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The Big Question

Mar 18, 2010 | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Should humanity have been created? This has long been a debate among learned Jews.

In fact, long ago in the holy land, several centuries after Jesus' time, the most learned rabbis of the two rival schools of philosophy, Hillel and Shammai, met together to discuss this critical issue.

After two years of intense debate, they decided by majority vote -- in true Jew fashion, pessimistic realists to the end, that... It would've been better if it hadn't ever happened!

But then, again true to Jewish form, they decided that given the obvious fact that we have been created -- shit happens! -- We must always examine and evaluate our deeds vigilantly and candidly. This I read in the New York Times on the last day of Channukah, attributed to Professor Jack Spiro of Virginia.

Doesn't this sort of sum up our condition? Or is it mere sophistry?
Did God create humanity, or humans create God -- or do we co-emerge together, as I'm beginning to think?

Whether you're a theist or not, isn't the real existential issue here whether it was worth we ourselves being born into this evanescent world, and what to do about it? In other words, the big question, evergreen: How shall I live? Why are we here, for what purpose; why am I here, and how do I fit in?

Now that we are here, what kind of world shall we co-create?

This I contemplate today as snow blankets the East Coast, looking like a brightly shining field of gravestones, all apparent differences resolved.