Some people live as if they’re already dead…

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Thoughts on Easter and Pesach by Raj Ayyar

First, a beautiful quote from that wise Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh:

Some people live as if they are already dead. There are people moving all around us, who are consumed by their past, terrified of the future, and stuck in emotions like anger and jealousy.
They are not alive–they are just walking corpses!
If you look around, you will see people going around like zombies.
We must practice resurrection. With an in-breath, bring yourself back to your body.
Joy, peace, and happiness are possible. You have an appointment with life, and that life is always in the here and now.

If one enters into the archetype of Easter, viewing the Resurrection story as great mytho-poetry, there is no conflict with scientific paradigms and language games. It’s only when religions assert their propositional truth (ex. the creationist dogma), literally that they embark on a collision course with science.

In that spirit, after the great bluesiness of Good Friday when there is a great emptying of the Christ, the immanent Logos on the cross (‘kenosis’ in Greek), there comes the light climax of the resurrection story.

On Good Friday, the Christian God incarnate is literally dead, and it is ironic that the great atheist Nietzsche (the child of a strongly Lutheran family), echoes the Good Friday motif when he declared in The Gay Science: ‘Have you not heard? God is dead.’

On Easter, Yeshua joins the pantheon of resurrected gods and heroes. including the Egyptian Osiris and the Greek Dionysus.
I think we all go through symbolic deaths and resurrections many times in one’s life–the loss of a relationship, a job, deep depression, and feelings of abandonment.

Resurrection is the symbolic transcendence of all that dead and deadening stuff, a new awakening of hope and joy.
Pesach or Passover is a Jewish festival that celebrates liberation from bondage, oppression, and dependency. In the great story of deliverance (Exodus in the Torah),

Whether you are Jewish or not, you may want to take inventory of all the circumstances in your life–connected to your job, relationships, career, academics, etc., that you find oppressive. What is the one toddler step you can take here and now to free yourself?

Raj Ayyar

Raj Ayyar

Raj Ayyar Email: raj@iiitd.ac.in Ph.: 9871239613 A Brief Bio • Over 20 years of collegiate teaching experience in the US and India. Taught full time at East Florida State and part time (adjunct faculty) at different colleges in the SF bay area. • Currently a full time Visiting Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, IIIT-Delhi (since 2014). Courses include: Critical and Creative Thinking, Perspectives on Knowledge, Philosophy of Religion, Theory and Practice of Engineering Ethics, and other philosophy courses. • Created course content and syllabi for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Literature; revamped existing syllabi and course outlines for Theory and Practice of Engineering Ethics, Perspectives on Knowledge, Critical Thinking. Current Areas of Research Interest • The Meta-Ethics of Facebook and Other Social Media. • Virtual Performativity—Toward a Typology of Virtual Speech Acts. Recent Conference Papers and Presentations • ICPR National Conference (Tier 1) on Plato’s Republic. Presenter and Moderator. Presented on ‘Plato and Nietzsche: Predictable Disjunctions and Unexpected Conjunctures’. Panel Discussion Moderator and Synthesizer. Lucknow, March 2017. • ICPR National Conference (Tier 1) Presenter on Perspectives in Philosophy and Literature. Delhi University, April 2016. • ICPR Panel Discussion on Mrinal Miri’s ‘Philosophy and Education’. August 2015. • Presenter and Moderator: Aletheia Conference on Heidegger. Lady Shri Ram College, March 2015. • Presenter and Moderator: International Conference (Tier 1), on Schopenhauer and Indian Philosophy. JNU, February 2015. • Presenter: UGC National Conference on Fact and Value in Higher Education. Jesus and Mary College, January 2015. Co-Curricular Activities at IIIT-D • Founder and Faculty Coordinator, Student Mentoring Program. Handpicked third and fourth year students are coached and trained to mentor first year B.Tech students on academic and personal issues and problems. We are in the process of appointing ad hoc mentors for M.Tech and Ph.D. students who are facing severe problems, and of expanding the program to meet growing student needs. • Founder and Faculty Coordinator: The Lunchbox Philosophers, a ‘Socrates Café’ concept developed at IIIT-D since 2014. Interested students, faculty and administrators meet regularly on a weekly basis, to discuss a philosophical or HSS-related issue. • Faculty Coordinator: DASA student mentoring for international and NRI students. Other Areas of Work Experience • Corporate Behavioral Skills Consultant: Working with IT companies in Bangalore and throughout South India. Areas of expertise include: Cross-Cultural Diversity, Personality Development, Gender Sensitivity Training (including sexual harassment issues), Stress Management and Work-Life Balance, Time Management. • Guest Faculty: St. Joseph’s College and Christ University, Bangalore. 2008-13.

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