“If statistics are right, the
Jews constitute not one percent
of the human race. It suggests a nebulous
puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the
Milky way….His contributions to the
world’s list of great names in literature,
science, arts, medicine and obtuse learning
is wildly out of proportion to his numbers….
it all with his hands tied behind him”
Mark Twain, Harpers Magazine (1899)
Jewish Intelligence and Genius
The objective of Zionism 2.0 is to lay out a technological, industrial and cultural plan that envisions Israel as it will come to exist in 2073, allowing for a 50-year plan of action and implementation. The first major milestone and goal post is set to be reached on Israel’s 100th anniversary in 2048. We see Israel by her centenary year as one of the most technically advanced and one of the wealthiest countries in the world, affording her population of 15 million people an unmatched standard of living; we envision Israel’s economy as encompassing a multi-trillion dollar financial system by that year. By 2073, we see Israel in the top tier of the world’s leading nations pioneering many new industries and originating major scientific and intellectual advances. What is being proposed is not entirely new, rather, it is merely a restatement of Theodore Herzl’s ambition as expressed in his manifesto The Judenstaat, “the new Jewish state will in time overtake not only Great Britain, but the whole of Europe and indeed the ‘New World’, as the most modern nation in the world.” Zionism 2.0 is driven by the lofty moral impulses and the creative energies that have characterized the Jewish reclamation and restoration of its sovereign nationality in Eretz Israel.
The projects and proposals that are being systematically presented and unveiled in this blog are not random scenarios, thought problems, hypothetical exercises, or some kind of conjecturing, or counterfactual modelling game. These plans, however ambitious in their scale or scope are meant to be implemented. Zionism 2.0 is programmatic. There is no interest whatsoever in spinning an unrealizable utopia. The extraordinary event of Israel’s founding, which we assert unhesitatingly as an event of epochal consequence, has already set much of what is being proposed in motion. Israel’s extraordinary economic, cultural and social development if simply sustained will propel Israel to a leading world position amongst the world’s nations. Zionism 2.0 is an ‘accelerationist’ framework that seeks to set out a number of goal-driven, and ‘end’ defined projects, some of a minor nature and some of considerable grandeur, that will inspire the people of Israel, the Jewish Diaspora and multitudes all over the globe.
The ‘proposals’ of Zionism 2.0 collectively represent the most far-reaching, and ambitious set of national projects ever articulated. These projects, some of which have been previously outlined ( Zionism 2.0—Themes and Proposals & Hebrew-Lingua Franca of Medicine), include a very significant medical program which draws on the deepest moral springs of Hebraic civilization; aspects of this plan include making major breakthroughs in cancer treatment, molecular medicine, artificial organ construction and anti-aging therapies. In addition, the scientific and engineering program involves developing ‘universal von Neumann constructors’, volumetric 3D fabrication, fusion energy, artificial photosynthesis, quantum and optical computers, space lift systems, humanoid robotics, synthetic presences, space habitats, genetic engineering breakthroughs in agriculture, and entirely new modalities for treating human psychiatric and depressive disorders and the pervasive anomie of modern society. These and dozens of other projects are tied into and related to each other will be relentlessly pursued.
By 2073, on Israel’s 125th anniversary, we predict that Israel’s global economic footprint will be in the 8-10 trillion dollar range with a Jewish majority population of approximately 20 million people. By 2073, we predict that Israel’s industries, laboratories and research facilities will employ tens and possibly hundreds of millions of people around the world. The Middle East with its burgeoning, economically impoverished masses, facing terrible and acute crises of food and fresh water and gainful employment, will be transformed, restructured and reoriented by the tidal forces that will be unleashed. (See Greater Israel blog entry). A broad and ambitious vision is necessary at the historic juncture where we find ourselves. Without a broad and deep vision, not only will Israel not survive the coming challenges and threats, but the entire Middle Eastern region, Europe and much of the world will be put in grave jeopardy. The world constitutes a single, increasingly interconnected, integrated global system. We are denizens of this beautiful blue planet called Earth. This cradle of life must be protected so that we may emerge from it. The processes of increasing interconnectedness and dependency can only grow from this economic-historical point forward. As Herzl said in one of his letters, “visions alone grip the souls of men. And he who does not know how to deal in visions …..will never be a leader of men and no trace of him will remain”
The successful achievement of the plans and projects that are being elaborated here in this blog, will require solving complex and daunting, theoretical, engineering, technical and scientific problems. The ‘discovery canyons’ that will have to be traversed are enormously deep; conceptual leaps of genius will be required to make meaningful progress in many of the key intellectual and engineering domains. Success will require mobilizing an unprecedented level of extraordinary talent over the coming fifty years. All of these projects beg the question as to where this reservoir of intelligence, talent and genius will come from? What are the resources and talents that can be marshalled from within Israel, given its natural growth, as well as from the demographically challenged Jewish people in the diaspora; a diaspora whose numbers have been decimated by the Holocaust and by the combined forces of rapid assimilation and cultural drift. We will leave the question of the availability of the financial resources to a future blog entry, it is the lesser of the two problems.
