitimate and maybe even important. However McCarthy took his legitimate cause- the war against communism- and turned it into an abusive weapon, McCarthyism, which apparently served whatever his own pathologies might have been. False accusation, distortion, and interest based accusations cloaked in righteousness became the order of the day! Lives destroyed, families torn apart based on false or radically distorted accusation became the order of day. This is precisely what has happened in the war against sexual abuse in America. What began as an important feminist campaign to right centuries of abuse has all to often fallen into the old pattern where the abused become the abuser. And all forms of witchhunts and personal vendettas find ample place to hide behind the apparently righteous façade of the victims right crusader. Indeed as one social commentator incisively pointed out the rape of a name is also rape. While body rape of a minor or rape in which life and limb are threatened are particularly heinous, it is worth noting that most rape is not of this character. And while any and all form of rape is morally repugnant beyond belief it is not clear that is more repugnant then name rape – one of the great and little noticed evils of the culture of victimization. The reason that we take one so seriously and virtually ignore the second is because our society has internalized much of the scientific materialism that created the victim culture. After gutting the interior realities of honor, name, dignity, psychic space and Essential I what remains is the flatland of surfaces in which the physical body and its survival play a starring major role. Thus the forcible entry of one's body space is seen – correctly as a gross violation. Morevoer has we have slain all of the God except Aphrodite we look to the sexual and the loving as the source of our much yearned for redemption. Rape which violates these last sacred grails is thus seen as particularly heinous. All of this is well and good and absolutely true. Hoever the rape of a name inflilcts no less suffering and pain then body rape. Imagine that you are falsely accused of something which either you never did or is wildly distorted beyond any and all recognition. And then for a period of twenty five years people who are your sworn enemies use this distortion to try and sully your name, hurt your children, your students, your closest relationships. You know that their caricature of you is a complete lie. Of course those close to you know it as well. But you have literally no way of following the course of their malicious gossip. Imagine reader if you are a woman, if your son was falsely accused of rape. Would you then consider the horror of name rape equivalent to body rape? The evil of rape is of course not the act of intercourse which in the right context is ultimately sacred- the issue is the violation. The wisdom masters of the Talmud write "Anyone who shames another in public is a murderer …better it is to cast oneself in furnace of fire then to whiten the face of a friend in public".
The drive behind all of the evils of victimization is the overwhelming desire both on the part of the victim and often the victim rights activist to forge their essential I out of the their victim status. According to the FBI fully one third of all rape convictions are false. That means that one third of the men languishing in prison are wrongly incarcerated. Their lives and perhaps the lives of their accusers as well have been destroyed by the accuser- abusers masquerading as victims- another moral evil which is a direct result of Hagar complex with it's victim tears. In a classic expression of the Hagar complex a book by Dr. Ryan called Blaming the Victim calls inner city children "strangers" and uses words like extermination and the like to describe societies relationship to them. The notion that the stranger should have any response-ability at all is the search and destroy mission to which Ryan is committed. For example he cites a school superintendent who wrote " A victim of the environment the ghetto child begins begins his school careear, psychologically, physically and socially disadvantaged. He is oriented to the present rather then the future, to immediate needs rather then delayed gratification…..he is often handicapped by limited verbal skills, low self esteem and a stunted drive towards achievement". Ryan attacks the superintendent and insists that the real problem was not in the children but in the false expectations of the schools. The schools were built to meet white middle class needs. Poor children however think and learn differently. Is it important for children going to school to be able to define caboose……" White middle class kids explained Ryan were comfortable with abstract words while poor children are more comfortable with words as they relate to concrete actions or feelings Ryan explained. Ryan argument that it was unfair to require verbal facility of Black children became a trend in the educational approach to inner city children and certainly contributed the plague of core illiteracy that has devastated several decades of inner city children. Whatever merit there is in Ryan's perception the basic flaw is clear. He is unable to locate any sense of personal responsibility within the person. Ryan faults the system within which the victim lives and functions as being the primary culprit. Any attempt to call the victim to responsibility is called by Ryan Blaming the Victim. Indeed this accusation became part of the Victim Chic of American culture and in many circles being accuse of blaming the victim is enough to impugn one's essential moral credentials.
Ryan attacks those whom even he grants – have good and noble intention, for their desire to "revamp and revise the victim…They want to change his attitudes, alter his values, fill up his cultural deficits, energize his apathetic soul....". While there is some validity in Ryan's critique, ultimately it fails to address the cardinal issue. Assuming that the victim is a real victim which is a safe assumption when talking about child born into a poverty and bleakness not of his choosing, is there anything that the child or his parents can do – through their own assumption of responsibility to transform fate into destiny. If there is not then all is lost. If there is and I believe there always is then we must seek ways to participate in not only the giving succor to legitimate victims but also to be humble catalysts for their empowerment.
Ryan argues that in suggesting that inner city children had certain disadvantages which needed to be addressed they were marked as different and therefore "strangers". Here we once again meet Hagar, the Stranger. However rather then relegate the Stranger who has suffered real abuse to the desperate resignation of the victim, a fate in which Ryan with all good intentions unwittingly traps the victim, why not call the Victim to his highest self. And dear readers please remember that the victim is not them but at some point in our lives, each and every one of us is a victim.
The kinds of call of which I speak is precisely that kind which was delivered by Los Angeles math teacher Jamie Escalante, whose work as an inner city school teacher was celebrated in the movie "Stand and Deliver". "Our schools today ….tend to look upon the disadvantaged minority students as though they were on the verge of a mental breakdown, to be protected from any undue stress…Ideas like this are not just false. They are the kiss of death for minority youth…." Esaclante calls us to move beyond the Hagar complex. Biblical consciousness calls us to turn abuse and oppression into compassion and human dignity. Thus while Hagar's abuse is real and thus her tears genuine they are rejected by biblical consciousness. Hagar is crying tears of resignation. In the language of Naftali of Rophsitz she cried more then it hurts. She has genuine options which she cannot see for her tears blind her to possibility. They disconnect her from her divinity which is the possibility of possibility. She has the ability to reach down deep inside and find her locus of power and vision. She is able to turn the external realities of her fate into the ground of her destiny instead of letting them be the matrix of her victimhood. So Hagar's tears of resignation are not heard by god and rejected by biblical consciousness.

