To Bear Eternal Witness

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “To Bear Eternal Witness.”

I just finished reading a most gut-wrenching book, Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli. I came across this book after learning that my wife’s grandmother had been selected by Dr. Josef Mengele (may his name be forever cursed) for torturous experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust. This New York Times Bestseller is a vivid eyewitness account by a Jewish forensic pathologist, who worked directly for Dr. Mengele, and tells of the unspeakable cruelty and horrors at Auschwitz, the largest Nazi death camp vastly accounting toward the twelve million people exterminated by the Nazis, six million of them Jews.


From my experience, once you pick up this book, you cannot put it down until you finish it completely, and I urge everyone to make this a must-read, especially as there will soon be no more Holocaust survivors to tell us, in-person, the hell that they lived through.

(Free Photo of Kyklon B Poison Gas via Pixabay)

We Are Driven!

Riots

We are driven to do what?

Some of us to succeed and others, seemingly, to various destructive behaviors that thwart our success.

In the book, The Charge, by Brendon Burchard, he argues that we need to harness our drives to increase our success rate.

Burchard categorizes our drives into baseline and forward drives–and has 10 of them–almost like the Ten Commandments (Cs)–five in each area (or on each tablet).

Baseline drives are those which he says make us happy:
– Control
– Competence
– Congruence
– Caring
– Connection

Forward drives are those which help us evolve:
– Change
– Challenge
– Creative Expression
– Contribution
– Consciousness

Wonderful–10 C’s, all nicely packaged.

While I generally agree with these human drives, something is not satisfying about these–they seem academic, stale, and the fodder of a marketing brochure.

Where is the energy of humans to live, love, and laugh?

Where is the longing for spirituality, purpose, and meaning?

Where is the drive to do good and occasionally, to do what we know is wrong.

Where are the vices–the drives to conquer, to own and to hoard, to go crazy at times,?

Burchard has provided a very one-sided picture of human nature–maybe the side, we would rather acknowledge and focus on, but in ignoring human frailties and tendencies to veer off to the other extremes as well, he is missing an important point–and that is the human nature is a fundamental push and pull.

Yes, we are driven to happiness and evolution, and on one hand these drives manifest in the rosier side of human nature such as care and contribution, but on the other side, people drives to happiness and evolution may mean their taking what they want, when and how they want it, and to the exclusion of others who are competing with them in a world of limited resources.

It is nicer and easier to envision a world, like the Garden of Eden, where there is plenty for the few, and everything is provided and just a pull from the fruit tree away.

But in the real world, it is wiser to recognize that our happiness and evolution may mean someone else goes hungry tonight–sad, but true; and only when we are real, can we work to overcome this and to provide plenty for all–through safeguarding of basic freedoms and human rights for everyone.

Happiness and evolution can be different for the individual and society–for the individual, one’s gain may come at another loses (e.g. the stock market, competing for a spot in top-tier school, or beating out the competition for that plume Wall Street job), but for society, success means creating win-win situations where everyone can go to bed with a full stomach and knowing that they have a fair shot at opportunity tomorrow.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Beacon Radio)