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Knowing Your Why, and Winning the Battle Within

Truth Over Tyranny: Biblical wisdom for defeating the Technocrats.

These are my insights for defeating the Transhumanist Technocracy movement, based on the teachings of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, on the weekly Bible portion.

There is no doubt that the fight to preserve and protect our God-given freedoms will last many generations. It took the Technocracy several generations to lay the groundwork for their attacks on our institutions; it will take just as long for us to reclaim and rebuild them.

As with any long struggle, knowing your “why” is key to persevering. Without that, it becomes too easy to give up. You simply can’t tap into the inner resources needed to persist through the wear and tear; defeats and failures.

Many people today are trying hard to maintain their sense of purpose amidst the onslaught from “woke” families, friends, schools, and communities. Every day they push back against the demands of the collective to accept the “new normal.” They resist the temptation to think of themselves as victims, even though they are constantly targeted for bullying and persecution.

They have faith — in themselves; in God; in a mission greater than themselves — and that keeps them going.

That is the power of knowing their “why.” It is an eternal power, that is available to all who choose to stand for freedom, and live by standards of righteousness and justice. Even back in ancient times, it sustained the heroes of the Bible in their own quests to make the world a better place. And in modern times, it enabled victims of the Holocaust to not only survive, but thrive.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks discusses this power in his commentary on Parashat Chayei Sarah called “To Have a Why.”

Rabbi Sacks points out that the Patriarch Abraham and Matriarch Sarah — as well as many other Biblical heroes — were sustained through their life struggles by knowing their why:

“Abraham and Sarah were among the supreme examples in all history of what it is to have a Why in life. The entire course of their lives came as a response to a call, a Divine voice, that told them to leave their home and family, set out for an unknown destination, go to live in a land where they would be strangers, abandon every conventional form of security, and have the faith to believe that by living by the standards of righteousness and justice they would be taking the first step to establishing a nation, a land, a faith and a way of life that would be a blessing to all humankind.

“Biblical narrative is, as Erich Auerbach said, ‘fraught with background,’ meaning that much of the story is left unstated. We have to guess at it. That is why there is such a thing as Midrash, filling in the narrative gaps. Nowhere is this more pointed than in the case of the emotions of the key figures. We do not know what Abraham or Isaac felt as they walked toward Mount Moriah. We do not know what Sarah felt when she entered the harems, first of Pharaoh, then of Avimelech of Gerar. With some conspicuous exceptions, we hardly know what any of the Torah’s characters felt. Which is why the two explicit statements about Abraham – that God blessed him with everything, and that he ended life old and satisfied – are so important. And when Rashi says that all of Sarah’s years were equally good, he is attributing to her what the biblical text attributes to Abraham, namely a serenity in the face of death that came from a profound tranquillity in the face of life. Abraham knew that everything that happened to him, even the bad things, were part of the journey on which God had sent him and Sarah, and he had the faith to walk through the valley of the shadow of death fearing no evil, knowing that God was with him. That is what Nietzsche called ‘the strong heart.’”

Heroes of the 20th century were also sustained by their why. One example was Edith Eger:

“In 2017, an unusual book became an international bestseller. One of the things that made it unusual was that its author was ninety years old and this was her first book. Another was that she was a survivor both of Auschwitz, and also of the Death March towards the end of the war, which in some respects was even more brutal than the camp itself.

“The book was called The Choice and its author was Edith Eger. She, together with her father, mother and sister Magda, arrived at Auschwitz in May 1944, one of 12,000 Jews transported from Kosice, Hungary. Her parents were murdered on that first day. A woman pointed towards a smoking chimney and told Edith that she had better start talking about her parents in the past tense. With astonishing courage and strength of will, she and Magda survived the camp and the March. When American soldiers eventually lifted her from a heap of bodies in an Austrian forest, she had typhoid fever, pneumonia, pleurisy and a broken back. After a year, when her body had healed, she married and became a mother. Healing of the mind took much longer, and eventually became her vocation in the United States, where she went to live.

“On their way to Auschwitz, Edith’s mother said to her, ‘We don’t know where we are going, we don’t know what is going to happen, but nobody can take away from you what you put in your own mind.’ That sentence became her survival mechanism. Initially, after the war, to help support the family, she worked in a factory, but eventually she went to university to study psychology and became a psychotherapist. She has used her own experiences of survival to help others survive life crises.”

The key is not letting yourself think like a victim, even though you are being victimized:

“Early on in the book she makes an immensely important distinction between victimisation (what happens to you) and victimhood (how you respond to what happens to you). This is what she says about the first:

‘We are all likely to be victimised in some way in the course of our lives. At some point we will suffer some kind of affliction or calamity or abuse, caused by circumstances or people or institutions over which we have little or no control. This is life. And this is victimisation. It comes from the outside.” Edith Eger,‘The Choice’

“And this, about the second:

“In contrast, victimhood comes from the inside. No one can make you a victim but you. We become victims not because of what happens to us but when we choose to hold on to our victimisation. We develop a victim’s mind – a way of thinking and being that is rigid, blaming, pessimistic, stuck in the past, unforgiving, punitive, and without healthy limits or boundaries.’ Edith Eger,‘The Choice’”

Rabbi Sacks sums it all up by emphasizing the importance of the battle within:

“We have learned this extraordinary mindset from Holocaust survivors like Edith Eger and Viktor Frankl. But in truth, it was there from the very beginning, from Abraham and Sarah, who survived whatever fate threw at them, however much it seemed to derail their mission, and despite everything they found serenity at the end of their lives. They knew that what makes a life satisfying is not external but internal, a sense of purpose, mission, being called, summoned, of starting something that would be continued by those who came after them, of bringing something new into the world by the way they lived their lives. What mattered was the inside, not the outside; their faith, not their often-troubled circumstances.”

I would add this:

In my opinion, the battle within is key to winning the battles in the world. The tyrannical technocrats are trying to make us think like losers. They want us to believe that their control of the world is inevitable; that we are powerless to resist. Worse, that we are bad people if we do challenge their authority. Our efforts to protect our freedoms must start with freeing our mind of their destructive brainwashing.

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