Meaningful life Recent blog posts

Meaningful life

My theorized applied dialectical method is based on reflective and dialogical enquiries into the question, How do live a more meaningful life? and how do we form a greater democracy of and for all in dignity, humanity, wellbeing, growth and empowerment and equality? 

Who decides what is a meaningful life? based on what?



In my last post at I described an account of a nationalist yeshiva man outside the 1967 green line.


"Amidst the mess in the Middle East I saw a sign the other day held and facebooked by one of those extremists – It said “Hating a Arabs is not racism – it is a value”  - “Hurting Arabs is a Value”


There is a tendency among educational action researchers and practitioner research to validate their account of their practice by using values as standards of judgement and a unit of appraisal that is based on  Polanyi’s embodied tacit knowledge and showing how their account of their practices and lives, including how they improve them, as practitioners and human beings follow their values and constructs and rationalizes and validates the account.


So the writer of these signs will produce an account of how he burns Arabs’ cars, places of worship, and most recently 16 years old  Arab youth in the name of the values of the biblical order of destroying Amalech as revenge for what it did during the stay in the desert, the “right of the chosen people over their Biblical  promised land” “an eye for an eye”, “Arabs as inferior to the chosen people of God, the Jewish people”


Accordingly, he is becoming a better Jew by hurting Arabs


He writes an account that portrays how hurting Arabs and liberals provides meaning to his life and is a valid answer to the question, how do I lead a more meaningful life? I lead a more meaningful life by hurting Arabs, Gentiles and liberal Jews.   I follow the scriptures and the writings of Rabbi...Rabbi...Kahana, Rashi, Rambam that said.


He goes to his Yeshiva where he sits with his rabbis and peers and conduct peer validation with them when they are deciding that the account is an excellent and highly valuable and ethical account of a Jewish and Yeshiva boys and how all the accounts of  “liberal Jews” of their practices of working to contribute to peace and a dignifying co-existence in the region are immoral and of no value. 


They pick the “right” extracts from the Talmud and the Bible and HAZAL, the "wise Jews", Maimodic writings, Rashi, and some selected rabbis's arguments and books to show and validate their points, arguments and values and the validated/tested account."




Hence, this is a valid applied dialectical account of a human being and his account of his life and actions to construct and  lead a more meaningful life for himself -  that follows the method to the letter. 


He is using Serper's method of conceptualizing human existence (the existence of a Nationalist Yeshiva boy) by accounting for the ways he works, through cycles of critical reflection and dialogue, an account of the enquiry of how do I lead a more meaningful life and qualitatively transform my experiences of self-dissatisfaction (which for him is meaning being nice to Arabs and NOT hurting them and subscribing to co-existence and equality and dignity for all and liberal democracy) to a more meaningful and satisfying life (of hurting Arabs, liberals and Gentiles)?


It is peer validated by a group and even groups of critical friends - his nationalist yeshiva.


It is communicative and follows Habermas criteria of communication to the letter. 


It also follows Polany's unit of personal knowledge. 


It uses and interrelates phenomenology, autoethnography, critical thinking, discursive approaches, dialectics, enquiries and all the things I put together over the last twenty years. 


Everything except for my own moral beliefs and writings on a participative democracy for and of all in dignity, humanity, wellbeing, growth and empowerment and equality. 


But then this is my values and code of morality.  I am influenced by liberal and humanist secular writings and authors.  I was raised by a liberal humanist and humanitarian, who won prices and awards for this in his medical practices. 


What right do I have to impose my value-basis and beliefs in liberalism and democracy on him? More than his right to impose his values on me, as if this group takes over the Knesset some how and rework the constitution and the May 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence?  All I can do then is leave Israel for good and organize pro-liberal democracy militias to fight the new nationalist regime. 


Why am I better morally than this person who is dedicated to his authors and theories of nationalism, patriotism, family, ethnicity,  and religion?


I call him fascist and he calls a liberal self-hating Jew who betrays his family, tribe (ethnicity, Judea), clan (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, King David etc) and religion? 


Fascism is immoral for me but moral for him (love for family, country, religion, work, bible).  Democracy of equals and dignified, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and nationality and liberalism are moral  and valuable for me but immoral and  invaluable for him as this contradicts the values of "the chosen people" and the right of the Israelites in their biblical land promised by God who is nothing but an abstraction and man made myth for me?


He hates liberals, liberalism and democracy (democrats) as much as I despise fascism, racism and supremacists.


Who is right? Why?   Whose account is more valuable?


Sadly, I just do not have a solution.


At the moment - if he does the applied dialectical method and uses all the components of the method well and as I prescribed as a theorist and empiricist then his account is valid and reliable.  All I can say is that the value basis and moral base differs and contradicts mine and use it as a dialectical tension of fusion contradictions - but I cannot say the account is invalid or wrong or and the used my method wrongly.  He did not.  I dissociate myself from the content very strongly but not from his use of the method.  He used it well.


All I can say is tat human existence includes these elements and that human beings believe in these values of family, revenge, murdering Arabs, that contradict mine and act accordingly.  And these things need to be acknowledge in the conceptualization of human existence and human beings.   Sadly for me. 


We need to understand this. I condemn and protest against it very strongly as much as those people condemn and protest against my liberalism and democratic values that they see as an imposition of Enlightened European values on old Jewish laws which also calls for the killing of homosexuals and the punishment by death of those "wasting sperm" as in the biblical story of Onan.  There is a clash of contradictory alternative values and values system.  Whose values are superior?  Based on what - what criteria? Why? Who decides?


Dialectics include what I call fascism that deeply disgust me and the liberalism and democracy that disgust him. 


There is a dialectical tension that is used to qualitatively and dialectically transform, understand, explain, describe, account for and conceptualise and contribute to the understanding of humanity, that includes all of this.  The tension is used creatively and constructively.


It is still better, in my opinion, that the propositional logic of  Either or Or  & If...Then.  And the validation of linguistic assertion A by invalidating the assertion B, or vice versa.  If A then not B: If B then not A.  But the transforming tension is essential.  It is what the method and dialectics, in my opinion, all about.


Each one of us reads and passes judgement on the account and critically evaluates and validates it according to his or her values system.  This is an anthropological study in its own right. We learn from this and the account on humanity and ourselves.  We strengthen or change our values.


Still, sometimes there is no dialogue as the two sides just shout their slogans on the other side.  Sometimes one side needs to physically destroy the other side before it destroys it - as was the case of World War Two.  Democracy is also about defending itself.  Then, this is also my personal value and opinion.  I am not a pacifist.


Posted by Alon Serper on 11 July 2014 10:47:01

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