June 23, 2018, Israel
Going back to Biblical days and the prophets of old we are warned not to close our eyes. For the easiest way to avoid troubling ourselves is simply not to see.
Avoid looking at the poor and there is no poverty problem, avoid looking at the sick and there is no need for healthcare, avoid looking at crime and there is no need for police or self defense.
But there is.
We are warned not to turn our eyes away from that which is uncomfortable to see. We are warned not to turn away from that which upsets and unnerves us. We must look.
Most of us do not see. We do not see the warnings, we do not see the writing on the wall. Wars catch us by surprise, economic hardship catches us by surprise. Opportunities escape us.
And we wonder, why can't we see? How is it that we ignored all the warning signs that now, in retrospect, seem obvious?
I will give you the answer.
We did not see because we did not want to take action. Yes. You see if we become acutely aware of a problem then we must, we are compelled, to take action.
Imagine you are told that plastic bags and bottles will destroy the universe. Well, we are told this and for the most part we do nothing. Now imagine if you are told that within 24 hours, unless action is taken, all beaches will be closed and all water will be rationed. Now the stark reality hits you and you must finally do something about it.
For those who see the problem, in this case plastic products that become waste that destroys our planet, there is no waiting, action must be taken now. Plastic and other products are indeed destroying the planet but most of us cannot be bothered to do anything about it. Thus we chose to put on blinders, pretend the problem is neither serious nor urgent, and now we are exempt from taking any action. It is a perfect system.
The great leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky, whose grave we visit on every Tour and Train, saw the hatred in Europe, saw the rise of the Nazi party, and understood it. Once he saw the problem he could do nothing else but travel the length and breath of Europe and warn the Jews of the impending doom. Sadly few listened.
You see, once we remove our self imposed blinders, we see the problem in its full scope and gravity and thus we must, must, must, take action. Those who chose to keep the blinders on are doing so because they really do not want to see the problem as this would compel them to take action.
If we truly looked at the poor we would all become like a mother Teresa (although I heard she was actually an anti-Semite), if we truly looked at the homeless we would all feel compelled to take action and make this a priority. If we removed our blinders and truly saw the personal danger facing us from urban crime, we would all immediately sign up for Krav Maga lessons.
The statistics show the truth, every few seconds a violent crime takes place. I will not go through the gruesome details and numbers. And yet those choosing to train in Krav Maga are few and far between. Why? How can this be?
The answer is simple: they all know the truth. A friend of mine refused to watch a movie about the cruelty of the animal meat production process as she knew it would horrify her and move her to become a vegan. Thus she took the obvious choice, skip the movie. Most of us do not want to be bothered with taking the time to learn self defense so we take the easy solution: we put our blinders on, do not look the problem squarely in the face, and thus...voila, the problem is no longer serious.
We do not want to take action so we avoid that which would compel us to take action.
Is this really the way to live?
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Moshe at the gates of Auschwitz, the price for putting on blinders can be very high.
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