|Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm)
Number 16 – 9 October 2003
Copyright 2003 Meru Foundation
Edited by Cynthia Tenen
I'm pleased to announce that mention of Meru's research has been
included in a new book by Peter Novak, "The Lost Secret of Death", just
published by Hampton Roads. Our next eTORUS will include a review of
this book by Rob Nixon, who independently brought Novak's book to our
attention. (We were in touch with Peter while he was writing "The Lost
Secret of Death," and were pleased to learn it was finally published.)
We will have additional information on "The Lost Secret of Death" in
our next issue.
NEW ESSAY BY
As many of you know, we are very careful to distinguish Meru
Foundation's research from the usual scholarly, psychological,
charismatic, and new-age ideas about Kabbalah, as well as from Tarot,
astrology, gematria, and other similar subjects. Because many people
think these topics are related to Meru's research, or ought to be, they
are confused and even upset by our insistence on keeping our work
separate. This is an important issue for us; thus, "Damning by Faint
As Stan makes clear, we are open to people interested in all subjects,
even questionable and subjective subjects -- when those subjects are
presented modestly, and with a sense of perspective. If you have a
serious interest in traditional Kabbalah, Tarot, gematria/numerology,
or astrology, or any of the other topics Stan discusses in the essay
below, please consider what we have to say with an open mind and honest
heart, using your own sense of reason and balance. After all, the real
issue is not the topic of study per se, but rather the caring, context,
and integrity of its presentation.
(c)2003 Stan Tenen
Meru Foundation's proposals are not for everyone. This letter is my
attempt to help to sort sense from nonsense, and to put some of the
ideas that have become problematic before the public, so that they can
be examined and discussed. We are trying to reach honest, open-minded
critical skeptics, including believers and non-believers, religious
people and non-religious people (of all faiths), scientists, scholars,
researchers, and interested individuals in all walks of life. But we're
not trying to appeal to everyone -- at least, not at first. We're
trying to reach the skeptics first -- to satisfy people who demand
objective demonstrations -- before we begin to consider and work with
persons and ideas that are more subjective, and thus less impressive to
skeptics. Of course, depending on how ideas are used, and depending on
the integrity, charity, and humility of the presenters, almost all
ideas can be used for the good, and make a helpful contribution.
We want to dissuade self-appointed geniuses from co-opting Meru's work
by imposing their own ideas on it, and by inappropriately quoting from
and incorporating our findings in their proposals. This is a
significant problem, because later, third parties criticize what Meru
is actually proposing based on misrepresentations by people who have
imposed themselves on us. This is not just a matter of our having to
deal with the copyright infringement and disparagement of the
individual referred to in the boxed "Plagiarism Notice" at the bottom
of our home page at www.meru.org. While this individual is clearly
"over the top", many others, certainly less crazy and bizarre but often
no less insistent, seem to have taken an undue interest in the Meru
Great ideas are not uncommon. What makes the difference is what is done
with them, and this depends on integrity, caring, humility -- and
competent management and adequate resources. In order to mature and be
healthy and productive, a great idea requires the same nurturing and
nourishment as a child.
Meru Foundation needs intelligent and caring support in order to form
working relationships with other professionals, and in order to bring
these ideas forward. However, while we need support for our work, this
is in the spirit of education for the future, with all the benefits for
our children and grandchildren that come from this. Support for Meru
Foundation does not come before tzedakah (charity) needed to meet
today's immediate human needs and emergencies.
Our work contributes to tikkun olam, that is, to a better world for our
children and grandchildren. Our work attempts to address political,
social, and sociological needs on a global scale, and it can relate to
healing and caring also. What we have accomplished provides a
philosophical and theoretical basis for action. What we need is support
in order to turn this potential into action.
IT GOOD FOR?
1. Proper translation of traditional philosophical and
Kabbalistic materials. This brings these teachings back to life in our
time, and enables them to become real in our world.
2. Increased respect for Torah, for Jews, Judaism, and Israel --
and all of the other facets of the Abrahamic traditions, and indeed,
all high traditions, East and West.
Schliemann's discovery of Troy moved Troy from easily-dismissed
mythology to real and productive archeology. Likewise, re-discovery of
the universal gesture-language moves the story of the Tower of Babel
(and by implication, a good deal more of Torah) from mythology to
reality. This encourages serious study of Torah by persons who now do
not lend their talents to this, because of their lack of interest in
what they believe to be subjective or mythological. New work by new
students is sure to yield completely unexpected, valuable new insights
The idea is to demonstrate that in the Western tradition, Torah
contains what I call "a science of consciousness" that is valuable (to
modern standards) to all people of all cultures.
3. Am Segulah -- the "chosen people" -- an idea which sets Jews
apart from others, becomes understood as the "well-choosing people",
something that any nation that segulah -- "sustains the action of
learning" -- can aspire to.
This is not word-play. We have simply re-discovered and
re-validated traditional claims that Torah Hebrew roots are not
arbitrary, but rather, intrinsically define that which they describe.
The Hebrew letter Samek means "to sustain". Gimel refers to "action" or
"relationship" (a camel), and Lamed means "learning" (Samek-Gimel-Lamed
is the root of segulah, "chosen/choosing"). Any person or people that
"sustains the action of learning" learns to choose well.
Simply by moving from noun-translations to verb-translations,
principles that previously have set Jews apart and caused jealousy now
unite us with others, as examples of successful behavior.
WE'RE NOT PROPOSING, AND WHY
What is really problematic with all of the supposed Kabbalah that is so
popular these days, whether it comes from scholars, occultists, Jewish
sources, non-Jewish sources, new-age sources, etc., is the inadequacy
in modern terms of the content they propose.
