Friday, April 17, 2009

A Job for Job

Recently I got to reread the Book of Job.  Jan Cox did not encourage new students to read spiritual classics: the possibility of words tainting certain new experiences is a common dilemma.  That is not so much an issue now, and I was amazed at the delicate insights of this essay.  And a great surprise, the Book of Job has nothing to do with man's suffering or understanding god, or evil.  This, the common view, is no more accurate than describing Schrodingers thought experiment with a cat, as advice on feline health.  Nor was the Cliff Notes version which preceded my copy a good preparation.  Some fellow who was involved with the Jerusalem Bible's reader edition had summarized the lesson of Job, to this effect: Man learns to stop talking before God's majesty. Not even close---rather the exact opposite, in a way, of what the Book of Job describes. 
The Book of Job is an examination of the mind of man, the human intellect.  Naturally one discards any thought of reading about evil once the quality of insight in this prose is appreciated.  Evil is a discussion for children.  Our 5th century B.C. author has no use for the quality of thought which sees in natural processes something antagonistic to humankind.  The author of Job, is interested in how man can achieve self-knowledge, and the method illustrated is running the intellect ragged, following every logical thread no matter where that logic may lead, push push push with the intellectual busyness, let it run wild, go to extremes, play with every possible consequence of each thought.   This method is one used in the twentieth century by Jan Cox, and it was just as effective in the 5th century, at elucidating --- a certain border, a margin, an edge...

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