NZZ: “Between Atoms”

The Austrian magazine NZZ published my interview titled “Between Atoms” with Michael Fleischhacker, a journalist, moderator, and Chief Editor of NZZ, a former Chief Editor of Die Presse. Below is the translation of the article into English.


It is one of humankind’s most ancient teachings of wisdom and still vastly popular: the wisdom of Kabbalah. One of the most prominent representatives of Kabbalah explains in this interview why we need to construct an instrument in order to reveal the Creator.

Michael Fleischhacker: For this magazine, we invited several Austrian artists to produce a picture for us. One that reflects the title of the magazine: My  Creator. Zenita Komad was one of the producing artists. Through her work, I could see that her understanding is that the Creator is actually communication;  The Creator does not appear through a swirl of disconnected atoms, but only when communication is established between atoms does the Creator enlighten us, or the Creator becomes visible, if you will. Do you share this view?

Michael Laitman: That is absolutely correct. I agree with Zenita. The Creator is not a personality, but a force: the overall force uniting all the other forces in nature. This force connects and includes the whole of creation. It directs, guides, organizes and arranges everything. All in all, it is energy. In order to discover this energy, we need to create a detector inside of ourselves, much as in our world where you need an instrument to measure a magnetic or radioactive force.

For example, we feel the pressure of gravity upon us. However, we do not feel the magnetic force; hence we need an instrument for that. Such an instrument is what we need in order to grasp and reveal this highest force.

Does it sound very technical? One starts to create a certain instrument like a sensor, like something from Star Wars, in order to detect the external world. Is that correct, the way Im depicting it?

Yes. Except that on the contrary, it has to be constructed within the person.

Are there directions anywhere on how I go about doing this? Are there directions on the internet that one can just download and use?

Certainly. This is what the wisdom of Kabbalah offers us. For almost 6000 years, it has been studied how to create connections between us and within us in order to receive the force capable of revealing Divinity.

Religions speak of a different path. They, allegedly, have already constructed such an instrument, maintaining that it exists and all of the work is to simply follow that path, because this Creator they are talking about is already present, you just have to follow Him…

There are many religions and there were even more religions and beliefs in history. We are not a part of that. The wisdom of Kabbalah does not affiliate itself with any religion in any form. It is simply the “wisdom” of Kabbalah. It is a science dealing with how to reveal the Upper force of nature which is called the “ Creator.”

There’s no “faith,”  ritualistic act or anything particular we need to do. Of course, a person has to be willing to change himself to become capable of seeing the Divine.

It’s only about a person who adheres to the goal of “knowing Divinity,” revealing Divinity, knowing this force, revealing it. When it is revealed, it is within that person, through the internal changes the person himself summons.

Religions, over hundreds and thousands of years, have played a rather problematic role in the social paradigm and they still do. We now see that many of the worlds conflicts are religious and cultural ones. It seems to be tied to the fact that some religions are monotheistic, and this monotheism always leads to war, because if I believe that my Creator, that my religion is the only true one, then inevitably it leads to the thought that the others are not, so I need to fight them. Meaning, a religion always translates into war.

That’s because it’s simplistic. It is constructed according to human nature, which is the ego, the force of evil. We are driven solely from this force of evil, our ego. Religions result from this force of evil, too. Egotism is their foundation, so certainly they all develop themselves to relate negatively to people of other beliefs. There is nothing worse than religions, where each one is opposed to the other.

Religion? It is a human invention. You see what’s happening in the world. Each religion cannot tolerate others, and instead of coming closer and connecting, people only grow further apart and are ready to kill and devour each other. It’s because everything we create in our lives, including religions, science, psychology, whatever it may be, is all done according to our nature, which is the ego. The force of evil.

The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that we need to reveal another force in addition to that negative force within us, the evil force. We need to reveal the positive force, the force of good, and balance both of them, one opposite the other. If we balance them, we can exist between both of these forces of plus and minus.