Everything we have written in the past thirty pages is absolutely true. But it is not the whole truth. It expresses the truth of a particular level of consciousness; the stage we referred to above as named by the Baal Shem Tov as the stage of Havdalah. Separation, distinction, individuation. This is the level when the human beings stands "separate"-, distinct from his environment and no longer controlled by his superficial nature. T he level of conciousness prior to this live is when man is seen as embedded in the natural order in all of it's wonder and yet consequently unable to assert his agency and independence over either his environment or even his inner nature. This level si is called by the Baal Shem, Hachana'ah. The phrase as we translated it the preface is most equivalent to the English word submission. Man has no choice at this level of consciousness but to submit to his inner nature and to his environment. This is not the transcendental oneness that Whitman, Thoreau, Coleridge or their counterparts in the European Romantic Movement dreamed about. It is not a great transpersonal merging with the one it is rather a pre-personal and primitive stage before the human being has been psychological and spiritually individuated into the dignity and autonomy of personhood. There is not yet a sense of a strong independent and autonomous I which is capable of being master of it's fate and captain of it's destiny. It is the stage which begins the journey of evolution both of humanity and of every human. It is the stage of Havdalah which represents man's emerging from his primordial identification and unconscious communion with nature, both both internal and external nature which gives birth to the dignity of man, to free choice, to human responsibility and to human grandeur. A human being with no choices has not dignity. A human being with no choice has no power. He remains a pathetic emasculated creature tossed to and fro on the capricious and often cruel tides of fate never able to quite break free and grasp destiny. It is in havdalah where the free and autonomous human being begins to learn the alchemy of transforming fate into destiny. It is in havdalah that the human being learn to stand in relation to to his nature, to his environment …and not less critically, to his God. Man stands as a separate dignified and limited being in relation to the divine. Awed by the divine presence and yet confident if terrified by his right to approach the ultimate mystery man .prays. And man acts as a response- able player who lives and dies in the dignity of choice and freedom. However Havdalah is not the end of the story; It is neither the final, the highest or the deepest level of consciousness. The level beyond havdalah is the stage of consciousness which the Baal Shem calls Hamtaka. Here man moves beyond his status as a separate individuated being and re- finds himself – re-contextualizes himself, re-cognized himself in the larger whole. He experiences himself for the first time as part of the divine whole. This is not a return to level one for level one was an unconscious immersion in a value neutral nature. Level three is by contrast a conscious erotic merging and re- integration into the divine body of life which is the seamless fabric of all of reality. In light of this level of consciousness we need to go back and re-examine the core argument of the school of thought which we have championed till this point – the school of thought which powerfully critique the culture of victimization and its dramatic excesses.
You see while everything we said up till now in the name of this school of thought was totally true – it was only part of the truth. The victims advocates writers who helped spawn this culture of victimization became confused and ultimate offered false wisdom and guidance not because they were totally wrong but because they were only half right. They correctly intuited part of the story but they turned it into the whole story ignoring the core truths of Havdalah consciousness. The victims right theorist like Ryan, Gergen and the many others we cited above intuited a higher level of consciousness then Havdalah; they intuited Hamtaka. However they often confused Hamtaka, level three consciousness, Non dual merging and union, with level one consciousness – Hachana'ah, submission immersion and fusion. The difference between level one fusion and level three union is enormous even if on the surface, seen from the outside, they seem to be strikingly similar.
Before however we identify the crucial distinction let us return to three of the key critics of the Culture of Victimization, Dennis Prager, Alan Dershowitz and David Sykes whose work guided us on the level of Havdalah consciousness and reexamine some of their critiques from the perspective of Hamtaka.
We will see that they are actually only telling half of the story. Prager's states his point clearly. The common thread running through all secular ideologies has been the focus on the forces of evil outside of man as the source of evil….To much of the contemporary intellectual world …external forces not people responsible for the evil they commit". Prager who is consistently a fine representative of the biblical consciousness of havdalah correctly rejects this view point and insists that an empowered human being must look inward and claim with joy his core response- ability in the world. Standing against Prager you have the intellectual world he refers to championed by the likes of Gergen and Ryan to who we referred above who locate the source of human victimhoood in a host of external circumstances. While we have already shown that Gergen is largely wrong it is also clear however that Prager is not all right. A person is not merely a monad with an autonomous center who is detached and decontexualized. One of the most important truth of post modern thinking is the truth of context. And while extreme post modernism lost touch with reality and got lost in it's own absurdities, the primary intuitions of the post modernism, chief among them being careful attention to context are deep truths about the nature of reality. Indeed post modernism was really but extending a core implicit in all of the Great Chain of Being thinkers which is basically all the major thinkers in all the major spiritual systems from the ancient world till modernity. The point is simple. There is no reality that is whole in itself. Reality is not made of monadic wholes. Each whole is part of larger whole. That is to say each whole has a quality of wholeness and a quality of part-ness as it is part of a larger whole. Said slightly differently every event, object or phenomena in reality must be understood as part of a larger context. And that context must be understood as part of still larger context etc. etc. Prager Dershowtiz and Skykes do not seem to understand that this is not some idea foisted upon an unsuspecting society by misguided social critics, it is rather one of the demarcating characteristics of all of reality. Arthur Koestler called this data point on reality, Holons and reminded us that we live in a holarchic universe. A holon is simply a whole part. Everything from the material world {physiosphere} to the world of body and life {Biosphere} and the world of mind and spirit {noosphere} is made up of the same basic component parts- Holons. As Ken Wilber likes to say it "the world is made up neither processes nor parts, the world is made up of holons". Holon, whole parts are the basic datum of reality. This is true whether we are talking about subatomic particles that are whole and part of atomic particles, which are whole and part of molecules which are whole and part of cells which are whole and part of organism etc. or we are talking about letters which are whole and part of words which are whole and part of sentences which are whole and part paragraphs which are whole and part of chapters etc. etc211. Wether talking about biology, literature, environmental studies, economic or whatever everything in the world is a holon- whole part. Clearly this is true about a human being as well. The human being is both a whole and a part of larger whole. That larger begins with his relationship, his family, his parents, his school friends, neighborhood, and one and on. These are external forces which act on the human being as Prager and Sykes postulated. These are part of the human beings essential identity and definition. Clearly then these outside forces which are actually not outside at all have some real impact on the human beings actions and decision including his capacity for good and evil. In this sense Ryan and Gergen for example are clearly right in claiming that in a post modern context the notion of an isolated sense of response-ability resting solely on the individual being is simply an inaccurate perception of the universe. Sykes and Prager fail to recognize the holarchic nature of the universe and it's implications for individual responsibility. However Gergen, Ryan and their colleagues are also only telling one half of the story. The human being is a both a whole and a part!! A whole means that the human being has both agency and communion. He is both part of a larger whole and autonomous whole possessed of the capacity to choose and response- ability. At level of hamtaka the human beings realizes their profound communion, the eros of their interlocked identity with all of reality. However every truly ascending level of consciousness does not negate the essence of the previous level but rather transcends and includes the previous level. To give a simple example. A man might begin at level of primary masculine consciousness. At level two he will develop his feminine side. He may learn to listen, read poetry and sustain deeply sharing friendships. At level three he will return to reclaim his deep masculine nature. His deep masculine at level three however is very different then his primary masculine at level one. The core difference is that level three does not negate but transcends and includes level two, the feminine consciousness that he was able to identity and access. Level three integrates that new understanding and personal identity sense into his larger masculine identity. In terms of the levels of consciousness we are discussing it is critical to realize Hamtaka does not negate but transcends and includes havdala212. Or said differently the radical communion of hamtaka transcends and INCLUDES the radical agency of havdalah. The deep realization of Eros, that man's essential identity is part of the greater interconnectivity of all things, expands the sense of responsibility from man to a much wider and deeper system but it does not undermine man's own sense of personal and individual responsibility. This is the metaphysical law of transcend and include. In the tension between agency and communion the anti victimization folks embrace radical agency, and therefore the primary responsibility of the individual yet all but ignore the holarchic reality of communion. At the same time much of the victim advocacy polemic embrace radical radical communion and thus blames the system and never the victim. Yet that all but ignores the holarchic reality of agency.

If we take this all one step deeper we see that the whole distinction is actually an illusion. An illusion that grows out the dualism of Havdalah thinking. At the deeper level of hamtaka – where hamtaka transcend and includes havdalah dualistic mind gives way to non dual spirit and the very distinction between inside and outside falls away. The question of whether the locus of responsibility for the victim's sad predicament, is inside or outside, is itself mired in dualism. A non dualistic view from the perspective of deep hamtaka talks not about the human being and god, god and nature, the human being and nature or the like but rather senses the underlying unity of what might be called the God field. The great promise of enlightenment in all great systems of spirit is precisely that the human being is able – through great spiritual practice effort and divine grace, to locate himself within the God field. The human being is capable of shattering the limited boundaries and the limited agency of the skin encapsulated ego and to realize his essential identity with divine reality. This is what it means to be enlightened. This is what it means for one to locate oneself in the god field. Thus the locus of response –ability is on the entire God field and not merely on patch of it. Within the god field the notion of choice and one's natural moral intuition are important strands of reality. At the same time within the God field, moral teaching, values transmission, creating proper health facilities and financial scholarships will also directly affect the God field. One is an external factor and other internal but both exist within the same God Field. At the level of Hamtaka one moves from talking about individual versus environment and begins to understand that the human being and all of the surrounding objective realties are part of a large divine contribution system. The point of human responsibility is not that it is by itself the whole story but rather that one can use one's own choice as a point of entry to leverage and reshape the whole system. In non dual realization one experiences both a full sense of responsibility and a full sense of choicelessness!
Hamtaka is always the level of integral realization. In non integral thinking – which is most of contemporary thought as we have clearly seen- one adopts a half truth; victims are responsible as long as they have options available, or victims are fundamentally blameless; victims of the broader contexts. Or in another dualism, the source of human evil is fundamentally inside the human being or is fundamentally located in the larger system in which the person lives. Integral thinking rooted in the nondualistic consciousness of hamtaka affirms the both truths realizing that each of these perspectives finds particular expression at different levels of consciousness and that at the highest level of consciousness these truths are integrated into a higher truth. From this higher level of hamtaka we begin to see that much of the critique of victim consciousness which we raised above was only correct in part. For example Dershowitz, Prager and Sykes go to great length to deride the insanity plea in criminal proceedings. Prager argues forcefully that there is not reason to correlate between mental illness and evil. A person says Prager can be perfectly healthy and normal and still commit evil. Well that may be Prager's view but he claims it as the view of the tradition. This is simply not so. The equation between sin and sickness is core to biblical and post biblical Hebrew thought. "Who forgives all sins who heals all disease" is the structural idenity between sin and sickness taught by the psalmist. "Or peace to him who is far says the Lord…I will heal him" One who is far, alienated from his divine source is considered sick; not physically sick but a sickness of the soul. This idea is championed by no less a figure then Maimonides who makes it an axiom of his teaching in the middle ages. The Talmud deepens this idea and teaches "anyone who sins – it is because a spirit of insanity has entered him". The notion that a person who commits murder is in some sense insane is actually correct. Sanity means at it's core to be connected to reality. Insanity means to be disconnected from reality. The true nature of reality is eros, divine love and the interconnectivity of all being. If one is able to murder in cold blood then they are disconnected from reality and thus by definition insane. So the core intuition of those who argue for insanity pleas may be correct in regard to the insanity. The larger question however is whether the person is responsible for their insanity. While there are clearly some clinical forms insanity over which a person has no obvious control, the kind of insanity we are talking about here while real is still subject to the personal control. Insane and responsible would seem to be the case here. We are held responsible for our own sickness.

