Let’s envision the battle of Moshe and Pharaoh as an internal struggle within the psycho-system of one person. The struggle to let the Jewish people escape mirrors the conflict of every man and his huge reservoir of greatness being oppressed by the Lilliputians of daily minutiae. The Egyptian culture is our material make-up and the physical world around us. As Reb Yisrael Salanter said, “A person is a drop of intellect in a sea of instinct.” Moshe’s job, should he decide to accept it is to salvage that drop intellect; the last piece of personal sanity.
The genius of the human personality to remain irrationally addicted to the status quo in the face of clear evidence is manifest profoundly in the conflict. Each time Moshe calls another successful shot, Pharaoh and his wise men find some other loophole, no matter how minuscule, to escape. He holds his nation on a path of self-destruction but not to admit or submit. The music turned louder, the walls built higher, the pace of life quickens only not to hear the small voice of Moshe, the conscience whispering.
The story is not as old as we think. Consider the words of biologist Michael Denton; “It is the sheer universality of perfection, the fact that everywhere we look, to whatever depth we look, we find an elegance and ingenuity of an absolutely transcending quality which excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man. Alongside the level of ingenuity and complexity exhibited by the molecular machinery of life, even our most advanced artifacts appear clumsy.”
Even the words of Charles Darwin betray more than a particle of uncertainty in these words written only twenty years after publication of his “Origin of the Species” ; “There is still considerable difference as to the means, such as how far natural selection has acted or whether there exists some mysterious innate tendency to perfectibility.”
There is the institutional inertia of social thinking and teaching to contend with as Hoyle described; “Once the whole of humanity becomes committed to a particular set of concepts, educational continuity makes it exceedingly hard to change the pattern.”
Nobel Prize winning chemist Dr. Harold C. Urey admitted: “All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. But we believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, that it is hard for us to imagine that it did.
George Wald who won the Nobel Prize for medicine wrote in Scientific American the following: The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative was to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many scientists, a century ago, chose to regard belief in spontaneous generation as a ‘philosophical necessity’. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. (He concludes) One has to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet, here we are, as a result I believe of spontaneous generation.” (Were their awards for accomplishments in science or philosophy?)
Aldous Huxley, of “A Brave New World” fame in an essay titled “Confessions of an Atheist” bravely expressed the heart of Pharaoh’s hardened heart, “I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. For myself, as no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument for liberation from a certain political and economic system and a liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”
Consider the words of the leader of a great modern state as Pharaoh in his time; “It is true that we are barbarians. That is an honored title to us. I free humanity from the shackles of the soul, from the degrading suffering caused by the false vision called conscience and ethics. The Jews have afflicted two wounds on mankind-circumcision on its body and conscience on its soul. They are Jewish inventions. The war for dominion is waged only between the two of us, between these two camps alone-the Germans and the Jews. Everything else is but deception.”
The story of them back then is the story of every man and now. The Pharaoh within is no fool nor peculiarly insane. He’s suffers from a common form of cognitive dissonance, rationalization, denial. The Moshe deep within us quietly proves his point and cries persistently even still, trying to bend Pharaoh’s ear and arm, pleading, “Please let my person grow!”