Israeli Writer, Zionist Ideologue
A. D. Gordon, fully Aaron David Gordon
Israeli Writer, Zionist Ideologue
That cosmic element [in nationality] ...is the mainspring of a people's vitality and creativity, of its spiritual and cultural values.
The road to national rebirth is a hard one, but there is no other.
We have come to our homeland in order to be planted in our natural soil from which we have been uprooted, to strike our roots deep into its life-giving substances, and to stretch out our branches in the sustaining and creating air and sunlight of our homeland. ? And when you, O human, will return to Nature, that day your eyes will open, you will stare straight into the eyes of Nature and in its mirror you will see your image. You will know? that when you hid from Nature, you hid from yourself. ? We, who have been torn away from nature, who have lost the savor of natural living ? if we desire life, we must establish a new relationship with nature.
And it shall come to pass that on that day, O child of Adam, that you shall receive a new spirit, you shall feel a new feeling, a new hunger ? not a hunger for bread, nor a thirst for money, but for labor. You will find delight in every labor and in every deed that you do., like the delight you take in eating and drinking. On that day, you will take care to make labor pleasurable and appealing, like you now take care to make your food appealing, and like you know take care to increase the fruit of your labor ? money. Most of all, though, you will take care to do all your labor and all your deeds in the midst of Nature, in the midst of the Boundless Space of the World. That is how you will do your work in the field and that is how you will do your work in the house, for that is how you will build your house. And it shall come to pass when you work at your labor, that the spacious expanse of the universe will be your workplace, and you and nature the workers. The two of you will be of one heart and of one spirit. ? On that day, the fruit of your labor, child of Adam, will be: Life. For there will be life within your labor. ? On that day, child of Adam, you will know Nature, for your eyes and all your senses will be sufficiently clear, your heart sufficiently open, your mind sufficiently deep. On that day, the light of your wisdom and your science will no longer be a cold and terrible light, but it will be a living light, flowing abundantly from all of the worlds. On that day, child of Adam, you will know how to live with Nature, for it will be your will to know.
And when you, O human, will return to Nature, that day your eyes will open, you will stare straight into the eyes of Nature and in its mirror you will see your image. You will know?that when you hid from Nature, you hid from yourself? We who have been turned away from Nature ? if we desire life, we must establish a new relationship with Nature.
Building a nation is not like building a society. The foundation stones are laid not merely for an improved system of economic life nor for the social justice which is desired in that life; here we are laying the foundation for a new collective life and also for a new national spirituality...All this demands a profound inner unification of all the elements of the nation where even their inner conflict, the conflict of ideas and of hopes, must be internal without the interference of an alien force or an alien influence.
Human nature as a whole cannot be regenerated unless the individual has undergone the process himself. And this involves a basic change. There should no longer be distinctions as rulers, leaders, teachers, heroes, prophets, supermen, benefactors of humanity, on the one hand, and on the other, the mass that must be ruled, guided, benefited-the object of pity and charity. Every man must maintain his integrity, must conduct his life according to his own inner light. He must be capable of governing himself, of educating himself. Life rightly conceived, with power to act in accordance with that concept, will enable man to integrate himself into a loftier harmony. Most clear-thinking people now feel that no man with a soul can be happy in the possession of luxuries while there are those in want of the material necessities of life. Neither can a regenerated humanity rest content in its spiritual wealth when there are so many whose souls are poverty-stricken.
Man in his own narrow confines of life is like the worm burrowing within a bitter herb, ignorant of a better and greater world beyond his little restricted domain. A human being must broaden his horizons to include the larger life, the infinite world around him, the world with which he must maintain relations. And these connections should be not merely abstract, intellectual, or sentimental- a sort of platonic relationship, as it were. The ties must be vital, real, alive, for unless man deals earnestly with that world, he will remain ignorant thereof. Man must free his mind of the bonds of abstractions, of mechanical devices that enslave him. He must return to nature, to its vast expanse, to its infinite possibilities not as a shackled serf nor even as a master; his attitude must be that of a prodigal son returning to the home of his mother to help her in her tasks. Then will this labor, we may believe, raise him mightily in his own estimation. He will see himself as a superior expression of life and existence.
A false idea is not only one which is absolutely subjective but one which is absolutely objective.
We must put work at the center of our aspirations; we must build all our edifices on this foundation. If work becomes our ideal, or, rather, if we bring the dieal of work into functioning, we shall be cured of the plague that has seized us, we shall bridge the gap between us and nature.