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Chapter 60 - Zorel's criticism of morality and education.
60,1. Zorel says: “Your words are very friendly, well chosen and gentle. I am convinced that you speak from the heart and that the facts are true. The question arises as to which teaching I should accept and which torch will shine upon what I regard now as the highest truth and reveal it as utterly wrong! Two and two make four and this is a mathematical truth which nothing under all the heavens can contradict. Therefore there can not possibly exist another teaching which condemns this eternal truth as a lie! I would only have to be a gullible fool to be able to accept, that the sum of two and two equals seven and then of course it would be possible for me to change my belief. With my current knowledge, however, this is completely impossible!
60,2. That somewhere there must be an intelligent, everlasting primordial force, from which the primordial seed germs arose or which at least first regulated them, can not be denied by common sense, however refined it may be. Wherever there existed at any time a “two”, there must previously also have been a “one”. But how ridiculous and exceedingly stupid it is for foolish unseeing people, if they imagine the primordial power - which must be equally distributed and dispersed through the whole of infinity because its basic power must also be equally perceptible throughout infinity - to be a shape, even a human form, indeed, in some instances even the form of a beast
60,3. The Jews would, if they had retained their primordial doctrines, basically still have the most reasonable concept of a universal primordial force, which they call ‘Jehovah’. One of their maxims states: ‘You should not imagine God as being a shape or even worse, make a carved image of Him!’ They have however completely abandoned this tenet and their synagogues and temples are full of pictures and ornaments. Apart from this, they believe in the most ridiculous things and the priests punish those of their followers who do not believe their teachings. They call themselves servants of God and allow themselves for this reason to be held in the highest esteem while in return they torment poor mankind with all manner of things which they have been able to invent for this purpose. In these circumstances, should I ever become a Jew? No, never!
60,4. It is said that they received their laws from God Himself, which He gave to them through their founding teacher Moses on Mount Sinai. The laws are in themselves actually quite good, if they were to serve everybody as an essential rule of life Of what value is it however if you strictly forbid your poor followers to steal or deceive while you yourself, sitting on a magnificent throne, take every opportunity to rob slavishly oppressed peoples, stealing from them and deceiving them whenever the possibility arises, without the slightest twinge of conscience and in defiance of divine law! Tell me, in which light must those laws and their guardians appear to someone thinking clearly?
60,5. If a poor faun is forced by necessity to satisfy his own urgent need by taking something from an abundant supply he has chanced upon, he will be held accountable with strict intolerance and immediately punished repeatedly while the law enforcer who robs, murders and cheats every day and at every opportunity, considers himself above the law, does not obey it in the slightest and believes that nothing affects him except his own very demanding material advantage! Can this be considered to be some divine institution in that it offers a glaring contrast to the miniscule demands of poor mankind? How could any even reasonably clear thinker approve of it?!
60,6. Whatever I can only regard as pleasant if done to me, I must also think with regard to my neighbour that it will also be not unpleasant for him if I do to him what he considers in the most modest way to be good and pleasant! If I am over my ears in deprivation and poverty, if I have no money to acquire even the most basic necessities, if I go, search and plead but without receiving anything from anybody in response to my pleas and only in the end take what I need - can any law condemn me for that?! Do I have no right at all to take possession of something I really need since it is certain that our strong forefathers did not commit any sin in taking over whole countries?!
60,7. Of course if I steal and continue to steal because I am work shy, it would not be an insult to common sense if I were to be called to account. However if I take what is in some way regarded as unlawful possession of something I desperately require when I am in extreme need, then even a God could not and should not hold me accountable, - far less a selfish, weak individual who in some way may commit more injustices in one day than I do in a whole year! I do not wish to be disparaging about property protection law in its aspiration to divinity but its inflexibility does not improve mankind or make man more humane, but rather it makes him harder and more unloving!
60,8. Custodial laws covering cultural or moral offences are applied very roughly and crudely, without any regard to man’s nature, time and strength. Consider for a moment the circumstances to which mankind is exposed – equally numerous whether they are male or female! Often they have no education at all, or sometimes an education which is worse then no education! Man often enjoys food or drink which makes his blood greatly over-excited. He sometimes finds an easy opportunity to satisfy a powerful physical desire and he proceeds to do so. But the story becomes known and he is harshly punished as a sinner as he has indeed transgressed against - a divine law.
60,9. O you are fools with your divine laws! Why have you not proclaimed a divine law, under the terms of which a proper education of the best kind would be provided and only then consider if any other subsequent laws are necessary?! Is it not almost unspeakably stupid of a gardener to plant an straight row of espalier trees and only then try to bend the trees with all might and strength once they have grown for a few years and have become mature, rigid and inflexible?! Why did the foolish gardener not bend his trees at a time when it was still easy to bend them without doing them any possible harm?! A God or even someone speaking for Him, should first provide for a proper and wise upbringing tailored to suit the moral nature of man, and only then add other wise laws if well-educated mankind still needs them for any reason!
60,10. My friend Zinka! You are a Jew and you are much more familiar with your teaching than I am. However, from what I know of it by chance, I can say nothing more to you except what I have already told you. Based on that you will appreciate that I certainly can not abandon my convictions by basing myself on pure reason or on mathematical principles, just in order to receive charity from the noble Cyrenius. An exchange under such conditions I must reject however substantial the contribution. I would rather become a beggar and spend the rest of my days on this earth in poverty. Whatever nature chooses to do with me afterwards will be equally unimportant for someone who is dead and has returned to his old nonentity! Please speak now, Zinka, and tell me whether I am correct or incorrect in your view!”
60,11. Zinka says: “Friend and brother Zorel! Basically I am absolutely unable to disagree with you; but I must add, that there are still some very strange matters, the potential of which you can not even imagine. If you start to fathom them, only then will you yourself recognize how much good and truth there is in the content of your current basic assertions!”
60,12. Zorel replies: “Yes, yes, you are correct to say this. However if you already have some better information, then put forward your case and I will be ready to answer you!”
60,13. Zinka says: “That would be of little use to you or to me. However, turn to that man over there who you say appeared to be familiar to you! He will put everything in the right light for you and you will immediately begin to recognize clearly the truth or otherwise of your assertions!”
60,14. Says Zorel: “Good then, I will do it immediately and I have no fear of approaching him. However, he will find in me a hard nut to crack!”
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