Sunday, June 17, 2007

Who am I?.....Part II

Here's the follow up to the previous post...and the eye opening conclusion.

If you click on the above link you'll hear the end of that NPR audio file that my previous post was based on.It is the touching story of Clive Wearing.
Clive was a musical genius and composer of choral works in England when at a fairly young age catastrophe struck.
He suffered from headaches for a few days and no one could figure out the cause. After 5 days he suddenly lost his memory.
He couldn't remember anything.
He was struck with a freak infection which caused the most extreme case of amnesia ever recorded. Every few minutes his mind would get erased and he'd start his life anew.
However over time it became clear that the only things he remembers is his wifes love and his love for her. Every time she walks into his room his face lights up and he smothers her with kisses..and tells her how much he misses her..etc..
The second thing he remembers is his music.
He was brought into a cathedral and opened a songbook of his own music and he started singing it and remembered his songs enough to be able to conduct his old choir.

In another experiment done on a woman with a similar form of amnesia, her Doctor, who would usually greet her in the morning, she thinking him a total stranger, one morning hid a thumb tack in his hand and pricked her as she shook his hand.
The next day, even though she had no idea who he was hesistated to shake his hand. The fear had somehow carried through where the memory had died.

The clear conclusion here is that at the end of the day, our memory might be suspect and our body might be gone so what are we?

The Torah tells us that the Tochacha comes "Because you have not served Hashem with joy". The Meforshim ask...Is that reason enough to bring all these curses upon us?
The answer is a resounding yes!
One can do mitzvos by rote and yes he will get some sort of reward for that.

One can go through marriage and life interacting with people.
But it will not become him.

Only relationships built on love or fear have any enduring value.
Only actions done with passion become part of who you are.

Because..who are we?

We are the sum of our joys, loves, fears and passions.




Blogger The Dreamer said...

Beautiful post!

Sorry, nothing to argue this time...
I totally agree with you.

June 17, 2007 2:32 PM  
Blogger Bas~Melech said...

Interesting spin on that last part.

Dreamer?! Shehechiyanu vekiyemanu...and they lived happily and passionately ever after.

June 17, 2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Thanks Dreamer...
whew..I'm glad..I have no more energy left

spin? in ...farfetched?

My question our education system instilling in our kids any passion for yiddishkeit?..
Is that the job of the home?

June 17, 2007 8:25 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

As for your last question I don't believe many schools are instilling the passion, it is primarily the job of the home but also the job of the school imho.

June 17, 2007 9:59 PM  
Blogger FrumGirl said...

I would have preferred you didnt conclude the concept with a part 2. "Vehamosif eino elah goreah".

So... while what you say may be true, I chalk it up strictly to what is called "association". Human nature 101 - but created by G-d in His infinite wisdom of course.

June 17, 2007 10:10 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Yes..I think the neshama..of yiddishkeit has to come from the home..

well I coudnt leave it hanging like that..
I thought it was beautiful the way these deeper passions transcended the memory loss..and fit it nicely with this theory..

June 17, 2007 10:17 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

basmelech - happily and passionately? lol...

david - yeah, figgered i'd give you a break...

i love the way it all fits together..
splendid job!
(i feel like mary poppins when i say "splendid!")

June 17, 2007 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Allie said...

I see you decided to elaborate on my comment a few posts back.. about shabbos.. I commented that most people brough up in the yeshiva system don't feel passion for judaism.. I don't if I was your inspiration or not but in any case, my answer to your question would have to be no - our education system is not doing a great job of that. I do think it is the job of the home, even more so because of the lack thereof in schools. But it would certainly be nice if schools helped out, instead of unfortunately sometimes being detrimental to any passion one might feel...

June 18, 2007 12:10 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

association might explain the pnprick..I dont see how it explains the music recollection.

much appreciated..step in time..

subliminally..perhaps u were my inspiration to that question...
I agree..schools are very busy with the Hows of Judaism..not so much the Whys...and thats what gives birth to the love and passion

June 18, 2007 1:08 PM  
Blogger exsemgirl said...

So we do remember somethings somehow that dont get touched by any physical condition.
To be honest I am confused and I dont think we will ever truely understand the mind.

A little spin on the possuk-"Asher lo ovadeta es Hashem besimcha," I heard a different way of understanding it. Sometimes we cannot do a mitzva - eg if someone does the chessed before us, but are we upset is the question or are we relieved and glad that the wieght of the mitva is no longer upon us. Therefore the possuk says that we are punished because in those times when we didnt serve Gd - Asher lo ovadeta es Hashem - it was - besimcha, with joy at getting out of the mitzva.

Just a thought.

June 18, 2007 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! powerful!!!!

June 18, 2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger chaverah said...

very nice ending to the consept, BRAVO! I guess there are so few passions, love and TRUE fears that we would "remember" for each day we walk through. So sad that most of life today is unmeaningful and and a chock full of nothing :(

June 18, 2007 8:24 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

it would seem that things that touch really deep..things that we love..are passionate about or fear...they penetrate deeper..and become us..

Thats a very nice vort..thanks..


Thats so true..we live life so shallowly (is that a word) we dont feel

June 18, 2007 10:53 PM  
Blogger FrumGirl said...

Memory goes very much hand in hand with music. Again, it is association. Ask anyone or look it up about cognition and memory.

June 19, 2007 5:08 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

I hear that..But this was more than just remembering a song..this was being able to recognize his notes and conduct ...

June 20, 2007 12:02 PM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...

wow david thanks so much for these posts. so interesting.
ok my thoughts..
first of all it was terrible to hear how horrified he was when they were trying to remind him of the book and he couldnt remember. he was so adamant that it wasnt him, that he had never seen the book.. just made me think about how adamant we get sometimes in arguments, so convniced that we are right, that our perception is right, that we remember and understand correctly.. i wonder if after 120 when we get to see the famous life-video if we will see how wrong we were in all these arguments and how ridiculous it was to be so sure of ourselves.

another thing.. i think its interesting how the two things they mention him remembering are his love for his wife and how to play his music. the music i see more as an ability to do and the love as an ability to feel. i dont think he remembers the music because he was so passionate about it, he remembes it like he remembers to walk and talk and do, he remembers the technique. the love of his wife on the other hand is purely emotional. using the example of what children learn in school, i think you can deduce tht both are as important and as worthy, the doing and the feeling. i imagine we make Him happy with our love, the same way as his wife is happy when he expresses his love... but did you see how excited she was when she realized he could still play his music? when he could still do something! his love made her feel good about herself, but his music made her feel good about him,because of her love for him.

June 20, 2007 8:33 PM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...

another thought i had..
there are times when our feelings and desires go head to head with our thoughts. we know we should do one thing but we feel a really strong emotional pull to do something else, something wrong. the way we manage to let ourselves do whats wrong is by going into a clive-like state and blocking out the past and the future. suddenly we dont care where we came from or where we are going, all that counts is RIGHT NOW... and then when its over and we look back, we dont understand how we let ourselves do it, how we got so weak.

im not sure what my point is :) but i feel like the analogy makes sense. maybe we shouldnt be so hard on ourselves and let guilt ruin us. we should acknowledge how strong those feelings, urges, passions are.. so strong that even when clive forgot everything he knew, he didnt forget how he felt..

hmm ive gone so way off tangent :)

June 20, 2007 8:51 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Ok..will do..

wow..scary thought there..
and again wow...Excellent obeservation..

Living totally in the present..can be used for good and can also be misused..
Ultimately its all we have..but we have lessons from the past and consequences t the future to also keep in min d..

June 21, 2007 8:52 PM  

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