In our world, we have atoms, molecules, matter, the inanimate, vegetative and living, and they all exist in balance, in relative equilibrium. There is always a positive and a negative force. Heat and cold, pressure-vacuum and so on. However, within man, within his deepest self not within our bodies, but within us, our feelings, only the evil force is at work there, with none of the good force. The good force is what we need to extract from nature and use to balance the evil force within us, by ourselves. This  is precisely what the wisdom of Kabbalah deals with and it does not belong to any religion.

Its quite a Platonic thought, but you said it yourself, whats interesting here is that the evil is within us but for the good force, we have to work, to extract it from the Creator or from nature.

Laitman interrupts :The Creator and Nature, they are the same thing.

All of it still sounds very negative.

What’s negative? What sounds negative? Human nature? Of course it is negative. We can see that; we see the results of it strewn across our world and history. We have nothing that’s positive. There is nothing good in our doing. Human beings only destroy.

I’m sorry, I have to interject here: there are many good things happening, and they too come from within Man. And you yourself dont look so evil either. Laughs.

Thank you. (laughing) No, but all those things which appear “good” to you are also constructed by the evil force; that’s how we build the system. By default, we create such systems where I take others into consideration, out of selfish necessity. I have no choice, so I do that. Everybody thinks only of his own benefit. Man does not care about the benefit of others. That’s the form of our ego.

In my experience as well, there are people who work and try to be selfless, to go and help the world. There are many of them. But most of them seem to lack a self they could rid themselves of. So the problem I see is that perhaps they should be working on getting rid of the self in order to become altruistic.

You are right; there are many people who do many good things because their nature forces them to, but not because they themselves want to be that way. This is a broad field of study, I can’t open it up in this short discussion, but when you begin to go deeper into how the wisdom of Kabbalah details the nature of man in a scientific manner, we can see that humans are incapable of performing any action whatsoever without receiving some compensation, energy or reward. We work only for that reward. It may be that I am creating good things for humanity, but it’s because of my inner drive. Not because I want to do it, but because my nature obligates me. We have to make a distinction between what I decide for myself and what nature and inner drives obligate me to do.

It’s written in the Torah/Bible that man is born with an evil inclination. Because the Creator, when He created Man, what did He say? “Man is born with an evil inclination,” and everything Man does is evil. Man cannot do any good. So it is with our substance, which always demands energy.

But this sounds like spiritual capitalism? Is it not spiritual?

It is our natural inclination. What does it mean, spiritual or not? It’s just our desire to be. And if sometimes I receive pleasure by giving to someone else, I still do it because by so doing, I’m benefiting myself. Let’s say I see a small child, starving, so I give him something. I don’t give the child food so he feels better, but rather, because it hurts me to see him in such a state. In order to cure that pain inside me, I give to the child. We only cover our own pain.

There are many such people who go out and guard nature, give out food and clothes in many places and even go to dangerous places, risking their lives. They do all this to fulfill their own personal emptiness. By so doing, they calm themselves. It’s not because they want to give, but because otherwise they’d feel bad and have a need to calm themselves.

You spoke of the negative outcomes of religion, how religion affects our society. I want to turn the question around now: If all those who are responsible for our society economically, politically and so on, if all those people  understand or in some way reveal this instrumentyou speak of, if they come to that state, what will they do differently? What are the big social changes that you see happening if those responsible for our society study Kabbalah and perform these changes within themselves?

We are now at a time when, for the first time in history, the wisdom of Kabbalah is being widely revealed. Why is it being revealed? Because humanity has come to the end of its technical, technological, egotistic development. Egoistic, as we have developed only by the evil, negative force for the entirety of our history.

Today it is at its end. Today, we can see that even the family cell is being destroyed. Nations, peoples, the relations among people and even the egoistic economy cannot sustain itself any longer. All of human society and everything it used to be and how it sustained itself using its ego, where each one wanted to fullfill oneself to the detriment of the common good- that egotistic economy is breaking down. Our inner desire to be better off than the other, everybody just caring about themselves is over.

