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Video 16 of 19
Let me just give you one last analogy for this. So for the longest time people though that the sun revolved around the earth, and it seemed logical. Every morning the sun rises, and every evening the sun sets, and even now that we know differently, we know that the earth revolves around the sun, we still talk about sunrise and sunset. Well why do we see it that way? Why did everyone think that the sun revolved around the earth? Because that's the way it looks from the inside, because when you're on the inside, when you're on the earth, you're subjective, you're part of this spinning thing and you don't really realize that you're spinning. It's only when you look at it from the outside that you can really see the truth. If you actually see the picture from the outside and not the inside, it looks like this. When you see it like this it's obvious that the earth is the thing that's rotating and because it's rotating that makes the sun look like it's moving. But you can only see that from the outside. When you see it on the inside you think you're the center, everything revolves around you. It's the same thing with desire, when you see it on the inside you don't know that it's there, desire is just the center.
You know if you wanted to boil this idea down to just one sentence, it really comes down to that phrase we all know about everything being in the eye of the beholder. It just depends on what you mean by eye, there's two kinds of eye. There's the I that denotes the self, and then of course there's the human eye, and the question is, which eye is which? Well sometimes the I can become the eye. Sometimes your self, your ego, your own perspective, your own way of looking at it, becomes the center from which you look out upon the world. When that happens you're locked into an inherently subjective way of seeing the world, a way that, in the view of Maimonides, the Torah is calling a way of looking at life as good and evil instead of seeing things more objectively, as choices between what we might call true and false.
Now again, all of this can sound very sort of philosophical, but I think it's very concrete as well and I think the Torah itself in this narrative gives us a very hands-on vision of what this transformation looks like between a world of good and evil, as opposed to a world of true and false. You see it in the struggle of humanity of actually whether or not to eat from the fruit. It's almost as if in the act of reaching for that fruit and taking it this kind of transformation is already beginning to happen. You see it if you compare two fascinating sets of verses.
The first set of verses relates to G-d's original command not to eat from the fruit. You see it over here and this you'll find in verses 16 and 17 in Chapter 2. The second set of verses to look at is later on in the story when Eve and the snake start talking, the snake strikes up this conversation with Eve, Eve takes that command and relates that command to the snake, and that you'll find in Chapter 3, verses 2 and 3. Well if you compare these two you'll find a fascinating thing, they're not exactly the same. G-d's original command not to eat from the fruit gets changed when Eve relates that command to the snake.
I want you to take a look at these sets of verses and see if you can sort of keep track of the changes. What do you think these changes are? You should be able to find three, four, five, six discrepancies between them. Those discrepancies tell a tale. If you chart those differences you'll find a roadmap for the mind games that desire plays with us when all of a sudden the eye of the beholder becomes the self rather than simply a transparent eye.
Look at these verses, see if you can chart the differences, and let's come back and compare notes.
1. The Lullaby Effect
2. Kinds of Questions
3. The Mystery of the Pre-Tree World
4. The Tale of Two Trees
5. Heisenberg and the Uncertainty Principle
6. The Primal Serpent
7. A Perplexing Temptation
8. A Naked Paradox
9. A Snake in the Garden
10. Beasts of the Field
11. Beauty and the Beast
12. What Does It Mean to Know?
13. A World of Broccoli and Pizza
14. Are All Dilemmas Created Equal?
15. The Phantom Boxer
16. The I of the Beholder
17. The Filter of Desire
18. Friedrich Nietzsche and the Disc Jockey
19. Epilogue: God as Knower of Good and Evil (Premium)
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