What emerges is that there are two fundamentally different approaches to Hagar and her tears. These approaches reflect different levels of consciousness. hachna'ah havdalah and hamtaka. The first level Hachna'ah, might also be termed Pagan consciousness. At this level of pagan thinking the human being bows in full submission before the often irrational gods and offers sacrifice to propitiate the deities and curry their favor. Man is subject to the forces of fate. The most important human agenda is to please the Gods.
Man, embedded in his environment is unable to dominate or control his external or internal own nature. Only by bribing the Gods can he survive.
The second level of Havdalah represents biblical and prophetic consciousness. This level transcends and includes the previous level. There is a clear moment of submission. However it is to a God that incarnates the good, the true and the beautiful. The human being is in relationship to that god. Sometimes a relationship of Parent Child or King Subject but more often in the mutuality of the coventant and as a lover and partner. The songs of songs whch speak of the erotic love between the person and the divine, writes the Talmudic sage Akiva. is the holy of holies. Song of Songs is the ultimate model of the God –Man relationship. When god seems to act in violation of the good he is challenged by Abraham who demands that God act in alignment to his own divinity which is the good. At this level of consciousness man is no longer merely subject to the capricious winds of fate; he is an active partner on the stage of history; he takes his own destiny in hand rejecting the status quo and forever reaching for new possibilities and better tomorrows. Man moves beyond the resignation of stage one to the activism of stage two. In biblical conciousness victimhood and the transference of responsibility to external sources is called original sin. When Adam is confronted by god with having eaten the forbidden fruit, Adam responds. I am not responsible. Indeed I am victim. Eve gave me the fruit. When God then confronts eve she says I am not responsible, I am a victim, the Serpent made me do it. God rejects both claims. There is a deep tradition, taught often by modern mystic Shlomo Carlebach, which teaches that had Adam and Eve not moved into default mode but actually taken personal responsibility or even more dramatically actually covered or each other, an ultimate act of love, the world would have been redeemed into messianic consciousness at the very moment. Based on all of this it become clear that at this stage of Havdalah conciousness, Hagar's tears of resignation are rejected by biblical consciousness.
However even within the conciousness of havdalah, this place of hamtaka consciousness peers out from between the lattice work of the biblical narrative itself.

After Hevel is killed by Cain the text reads "the voice of your brother blood cried out to me"; the midrash picks up on the phrase crying out "to me" from the earth". To me implicates God; the text ultimately holds God responsible for the murder of Cain. "Said R. Shimon Bar Yochai, This thing is difficult to say and the mouth may not utter it" .."it is like two gladiators who joust before the king {for the kings pleasure}Had the king wanted he might have separated them, one overpowered the other and killed him; and his he {his spirit} shouted and said "who will bring my judgement before the King {for the king to is culpable}as it is written the voice of your brother blood cries out {against} me.
In the cycle of abuse in this story where Cain's jealousy explodes resulting in the muder of Hevel by Cain, Shimon Bar Yochai, master of the Zohar seeks a deeper explanation then merely Cain's personal responsibility.
In the cycle of abuse suggests Bar Yochai – God is the first abuser, the prime source and cause that sets the cycles of abuse into motion.
However we might choose to read this it is clear that the wisdom masters do not limit responsibility to Cain but turn to the entire god field for accountability.

This stage of conciousness which we have called Havdalah, classic biblical conciousness is often called by the Zohar the stage of the Black fire.
The next stage which transcends and includes this stage, is called by the Zohar the place of the white fire, the level Hamtaka. At his level the individual is no longer merely a separate individual in relationship. He is embeddeded in the larger realiy however this time it is not not a pre-personal but a transpersonal embeddeness. He is not subject to the whims of an arbitrary nature or an capricious God. Rather he himself is part of the god field and is thus able to leverage his own self to effect, transform and even evolve the God field. As they are part of the God field his tears always have effect. He is never wholly dependent on his environment and yet he is never wholly independent of his environment. He is a whole part. A holon. God both demands that he act, even as God hears his tears when he falls into the dark pit of resignation. In what the cabbalists call the Torah of Atzilut, the place of the white spaces, the level of Hamtaka, God demands that Hagar act even as God wipes away her tears with divine kisses. In the God field there is no sharp distinction between divine and human responsibility between inside and insides between agency and communion or even between the essence of humanity and divinity.
This re-embracing of Hagar and her tears appears not only in the white spaces of the Torah of Atzilut, at the level of hamtaka, it appears hidden in the folds of the oral tradition of interpretation passed down from master to master. In chapter twenty five of the book of Genesis we are told " Then again Abraham took a wife and her name was Keturah". The masters of the oral tradition, responding to the invitation of the phrase, "Then Again" teach that Ketura is Hagar. The root and associations of the word Ketura are well know to the students of biblical consciousness. Ketoret means incense and is the sacred service performed by the high priest in the temple in the holy of holies. The holy of holies is the place of non duality. The ketotet is made of up a special combination of eleven spices. The incense contains in it both naturally beautiful spices and a particularly malodorous spice which is itself transformed into sweet fragrance through its combination with the other spices213. The teaching is very deep. R. Kuk my master writes, "The holy has an opposite {the unholy – the profane} the holy of holies knows no opposite."
By identifying Hagar with Ketura –Ketotet biblical conciousness, the level of havdalah hints at a higer and deeper place, that of hamataka. This is the place where God hears and dries the tears of all who suffer.
It is the place where god gives us being right in order to dry the tears of all of being. 214
The Illuminaton of Hagar
And yet the story of Hagar is not over. A second oral tradition comments on the name of Hagar –Ketura by saying "she is called Ketura meaning beautiful for Ketura/Hagar is beautiful in her deeds". Something happened. Somehow Hagar whose actions are stopped cold as she sinks into the paralysis of resignation is transformed in the eyes of the masters. Hagar to has a breakthrough moment. She becomes Ketura…an indication by the masters that Hagar/Ketrua somehow re-engages the covenant. Somehow she is able to move from victim hood to mastery and to even become a model for all future generations. What is the alchemy of her transformation.

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The Ones Who Will be Heard

How does God try to speak to Hagar? How does God respond to Hagar?
What do we do in the face of resignation?
God’s first response, as we have seen, is to ignore Hagar’s crying and to respond to the crying of the child, Ishmael. In fact, the name Ishmael translated from the Hebrew means the one who will be heard by God. This is God’s promise – that we will always be heard – as long as we do not sever our connection with the child, with the Ishmael in us. The Ishmael archetype in our story is the symbol of the child who believes in the future, the child who represents infinite possibility. God responds to the crying of the child because the child is the personification of future possibility.

And even though Hagar’s tears are not overwhelmingly accepted on high, that does not mean that she is fully ignored by God. Actually, God responds to Hagar directly in a very beautiful and deep way. God essentially says to Hagar – Hagar I’m not listening to your crying…I listen to the cry of the child, the cry of possibility, the cry of tomorrow. And you Hagar, you can break the vise like hold that resignation has you in. Let me tell you how. “Rise up Hagar and raise up the child.” Or rather, ‘rise Hagar by raising the child!’ How can you raise up the child? How can you create a future which is different from the past? How can you change the oppressive reality that suffocates you so? The text advises, “Make your hand strong in his”- put your hand in his - take him by the hand and by doing so, your hand will become strong.

