How Does One Become Independent?

Dr. Michael LaitmanIndependence is a very vague and problematic concept. What does it mean to be independent in a world in which we are all connected together? How is it possible to be independent if I am connected with thousands of threads to all kinds of government institutions, businesses, and people?

A much deeper question is concealed here. As the wisdom of Kabbalah says, a person is a desire to receive, a desire for pleasure, and at every moment in his life, he searches for how to attain as many comforts as possible: sitting, getting up, moving, lying down, trying something, eating, looking at something, hearing something. If I must do something, how can I do it in the most comfortable and easy manner, expending the least energy?

Ultimately, we are managed by the laws of nature. We want to enjoy and get the most while giving and suffering minimally. If I am built like this, then what does it mean to be independent? How can I be independent? It is written: “The dead are free.” So will I become free only after I die and my body no longer requires anything?

And how is it possible to become free? How does a healthy person living in this world become independent if I depend on many thousands of sources of pleasure, food, air, work, my children, and my wife, basically on everything. Each one of these can exert pressure on me and affect me. I cannot be independent. Maybe only if I escape to another galaxy will I become free, but this is not called independence.

We must understand that there can be no independence as long as a person does not abandon his desire to receive, his nature. In my egoistic nature I can never be independent, because I depend on everything and everyone. I cannot live without children, without a wife, without friends, without all the people. Today I cannot live without all of humanity, for everything that I have in my house has embedded within it a particle of the labor from the entire world. So independence is impossible if I think of how to fulfill myself, for then I require everyone and depend on everyone.

Theoretically, a person can be independent when he stops being concerned about himself and begins to enjoy bestowal to others. If I can live like this, not getting enjoyment from taking from everyone all the time but through giving and bestowing to others, then I become independent. I need everyone so I can bestow and give to them and receive pleasure from bestowing. Then I am independent and free since I don’t depend on them in the same way that I did in order to receive pleasure from them.

Ultimately, I have no possibility of enjoying through reception, but only through bestowal. For with reception I depend on others, whereas with bestowal, they depend on me. And so I can be higher than everyone, I can become truly independent. I can feel myself as their lord in the sense that I am higher than them, but love them. And because I bestow and give to them, by fulfilling them, I enjoy without any restriction on their part. We attain such a state that the wisdom of Kabbalah describes as the future of humanity, when everyone bestows and gives to others and feels himself independent.
From Israeli Radio Program 103FM, 4/19/15

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