Chabad for the Gentiles, or, Turning Away from Synthetic Histories

In the modern world background and foreground have changed, they have inverted. By this I mean, that the world and our act of planning have switched places. The background has become the plan.

Whereas we each were once from specific places with specific histories and specific ethnic characters, cuisines, and dances, we now herald from various projects. America being an idea (and treated as an idea) being one example. The concept of the "digital native" also being exemplary here.

With our history and ancestry being systematically vilified and replaced, what was once the objective background to our lives is now a process. We are now being made to not come from history or from nations or from God. We are now being made to come from a synthetic process with intended moral outcomes.

In the old modes of living, we emerged from our past and from our surroundings as a frog emerges from the swamp. We were still wet with our ancestry, sticky with our language, consumed with knowledge almost only of the swamp -- our past-present, which still heavily informed our being.

History and present were in dialogue with one another in a way that provided a place for our prejudices and our biases, our love and our planning. This dialogue was omnipresent, it was the norm. God was also everywhere and if he wasn't, then our constant yearning for him was. If we ever felt a divine absence, a prayerful force would fill this void.

Acceptance of pain and strife was also the norm. Solutions were rare, and if we encountered solutions, we often thought of them as pseudo-solutions because our acceptance of the difficulty of living in the world was so wide. We were on guard against liars and their sweet lies about an earthly heaven.

But things have become completely inverted.

What was omnipresent is now rare, and what was once rare is now everywhere. Foreground and background have swapped places. Mankind, however, remains in his same place, because our humanity grounds us. We constantly feel our human condition because the pain is always with us. Our intuition that all medicine has side effects, and therefore that acceptance is the ultimate remedy, is still in our gut, even if we ignore it.

There is only one way to view this matter.

We must meet the inversion of the world with an inversion of our own lives, in a way. Whereas we used to place the business of the world in the foreground of our lives and our history, traditions and ethnicities in the background, we must now do the opposite. We must now treat the business of the world as the background, that which must be accepted as given. We must accept modern agendas as our inheritance, but we should not adopt a posture of stewardship here, for there is a new frontier. The new frontier is now the old inheritance which the new progressive inheritance is seeking to destroy.


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