Netzach, endurance. Yesod, foundation. Netzach she’b’yesod. An enduring foundation.
History doesn’t repeat. But it does rhyme, says historian Timothy Snyder.
So the present isn’t exactly like the past. But it does hold a few echoes. A few things that sound alike.
Hearing the rhymes: personally, I call that “historical imagination.”
Sure, people lived differently in the past. They had different ideas, different cultures. But they had exactly the same human nature. For example, some were greedy; others were generous.
As a child, I learned about some great ancient civilizations. Egypt built pyramids; Babylonia masted astronomy; Greece developed philosophy and theatre.
Then, as young adult, I learned about the Enlightenment. A modern movement to bring science, literacy, and critical philosophy back to Europe.
So, I wondered, where did all the knowledge go? During these so-called “dark ages”?
But now I know. Or, at least, I have a theory, based on what I see today.
Some people deliberately suppressed knowledge. Because they could make more money if others were ignorant.
And some deliberately suppressed science. Because they could make more money if others scrabbled through life.
They talked trash and spread hate. So people would see each other as enemies. And then not compare notes.
And they encouraged people to enjoy violence. To find it exciting, even. So they could easily get mobs and militias to fight for their profits.
We’re entering a new dark age.
But I try not to despair.
Because the Talmud says, there is more good than evil in the world. How do we know? Well, no one has destroyed it yet. Somehow, the world endures.
Love, education, solidarity, spirituality can be a solid foundation. As long as enough people practice them.
Am I doing my part to keep the world going? What else should I do? And how can I learn how to do it?
Today is Day 39 of the Omer, i.e., 5 weeks and 4 days.
New to counting the Omer? Here’s a primer.