THE LIVING ROOM (1st half) nachman, maimonides, gestalt & the death of robert wepner
this video, THE LIVING ROOM, is dedicated to the memory of my brother robert wepner, who died august 16, 2011 of "septic shock" infection caused by negligent hygiene care at a hospital and nursing home in jerusalem, israel. robert was a cripple due to unsuccessful hip surgeries, and hence needed to wear a diaper and rely upon attendants to change the diaper and bathe him. this trust was betrayed, leading to a series of urinary tract infections which eventually generalized to a fatal septic shock infection.
robert began his life with a glorious high school athletics career, followed by several years as a successful high school physical education teacher. but beginning in the 1960's robert turned to amphetamines ("speed"), "rush", scientology, over the counter mood drugs and pain killers, all in an effort to live a speeded up, larger than life, "painless", illusionary life - until gradually this house of cards collapsed and robert spent the last 30 years of his life living with our parents, in and out of depression. if you do not deal with the reality of the situation, then the reality of the situation will deal with you. in his wild joyride seeking to evade superficial everyday reality, robert could not help turning out to be a paradigm case of a deeper holistic reality, another saint genet. paradoxically, while his real life options faded, robert's artistic skills blossomed forth, and in the manner of van gogh robert left us a series of paintings which mirrors the stages of his tortured, manic/depressive quest. with the wisdom of hindsight i believe that sibling rivalry with me played no small part in my brother's tailspin.
in this video i have combined (1) my own mourning for my brother, (2) gestalt dreamwork on a dream about robert, (3) robert's paintings as a major part of the visual track, (4) various musical fragments from apple's "logic" software, (5) maimonides' theory of prophecy, and (6) nachman of breslav's vision of himself as the messianic figure of his generation (tsaddik ha-dor) who by his own life action encompasses and redeems the souls of his disciples. putting it all together, i come up with a sense of myself as the "tsaddik ha-dor" of my own extended family, an extended family which with the help of the internet includes anyone who happens to see this video. the underlying philosophical foundation is dialectical, and the dreamwork helped me to organize all the material according to traditional theories of human action associated with plato (anamnesis), aristotle (final cause), stanislavski (superobjective), leibniz (monadology), and gestalt therapy (the existential message of the dream).
the title of this video, THE LIVING ROOM, has two references. first a literal one. the dream about robert happens in the living room of the house in long beach, new york, in which robert and i grew up. second, the dreamwork about death and mourning paradoxically turns out to be a celebration of life at the end of days, the messianic now. i discover that the existential message of the dreamwork is an explosion into authentic joy, as my power of selection ferrets out from the raw material enough here and now associative links to culminate in an encompassing vision of how the coming of the messiah feels phenomenologically like a gloriously joyous family reunion. the little living room of our home in long beach, new york, in the 1950's explodes into a prophetic vision of the messianic end of days fifty years later, here and now in september 2011. this process precisely illustrates the process of associative links that nachman of breslav uses as the basis of his "likutei moharan" ("collected essays"). nachman wrote: "my torah is completely associations" (hebrew: behinot). this video, likewise, is completely behinot. nachman, as tsaddik ha-dor, wants to teach us that through this sort of inductive style thinking we have the hope of encompassing all reality in idealistic visions of redemption. of course, a hitler, a marx, an ahmadinejad, or even a franklyn wepner, can pervert this process, and so we need to keep our eye on the road when we take a ride in ezekiel's chariot.
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