Habit Becomes Second Nature

Dr. Michael LaitmanThere is a general law in nature, which actually gives us hope for our coming closer to each other and in our ability to overcome our egos. This law states that one’s habit becomes his second nature.

We see this ourselves. Let’s suppose from my childhood and over the course of my life, I become used to carrying out certain actions in order to reach a positive result or avoid undesirable consequences. Due to these actions that are repeated often, I develop a habit. It becomes the same kind of demand for me as the desire to receive pleasure, since I do not receive pleasure in any other form but this.

A person learns this and these actions become a habit for him. Everything depends only on how the environment obliges him to do something, how many people act in that manner, and to what extent it has support from everything that surrounds him in life.

Therefore, if we create an education system and organize an environment that will offer support to every person, one will be influenced by the mere fact that other people care so much about everyone else. He will find out about it from the media from the positive public opinion it forms.

In addition, everyone will know that we do this on purpose: We play with each other and pretend to be kind, as though we think that we all are one family, like we care about each other as we do about ourselves. We will need to play this game constantly. We will act like we already are corrected. And what will this do for us?

Gradually, due to this habit, public opinion, and the influence of the environment, I will begin to think in this direction and receive an impression from this behavior. I will begin to form a habit, and I will not be able to act in any other way anymore. It will become my nature, as though I was born this way in spite of the fact that I acquired this quality, that I was forced to develop it, and that I agreed due to a lack of any other choice.

Therefore, we need to realize the law “a habit will become second nature.” Everything depends on how much a person is situated under his own pressure and the pressure of his environment in order not to forget about this game and to advance in this manner. And we will play this way like little children.

After all, when children play, they imagine that they are doing something important and building something new. But we know that it’s a game, and it isn’t serious, and that there is nothing real in their actions. They make mistakes, build anew, destroy once again, and again rebuild. However, due to such different games they advance in their development, grow up, and become smarter.

Without games a child would grow up like a savage, a small animal that is just growing bigger. Great institutions using the best minds including psychologists create special developmental systems for children to play with using various materials (such as blocks and clay) and taking into consideration their interests (cars, dolls, and so on). They use various equipment and computer programs for this. And due to this, the children advance in their development.

Physical development is also impossible without games. We call it sports, but sports are also games where we use physical activities to accustom ourselves to achieve results that are beyond the power of the common man who doesn’t exercise, train, and play the sport. We see that athletes achieve great results due to their habit of working on themselves.

We also notice that people who live together for many years develop similar perceptions; they understand each other without words. And all this occurs as a consequence of the habit of living under one roof, seeing and feeling each other involuntarily, and reaching mutual inclusion in each other this way.

In much the same way, whole nations and civilizations were formed some time ago by way of people who were different and foreign to each other interacting together until they developed certain characteristics that became specific to that nation.

This goes to say that the law of habit becoming second nature is particularly necessary to us, so that even through actions that we do not desire and forms of interaction that are unnatural to us, we can acquire qualities that we choose against our own nature. These new qualities already exist in us, and it is due to them that we build ourselves.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” Episode #4, 1/1/12

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  1. It is possible to develop a new taste

  2. I am a Christian who does not believe that Jesus was the son of God, but a great profit in his time and a teacher who fulfilled the law by showing the path to love.
    My grandchildren are Jewish and my son converted to the Jewish faith at the age of 45.
    I have seen the Jewish habits you so well describe in your article and think it is most interesting in terms of keep close, personal, and connected in the most basic ways.

    But being a Christian, there is an element of standing outside of the box which is missing. I think I learned this from Jesus as the revolutionary that he was that not following the ways of power had its redemptive values as well. How can we better understand the love of our G-d if we do not develop faith without fear, trust without support, and love without condition? How do we learn to accept the true peace that passes all understanding if we do not stand alone in the valley or the mountain top?

    In studying Jewish history and thought, I was facinated how great and brilliant Jewish Scholars turn the tide of Jewish thought with a new revolutionary viewpoint from which all accepted and followed. There must be a place in the Jewish practice which allows for those to learn and ascribe to the Jewish Leaders, but also the place for creative thought which brings us all closer to the Highest of the Holy Divine.

    Thank you for your insightful article on many levels. I have been amazed at how beautifully my grandchildren have been raised, and continue to grow into amazing human beings. They think I am the nicest Christian they know!

    Janet Butler

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