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The Power of a New Idea: Maimonides

The more innovative the idea you wish to introduce, the more you first need to contemplate and study the landscape

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The name Moses Maimonides is lost to our contemporary masses, who might know the names Nicolaus Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, or James Madison, but can barely cite their accomplishments.

Maimonides was born in 1138 in Cordova, Spain. Under Muslim rule, Cordova was considered one of the intellectual centers of the Western world. When Maimonides was ten years old, a warring sect invaded and conquered Cordova, forcing all non-Muslims, including his family, who were Jewish, to convert, depart, or face execution.

Many Travels

For nearly two years, Maimonides’s family lived a fairly nomadic life, traveling throughout southern Spain and eventually settling in Morocco. At the age of 28, when he had already started to establish himself as a philosopher, author, and serious thinker, he relocated to Cairo, Egypt.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: The Dead Do Tell Tales

His first masterpiece, the Mishneh Torah, provided an organizational framework forthe Torah’s commandments and highlighted that each part of Jewish law provided a rational and fundamental purpose.

Maimonides showed that none of the laws were constructed simply for the sake of obedience, an observation apparently true of many other religions.

Book One of the Mishneh Torah, also known as the Book of Knowledge, laid the foundation for Jewish philosophy, offered a theory of morality, implored the study of the Torah, spelled out laws regarding idolatry, and expounded upon the importance of repentance.

Book Fourteen, known as Judges, proclaimed that the true Messiah would come and restore sovereignty to Israel, make peace with surrounding nations, and lead the modern world in scientific and philosophical inquiry.

Articles of Faith

Maimonides presented 13 principles that he believed all Jews needed to adopt, including the existence and eternity of God; that God communicates through the prophets, of which Moses of Egypt was the greatest; that the Torah was offered by God and is immutable; and that there is divine providence, as well as divine punishment and reward.

These articles of faith were the first of their kind. His views were vexing to European in the 12th century and ignited an ongoing controversy in Judaism. As such, critics questioned and repudiated Maimonides for much of his adult life.

In 1190, at the age of 52, he wrote and published The Guide of the Perplexed, which began as a letter he wrote to a graduate student who couldn’t decide between studying philosophy or the teachings of Judaism.

The guide reviewed biblical terminology that seemed to endow God with corporeal qualities. It also discussed prophecy, creation, jurisprudence, and providence.

Maimonides believed that Jewish law was designed to improve the soul and body. He felt  literal interpretations of the Bible resulted in viewing God as a material conception; nothing more than idolatry.

Resistance Rises

Like the Mishneh Torah, The Guide of the Perplexed sparked controversy and was banned in many Jewish communities.

Some Rabbis feared that Maimonides’ arguments raised the question as to whether the true meaning of the Torah could be understood by typical worshippers, which implied that the Torah might only be taught to an educated few.

Maimonides published his treatise on resurrection, one year later, in which he discussed how his concept of the afterlife represented an intellectual, but not bodily, resurrection.

His letter on astrology debunked the widespread belief that celestial bodies had influence over human events.

Innovation Requires Contemplation

In his mid-60s, Maimonides died in Fostat, Egypt after a continuous battle with exhaustion.

Today, much of his content hardly seems controversial. However, Maimonides was a brilliant and serious scholar, and he did not offer his innovative views of God and humankind and their intertwined relationship to rile existing powers. Rather, they represented his best ideas from years of study and contemplation on the nature of God, existence, and divine law.

What are we to learn from one of the great thinkers of the ages? The more innovative the idea you wish to introduce, the more study and contemplation you first need to do.  Controversy can dissipate in the light of rational comprehensive arguments, but those don’t come easily.

If you have passion for your innovation and have faith in your concept, brave the criticism and stand by your ideas.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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News

The Dead Do Tell Tales

The words of Dr. William Maples, in describing typical suicide victims, are poignant

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It’s shame that the late Jeffrey Epstein, who allegedly hung himself, couldn’t have been examined by Dr. William R. Maples. Epstein’s body would have had a lot to say.

Poignant Words

Apart from the FBI subterfuge surrounding Epstein’s death, I found the words of Dr. Maples, in describing typical suicide victims to be poignant. Maples is a forensic researcher, diagnosing how and when people died. In his book, Dead Men Do Tell Tales, Dr. Maples, he writes, “Many of the skeletons that come into my laboratory belong to suicide victims who behaved like shy hermits in their final hours.”

“Usually they are found in remote places. People often go to some hidden place to kill themselves, whether from a desire to act alone and unhindered, or because they wish simply to disappear in solitude, spending their last moments in reflective silence.”

Would these people have killed themselves if they could’ve regularly attained reflective silence? Was their quest to die alone simply an ill-advised solution to the stresses they faced? How would their lives have been if they knew appropriate, reliable ways to find solace in the here and now, at home, at work, and everywhere in between?

Be True to Yourself

The masses take pills by the boatload. The masses race though their days. The masses, by and large, live lives of tension and turmoil. Stress has become the malady of the generation, and it’s better to not to follow the crowd.

Being true to yourself means doing what you need to do to stay healthy, balanced, and relaxed. It means having inner directedness. It requires drawing upon your knowledge, experience, and instinct to carve your own path; and to have less stress because you are less swayed by popular or prevailing norms. It is thinking and acting based on an ever-developing internal guidance system.

Being true to yourself means is learning what doesn’t work. You determine what is and is not relevant to you, and ultimately, what is and is not appropriate for you to stay in control of your day, every day, and of your life which could well extend for many decades.

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Elections

Joe Biden Bingo

Here is a tool which could help you to stay tuned on broadcasts featuring our acting president

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Even if you caught only snippets of Joe Biden’s recent press conference, you know that his mental decline continues unabated. It’s unlikely that even a handful of Americans watched the event in its entirety. Who would want to waste their time?

What’s occurring is a national travesty, and it is increasingly evident to larger portions of our population that Joe Biden is being abused as an elder, as he abuses others.

Throughout his 365 days in office, Biden has struggled to pronounce a word and then offers a non-sequitur to what he was originally saying. With regularity he tells stories that are simply false. He refers to his vice president as president. He insults vast segments of the population. He stumbles and stammers repeatedly. He checks his watch, fumbles with his mask, and snaps at people when he doesn’t like a question. And those are the least of his faux pas with audiences.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: The Dead Do Tell Tales

If you’re having trouble listening to Joe for more than a minute, the tool above might work for you. On the Facebook site, “Best of the Web,” I saw this Biden bingo card. It could help you to stay the course when tuned into other broadcasts featuring our acting president.

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