The image is what addresses us here. Take your hand – place it in his hand – raise him up and you will become stronger. When I reach out my hand to hold someone else’s hand, not only can I lift them up - but I become stronger in the process. ‘Through our flesh we vision God,’ teach the mystics - the graphic image offered by the text suggests a powerful truth of humanity, to take a second hand in your own is to raise two souls.

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A Mustard Seed of Misery

To fully understand God’s response to Hagar let me tell you a story. It’s been floating around in our conversations for many years. I’ve never looked up the source, I believe it’s a Buddhist story and it goes somewhat as follows. There was a woman, who was so broken, who life had dealt such a harsh hand, that she simply was unable to get up in the morning. So she goes to the Buddha and asks what can she do, life is just too difficult. The Buddha says to her, ‘If you bring me a mustard seed from a house that knows no tears than all will be well with you (you know that in Chassidic stories there are always ten sons, in Buddha’s stories there are always mustard seeds).

She thinks this will be very simple, life has been so hard to her but so many of her neighbors have lead such easy happy lives. She goes and knocks on the door of her neighbor’s, the ones with the wonderful relationship and seven smiling children, and she tells them - the Buddha has told me to bring a mustard seed from a house that knows no sorrow and all will be well with me. I know you have such a joyous house, could you please spare me a mustard seed. And they look at her almost angrily and say, “You have no idea what is going on in our house. You don’t know about this and that...And they begin to tell her a tale of secret woe and hidden sorrow the likes of which she had never heard.

We think we know so well what is going on in someone’s reality. We so much want to be in somebody else’s story. She hears their story and she stays for some time to help and offer comfort. A good while later she goes to the next house. This house she’s sure is a house of joy with no sorrow. And she asks again for a mustard seed and the response is again- why did you come to us? You think we’re a house with no sorrow? And they begin to tell her their own story of sadness and woe. And what can she do, she wants to comfort them, she feels their sorrow. And so she stays with the second family for a period of time comforting, soothing and trying to cheer them. She goes to a third house and again meets the same story of sorrow and her compassion has been aroused again and she stays with them and comforts them as well. And so it continues- she goes from house to house ultimately becoming a great Buddhist saint. And she is comforted as she comforts. And she becomes strong once again.

This is precisely the Hagar story. What does God say to Hagar? Take his hand in your – raise him up and you will rise as well. Reach out and give him strength and you will become strong. In holding his hand new energy and power surge through my hand as well.

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To Forgive the Child

Hidden in the folds of the words however there is even deeper layering of meaning in our text. The word which we commonly translate as ‘raise up’ – as in, raise up the child - has a second meaning in the original Hebrew. It means forgive215[ii]. This is how the word is used by God in talking to Cain earlier in Genesis; How will you be able to rise and to raise up the child? Only if you forgive. Forgive who? - answers the text, “Forgive the child”. Hagar is angry at Ishmael; his taunting of his brother Isaac, despite Hagar’s repeated admonitions, is the cause of their present dire predicament. Her anger blinds her; she is paralyzed by it when she needs to be constructive, blurred when she needs to be perceptive. Let go of you anger. Even if you are right. Forgive the boy. Sometimes we need to give up being right. God says ‘Get up Hagar’ – forgive the boy…and only then will your higher self – which has been blocked by anger - be open to new perceptions.

“The divine in her opened up- her eyes opened and she saw in the desert a well of water.” When we forgive someone – even if they are wrong - when we give up being right, we are able to help them rise. If we are still blaming them, holding them responsible for our reality, pinning them down beneath the burden we carry, then we cannot help them rise nor can we rise ourselves.

Critically, however we need to now unpack the third level of understanding folded in our text. Rise up Hagar and forgive the child - within you. We carry so much around from when we were children. We need to let go of some of the burden. We need to be able to forgive ourselves and to embrace the child within us. Only then can we be strong in clasping the hand of child-the child within us. Hagar in Hebrew can also be read as Ha-Ger, the stranger or the alienated one. Hagar is alienated from herself. Any child who becomes a pawn in their parents games becomes a stranger to themselves. The birthright of every child is to be listened to, to be heard, to be given the opportunity to experience and be their authentic selves. To deny the child this birthright is to deny the child’s essential human dignity and divinity. It is to rob the child of herself.

A humorous illustration of an all too tragic phenomenon: A little girl goes to a fancy restaurant with her parents. What would you like, the waiter asks the parents. And after each has ordered their own complex and specialized menus the waiter turns to the girl- and you miss? I want a hot dog she says without batting an eyelash. Her parents immediately interject- actually she will have lamb chops, says her mother – with lightly fried potatoes, says her father – and perhaps a side order of mushrooms, continues mother….the waiter waits till they are finished and turns to the girl – would you like ketchup or mustard on your hot dog miss? As he walks away to the dumbfounded silence of the parents the girl exclaims, pointing at the waiter- ‘He’s the only here who thinks I’m real.’

No one thinks Hagar is real, not even herself. She needs to give up the image of internalized oppression or she will never be able to build a new life for herself. The angel says to Hagar in the self same word Se'i et Ha'anar, you need to forgive yourself, forgive your mistakes of foolishness; yes you made mistakes but all your mistakes were in the right direction, the direction of your life; Only then will you be able rise up – to transcend your story.

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To Meet the Stranger

Hagar’s tears of resignation well up from a long history of being an object in the larger dramas of other’s lives. Hagar has indeed been a victim. The angel, speaking for the divine force in our lives, none the less makes the audacious and hope filled claim that we can decide to let go of victimhood. We can begin a new chapter in our sacred autobiographies. Hagar accepts the angel’s charge and indeed transcends- she finds water, nourishes her son and becomes the matriarch of a new nation. To understand the power of Hagar’s courage we need to remember some of her story. For the Hagar narrative begins much earlier than our chapter.

Hagar is first introduced to us in chapter 16 of the book of Genesis as an Egyptian maidservant. Where did she come from? A close reading of the text reveals one hint. In chapter 12 we are told that the Egyptian king Pharaoh buys Abraham’s favor with gifts of cattle and Egyptian slaves and maid servants. Several chapters later the text records that Avraham has "an Egyptina Maidservant whose name was Hagar". The Midrash, I belive basing itself on this textual thread, teaches that Hagar was the daughter of Pharoah. The midrash is implying that Hagar was one of the Egyptian maidservants given to Abraham along with the cattle. Pharoah as was the political custom apparently gives his own daughter to Abrham as one of the Egyptian Maidservants in ordert to appease Abraham.

What we have then is a father who uses his daughter to fulfill his own needs- personal and political; a classical and tragic I- it relationship. Pharoah gives Hagar to Abraham. It is however not only Hagar who feels unseen and objectified in this story. It is Sarah as well. And not merely by Pharoh which was to be expected but by Abraham. Abraham Sarah feels like an object used by Abraham for his gain..
Sarah and Abraham
Abraham is afraid that Pharoh will see his wife sarah and will have him killed in order to take Sarah. So he says to Sarah "Pretend to be my sister that I may live through you". Now is that was all Had Abraham had said to her, Pretend to be my sister so that “I may live through you” – that is, so Pharaoh will not kill me to get to you – then somehow Sarah may have understood. But Abraham lets slip a second phrase – go to pharaoh pretending to be my sister in order that “I may prosper through you”. How does this crass I- It sentence find it's way into the language of the patriarch. Abraham sees the fulfillment of his spiritual destiny as requiring his material prosperity. God after all said to him I will make you a great nation. In light of his self understanding of his destinty destinty Avraham - views the interaction with Pharaoh as a way to possibly promote his own interests. Sarah - even if but for a moment - has become an “it” in Abraham’s mind. A close textual reading suggests that this I- it moment between Abraham and Sarah foreshadows and perhaps even unleashes the dynamic which results in Abraham’s children being enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt. Abraham goes to Egypt in order to survive a famine in the land of Canaan. His wife is "enslaved" by Pharoh. . God brings plagues on Pharoh. His wife is freed. He goes forth from Egypt with great wealth. These are precisely the same steps that happen to Abraham's descendants many years later. They go to Egypt to survive a famine in the land of Canaan. The people are enslaved by Pharoh. God brings plagues on Pharoh. The people are freed. They leave Egypt with great wealth. The subtle and brilliant point in the text lies in this paraelle structure. While it seems on the surface that is Pharoh who enslaves Sarah on a deeper read is revealed that oppressor of Sarah is Abraham and not Pharoah. The oppression of slavery lies in the reducing of an other to an it. This is precisely what Abrahmam does to Sarah in saying "Say you are my sister ..in order that I may profit from you". The first story not only forewhadows but actually creates the butterlfly effect – the energy pattern in the world which will foster slavery. There is a dangerous slippery slope which leads from the subtle I-it within a relationship to the overt I-it of using others to fill my needs – that is to say- slavery. The result of all this is that Sarah is hurt by Abraham. Hagar is given to Sarah by Abraham a token to assuage that hurt. Hagar however is also the living symbol of Sarah's discontent.
She personifies the prosperity gained by Abraham through her objectification.

