Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Limits of Self-Expression

Paging though an old notebook tonight, from reading that I did in 1998, I came upon a quotation from Abraham Joshua Heschel that made me realize the limitations of this blog.

In Idols in the Temple (1962), Heschel wrote: "If self-expression is the only goal, it can never be achieved. The self gains when losing itself in the not-self, in the contemplation of the world, for example. Self-expression depends upon self-attachment to what is greater than the self."

When I read these words, I felt an implicit critique of my creative stance toward this blog in the 2 1/2 years I've been writing it. It's been primarily about my own self-expression, and only secondarily about seeking a viable forum for dialog about criminal justice reform.

Having felt the weight of the great rabbi's words, I shall endeavor to position my blog as a more useful vehicle for engagement with the world. This will include enewed emphasis on sentencing reform, as well as on the work of Prison Congregations of America, on whose board I serve.

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