My name is Izzy Posen and I am a student of Physics and Philosophy at the University of Bristol. I am also the president of the Bristol Free Speech Society.
When I was 20 I made the decision to leave the ultra-Orthodox Jewish cult in which I was raised. The experience of questioning my way out of brainwashing, indoctrination and social and cultural isolation, has shaped my way of thinking. I can no longer take any way of life or of thinking for granted. Instead I am forced to constantly question and be sceptical of the dominant currents of thought in my environment. This is as much a curse as a blessing, as my freethinking is just as likely to mislead me, as it is to grant me useful insights. Regardless, this is how my thinking evolved and I embrace it, whilst trying to improve my thinking processes to make them more reliable and rational. It's a work in progress.
In my blog I usually right about what I think and feel at the moment of writing. Sometimes it will be a philosophical insight, a political observation and at times I try my hand at a bit of philosophical literature. I don't regard myself as a good writer, but writing helps me clarify my thoughts and express my feelings. I am not sure what value one might find in my writings beyond an insight into my own psychology and modes of thinking/feeling.
My blogs should not be regarded as well researched or thought out pieces of work, but rather as articles of self-expression. One thing that I can guarantee in my articles, is honesty. I don't lie and I try to be accurate and honest with how I feel and what I believe.
I have toyed with the ideas of writing more professionally for a while now, but I am not convinced that I have what it takes. I feel that I still need a lot of practice in my writing. I still struggle a lot with finding the right words and expressions and with being able to paint pictures and convey emotions in writing. I especially struggle when writing fiction. Non-fiction comes much easier to me.
If I will ever right something serious, here are some of the ideas that I have had:
- Philosophical fiction: I like to write fiction that highlights philosophical paradoxes and the absurdities of life. I often have in mind Kafka when I think of rendering absurdities into narrative in a subtle and profound manners. I particularly think about the absurdities involved in moral judgement and feeling. There are profound paradoxes and absurdities there which I would love to express in fictional form.
- Memoir: one day I want to right about the surreal experience of leaving a cult, both mentally and physically. If I write this I would focus on my intellectual and psychological journey and use that to frame my physical journey as well. There is a lot of exotic psychological experiences that I would love to share
- Second haskalah fiction: I always fantasise about a seconf wave of haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) that would come to liberate modern charedi Jews from their intellectual and spiritual shackles. The fictional account would include a repeat of the haskalah of the 19th century in Eastern Europe, but applied to the modern context of Chassidic communities. Whilst it would be a fictional account, it will also be possible to see it as a blueprint for an actual wave of second wave haskalah that might be approaching charedi Jewry.
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Our Father, Our King, We did NOT sin before you; We have made mistakes, but it is none of your business!
Originally posted on journeyerblog:
It is Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar, and I am sat with a group of fellow travellers – the only type of people I want to be sat with, not only on…