Hagar
Years pass and Sarah is Barren. So she gives Hagar back to Abraham as a concubine. Hagar in all of these stories has not spoken a word. She has been depersonalized by all of her major relationships. Her father, Abraham and Sarah all use her to curry favor with someone other than herself. She is invisible.
It is only when she finds herself pregnant that she grasps at the first glimmering realization that she might have value. She experiences a fleeting sense of personhood- she is more than an it in the games of those more powerful than her. And it is precisely this re-evaluation of herself and her relationship with those around her that causes her affliction to increase. As the text tells us, “Sarah became light in her eyes.” The all-powerful mistress was for the first time seen with some perspective.

Sarah however, lost in her own desperate inadequacy at not having fulfilled her role as mother and bearer of offspring, feels undermined by Hagar’s emergence. Thus, with Abraham’s tacit blessing she afflicts her maidservant, and Hagar flees for the desert. There she grasps again for personhood. She is addressed by the angel of her interiority (footnote, explain this interiority) – for the first time as Hagar. She realizes her name. And for the first time she speaks. But yet as the text continues, in her very next breath, she is identified as ‘Hagar, the maid servant of Sarah’. She cannot break her identification as Sarah’s maidservant. She wants so much to be free but a voice tells her that she must return. Her place is that of a servant in Sarah’s household.

The result, Hagar – undoubtedly not her birth name - becomes Ha-Ger ‘the stranger’ to herself as well as the world around her. She returns to Abraham and bears him a son; a modicum of security for a short time. Hagar however has retreated into silence. She has retreated from the freedom and voice she found in the desert. She retreats into her alienation – a foreigner, a servant of Sarah. And her mistress still threatened by Hagar and her child, persuades Abraham to send away the problematic pair. Thus, Hagar finds herself in the desert once again. This time she has been exiled – the last cruel blow of a seemingly capricious and cruel fate.

As is seen too often, a mother who has been so raised will be all but incapable of relating to her own child in any other way. And so when Ishmael her son is parched with thirst, nearing death, she does not hold him in her arms. She does not comfort him. She creates enormous distance between herself and him- emotional existential distance- and she lifts up her voice and cries.

And yet resignation, as we have seen, is not the only possible ending to the story. The whole point of the text is that we can rewrite our scripts. There is not a determined outcome that human freedom cannot alter. “Transcend, Hagar, and raise your child”- but understand, the only possible way you can raise your child to be healthy and authentic, is to first forgive the child that is you. Let go of the old story. You were not to blame. You did not choose this story. Often you acted in ways which may have made you ashamed. But now is the time to forgive the child. You can rewrite the next chapters. God does not accept the tears of resignation shed by Hagar the adult.216

God however clearly hears the tears of the child. Simply this refers to Ishmael. In our re-reading though it refers to Hagar as well, to the voice of, the tears of, the child Hagar. For if ‘forgive the child’ refers to Hagar as we suggested above then at least esoterically God hearing the cry of the child may refer to Hagar as well. For us, the hearing of our Hagar child tears means allowing ourselves to feel all those emotions and experiences denied to us as children when we were pawns whose primary needs were overridden by the need to please the parent, to be what mother or father needed you to be. Those emotions of hurt, of surprise, of wonder and of tears do not go away- they are stored in the cells of the body and only in their release can the Child–Adult reclaim herself and thus be ready to parent. So Hagar in our story - the Hagar in us, on the brink or over the brink of resignation - is invited to health and to wholeness. The tears of resignation are transformed into a cry that frees and forgives all the tears of childhood that were never cried before.

It’s a powerful verse about the ability to change, to let go of that we should not be holding, to forgive others and to take responsibility. To for-give ourselves, to embrace ourselves, to give ourselves a chance to become, to be our-selves.

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Reclaiming Vision

Finally after the advice of the Angel the story reaches epiphany; the text crescendos. “VaYifkach” – God opened her eyes-and she sees a well of water... and she gives water to her child.” What does the verse intend by –‘God opened her eyes’? Maimonidies- the medieval philosopher points out, in his locus classicus, Guide to the Perplexed, that the particular word used in this text for opening her eyes- VaYifcah - means to allow one to see that which is already there. The opening of the eyes doesn’t give me new information, it does not speak of a miracle. It is actually similar and probably the source of the English expression an “eye-opener”, indicating not new information but new perception. This text is about making Hagar conscious of the possibilities that were there all the time. She sees a well of water- the symbol of redemption in the Books of Genesis and Exodus. She suddenly sees the life sustaining water. Once she raises herself up, once she forgives herself, and forgives those around her, once Adult crying of resignation merges and gives way to the child crying of hope - she is able to see new paths opening up before her. Opportunities present themselves – opportunities that had been there all along.

This story is the existential backdrop to the blessing that the tradition has the seeker recite daily upon arising. “Source of all blessings are you God, King of the world, who opens the eyes of the blind.” The word for open in this prayer, ‘Pokeach,’ is clearly patterned after the ‘VaYifkach’ in our story. When it says God opens the eyes of the blind it means, as it does in the Genesis source text, that God opens the eyes of those of us blind to self and to the options and opportunities that we have welling forth within us. God opens the eyes of our souls. ‘God opens our eyes,’ meaning God invites us to become conscious of who we really are - to dream the dreams that really belong to us - which we have left behind in our tears of resignation.

New Section

Thou Shalt Not Oppress the Stranger in your Midst

The Hagar story ends with Hagar’s transformation. It moves from resignation to hope. The full re-writing of the Hagar story however takes place not in her life but in the larger story of the bible. Hagar’s tale is an introduction to a second story which is patterned on the ironic reversal of all that happened to Hagar.
Our first story, Hagar’s story, is about a stranger who is an Egyptian woman. She is a stranger – exiled by her father from Egypt. She escapes to the Desert. There she experiences divine revelation and receives the charge of her destiny.
The voice she hears however is not clear. It speaks of her personhood and freedom even as it pulls her backwards into slavery. The call of liberation is not yet clear. After she is cast out into the desert by her taskmasters- Abraham and Sarah – she almost gets lost in resignation, saved in the last moments by the hope imbued in her by the angel.
The second story speaks of the children of Abraham and Sarah descending to Egypt, the birthplace of Hagar. They too are afflicted. They too find themselves in the desert and encounter God. They also (at the foot of Sinai) receive the charge of destiny in their encounter with the divine. They too are ambivalent about liberation and hear voices recalling them to slavery…“Let us appoint a leader and return to the fleshpots of Egypt…Better to die as slaves in Egypt than to die of starvation in the desert.” They too – in the story of the spies who convince them that the Land of Isreal cannot be conquered – almost give up, as the text says, Tears of resignation are “cried by the people on that night.”

The parallel of stories serves to hold us responsible for Hagar’s tears. Her story is our story. We are responsible for her tears. We go to Egypt as a sort of moral redressing of the Hagar story. In Egypt we need to inculcate ethical sensitivity to the stranger as our demarcating characteristic.

And remember that this is a pattern is repeated, for so too did Sarah and Abraham descend to Egypt. There Sarah was taken forcibly to the house of Pharaoh. She was freed through divine intercession, plagues to be precise, and thrown out of Egypt by a frightened Pharaoh, a scene which as we have pointed out is no less than a clear foreshadowing of the Exodus. It is therefore not so surprising that Sarah, the victim of Egypt, represses the memory of her oppression and in the process becomes the oppressor of Hagar the Egyptian. Paradoxically, in the Hagar story Sarah plays the role of Pharaoh. It is she who afflicts and she who exiles into the desert.
In this case of dramatic irony, it is Hagar the Egyptian who plays the role of the Jewish people.

The Hagar story reveals the fact that we did not learn from our initial Egyptian experience of the oppression of Sarah in Pharaohs court. Sarah does the exact same thing done to her, moving from the oppressed to the oppressor. And so we were destined to repeat this cycle again – this time as an entire nation, descended from Abraham and Sarah. It is in this sense that we may understand the primary imperative demarcated by the divine upon leaving Egypt – “Thou shalt not oppress the stranger for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” We are responsible as a people to dry the tears of every Ha-gar, of every stranger.

