Press "Enter" to skip to content

A thought inspired by Tuesday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Nazir 50

A thought inspired by Tuesday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Nazir 50

Pouring knowledge.

This post presents a philosophical idea inspired by the text of today’s Daf. The Daf is one page in the Talmud that tens of thousands of people study each day. I explain the connection to the text in a comment below. My purpose is to show that there are underlying philosophical assumptions in the Talmud that can have great significance for anybody today trying to understand our complex reality.

What is the nature of the relationship between you and someone who has taught you something? This “teaching” can range from a simple fact or opinion that the person just told you, at one extreme, to a long-term relationship between you and your teacher at the other end of the spectrum.

Consider three different metaphors for teaching. The first involves throwing balls into a basket, the second metaphor is pouring water into a bucket, and the third is pouring honey into a bowl.”

When someone throws balls into a bucket, the ball leaves their hand and disconnects from the thrower long before it reaches the basket. This metaphor applies to listening to a news broadcast. The news anchor doesn’t see or know who you are. At most, the fact that you watched the show will be reported back to the source as a number one higher than if you hadn’t watched it. While you may feel a connection to the news anchor, they have no connection to you.

When pouring water continuously from one bucket to another, a bridge is formed between the two containers. The water can be traced from the pouring bucket through the stream and into the receiving bucket without interruption. However, once pouring stops, the stream disconnects, and any remaining water in the air will pour into the receiving bucket, but none will return to the pouring bucket. This demonstrates that the flow of water is one-way, and though it appears as a true connection, it is not a solid, two-way connection. Rather, it is a form of connection that is distinct from a traditional, physical connection.

If you are physically present while someone is speaking but do not respond, that situation is just one example that fits the metaphor of pouring water. The speaker sees you and may notice the expression on your face as you respond to their words. As you learn words, opinions, facts, or understanding from the teacher (as you did in the broadcast), at least on some level, the speaker grows or evolves by the fact of your presence.

When pouring a viscous liquid like honey from one bowl to another, again assuming there is a continuous flow of honey between the two bowls, the connection between the bowls is stronger compared to water. If you stop pouring midway, the bridge of honey may break and some of it may not reach its destination. A small amount of honey may even retreat and return to the pouring bowl, demonstrating that the flow of honey is not entirely one-way. The honey remains connected to the source until the flow is completely broken.

When someone teaches you one-on-one, and you both know each other or even when the teaching is explicitly two-way, where the student of one moment immediately becomes the teacher in the next, there is a genuine human connection between two people.

Think back to a time long ago, before much of today’s technology was invented. It was a time when we lived our entire lives in very small, intimate groups with no anonymity whatsoever. Even if there was a family elder, a story-teller or teacher, every communication was often a honey-type connection and like a solid horizontal bridge some of the time. To communicate was to connect. Most of our evolution happened in this context rather than in today’s reality. We are probably better adapted to the honey-style kind of communication than the ball-throwing kind.

Perhaps as our technology evolves further, we can use it to return to gaining knowledge using honey-like means. To a certain extent, it is up to us how we evolve together with this technology.

submitted by /u/eliyah23rd
[link] [comments]

Source: Reditt