Isn't that happening as we speak?

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You are so right, Tessa. As long as those with whom we disagree are good to us and we to them, we can communicate and share ideas and help each other to remain free. If we speak to each sincerely and truthfully we can grow in wisdom and understanding. Otherwise, as the Torah tells us, speaking insincerely and lying will kill our Souls.

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I love you, sister. Thank you.

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Dec 5, 2023·edited Dec 5, 2023Liked by Tessa Lena

What a very insightful read, thank you!!

The reverse is sorta happening to individualism in the West. Actually, scratch that. It's happening to the *entire* value system. Everything we hold dear and everything we were being taught about what's right and wrong is being replaced in a matter of years.

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Was this for a post-Soviet audience?


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The ideal and living reality of справедливость - ´´fairness´´ realised for the first time in human history in the best years of the USSR was what sustained your ancestors, the memory of which now gives them just cause for nostalgia and sadness. Your softly patronising attitude towards them, though nicely written, is almost as disrespectful as the example you give of the youths mocking the war veteran.

I guess we all create theories to help us feel better about our choices.

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Tessa Lena

Humble, compassionate, and deeply humane. Thank you, Tessa.

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Tessa Lena

My grandparents left Russia sometime shortly before 1917. I guess they were tired of working slavishly and achieving nothing (except making a living). Life here was not quite as hard as it was there, but nobody was giving things away here, though I suspect they would have been highly suspicious of anything free.

I imagine that Communism (rather the lies about what Communism was) sounded very welcoming compared to the hard life in Tsarist Russia. The peasants went from a bad life to a worst one, from one illusion to a different illusion.

Meanwhile, in the USA, we, the "free", lived smugly under a different illusion. Living under a government, instead of living with a government, will never produce the freedom and liberty we hope for. Government always wants to rule, rather then guide, and we accommodate, willingly, by being ignorant and apathetic. We depend on government, with a bit of religion/spiritualism thrown in, which has a goal, but which is not the goal of the people. I guess that we indeed reap what we sow.

Now that the government-corporate entities largely have what they want, power and wealth, there is little need for the human peasant.

We have a chance left to stop the destruction of the human race. Are we going to act, rather than just react? Do we have enough strength and energy and will to put on end to this apocalypse?

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Tessa - Your essay and Franco’s poem arrived next to each other in my mail…

He wrote: "we are fragile, we are broken, and we are poor

because we desire,

not the other way around” https://francoamati.substack.com/p/saints-of-imperfection

I sent a note to him, too...

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Tessa Lena

A Brodsky poem (he wrote one every Christmas Eve) for you Tessa.

DECEMBER 24,1971

For V.S.

When it’s Christmas we’re all of us magi.

At the grocers’ all slipping and pushing.

Where a tin of halvah, coffee-flavored,

is the cause of a human assault-wave

by a crowd heavy-laden with parcels:

each one his own king, his own camel.

Nylon bags, carrier bags, paper cones,

caps and neckties all twisted up sideways.

Reek of vodka and resin and cod,

orange mandarins, cinnamon, apples.

Floods of faces, no sign of a pathway

toward Bethlehem, shut off by blizzard.

And the bearers of moderate gifts

leap on buses and jam all the doorways,

disappear into courtyards that gape,

though they know that there’s nothing inside there:

not a beast, not a crib, nor yet her,

round whose head gleams a nimbus of gold.

Emptiness. But the mere thought of that

brings forth lights as if out of nowhere.

Herod reigns but the stronger he is,

the more sure, the more certain the wonder.

In the constancy of this relation

is the basic mechanics of Christmas.

That’s what they celebrate everywhere,

for its coming push tables together.

No demand for a star for a while,

but a sort of good will touched with grace

can be seen in all men from afar,

and the shepherds have kindled their fires.

Snow is falling: not smoking but sounding

chimney pots on the roof, every face like a stain.

Herod drinks. Every wife hides her child.

He who comes is a mystery: features

are not known beforehand, men’s hearts may

not be quick to distinguish the stranger.

But when drafts through the doorway disperse

the thick mist of the hours of darkness

and a shape in a shawl stands revealed,

both a newborn and Spirit that’s Holy

in your self you discover; you stare

skyward, and it’s right there:

a star.