It is from this perspective, of meeting an extraordinary set of unprecedented intellectual challenges and demands, that I want to survey and examine Jewish intellectual achievement and genius over the last century. The general objective in this blog entry and further explorations forthcoming is to do an accounting of Jewish intelligence, intellectual accomplishment and genius; and to do this accounting so that we might be able to better understand and predict the cognitive capacities that could be turned to the benefit and development of Zionism 2.0 projects and undertakings. It is a worthwhile exercise, I believe, and it does not seem as if anyone else has ever attempted to do a reckoning of total Jewish intellectual ‘capital’ in any vaguely comparable fashion. The basic question being mooted is, how do past achievements, accomplishments and feats point to what we can accomplish and build in Israel over the next twenty five and fifty years? Will the same critical mass of Jewish talents coalesce together in Israel, as they have in so many other countries over the last century, to allow for creative escape? Is there a threshold factor in terms of the Jewish population? What could that number be? Can the Jewish people continue to keep up this stupendous ‘act’? Will the greatest ‘talent’ show of all time continue its extraordinary run?
One of the sub-themes that will be weaved through these blog posts over the coming year, is an ongoing survey and examination of Jewish achievements in the sciences, in medicine, in the arts and in business. Tangentially, en passant, attention will be given to the losses and destruction of so much of Jewish culture; particular attention will be directed at the economic destruction of the material basis of European Jewry as a result of 20th century antisemitism and the Holocaust. Not only are these subjects poorly studied but reticence and timidity seems to have put up a bar to further inquiry. Jewish intellectual recollection and historical research evokes the same reaction one has in looking at the many old, abandoned and forlorn Jewish cemeteries with their fallen and broken headstones dotted all over Eastern Europe, the Ukraine and Russia–utterly forgotten and lost epitaphs of a destroyed and brutally mauled civilization. The view here is that Jewish and Hebraic accomplishments need to be uncovered, excavated and revisited. Crucially, extraordinary feats of Jewish enterprise and invention need to be specifically understood, explicated, described and drawn out for further study. This activity needs to be understood within the context of the people that gave rise to them and not obfuscated and appropriated by others.
I am also strongly of the view that these ‘inventions’, creations, and accomplishments in no uncertain way confer national privileges and prerogatives, and that they gift true entitlement, delimit national liberty, grant immunity and dispensation and ennoble the Jewish people in the true sense of that word. All of these grants and titles subtend and accrue to the benefit of the State of Israel by way of a bounty and a gift from the ‘greater’ Jewish people. Israel and the Jewish people do not only rest, or plan to rest on their historical ‘grants’ but to put forward as we are doing here, our national, nay, let us say our universal bonafides, a world-spanning vision and nothing less.
Israel expects that her neighbours will at the same time, develop productive lines of work and invention and create necessary means of livelihood and employment and raise up the standards of their people and finally with what other energies that can be mustered, contribute to the world’s treasury of knowledge, science and wisdom. Nationality and the privileges that come with it are not granted but earned. Contributions to the greater welfare are required of all nations, otherwise that nation should forfeit any rights or titles.
An inventory of Jewish achievement in mathematics, medicine, physics, chemistry, the arts, music, and cultural production of various kinds produces revelations that are jaw-dropping and astonishing. Remarkably, even people that sit at the pinnacle of scientific achievement and have a good sense of their own discipline, are often dumbfounded by the full extent of Jewish achievement in other fields. Richard Dawkins, the emeritus fellow of New College of Oxford, recently professed that he had never really grappled with the scale of Jewish achievement, specifically the number of Jewish Nobelist’s. He said, perhaps disingenuously, that he simply began one day to count up Jewish names and did a few calculations of the odds of such a concentration occurring. He said that the odds of this kind of ‘clustering occurring’ was astronomically remote. Dawkins went on to remark when persistently pressed by a questioner at an academic conference that his only explanation for this so described statistical ‘anomaly’ was that “something about the cultural tradition of the Jews must be way, way more sympathetic to science and learning and intellectual pursuits”, there is “no other way to explain these achievements” and he added that this even posits one is assuming a naturally higher intelligence.
It is worthwhile and valuable to canvas Jewish intellectual capacities specifically with respect to realizing the ambitious proposals that are being put forward as part of Zionism 2.0. It is instructive, informative and inspiring to parade out the astonishing roster of Jewish Nobel prize winners (some of this is redundant to an earlier parenthetical note in the Zionism 2.0- Themes and Proposals blog entry).
( Part 2 of 4 to follow)