The content that all of these scholars and experts propose for the
meaning and significance of the Hebrew text of Genesis, and its
Kabbalah, in effect "damns by faint praise".
If the Hebrew text of Genesis and its Kabbalah really does include a
true science of consciousness and cosmology meeting the highest modern
objective standards, accessible to everyone (like all real science),
then what objective "praise" is it to attribute subjective,
non-reproducible content to Torah or Kabbalah?
Consider for example:
* magical healing powers
* secret lost knowledge
* psychic prophecy
* UFO intervention
* Bible codes
Even if any or all of these turns out to have some objectively valid
component, compared to what a modern person means by an objective
science, they are still all either trivial or subjective.
It is intrinsically demeaning to the Torah tradition (and the Western
traditions in general) to attempt to impose this sort of "damning by
faint praise" on something that is -- if I'm right -- worth enormously
more praise, and is of enormously greater value.
To claim that a car can travel at 200 miles per hour would seem to be
great praise -- unless, of course, the car can actually travel at 500
miles per hour, in which case the claim of 200 miles per hour is in
fact a disparagement, and not praise at all.
Even if all the scholarly, new-age, Christianized, magical, mythical,
and/or psychological Kabbalah is real, it's still only "faint praise"
compared to what the evidence suggests the Hebrew text of Genesis and
its alphabet and Kabbalah are really about.
Of course all honest scholarship is valuable and makes a contribution.
The Meru proposals are based on existing scholarship. Where we differ
is that the Meru proposals make it clear that the science of
consciousness in Torah is objective, valuable, and usable to modern
standards in the modern world.
Like "a rising tide that raises all ships", the Meru proposals give
credit where credit is due, distinguish what is valuable from what
isn't, and in so doing, help to extract what is real and valuable from
the widest possible range of sources and perspectives (including even
the examples above).
If there are "healing powers", then the Meru perspective can help to
distinguish the valuable "signal" from the "noise".
If there is "secret lost knowledge" (such as the universal language at
the time of the Tower of Babel), then Meru's high critical standards
can help to sort through the secrets, and find what has been lost.
If there is reality to prophecy, then what we're proposing
distinguishes objective prognostication from subjective beliefs. We're
proposing that the letter-text of Torah includes mental exercises that
help us emotionally and intellectually to mature, and consequently to
gain a more inclusive overview. This may not be "magical" prophecy, but
it may be akin to the objective science farmers use to know how to read
the seasons to properly raise their crops.
With regard to the "Bible Codes," the Meru proposal is that the
letter-patterning is objectively real, but that it is faint praise
indeed to interpret this in a way that makes it appear that Torah is
hardly more than a laundry-list of prophecies. The Meru proposal that
the letter-text includes psychologically and physiologically sound
mental exercises that can lead to an objective overview is much
stronger praise -- and it is demonstrable.
Numerology and "gematria" have been much abused, and subject to
fantastical claims in circumstances where the principle can only be
applied in an arbitrary and meaningless way. The Meru proposals make it
easier to distinguish between meaningful numerical values for names and
roots, and meaningless ones.
The Western sages were clear that there is something to astrology,
which is why it has been banned. Looking to signs and seasons, and
interpreting them according to one's own systems of belief, can lead a
person away from looking to God. The Meru proposals can extract what is
meaningful, and can help to put it into proper perspective as a subset
Palmistry, of course, has also been abused. But there may indeed be an
objective correlation among the organs that develop from the same
embryonic tissues. Thus the skin of the palm could, in principle, be
objectively read to provide real information. But of course this would
be entirely different than the magical subjective systems.
And finally even Tarot, almost certainly a medieval fraud, can teach us
something. Tarot, like all human divinatory and idolatrous systems,
attempts to make sense of the real world. Everyone alive can directly
observe the cycles of life, and the seasons. Tarot and other forms of
idolatry assign idols, images, and powers over these natural cycles.
And surprisingly, it is exactly this "idolatry run amok" that offers
the opportunity for tikkun olam (repair of the world).
Humbly taken as a catalog of natural functions, Tarot and all the other
divinatory systems can be useful because, properly organized and
understood, these natural functions are a natural part of any true
science of consciousness.
Any of these can be used to focus a person's thinking -- and this
personal basis is why these systems can be used subjectively by
talented and caring individuals (whether or not they have objective
Contrarily, when Tarot and the others are taken to be complete systems,
to represent truth, and are claimed to be science by individuals who
believe they have made a great discovery, they become the ego-centric
focus for idolatry.
The difference between useful function and useless aggrandizement is
not in any of these (subjective) systems, but rather in the individuals
who make use of them. Humble scholars and scientists recognize that
great as their discoveries may be, they are only a small part of a much
greater whole. Arrogant persons do not recognize this, and like
Pharaoh, think that they (or their ideas) are the only "greats" in the
There is no one single way to express everything to everyone, and there
is certainly no individual whose expertise and wisdom can encompass all
knowledge, or communicate to everyone. That's why there are so many of
Taken in context -- humbly -- like all serious work, even marginal and
false beliefs can do good and be useful. Taken out of context, even
great ideas can be demeaned, demeaning, and destructive.
We are interested in the recovery of an objective science of
consciousness from the roots of our Western traditions. While the
personal, subjective, divinatory systems are certainly not an objective
science of consciousness, a true science of consciousness must include
an explanation and a place for these subjective systems. It is a matter
of putting the horse before the cart.
Director of Research,
HELPING MERU FOUNDATION WITH YOUR FEEDBACK
I hope you enjoy this Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter.
We welcome your comments and suggestions, and would like the
to speak with you personally.
If you have comments or questions, please send an email to Cynthia
at firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone
and a good time to call -- or, please call us at 781-784-8902 (Boston
I would like to brainstorm with you.
Thank you for your interest in the work of the Meru Foundation.
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