Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


From Infancy to Eternity


From infancy to eternity, we all need to be recognized, to have attention, to be loved.   The newborn screams to let it be known he has needs.  The child hugs and holds those he loves and those who give him positive attention, he turns away from strangers.   He attempts to please or perform in a manner to be noticed, to feel that he is a presence in his environment, in the center in which he exists.  The actions that he exhibits get him attention and hopefully he receives what will meet his desires, his needs.  So it is with people of all ages.  We notice those who have very strong feelings and especially those who cannot or will not control them. 

In their young lives, we notice the peculiarities of teenagers.  Some excel in one way or another.  They are excellent students, play an instrument, are very helpful, wear the latest fashion, or do something positive to be known to get attention.  On the other side there are the teens and those older who shave their hair on one side, color the remainder red and purple, wear swastikas on their clothes, and are noticed.  In adulthood there are those who excel and inadvertently call attention to themselves; some have excellent jobs, become the bosses of their compatriots or their establishments.  The folk who are superior in what they do also are noticed.  There are those who are the leaders of their group through their deeds or their personalities, such as the winners in sports, the football heroes, or the girlfriends of the heroes who are noticed by their personalities to attract the heroes. 

Then there are the evildoers of society, those who get attention through their deeds; those who murder and receive publicity through their actions; the more folks they kill the more publicity they receive; their need to act out is so strong that they enjoy the response and attention that they crave.  There are the dictators of the world, whose personality is of such a nature that they are the untouchables.  They are surrounded with safety devices, much of these are their personality, their nature.  An outstanding example was  Adolf Hitler.  People became minor Hitlers, they carried out his venomous deeds, his demands, his sadism.  He convinced his followers and the people of his nation that those he hated were worthy of merciless death. The sadistic humanity enjoyed the edicts that Adolf Hitler gave, and carried out his anger, his disappointments, his burning hatred of most of humanity.  He carried out his destructiveness toward the Jewish people and ascertained that his actions were deserved and successful.  He proved to God fearing humanity that there is no deity; there is no God, that he, Hitler, is the ruler of the world and that the universe, his world, follows and believes in him, Hitler, and will carry out his wishes.  In this fashion he was able to satiate his hunger, his feelings, his anger, his psychopathy, his desires to get even with his childhood, his youth, his failures, his feelings.  He was the conqueror of his existence and of his world.  He ruled by his needs, his wishes, his desires.  He satisfied his id, the sadistic feelings of his own and that of his followers.  He rewarded the killing instincts and encouraged these people to carry out their fury.  Beware those who were not able to respond to his commands, to his wishes!

Religion is another means of special recognition.  It allows the multitude and various groups and denominations to be noticed in their own modus operandi, to celebrate in different ways, in different fashions.  Within the same religious group or denominations, differences can also be seen and one type of believer is different in their carrying out the tenets from another.  The leader of the congregation of the Catholic Church is the priest, the minister is in charge of the Protestant denomination, and the rabbi is in charge of the synagogue or temple.  There is also the president of the group of believers, their greeter, the advisor, the giver, the taker and more.

As we examine our Jewish religion, we find those that are Jewish in name only, by birth, they celebrate very little if at all; there are the conservatives and those in between; there are those who belong to a synagogue, temple, etc.  They become important by being the “president of the sisterhood” or of the “Men’s Club.”  They may be the greeter and gain some small status in that role.  People know that the greeter exists; he or she is friendly and important to others and himself for that attribute.  The board of a particular congregation makes decisions and gains status for him or herself in that fashion.  There are the very orthodox who do not deal with people who do not carry out a great number of the “Caryagim Mitzwot” (613 good and important deeds or attributes that allegedly make a person close to really a good and decent human being).  To a person that is a “true orthodox Mensch,” who is one who keeps kosher and does what is absolute will not be able to live in  close friendship of a reform Jewish person.

Every person has common human needs.  The cry from infancy, or the finality of being, of existence.  This is true of the Nobel Prize winner or the elderly person in the wheelchair.


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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