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Michael Healy

Working Through the Problem of Evil in Personal Experience

Nov. 5, 2012, at 9:17am

Without attempting any application to current politics (in contrast to my previous two posts on Martin Buber), I wish to draw out some of the further wisdom of this 20th-century personalist Jewish philosopher and author of Good and Evil concerning how to attain a deeper measure of wisdom through our experience, even when that experience is negative.  He says: 

For the most part we understand only gradually the decisive experiences which we have in our relation to the world.  First we accept what they seem to offer us, we express it, we weave it into a ‘view,’ and then think we are aware of our world.  But we come to see that what we look on in this view is only an appearance.  Not that

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Michael Healy

Lies, the Empty Chair, and the Rejection of God

Oct. 29, 2012, at 5:20pm

Continuing our reflections on Buber’s Good and Evil in conjunction with the current elections, the Psalmist (Psalm 12) hears “the presumption whispering in their [i.e., the liars] secret hearts (“Our lips are our own, who is Lord over us.”), and at the same time he hears God’s response (“Now will I arise.”).

With the ‘now’ there breaks out in the midst of extreme trouble the manifestation of a salvation which is not just bound to come some time, but is always present and needs only to become effective.

This reminds me, if I were to transpose it into philosophy, of Plato’s description of truth as always present, never refutable, never erasable. Like being itself, the truth about being, is

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Michael Healy

Evil, Lies, and the Election

Oct. 28, 2012, at 9:41pm

“The lie is the specific evil which man has introduced into nature.”  Thus begins Martin Buber’s (1878-1965) study Good and Evil, reflecting on Psalm 12.  As a Jewish thinker who protested against and suffered under the Nazi’s in the 1930’s, he became fascinated by the problem, status, and motivations for evil.  He writes: 

…the lie is our very own invention, different in kind from every deceit that the animals can produce.  A lie was possible only after a creature, man, was capable of conceiving the being of truth.  It was possible only as directed against the conceived truth.  In a lie the spirit practices treason against itself. 

The psalmist no longer suffers merely from individual

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