We are responsible to hold power in a way that does not degrade those who are subject to our power.

[i] That Hagar is her maidservant is made clear by the dialogue between the Angel and Hagar in chapter 21- Return to your master says the Angel to Hagar. Her master is Sarah – similar to the relationship between Bilhah and Rachel.
[ii] See chapter one Genesis- if you do good you will be forgiven…see also a similar usage Parshat Vayera…
[iii] Talmud Baba Mezia 59a Later in our discussion we will discuss this passage and its mythical significance in far greater depth.

 

קולין פרגוסון הוא גבר שחור המואשם ברצח נוסעים לבנים בתחנת הרכבת של לונג איילנד. פרגוסון מביט מטה על עבר קורבנותיו, בוחר בסתם שבעה אנשים לבנים, ורוצח אותם בדם קר. סנגורו מגן עליו בטענה שהוא קורבן של האפליה החברתית כנגד השחורים אשר יצרה את מה שמכונה ה"זעם השחור", והאפליה הזאת היא האחראית האמיתית לרציחות. פרגוסון אינו האחראי למעשיו. הוא קורבן. האשם הוא ה"זעם השחור". עורך דינו של פרגוסון טען שכ-2/3 מהשחורים וכמחצית מהלבנים שהשיבו לסקר בעניין יחסם למשפט תמכו בקו ההגנה של הזעם השחור! הטעות בקו הגנה שכזה ברורה לגמרי. הרוב המוחץ של השחורים שסבלו מאפליה אמיתית אינו הופך לרוצחי המונים. ואמנם, הרוב המכריע של אנשים אשר עברו התעללות אינו מבצע פשעים אלימים. אולם ישנם שכן. אך - הם לא היו חייבים לעשות כן. הם לא היו קורבן של הנסיבות. שאלו מישהו – מדוע אתה עונה לטלפון? הוא בדרך כלל ישיב לך - משום שהוא צלצל. אולם זהו כבר סימן מקדים לתודעת הקורבן. מישהו שעונה לטלפון משום שהוא מצלצל הוא קורבן. צלצול הטלפון הוא גירוי. התגובה לצלצול נתונה לבחירת האדם. יתרה מכך - זהו בעצם מה שעושה אותנו אנושיים. אמא שואלת את בנה, "מדוע הכית את אחותך?" תגובתו הראשונה של הבן יכולה להיות " משום שהיא צעקה עלי". האם, בכדי לחנך את בנה, אמורה כעת להוכיח לבנה את תפישתו השגויה. "צעקותיה של אחותך עליך הן הגירוי. תגובתך לגירוי הייתה להכות, וזו בחירה שאתה אחראי לה."בחברה המערבית, תודעת הקורבן מערערת את הבסיס של חוק, פשע, שכר ועונש; ערעור אשר מחליש משמעותית את המרחב האלוהי וגורם לתרבויות לקרוס.

ניקח את מעשה הרצח כדוגמה. ישנה הבחנה יסודית בכל המערכות המשפטיות, מהתנכיות ועד למודרניות, בין רצח והריגה. לא כל הריגה נחשבת רצח. ואכן, התרגום של הדיבר השביעי כ"לא תהרוג" הוא שגוי. הדיבר אינו "לא תהרוג", כי אם "לא תרצח". הריגה ורצח אינם בהכרח זהים. כך, לדוגמה, אדם לא שפוי – איש אשר למשל שומע קולות האומרים לו להרוג - לא יכול להימצא אחראי לרצח.

כמובן אנו יכולים להסיק מהמקרה של רצח לצורות רבות אחרות של פשעים אלימים ולא אלימים.

בעל מגלה שאשתו מזה שנים רבות בגדה בו בקביעות עם חברו הטוב ביותר ואז רוצח אותה ואת חברו באכזריות. הבעל הוא קורבן, זעמו אמיתי. וזה אינו מצדיק רצח. אף על פי כן, בהרבה הקשרים משפטיים מודרניים הבעל מצליח לצאת מזה עם שנה או שנתיים בכלא..

אחד המקרים המפורסמים ביותר של לצאת נקי מרצח הוא של האחים מננדז. הם תיכננו את רצח הוריהם- הפשע המושלם- במשך מספר חודשים. לבסוף כאשר הם נעצרים, הגנתם מבוססת על התעללותו לכאורה של אביהם. העורך דין המפורסם אלן דרשוביץ, בשחזורו את הסיפור, אומר שייתכן והם המציאו את קו ההגנה הזה. אך הבה נניח שאביהם באמת התעלל בהם. מדוע הם הרגו את אימם בזמן שהיא ישבה ואכלה תותים ומילאה את טפסי ההרשמה של בניה לקולג'? יתרה מכך - לאחר הכדור הראשון הם רדפו אחריה כשהיא כבר מדממת במורד המסדרון, ורוקנו לעברה עוד מספר כדורים.

העניין הוא שאפילו אם הייתה התעללות, רצח של הורים אינו התגובה היחידה להתעללות מהצד של ילדים בוגרים שעזבו את בית הוריהם. ובכל זאת, טענתם לחפותם בגלל שהיו קורבנות התקבלה במלוא כובד המשקל ע"י בית המשפט ורוב חלקי הציבור. האסטרטגיה הנפוצה בקו ההגנה של הקורבן היא להציב את הקורבן האמיתי - במקרה זה ההורים המתים- למשפט. החשיבה המרומזת פה אומרת - "זה הגיע לקורבן" – קו הגנה שאין לו תוקף חוקי או מוסרי משום שהוא מחליש באופן חריף את המרחב האלוהי שהחברה נשענת עליו. המיקרו והמקרו קשורים באופן אינטימי. ברגע שהזעם היוצא מקרבך ע"י הפיכתך לקורבן הופך לתירוץ קביל למעשי אלימות, מעגלי אלימות מחרידים יופיעו בעולם וחיש מהר יהרסו אותו. אם נחבר את סיפורם של האחים מננדז עם ספרה הידוע של אליס מילר "הדרמה של הילד המוכשר", המצב נהיה מפחיד באמת. ספרה של מילר, שהיה רב מכר במשך כעשרים שנה, עסק בכך שלא רק האחים מננדז הם קורבנות של הוריהם, כי אם כל הילדים הם קורבנות של הוריהם. "ההדחקה של התעללות ברוטאלית הנחווית במהלך הילדות גורמת להרבה אנשים להרוס את חייהם ואת חייהם של אחרים". אלה שלא עברו טיפול נפשי מכונן - ורובנו לא עברנו- הנם ע"פ מילר "קורבנות פגועים... של העבר... של הכלא הבלתי נראה והאכזרי של הילדות". היא מדברת על "הייאוש של הילד שהתעללו בו". "כל החוויות הטראומטיות של הילד נשארות כלואות בחשיכה". בתיאורים אלה, מילר לא מתייחסת לקבוצה ספציפית של ילדים, אלא לכל הילדים. היא הצליחה בהפיכת כל בן אדם, בזכות היותו נולד וגדל, לקורבן. לפיכך, לגיטימי להסיק שכולנו רוצחים פוטנציאלים ואם אנו מבצעים רצח הורים, כולנו יכולים לטעון ל"התעללות ברוטאלית" – הגנתם של האחים מננדז.

כאשר בין לאדן שרף אלפי בני אדם תמימים במגדלי התאומים, הוא גם כן הונע ע"י הזעם הקדוש האישי שלו. כאשר טרוריסטים של הפת"ח מפוצצים אוטובוסים מלאים ילדים בישראל, הפרשנים של הCNN מסבירים שזאת ביטוי של הזעם הפלסטיני, והרוב המכריע של החברה הפלסטינית באמת רואה בזה ביטוי לגיטימי של אותו הזעם. ההקשר המוסרי אינו קיים. ההיסטוריה אינה קיימת. הכול הופך לביצה אחת גדולה של זעם. השוויון המוסרי שולט בכיפה ורוע נוראי משוחרר לעולם, והכול מתורץ בשם הקורבנות. הבסיס הרעיוני כאן הוא שהנצחת ההתעללות הינה התגובה היחידה האפשרית להתעללות וקורבנות. כמובן שתגובה כזו שגויה בתכלית. יש לאדם בחירה איך להגיב לגירוי. ישנן תגובות אחרות בנמצא. התגובה הנשגבת ביותר – והיא התגובה שהברית תובעת מאתנו - היא דרך האלכימיה, כלומר, להפוך את ה"עופרת" של התעללות וקורבנות למתכת זוהרת של חמלה ואהבה. "גרים הייתם בארץ מצרים", נכתב בטקסט המקראי. לכן אל תלחץ את הגר. אל תיתן לעובדה שעברת התעללות להפוך אותך למתעלל. הפוך את הסבל שלך לחמלה. זו היא האלכימיה של הברית.

