The Engine Of Progress Is Dead

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “The Peace”: And humanity has already thrown itself to the extreme right, as with Germany, or to the extreme left, as with Russia. But not only did they not ease the situation for themselves, they have worsened the malady and agony, and the voices rise up to the sky, as we all know. 

Today all the means that were useful in the past are invalid. It makes no difference how we choose to advance, what plans we make, or what recommendations or innovations we come up with. Eventually all this will only deepen the crisis we are in, force us to waste our powers in vain, and increase pain and suffering.

So what can we do? A wise man tries to identify the whole process in advance from beginning to end in regards to a predetermined goal. If we do this, we will certainly save ourselves pain and follow the way that will still bring us to the same outcome.

On the other hand, as long as we keep postponing the only possible correction, the unpleasant phases will only be stretched out and prolonged. If we continue to advance along the corporeal egoistic plane, we raise our ego each time and overcome the bad states that are revealed. Our ego keeps on growing and we invent more and more new sophisticated innovations in technology, means of communication, or legislation.

Instead of a king, we have a parliament; we save money in bank accounts and give priority to private enterprises. Why is this so? In order to give people different opportunities to fulfill the egoistic desire and thus keep advancing. We are in perpetual motion, and on each level we discover its worthlessness the moment when we cannot satisfy the demands of our developing desire by ourselves and it forces us to keep on developing.

Today, the desire has reached a certain level of satiation and now we can decide what to do with it. It doesn’t matter what means we try, nothing is successful. Matter, the desire to receive, which has been the basis for the development of human society for thousands of years, is no longer fruitful. Competition can no longer be the engine of progress.

We are in search of new directions, trying to understand what else we can do. But we find nothing. There are no more opportunities in industry, commerce, or science. We have fulfilled and exhausted ourselves.

Of course, we would rather believe that this is a temporary dead end before a new breakthrough, but there is a fundamental problem here: We have developed society only in order to use the power of our ego. Today the ego doesn’t work anymore.

Therefore, we mustn’t continue our advancement in the directions that we have developed so far. The egoistic force, the basis of our progress has exhausted itself. We can already see that it has begun to consume itself.

In the past, a person wanted to have a family, bring up his children, build a home, and become rich. Only a decade or two ago, these goals and demands were clearly understood. But today, many people are not attracted to it. The old values are suddenly gone. It is therefore better to sit and smoke a joint, which has become practically legal, and that’s it.

Humanity has lost the hold and supporting pillar of the ego, which has been our engine of progress throughout history. Although governments and the media still manage to blur reality, there is actually nowhere else to which we can advance.

If we continue to hold on to the peak and keep on delving deeper into the diminishing pool of opportunities, the troubles will only increase. The more we continue to advance along this path, the quicker our negative development will be. The wrong use of the ego and its overuse in our times will eventually show us that it doesn’t work anymore. The uselessness of self-love is now becoming evident.

We already see behavioral mutations in the relations between people and countries. Many don’t even want to think rationally as to whether it is good or bad for them, but simply act out of their impulses and prefer not to think about the outcomes. Thus the ordinary egoistic behavior is gradually changing.

This is a very dangerous phase since it can lead to an outburst in any possible direction. Therefore, the wisdom of Kabbalah is being revealed, and although it is seemingly an artificial thing, unnatural for us, it is actually the right and natural thing.

If we have already exhausted our human egoistic impulse to advance and develop, then there is only one thing left to do: ascend to the next level that is above self-love. There is another force in the world besides the force of receiving, which is the force of bestowal. So why don’t we establish a new humanity on the basis of this attribute? Why don’t we establish our relationships upon it? Let’s use the second force in nature. We mustn’t continue to ignore bestowal. It has always been at our disposal, but we didn’t feel a need for it because the ego pushed us forward and considered the force of bestowal redundant.

The force of receiving burnt in us more and more and we didn’t even think that bestowal provides us with greater opportunities to advance. It is because with the help of bestowal we use the external vessels of the environment, which are the desires, the attainments, the connections and the great mind, the great force that is on the outside. We never even thought that we could develop along the positive path with the help of the force of bestowal.

Bestowal is based on mutual benefit. It opens up infinite perspectives because humanity can finally unite powers instead of wasting them on inner struggles, because it is actually the separation that weakens us. It is just like a rich couple who gets divorced and their lawyers get all their money. Eventually the two sides are left with nothing compared to what they had before.

On the whole, competition and ambitiousness help us advance only if we don’t directly compete with one another on the basis of mutual hate, but instead, we do this on the conceptual level, for the sake of humanity. Today the competition between us is who is better and whose merchandise is better. In this kind of struggle each one wants to wipe out the competition, which is a destructive state not a constructive one. In such cases it isn’t the general wellbeing that wins and it is therefore harmful to all of us.

We have now begun a period of destructive competition. As a result, the ego begins to consume itself and becomes an illness that destroys people. In the past the ego was the developing force, but now it has become a destructive force.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/26/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam

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