Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Walter Brueggemann teaching Sunday School on Psalm 73 - A Fourth of July Post

I have posted this before but I listened to it again the other day and I noticed an interesting passage starting about 27:55 in which Brueggemann talks about the word "heart" as it appears in psalm 73.  In presenting the different verses in which it is found and the contextual meaning of it he notes that in the Hebrew scriptures, the heart isn't merely considered the organ of emotion but it is also the organ of decision making.   He said it in passing but it is, I think, a point which is both valid and important for understanding how people are manipulated by people who intend to manipulate them, deceived, convinced that what is a lie is true or that a lie doesn't matter.  And several hypocrisies of the managers of our corporate, consumer culture, media and government who are all about the business of manipulating emotions and swaying decisions.  And why that, unsurprisngly, works out for them instead of those they deceive by manipulating and creating emotions.

The deeper you go into the scriptures beneath the surface of them, it's astonishing how deep and sophisticated their knowledge of how human beings was.  They understood how people really think and act as compared to the idiotic idea promoted by orthodox, "enlightenment" academics who pretend everything can be expressed in a  ratio derived from mathematics and logic.  They do so even as they, in so many cases, participate in the manipulation of peoples' emotions.  If you doubt that look at the history of the social sciences in helping the advertising industry in "creating demand" for worthless and harmful products, in promoting the addiction of people to tobacco and alcohol and prescription psycho-active drugs.  When it serves their own economic advancement, they will write a paper about how people who are duped are actually making "rational decisions" exercising their autonomy, even while they and their colleagues deceive and lie to them and present them with emotionally effective associations to dupe them into buying and, in perhaps the majority of cases, harming themselves, their families, their loved ones, their communities and the entire biosphere, making the continuation of life on Earth an ever less likely thing.

This is one of the best things I can think of to post on America under the Trump regime, looking ever more like the the worst president in our history, widely acknowledged to the be the worst, least competent, most dangerous person to have ever gotten the nomination of a major party.   He was sold to an effective margin of voters on lies, both told in the American media, especially hate talk radio and the cabloids and through the corruption of the Constitutionally mandated elections, using the self-imposed vulnerabilities imposed on our elections by the Supreme Court in the name of "freedom of speech" and other abbreviated, pat phrases from the Constitution.   Just last night I heard a major figure in the media going on similarly even as he decried the results of that enlightenment two-step.

I think it was that other media creation, the totally phony and quite unconvincingly Christian  Ronald Reagan who said you could find the answer to everything in the Bible.  Well, you can find lots of answers but you find a lot more when you read it very carefully and in a way which is the opposite of self-service and self-interest.   As read by Brueggemann, Josahua Heschel, his daughter Susannah Heschel, and others, you find a lot more that is realistic about our situation than you're going to get just about anywhere else.   You're not going to find it in the Constitution or get it from those who come up with excuses for doing bad things out of it.  That's the Supreme Court and the media hacks who have led this country into disaster.

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