הכול מתחיל במושג הבסיסי של אחריות אישית. זהו המושג המקראי שהאדם נברא בצלם אלהים. האדם אינו רק קשור לאלוהות; האדם למעשה נוטל חלק באלוהות. הווה אומר שהאדם אינו לכוד בטבע. בדהרמה הגדולה של בראשית, הטבע נאצל מאל הנוכח גם בתוך הטבע וגם מעבר לטבע. הרעיון של בריאה שמתפתחת מצביעה על כך שיש מטרה וכיוון; כוח חיים אלוהי אשר מדריך ובסופו של דבר שולט בטבע. רעיון זה של כוח אלוהי הנוכח בטבע ומסדר אותו, יחד עם רעיון האדם הנוטל חלק באותו טבע אלוהי, הוא הקרקע הפוריה אשר העניקה למדע המערבי את הרעיונות של קידמה, דמוקרטיה והרבה ממה שבצדק יקר לנו. באותה מידה, גם המושג של אחריות אישית הוא פועל יוצא של התפיסה הזאת. בן האנוש הנו גם חלק מהטבע וגם מעבר לטבע. בנרטיב המקראי, האדם אינו נברא פעם אחת כי אם פעמיים. בתחילה, בפרק הראשון בספר בראשית, הוא נברא כחלק מהסדר הטבעי; ואז שנית, בפרק השני, כבן אדם ייחודי שהוא גם בתוך וגם מכיל את הסדר הטבעי. אם האדם הוא לא רק חלק מהטבע אלא גם מעבר לטבע , אזי הוא יכול לשלוט בטבע שלו. מוענקים לו השמחה והכבוד המגולמים באחריות אישית. זהו בדיוק המושג המתערער כתוצאה מההגנה על הקורבן הכל כך פופולארית במערכת המשפטית בזמן הזה. האדם, האלוהי בעל פני התינוק, מסוגל לתעל את טבעו החיצוני ולחדור לטבעו העמוק והאלוהי. לכן, בעוד שזעם הוא דחף טבעי בנסיבות מסוימות, הוא לא בהכרח צריך להוביל לרצח. זעם הוא גירוי ורצח הוא החלטה. על ידי ההסתתרות מאחורי קורבנות, הבסיס המהותי הזה של תודעה רוחנית הולכת ונמחקת בחברה המודרנית.

ברגע שעמדת הקורבן מתבייתת בחברה, היא הופכת הרבה יותר מאיימת מאשר סתם קו הגנה של אי שפיות במשפטי רצח. זה מתחיל להיראות בכל מקום. סוכן FBI גונב אלפיים דולר מהממשלה ומפסיד אותם אחר הצהרים אחד בהימורים בקזינו. הוא מפוטר. אולם מחזירים אותו למשרתו לאחר שהוא תובע את הממשל משום שבית המשפט פסק שהנטייה שלו להמר עם כסף של אחרים היא נכות, ולכן הוא מוגן מטעם החוק הפדראלי. או שניקח לדוגמה את המקרה של עובד המאחר לעבודה יום יום. הוא פוטר. הוא תובע לחזור למשרתו בטענה שהוא קורבן של מה שמכונה בפי עורך דינו "סינדרום האיחור הכרוני".

מקרה אחר – מי שהוא מודה שחשף את עצמו במקומות ציבוריים בין עשר לעשרים אלף פעם. הוא הורשע שלושים פעם בהתערטלות. הוא לא מקבל משרה של פקח חניה במחוז דיין, וויסקונסין, על סמך גיליון המעצרים שלו. הוא תובע את המחוז בטענה שהוא חושף את עצמו רק במכבסות ובספריות ולא במגרשי חניה. בפסיקה תקדימית הוא נמצא קורבן ראוי של " אפליה בעבודה בלתי חוקית".

תחילה עלינו לציין שהפסידו- קורבנות עושים נזק משמעותי לא רק לעצמם ולאלה שהם מאשימים סתם, אלא גם לקורבנות האמיתיים. פסידו-קורבנות לוקחים את התבנית של התעללות אמיתית בין אם היא מינית, משפחתית, גזעית, פוליטית, או כל סוג אחר, ומעצימים ומעוותים אותה מעל ומעבר. ישנה התעללות אמיתית בעולם. ישנם קורבנות אמיתיים הראויים לאהבתנו הרדיקאלית, לחמלה ולתמיכה. כתוצאה של קולות הבכי והנהי של הפסידו-קורבנות, הצעקה האמיתית של העשוקים, של האלמנה והיתום, נדחקת החוצה. להגר התנכית קוראים ממש הגר - הזרה. אך היא בעצם רק הפסידו-גר, אשר דרך אותנטית פתוחה בפניה, אך היא בוחרת שלא ללכת בה. דמעותיה מטביעות את דמעותיה של הגרה האמיתית, הקורבן האמיתי. המטרה המהותית של ההארה המקראית היא לפתוח את הלב אל הבכי של הגר האמיתי. על מנת לעשות כן, יש להיות מסוגלים להבחין בין הקורבן לביו הפסידו-קורבן. הדוגמה dogmaהמונחת ביסודה של תרבות הקורבנות היא הימצאות הרוע האנושי מחוץ לבן האדם. אמונה זאת מערערת את המרחב האלוהי באופן משמעותי.

העיקרון הוא שבגלל שבני האדם טובים מטבעם, כל רוע חייב להיות תוצאה של כוח חיצוני אשר משחית את הטוב הטבעי של בני האדם. הויכוח בין זרמי המחשבה הרבים המחזקים טענה זו מתמצית לדיון על איזו סיבה חיצונית לאדם נחשבת כגורם המרכזי של הרוע. עבור המרקסיסט, התשובה היא המבנה הקפיטליסטי של החברה והכלכלה; עבור שמרנים זה יכול להיות ממשלה ריכוזית מדי, אלימות בטלוויזיה או ליברלים. עבור ליברלים זה עלול להיות הכנסייה, רובים או פטריארכליות. אולם למרבה הצער הדוגמה הקובעת שהרוע ממוקם מחוץ לאדם גורמת למספר השלכות הרסניות אשר מחלישות באופן משמעותי את המרחב האלוהי.

ראשית, האדם אינו נקרא לשנות את עצמו; שנית, אין הוא מרגיש צורך ללמד טוב. אם בעיית הרוע היא חיצונית לאדם והוא נמצא בעולם, אזי הדרך להשיג את הטוב ולמגר את הרע היא לשנות את העולם.

אולם, בתודעה המקראית המיקוד של רוע האדם, וכתוצאה מכך המיקוד של האפשרות של שינוי, נמצא בתוך העצמי! הנושאים המהותיים אינם רובים, פורנוגרפיה או ממשלה ריכוזית מדי , אלא דברים כגון אנוכיות, התמכרות, תאוות בצע, אי הכרת תודה, קנאה ועצלנות. זו היא ברירת המחדל של רוב הטבע האנושי. האופי השטחי הזה חייב התמרה על מנת לסלול דרך לעצמי האלוהי הפנימי אשר הוא הוא המהות האמיתית של בני האדם. אולם, אם אדם מאמין שהאנשים טובים מטבעם, אזי הוא לעולם לא יעשה את העבודה הנחוצה על מנת לחדור לעצמי האלוהי הפנימי שלו. אחת הראיות הגדולות שהובאה ע"י רומנטיקנים מהמאה התשע עשרה על מנת להוכיח את הרעיון שאנשים טובים מטבעם הייתה שתינוקות נולדים ו"מאחוריהם ענני הכבוד". האמת היא שבעוד שברוב המקרים תינוקות נולדים חמודים, הם אינם נולדים טובים. למעשה, ברוב המקרים, התינוק מתעלם מהצרכים של הוריו על מנת לספק את צרכיו שלו. שאלו כל זוג שלא התנה אהבים במשך שמונת החודשים האחרונים מאז שהתינוק נולד; עד שיש להם זמן, אנרגיה ורצון, התינוק מתחיל לצרוח.... רק לאחר התנתקות מהאם, התינוק, כישות אוטונומית מוסרית, יכול להחליט להיות טוב. על מנת לעשות כן האדם צריך לעשות כל מאמץ בכדי לצאת מתחושה השטחית של עצמאות מוחלטת וישות מנותקת אשר האינסטינקט הראשוני שלה הוא להבטיח את הנוחיות והישרדות שלה. הוא חייב לעבוד על מנת להוציא החוצה את האמפתיה שלו, את תחושת השלמות שלו, את הידיעה שהוא קשור לכל ובכל, וחושי הארוס, האהבה והמחויבות.

