Day three: We went up in a cable car to the top of the Furtschellas mountain. Couldn’t see a thing as we were completely enveloped in a cloud. Then we discovered a lovely trail through a forest – with autumn trees on both sides of the path and water running next to us. It was just the perfect picturesque kind of walk I like to envision in my imagination.
I could feel how all of the tension was melting out of me, how the transformation I felt after taking this trip was slowly but surely having its effect on me. This is what Frankl meant by “experiential meaning.”
At the end of the trail a most amazing thing happened. It seemed like one of those magical story books where we were in a forest and suddenly, unexpectedly we somehow came out of the forest into a beautiful “English” countryside!
We found ourselves in the Fex valley. There were little country houses dotting hills of grass with cows peacefully grazing. (All over Switzerland we concluded this was definitely a good place to live for a cow.)
In the afternoon we went to the Nietzsche house in Sils. I hadn’t studied Nietzsche before but it began to dawn on me that he was the precursor to the existentialists, making him interesting to me from a logotherapeutic angle. He really cared about authenticity and felt that was the highest value. He felt that Christian morality is meant to and does weaken people’s natural morality. This must link to my thoughts from two days ago…
In my diary I wrote about the day’s events out of order probably because of the connection between ideas. – As we were walking towards Lake Silvaplana towards Furtschellas we talked about the meaning of commitment, specifically religious commitment. I can’t exactly formulate the question now but it had something to do with commitment to something outside one’s self and where that left the self. In discussing this with Alan we concluded that Torah entails commitment to a system where the system itself cares about the individual, which allows me to see myself as part of the greater whole.
Philosophers who speak of Judaism speciously don’t get to the substance of real life. I felt a resolve to find greater meaning within the nitty gritty details of religious life. Ta’amei halacha – the reasons for our most tangible way of being in the world with our Creator – are a portal giving us a view into the world from the perspective of Torah.
Until tomorrow (By the way thanks, Shel, for getting me back on track again)