Joseph Brodsky, "December 24, 1971" from Collected Poems in English, 1972-1999. Copyright © 2000 by the Estate of Joseph Brodsky. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Source: Collected Poems in English, 1972-1999 (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2000)

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Tessa Lena

Tessa, I continually marvel at your beautiful ability to capture the soul’s essence in words. What you say here resonates deeply with me. And you remind me that love is not a path of weakness or least resistance. It is, in fact, a challenging path with a heavy pack at times. Not heavy because it is inherently hard to be loving, but heavy because some people are in so much pain that they fight hard and it takes energy to be with them. Still, love makes the soul light in all senses of that word. Thank you for being you. 🙏 PS Apologies if I posted this in the wrong place. It’s hard for me to do on a phone.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Tessa Lena

Thank you for this. And I join you in feeling love and respect for the old veteran in the march. Even though he fought in Stalin's army, the world owes a debt of gratitude to him and others like him.

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Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023Liked by Tessa Lena

My own grandparents were the voting age adults in 1917 when the Russian Revolution happened. My grandfather was a farmer so not called up for WW I; rather, he was kept home to raise food for our and our allies' troops and civilians (Dad tried to sign up as a drummer boy, at a ripe old 3, but was snagged by a neighbor at the mailboxes, 1/2 mile from home, and carted back to his Mom). They were unaware of the coup our CONGRESS committed in 1871, when they made the District of Columbia a private corporation, or the chicanery attached to the ratification of the 17th A in 1913, which completed the severing of our gov't from any semblance of control by "we the people" a betrayal most US citizens are still not, or just beginning to become, aware of having happened. For those of us who grew up in the age of radios, TVs, telephones, telegraph, and multiple daily newspapers, it's difficult to realize how those actions could have been slipped past our elders, without, or with every little, resistance from the citizens; for the kids of the internet and world wide web age, impossible! But my grandmother remembered travelling for weeks in a covered wagon, when her family moved, from the Dakota territory, to Iowa, as a child. When she and my grandfather married, they went for a ride in the very 1st automobile in that part of Iowa as their "honeymoon". The cities were using electricity and had phones, even some early radios, but not in what gets called "flyover country" now.They still used oil lamps, cars were a rarity, and when phones came along, they were wooden boxes on the wall, which required an operator to connect you, party lines, and a crank on the side to alert the operator someone wished to make a call (they still had it when I was a kid). Information moved very slow back then, to most of "we the people", except in the urban centers on the coasts, connected by telephone and telegraph. I don't know, of course, but I suspect in Tessa's grandparents' Russia cum USSR, it was at least as slow moving if not more so, given what I did learn of the history of that era there. To people today, it's difficult to conceive how they even survived at all. But if you're of Tessa's and my generation, you should realize children today can't even comprehend phones tied to a wall by wires, and radios with no picture at all, or black and white only TV, let alone no cars or internet. So it should be a bit easier for us to realize technology was far behind what our childhood knew when our grandparents were the young adults, and the lies were easier to spread, because the truth was harder to disseminate against the lies.

I can well believe the Russians who were the young adults and older teens in 1917 Russia felt betrayed even by Stalin (I still remember to this day, almost 70 yrs later, the films our journalists smuggled out, of him lying in state, and the abuses of his régime echoed in all the faces of those passing his bier), and those who followed him. (I also remember Kruschev slamming his shoe on a desk at the UN, swearing they would bury us!) I didn't understand it then, but I have never forgotten, and learned what it was I saw then, some yrs later. It was a time, here, when we still, foolishly, thought we were living the "American dream", in "freedom". Only in the past few decades have we begun to realize how our gov't has betrayed us as well, and, as Tessa said, it's very hard to break through the protective bubble of the illusional beliefs. Doing so creates a cognitive dissonance in the hearers, that most vehemently reject as lies. The few who don't reject it outright may struggle for a time with that dissonance only to revert to "safety" in the bubble, or slowly incorporate that unbelievable betrayal into their reality, then flounder for awhile, not sure where to find truth or reality, and finally sink into despondence, or, a few, manage to get back up and resist the results of that betrayal. That's where we are, in America, today...

"But (Yhwh) God...". We have largely forgotten He's still in control, has a plan unfolding, and a better time ahead for those who CHOOSE it. The "catch" is EACH MUST freely choose to be part of it, according to the pattern He gave us for doing so; no one will make you, and you are each free to choose the other alternative, although I really don't recommend it.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Tessa Lena

Tessa, This is amazing. Brought a tear at the image of the old soldier -- so many analogs. As I said in a comment to an earlier post, you are increasingly going to important places in a way I do not see many other thinkers go. Your recitation of the "things you know" in here is profound. Thanks for enriching our days.

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