Mysteries of Life: An ancient virus still lives!

Hold off on demanding the name of the virus until I explain my reasoning.

The other day, not for the first time in the past seven years, I was catching up with a dear friend about life and stuff. Since it’s the common perception among the majority of us that we’re living in the middle of a whomping period in American history, the Trump indictment came up.

She was adamant: it wasn’t going to happen, he’d never be convicted. In support of her view, she gave me a familiar litany of “why”: bad judge, lousy district wholly in support of Trump, a jury will never convict, all it’ll take is one juror, and “He’s gotten away with it all his life and he’ll get away with it now.”

I said to her what I’ve said to everyone else who’s offered me the same dark analysis of this astonishing time. “He’ll be convicted,” I say mildly.

I’m mild because, to me, this isn’t a battle to be waged between the pessimistic majority and the optimistic minority, all of whom basically see the essence of the matter similarly. No one is arguing that Trump is an OK fellow. That he’s innocent of the charges. The two conflicting views of the future are not concerned with right or wrong, of pleased relief or crushing disappointment.

So I began wondering where this fierce rejection of the probability of a good, rule-of-law future came from.

The virus! The virus of the Evil Eye. The Kinahora Virus has risen again!

This isn’t the first time I referred to Kinahora (more specifically Kinahora Poo Poo Poo), although my acquisition of this knowledge has been very recent — and I can tell you why.

Yesterday, I was having lunch with two friends (a married couple, each with an individualistic connector to Judaism) and my brother, Ethan. I was telling them how so many of my friends were so fiercely pessimistic about Trump, and sketched in my idea about Kinahora, i.e., the Evil Eye.

As I expected, my brother had never heard of Kinahora. Of course not, I said. We were brought up in not only an a-religious home, but whatever Jewish culture we imbued didn’t include ancient superstitions involving the desperate need to ward off the Evil Eye and such.

Although, as we then discussed, my father’s family — Trotskyist emigres from Odessa, Ukraine — may have ditched Judaism for some form of Communism, a form of Old Country superstition remained. All of them got stern and dark if one of us kids mentioned our aspirations. We were warned not to aim so high because we’d get pummeled.

I suppose we were being accused of dangerous arrogance — by a family in which several members were probably geniuses and managed quietly to evince their own superiority, i.e., arrogance in deploring ours.

That’s one of the problems with the intellectual life. It’s a personal, internal curiosity to comprehend. Aspire to carry it outside the home, though? You’ll be shot, maybe not by the Cheka but by some contemporary version. Madmen with guns, perhaps.


Geez, I’ve wandered far off the path I started out on. Let me get back to…

The Evil Eye and Kinahora. Right. It’s my belief that belief — which, simply, is a fear of expressing hope (“Trump will be convicted”) and other good, happy things, lest the Evil Eye see your hope and squash it into the ground (“Trump will get off and win the Presidency in 2024 and we’ll become an autocracy!”) — runs much deeper than culture, or habit or ancient superstition.

My idea: some infants swallow Kinahora poo poo poo in their mother’s milk. It flows into their bones and grows with them into adulthood. “Kinahora poo poo poo!”

So my brother and I lucked out. Only one of our parents feared the Evil Eye. She who provided the milk apparently had never heard of it.

Thanks, Mom.

Request for Information: The Evil Eye and Kinahora are Jewish things because I am a Jewish thing (even though Orthodox Jews would reject me). I’m positive most cultures have a concept of the Evil Eye and a way of warding it off.

If you know of one, if you’re part of such a culture, please click that Comments Feed ⇑  under the Blog Stuff widget thingee in the extreme right column of this page and tell me about it. I’ll publish it but more important, I will have learned something. (See above, re the intellectual life.)

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