Abra(ha)m “Discovers” “God” (Thomas Mann’s Retelling) – & Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer”

So, in Thomas Mann’s illuminating retelling of this “discovery”, in his wonderful novel Joseph and His Brothers [my scanning is from the new translation by John E. Woods (New York, Random House / Alfred A. Knopf, 2005); click on pic to enlarge], by rational process & from an intense emotional need to serve the highest, the inventor of this “God” brought monotheism into the world.tmann abraham (crop)But what if our real need is not “to serve the highest”,
but to live civilly & humanely in a civil & humane & viable world?

Monotheism in its almost 3,000 years since the inception of Judaism,
& its close to 2,000 years since the beginnings of Christendom,
& its almost 1,400 years since the rise of Islam,
has not proved that it can help in this project.
On the contrary, it has often fostered wars
between these religions &/or between opposing sects within them,
each dehumanizing if not decapitating the others as heathens, infidels.

& in this context (it’s up to you if you make the connection), I copy below the contents of  a status I posted today on Facebook:

A friend reminded me of this song (“If I had a hammer”) that had been a part of our shared youth. I searched on youtube & found this amazing video of Pete Seeger, aged 93, performing it in Sept 2013, about four months before his death in January last year.


There surely is danger
& need for a warning
(the world it is warming!
& peoples are warring!)
& surely for love, or at least civility
between humans who aren’t siblings
technically speaking, but are still,
even without a single Father in the sky,
in a meaningful metaphorical way
all brothers & sisters
& all, ultimately, in the same boat
(all our grandchildren will feel the heat
or are the great capitalists busy planning domes
for the elite?).

If I had a hand
in this song today,
I’d maybe change
one recurring word,
& instead of this land
sing all over this world.


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