Numbers 23:9 “People who shall Dwell Alone”—Reflections on the Individual, Family, and Group-Collection Right to Chose and Articulate Identity—On the [personal and collective] Freedom to be Alone, and be Left Alone, and the Greatest Freedom of All: to define yourself alone and in your own terms


Normally a man might not be too happy to be thinking very much of being alone on the day that should have marked his 25th Anniversary with his wife, but the reality of existence is that sometimes, as Billy Joel hath taught us, we are (sometimes) bold enough to say:

First they tell you you can’t sleep alone in your own place,
then they’ll tell you you can’t sleep with somebody else.
Aw, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
either way its ok you wake up with yourself.

I don’t need you to worry for me cause I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I dont care what you say anymore this is my life
go ahead with your own life leave me alone…..

That was the space I found myself in tonight, 25 years after I began the longest-lived romance of my life among the ruins of Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, at a time when my girl (Elena) and I had the place to ourself all night long.  I celebrated in part by driving down Sunset Boulevard after midnight as we used to do together.  I was gratified to see that even in Los Angeles, for sometime after midnight I had about 22 minutes alone on that fabled road, basically from just past the construction interchange at the 405 to just before the PCH.  It was just me and the cool night air and the moonlight.  Not a single other car.  I drove slow.  I savored.  

It was an appropriate day to savor aloneness.  After my drive down Sunset I spent the next three hours by the beach—again, nearly the whole time alone, under a beautiful waxing moon and a still cool “Pacific” night.  And I remembered the poem “Music and Moonlight” that my grandmother used to recite to my grandfather:

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

I miss my grandmother, Helen, and sometimes I even miss my mother, Alice….although she did have that lifelong nasty habit of going down rabbit holes (and taking other transdimensional “trips”) without me.  After my grandmother died, my mother decided she wanted, like Virginia Woolf, a room of her own I guess…. and she got her wish.  But that is an expression of her quest for the freedom she lacked most of her life under my extremely domineering grandmother, I guess…

So aloneness is important.  Very few people have “Catholic marriages” anymore, including very few Roman Catholics, but my Austrian professor of International Law used to say that International Wall existed because all the peoples of the world were trapped with each other in a “Catholic Marriage” from which there was simply no possible, imaginable escape…  

And yet, on this day I also had occasion to think about the collective desire to be alone as a people—of the need for group isolation to define identity.  Just as my mother decided ten years ago that she needed to be free of her family, to enjoy a “room of her own”, and just as I loved having Sunset Boulevard and then the Malibu beach to my own earlier this night, sometimes people need “their own space” to define themselves as they please.  

Sometimes the group is a family, perhaps a mother and her young children, sometimes the group is a nation or a race.  Which is why my meditations tonight began with Numbers 23:8-to-9—

 8 How shall I curse, whom God hath cursed not? (But how can I curse, whom God hath not cursed?) by what reason shall I loathe, whom God loatheth not?

 9 From the highest flints I shall see him, and from the little hills I shall behold him; the people shall dwell alone, and it shall not be reckoned among heathen men. (From the highest rocks I shall see them, and from the little hills I shall behold them; these people shall live alone, and they shall not be counted among the heathen.)

Some readers, conscious of modern controversies in socio-biology and evolutionary psychology, will no doubt recognize this passage as the origin for the title of Kevin MacDonald’s controversial book on the heritage and evolutionary, adaptive psychology of the Jewish people.  

I have had the honor, recently, to make the acquaintance of a remarkable and deeply religious young lady of the Jewish Faith by the name of Julia Gelb, born in the Soviet Socialist Republic of “White Russia” (Belarus) and admitted as a political and religious refugee to the United States in 1994.  Julia has, for the past several years now, been in the throes of a terrible divorce, in which her religious faith and right to define her ethnic identity, and that of her husband, has been placed at the center of the dispute and conflict, in question, and in jeopardy.  

Julia has “taken the path less traveled by” and I think she is to be deeply admired for her efforts in this connexion.  

Julia has taken several interesting stances: (1) that her children’s Jewish identity cannot be preserved in the heterogenous, “diverse”, integrated public schools of Orange County, (2) that her husband is placing her children’s souls in danger by seeking to repress their Jewish Identity, and (3) that the California Superior Courts in Domestic Relations cases promote the religion of Secular Humanism and integration to the utter obliteration of meaningful identity, thus homogenizing everyone into one distinctly “non-diverse” mass—what I call the “shake-and-bake” approach to cultural, ethnic, racial, social, and religious identity.  Oh yes, Julia also has endorsed the notion that the Jews are a racial and ethnic group, and that to try to integrate her children into society at large is to try to obliterate their souls. Julia Gelb’s 09-06-2011 Notice of Removal of Motion to Modify.  

So there we have it: this extraordinary and unique woman, stay-at-home mother of two, is seeking to invoke the Civil Rights Laws of the United States, and the international law known as the Genocide Treaty, against the forces of social integration and cultural homogenization which have achieved the status of “legally mandatory norms” in the socio-cultural scene, at the very least, of Southern California, always at the forefront of socio-cultural progress in the world.  

I for one totally applaud Julia Gelb’s efforts to keep her children separate from the forces of integration and homogenization in America.  I believe that Julia Gelb’s invocation of the Genocide Treaty against these forces which would effectively DESTROY the real socio-cultural, ethnic, and racial, diversity of the world is an example to be emulated by all who believe in the real values of freedom to choose identity.  

The Socialist World Path decrees that “we are one”—that there are no meaningful differences between people, and that we should all be “shaken and baked” until we are one homogeneous mass of indistinguishable ants in an ant hill—that we only exist as part of the social organism, and that we should surrender the rearing of our children to the homogenizing state.  

Julia has consulted with a number of her friends and acquaintances, even some public and radio personalities, and has discovered that the majority all believe that integration and homogenization are best, and that maintenance of separate identity is a bad thing.  The goal of the Socialist World Order is: “One World, One People, One Nation, One Common Set of Values for All.”

Julia has chosen the road less travelled by and I think we ought to call her a heroine in our times.   I would go so far as to submit that the right to define ourselves is the very essence of freedom, the right to choose to find a place in the desert where the “devil can’t get us” as the Mormons did by migrating to Utah in the 1840s, as so many other groups have done in North America—is in fact the very essence of America.  The right to be alone, to leave the enforced norms and social bonds that we do not like and voluntarily to create norms within boundaries of our own creation: THIS IS FREEDOM, THIS IS THE AMERICAN WAY.

I was becoming a teenager in the era of forced integration and forced bussing in the early 1970s.  I submit to you that forced integration destroyed education for everyone, black and white, in the South, as well as the North, and placed value on homogenization and obliteration of diversity above education.  Julia Gelb may now go the “home school route” with her children, if she can’t afford to place them in a private Hebrew Academy, and I say, “more power to her.”  Julia Gelb Notice of Notice of Removal to US District Court 09-06-2011 ; Julia Gelb FINAL DRAFT Motion to Modify 08-24-2011 

As my 9th grade class Salutatorian at Hollywood Professional School, a long, long time ago, in a Galaxy Far Away, I rather tritely and trivially quoted Robert Frost’s 1920 “Mountain Interval”—“The Road Not Taken”.  I mainly quote it now to congratulate Julia Gelb on her choice, and to endorse it and recommend her choice to others:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


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