Jacob and Esau

[From Rick Marken (921229.1030)

Oded Maler (921229) --

I will have to abandon my academic habits and
addictions (reading e-mail, visiting libraries, day-dreaming on some
interesting problems, proving some theorems and writing papers from
time to time, etc.) and start getting paid for doing things that
are of interest to other but not to me.

Oded -- we have the same addictions! It's really not so bad doing
some things that are of more interest to others than to oneself;
so that one can eat (and send the kids to college). But obviously,
one can find time -- even while prostituting oneself -- to enjoy one's
addictions (as I am now, during this holiday lull at work). Luckily,
my company is a very kind master; believe it or not, they just gave
me a promotion and a raise.

To Rick; Your atittude towards Jacob might change a bit if you notice
that his cheating Esau was one of the first instances of manipulating
perceptual variables of others (Isaac's) .

As I said, there are probably many ways to appreciate the story of
Jacob and Esau -- great art has that characteristic. I have heard at
least two other "interpretations" of the story, both of which were
aimed at improving my attitude toward Jacob. But what I was describing
was my own personal experience of the story -- no matter how much it
get's re- explained, when I hear the story my own experience is one
of being greatly moved by Esau -- and greatly repelled by Jacob. It's
just a visceral thing that interpretation can't seem to change. I can
compare it to the experience I have when listening to a version of the
Brandenberg Concertos that I have at home. I find it one of the finest,
most moving performances I have ever heard -- beautiful coloration,
all the right tempi, just wonderful. I can listen to it over and over. About
a month after I got it (it was a gift) I noticed that the performance was
conducted by van Karijan -- a charter member Nazi. I hate Nazis. But,
damnit, even after I found out that it was van Karijan, the Brandenbergs
still sounded great. Of course, it might have helped that van Karijan is
dead. But, truth be told, the music sounds great (to me). The same is
true of the Jacob and Esau story -- you can tell me all this great, deep
interpretation that shows all these wonderful things about Jacob and
these awful things about Esau. But, damnit, when I listen to the story,
I feel good about Esau (like I feel good about Bach) and Jacob makes
me feel slimy. I'm moved when Esau embraces Jacob; I cringe when
Jacob is obsequious to Esau. I'm perfectly happen to be told that I
shouldn't feel this way (just like I'm perfectly happy to be told by
the local music maven on KUSC -- Jim Sveda -- that the van Karijan
Brandenberg's are really for s**t). I'm willing to believe it;
but what I experience when I hear the van Karijan Brandenberg's and
when I hear the story of Jacob and Esau is what I experience.

This week, I'll take the "It's all perception" choice, Dag.