Good men in a storm. Our relationship with the weather is in general ambivalent, but obsessional. The revenge of nature; the risk of apocalytic violence reducing all to rubble, the end of time and a nihilistic promise of a spanking clean brand new day. Think of it as a metaphor for the weather, nature, is speaking to us. Or so some believe. A kind of intermediary between the individual and the almighty. Just think of pat Robertson claiming Haiti deserved an earthquake because they made a pact with the devil or rabbis in Israel asserting Israelis lax morals are responsible for drought.
The Lord remembered His people and gave them rain. Later, due to our sins, we would cry and shout in a multitude, but there was no one who listened to us, since the words of Scripture, “and I will break your proud glory,” were being fulfilled for us and them on account of our sins. For this is our pride and glory, our ability to bring rain in due season through our prayers. Here we read that in the eyes of the gentiles our ability to bring rain was “well-known.” Moreover, on the merits of the Jews’ well-known power to bring rain, they were allowed to live settle in other lands in the Diaspora. That is to say, in time of drought the Jews had to pray and save their neighbors.Read More:http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/bechuko/spi.html
What draws people to these authorities is likely the hope of warming or thawing their shivering fearful lives with the deaths recounted of others in a vicarious dram of small doses of the apocalypse; with themselves, as the righteous, placed as a bridge between the mundane and something divine. Every disaster and tragedy an excuse to encounter themselves as if only a sharp jagged stimulus would be capable of piercing the relation between them and nature. As part of a personal life cycle of death and birth they still can’t make peace with the power of death and seek eternity as salvation and just reward.
Irene, as expected, brought to the fore that raw nerve between emotion and materialim and a hint of human demise, a repeat of the theme that The Fall divided nature from the individual who would either seek a communion, a reunion with it through material acquisition or the splendor of mass destruction. From Rick Salutin:
Chris Christie, among the brightest and rightest leaders, who told people to get the hell off the Jersey shore? He said government’s main job is saving human life, putting himself on the spot. He wasn’t going to call for a pullout from Afghanistan, where U.S. forces had just taken their worst fatalities yet. He had to back it up somehow….
…I grant there was hypocrisy. They didn’t take on weather in the form of global warming, which would have meant conflict with the oil industry and junk science lobby. They took on a hurricane. It seemed more manly. And it happened that most damage was done by power outages and failure to restore them, due to deterioration in public infrastructure. No one talked about that. I heard from a friend in D.C. just as his power went. He said it might last days, unlike Pune, in India, where he also has a home. They fix it quickly there, he said. “First World conditions” has now clearly become a negative.
…But I think there was also something sincere in their will to roll up their sleeves (literally, it’s the common trope) and act. No one wants to be a total fake in their public role and self-image. If you spend your life as a leader, it must be nice to occasionally try some leading, rather than denouncing action or tearing down what others have built….
…And let me say something nice concerning weather. Weather obsesses people not just because it affects them, but because it also adds a certain majesty to their lives. It frames private experience in a larger context. It offers us an element of transcendence, you could say. You feel this when you sit on the dock at the end of a summer and watch a storm form, as I did on the night Irene was approaching New York. In the city you feel these moments less frequently and so people look for other things to inject extended meanings into their lives. That may involve historic moments like next week’s commemoration of 9/11, or elections, or even an iconic concert tour. Don’t knock it, it comes from a need for something larger….
…If Canadians felt less engrossed than Americans in Irene last weekend, I think it’s because we had our own transcendent event: Jack Layton’s funeral. People have asked if it was overdone, and I think the answer is Yes. For some it was personally meaningful but for others it was one more Event with a little grandeur to it. Stephen Lewis said, “Never . . . have we seen such an outpouring,” but I disagree. It happened when Trudeau died, when Diana died, even when Barbara Frum died.
In earlier times such outpourings clustered reliably around seasonal agricultural festivals and related religious ceremonies like sacrifice and prayer. We live in another context so we find other pretexts. When I began writing this column, I didn’t mean to say anything kind about the Weather Channel and, believe me, it irks. But there you go, even TV and cheap politics can’t totally diminish the power of nature.Read More:http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1048198–politicians-discover-the-power-of-naturea
Dialogicalecologyblogspot.com:dialogue with the insentient world requires the ability to just-listen. just-listen means the removal of the ‘it’ filters through which we normally hear the world. and by so doing, the listening becomes itself the dialogue. the world speaks in its own silence. and it is there, in this silence, that we meet the world in-the-between. and it could be too, as kafka says, an encounter of ecstasy. buber spoke of i-thou dialogue with the realm of nature in which our dialogue stands at the threshold of language. the simple approach of allowing the world to speak its own silence, without us imposing on it our own systems of aesthetic values, or exploring it for the purposes of utilization, is the dialogical act of refusing to look at the world as if it were little more than an assemblage of individual and collective ‘its’. we respond ‘thou’ to the world from where we stand, as this is the only place from where the world speaks to us. the world speaks not in its own language, but in its own silence.( Hune Margulies) Read More:http://dialogicalecology.blogspot.com/2011/03/kafka-and-solitude.html
At the weekend hundreds of voodoo houngans, or priests, gathered in the northern town of Gonaives to plan how to react to the earthquake that left an estimated 200,000 people dead on Jan 12.
Following the earthquake the US television evangelist Pat Roberston said Haiti made a “pact with the devil” 200 years ago when it defeated French colonists. “I don’t know much about him and I don’t think I’m losing much,” said Mr Beauvoir. “Voodoo as been discriminated against for 200 years. “It was developed by our ancestors, it is a way of life. To ask us to stop would be like asking an American to stop heating hamburgers.”He also rejected the idea that voodoo consists of human sacrifices and sticking pins in dolls. “That’s Hollywood voodoo,” he said. “No-one from Hollywood has ever sent an anthropologist to study voodoo in Haiti.”
In Haitian voodoo, God is supreme and is not involved in human affairs. Believers instead worship hundreds of spirits called lwa. Other beliefs include that trees have spirits. As she waited for rice from the WFP Monique Henri, 36 wore a cross round her neck but she also believes in voodoo. She said she had an image of Ogu Feri , the voodoo god of metal and fire, at her home . “The earthquake happened because people were sinners so God was angry, because people did wrong,” she said.. Clavarus Filisca, 72, a houngan, invokes the spirit of Jambe Male to heal people of fevers, headaches and other maladies. “Voodoo is the most important religion. It’s natural, it’s everywhere,” he said. Read More:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/haiti/7119572/Haiti-earthquake-voodoo-high-priest-claims-aid-monopolised-by-Christians.html
Walter Benjamin:This has the utmost significance for the meaning of man’s custodial task: for in man’s power to name lies his essentially redemptive duty—the human responsibility to redeem the creative power of the word through the name. “In the creation of man,” therefore, “the threefold rhythm of the creation of nature has given way to an entirely different order”:
God did not create man from the word, and he did not name him. He did not wish to subject him to language, but in man God set language [...] free. God rested when he had left his creative power to itself in man. This creativity, relieved of its divine actuality, became knowledge. Man is the knower in the same language in which God is creator.
If man knows the world through the name just as God creates the world through the word, then the exigency of naming becomes the cornerstone
and building-block of all historical knowledge. The ‘messianic task’ of the historical materialist is to bear witness to this potentially actualizable
communion between word and world; to shirk this responsibility is to divide the world and the word from man and to consign humankind and
human knowledge to disintegration and eventual oblivion.Read More:http://www.janushead.org/11-1/MellamphyandMellamphy.pdf