האמונה שאנשים הינם טובים מטבעם ועושים רע רק כאשר הם מונעים ע"י כוח חיצוני, יוצרת אמונה פופולארית חדשה ומסוכנת והיא שכאשר אנשים עושים מעשים רעים, זה לא בגלל שהם בחרו ברוע וכפועל יוצא אחראים למעשיהם, אלא משום שהם חולים. הם הקורבנות של מחלתם או של הסינדרום שלהם ולכן הם אינם אחראים. קו ההיגיון הבסיסי פה מבוסס על כך ששום אדם שפוי לא יבצע רצח, ולפיכך כל אדם המבצע רצח חייב להיות חולה רוח, כלומר לא שפוי. כך שבעוד שארנסט בקר טען שהכחשת מוות היא הכוח המניע הנסתר של התרבות, לכך יש אולי להוסיף את הכחשת הרוע. הטוב והרע הוחלפו ע"י שמות תואר כגון סוציופתיה, משחק תפקידים, זעם, פרנויה או פתולוגיה. כל אלה הם תוצאה של מה שאפשר לכנות "תרבות תרפויטית" שבה ההקשר המוסרי הוחלף ע"י ההקשר הפסיכולוגי. הטיעון הבסיסי בתרבות התרפויטית היא "אני לא אשם - השטן נכנס בי". אולם, בעולם המודרני השטן הוחלף ע"י סינדרום התלות ההדדית, סינדרום ההתעללות, סינדרום הבעל הזועם, כל צורות האי-שפיות הזמנית, וכדומה.

התרבות התרפויטית טוענת להשוואה וירטואלית בין אלימות לבין מחלת נפש. קביעה זו היא פשוט שגויה. תחילה יש לציין שאלימות יכולה לפעמים להיות מוסרית ובריאה. הפעולה של הריגת חייל נאצי על מנת לשחרר את מחנות הריכוז הייתה בוודאות פעולה מוסרית ובריאה. בדומה, אישה אשר היא קורבן אמיתי לבעל אלים, המשתמשת באלימות על מנת לעצור אותו מלפגוע בה פעם נוספת, מגיבה בצורה בריאה בהרבה מאשר אותן הנשים שכל כך הושפלו ע"י מי שהתעלל בהן עד שהן נכנעות לאלימות הנשנית וחוזרת. אולם לא פחות חשוב היא הדחייה של התודעה המקראית והפועל יוצא שלה, המשפט המערבי הקלאסי, של ההנחה שאדם נורמלי אינו מסוגל לבצע מעשים אלימים. אדם אשר המרחב האלוהי שלו נחלש ע"י היעדר ערכים או היעדר הכשרה ומשמעת, יכול בהחלט לבצע רצח. הדוגמה המודרנית הטובה ביותר בתרבות הפופולארית לאמת בסיסית זו מגיעה ממקור מפתיע - סרטו המעולה של וודי אלן, "פשעים ועבירות קלות". העלילה נסובה סביב רופא עיניים יהודי מכובד המנהל רומן. האישה מאיימת לחשוף את הרומן ואת עסקיו המפוקפקים אם הוא לא יעזוב את אשתו ויתחתן עימה. הוא בטוח שאם הוא יעשה כדבריה, היא תהרוס את חייו. אולם הוא אינו מעוניין לעזוב את אשתו ולשנות את אורח חייו. הוא פשוט רוצה לסיים את הרומן ולהמשיך בחייו. הרופא מבקש את עצת אחיו החלקלק. אחיו אומר לו שהוא יכול לארגן את רצח הפילגש. תחילה, הרופא הטוב נחרד מעצם הרעיון. הוא הולך לייעוץ אצל הרב המקומי ובנוסף, הוא נתקף זכרונות מאביו, ושתי החוויות מחזקות את הערכים הבסיסיים של המרחב האלוהי. "לאלוהים יש עיניים". הווה אומר שישנו תחושה של איבוד הקיוונון של המתחם האלוהי ולאותו אובדן קיוונון– מה שלעיתים נקרא חטא - יש תוצאות קארמטיות, מה שלעיתים נקרא עונש. הקארמה לא תמיד מורגשת במשך-חיים אחד, אך כל המסורות הגדולות מלמדות שישנו סוג מסוים של אחריות. בסוף, הרופא, המבקש לשמר את החיים שהוא התרגל אליהם, מסכים לרצח פילגשו. אולם במקום להיהרס, הוא מתאושש מההלם וחוזר לשגרת חייו, כאילו יצא נקי לחלוטין מהרצח. העניין הוא שהרופא הזה הוא אדם נורמלי לחלוטין. הוא אדם נורמלי ובלתי מוסרי. האגו שלו גבר על ערכיו וגרם לו לבצע מעשה אכזר, אך אין לסווג אותו כבלתי שפוי זמנית, או כל שאר הסינדרומים האחרים שמשתמשים בהם בתרבות התרפויטית בכדי לתייג את הרוע.

זו בדיוק הנקודה ברומנו האפי של דוסטוייבסקי- החטא ועונשו. רסקולניקוב הורג אישה זקנה. ללא ההכרה באל, רסקולניקוב יכול בקלות לחיות בשלום עם מעשהו ולצאת נקי מהרצח. רק הערכים של המרחב האלוהי והקיוונון של הבסיס האלוהי של החיים הופכים רצח , גם כאשר הרוצח לא נתפס, לעיוות נוראי. אולם ברור הוא שרסקולניקוב, ע"פ דוסטוייבסקי, הוא נורמלי לחלוטין וכפועל יוצא אחראי למעשיו. דוסטוייבסקי אמר "ללא האל הכל מותר", ווודי אלן אמר "החיים הם ג'ורה"; כלומר- ללא קשר עמוק לערכים ולאנרגיה המקודשת של המרחב האלוהי, אין כמעט מה לעשות כדי למנוע מאנשים שפויים לחלוטין, כאשר הם מאוימים, לעשות את הכל בכדי להימלט מעונש על רצח או כל עבירה אחרת. יתר על כן, יש לציין שגם מעשים טובים מאד לאו דווקא באים ממקום שפוי. האם הזוג הפולני הנוצרי שהחביא את אימי מהנאצים במהלך מלחמת העולם השנייה וסיכנו את חייהם ואת חיי ילדיהם ייחשבו לשפויים ונורמלים? על פי אמות מידה מסוימות הם יכלו בקלות להיות מתויגים כבלתי שפויים ולא נורמלים. נראה שהאמיתות הפשוטות האלו עברו מעל להגיגיהם של מובילי התרבות התרפויטית.

תרבות הקורבנות המבקשת לזכות את האינדיבידואל מכל אשמה היא למעשה - בדרכים רבות- האויב הגרוע ביותר שלו. הקורבנות במהותה מחזקת דימוי עצמי נמוך- באופן פרדוקסלי, הביטוי האולטימטיבי של הרוע בתרבות התרפויטית. במקום לתבוע את הכוח והכשירות של הפרט, היא מחלישה אותו ומשאירה אותו חסר-אונים. התרבות הזאת מספרת לו שכאשר סערות הגורל הבלתי נמנעות מכות בו, אין לו שום יכולות בסיסיות להגיב. העמדה הבסיסית של פוליטיקת הקורבנות קובעת שהאדם חף מפשע ביסודו. במובן מסוים, זה יכול להתפרש כתגובה מאוחרת למוסרנות הפוריטנית אשר שלטה בעת ייסודה של אמריקה, ואשר ראתה את בן האדם כמושחת מעיקרו. אולם שתי גישות קיצוניות אלו מסרסות למעשה את האדם. כפי שכתב גארת' וודס "אנו משלמים מחיר נוראי עבור כפרתנו". איך תהיה לנו תחושה של כבוד עצמי אם אין אנו אחראים למי שאנו?

 

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