The Hasidic Jews Of New York

By Leo Gura - October 27, 2023

This is nuts:

What’s nuts about it is how deeply their minds are brainwashed with this culture & religion. It’s like an alternate reality these people live in, without any sense of construct-awareness. They are completely oblivious to how their mind is constructing all of this. And yet, at the same time, since they all do it together, it takes on a life of its own and acquires real survival value. The craziest and most arbitrary beliefs and practices can acquire real survival value as long as they are part of a self-reinforcing community. The community/religion becomes its own end.

It works sorta like this: I collect shoelaces. My whole life has deep meaning because I collect shoelaces. And shoelaces are meaningful because all my friends also collect shoelaces and we all believe that shoelaces are the greatest thing in the world. And if you question any of this, we will beat you. And since we are all so happy together, that proves this is the best way of life.

(That is sort of a strawman, but it conveys the strange-loopy, incestuous structure of this whole thing. The amazing thing is that this works at all.)

It basically doesn’t matter what the content of a religion/culture is, as long as you give people something concrete to believe in and something concrete to do together. It then becomes a system of meaning and an entire lifestyle — literally a shared hallucination. And the craziest thing is that if you’re fully bought into the hallucination, it can actually make for a happy, prosperous, rewarding life! You are tricking yourself into a narrow interface with reality which produces a genuinely happy life, as long as you can keep the trick going. This is the magic trick of faith.

The key insight about religion is this: Religion is not about a belief in God or whatever. Religion is a lifestyle. Religion is a pre-packaged set of meanings which a mind plugs into so that it doesn’t have to go through the ordeal of questioning reality from scratch and searching for one’s own meaning. Religion is like a styrofoam cup of instant Ramen noodles vs cooking your own dinner.

But if it works, what’s the problem? Well, the problem is that: 1) it requires constantly brainwashing yourself to the point where you never reach construct-awareness, 2) it is such a limited understanding and experience of Consciousness, and 3) it means never understanding other worldviews and other forms of spirituality or culture, and to forever be at war with them.

Yes, you can narrow consciousness down to a Hasidic Jewish hallucination. But Consciousness is capable of so much more than that. So you never get to fully appreciate the richness, the diversity of God, if your God is the Hasidic God. A true understanding of God involves recognizing that God can hallucinate Hasidic Judaism, or Jihadist Islam, or Evangelical Christianity, or Scientific Materialism, or an infinite number of other dreams. That would be God-Realization proper.

To truly understand what religion is, how it works, and why it exists, is something very profound, that few people understand. Religion constructs a whole new reality for humans to inhabit, but it does so unconsciously, such that its inhabitants are unaware of the construction. And what’s even more mind-blowing is that nonbelievers also don’t understand the nature of the construction. A scientist, an atheist, does not understand what religion is! So who understands? Only those who have become so construct-aware that they have realized that science and atheism are also hallucinations.

It’s not about good or bad, right or wrong — it’s about construct-awareness. Are you aware of how your mind constructs meaning and culture out of thin air?

Warning: becoming construct-aware will not necessarily make you a happy or a well-adjusted member of society. It might make you miserable and depressed. Much of human happiness and productivity is grounded in pure fantasy and illusion. Which is why very few humans bother to seriously question it, and why they get upset with those who do. The typical religious fundamentalist is so bought into the hallucination that is his religion that he would rather die than free his mind of it. And of course this isn’t limited to theistic religion, it also includes the scientific worldview and various others, like New Age spirituality. The bottom line is that virtually nobody on this planet is seriously questioning their own worldview, they are too busy propping it up, because their whole way of life hinges on it, and it’s just too inconvenient and painful.

So why pursue construct-awareness? Because it’s the only way to seriously understand reality. If you are not construct-aware your understanding of reality is as naive as a child’s. In some sense I envy you. But then again, there is no greater pleasure than finally understanding the creative power of Infinite Mind.

I’m not saying religion doesn’t work, nor that religion is merely bullshit. I’m saying something much more profound.

If you believe religion, you’re a fool. If you dismiss religion, you’re a fool. If you realize that religion is a reality constructed unto itself, you’ve reached some serious understanding.

The relativity of religion is such a serious thing. Contemplate its nature.

And it’s not just religion, it’s also culture. The relativity of culture is astounding. Much of culture is so arbitrary and silly, and yet people get so attached to it and take it so seriously. And yet, if you poo-poo all this meaning-making and just become a nihilist, you’ll probably want to kill yourself. So you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Be ware of how psychologically dangerous it is to strip all meaning from your life. The consequences of a total loss of meaning in your life are much more serious in practice than they seem in theory. Without self-constructed meaning, there’s very little reason to live, unless perhaps you’re massively Awake.

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And this is just for fun:

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