Excuse me for interrupting, but how do you see that its ending now? Why dont you say it was over 30 or 50 years ago? I would say that as a result of the greatest egoistic drive that exploded in the twenties, we could have already said that everything was at its end. Why only now?

You are right. I agree with you. That’s correct. However, we have only recognized and identified this phenomenon now. Even so, it will take us a few more years for everyone to understand that we’re finished. We can’t sustain ourselves, our country, government, world, nature, family, even our own selves, perhaps until humanity falls into despair, depression and drugs in order to forget everything. It will take time, but we see that it’s already going in that direction rapidly. The wisdom of Kabbalah has always been concealed, and now it is being revealed, in our times, to give us direction in order to rise to the next level of humanity.

We will reveal the positive force existing in nature alongside the negative force, which is already revealed within us. First of all, we need extensive education for this, to explain to all how to work with both of these forces. How we can work, not only with our own inner egoistic nature, but also with this altruistic, positive and vital strength we find in nature, in addition to the force of ego within us. We work with both of these forces. We have to attain a state of a common desire and thought in order to help each other, to be as close as possible to one another. This is how the force of good is revealed in this world.

What you are saying in terms of economic global affairs sounds a bit anti-capitalistic Very interesting. How we are haunted by our ego, just to receive pleasure for ourselves etc…

What will happen when we topple this egotism and switch to functioning altruistically? At first glance it seems like we have this old capitalism which is sustained by religions. Do we have to switch to a Kabbalistic-communist approach?

The wisdom of Kabbalah doesn’t speak of us destroying any force or our natural traits or anything in the world altogether. We only add the force of good to our nature and to our world. Nothing disappears, or is going to be destroyed, nothing is done through coercion. The wisdom of Kabbalah speaks only of educating people, of how to teach people how they can be interconnected in such a way, where we all feel that we belong to one common body, one desire, one soul.

When a person begins to feel everyone around him, he begins to feel reality as outside of his body, no longer dependent on this egoistic body, this human animal. This is what we have to attain during our lives here, in this world.

But that means we never have enough time. Were always short on time. And here it sounds like you are saying that things need to be even worse, because only then can they get better, only when we see that we cant go on anymore, being so egotistic. So, it seems that it needs to become severe in order to turn into good in the end.

No. We don’t want it to get worse. We want for people to approach this future state of life in a good way, comfortably, consciously, as they are still human beings and have minds and hearts. They just need to be developed, educated, instead of being driven by misery.

We’re approaching very serious problems now. Everyone knows it; everyone understands, agrees, and they are despaired by the fact that there’s no good future. But the wisdom of Kabbalah says that we do have a different path by which to come to a good life and future. That’s why we are certain we must disseminate this method.

The good force is already found within nature, but we just aren’t using it. Between both forces of plus and minus is what empowers our engine.

Perhaps it is good to try and convince some very important people of your ideas. Who would be first? Donald Trump perhaps?

I suppose you would know these things better than me.

I noticed, 30 years ago, how they began building the European Union. I was in France and Germany then, and I saw all those trucks spreading advertising materials regarding the union and the future Europe. I told people then that it wouldn’t work, that after a few dozen years it would break out into a third world war. Because when we come closer by using our ego, we then have a problem when we want to separate.

I wrote about it in many places and spoke of it; how other than proper education, I don’t see any way of connecting all the Europeans together correctly. I don’t see any other way to escape the situation Europe is entering. Europe still doesn’t understand where its headed, or that there is a very serious problem facing them; the problem of how to leave this connection, this very egoistic and crude connection they’ve created among them. It is a connection only between banks and industries, rather than a connection among people. That’s why it cannot sustain. It will eventually explode.

I spoke of this, but they did not listen to me back then. However, we see how over the years, especially in recent times, all of those rulers are losing their reigns. They can’t govern nations and companies anymore. They are incapable of it.

I have another question:

We spoke of the role of religion. You said that all of the religious projectsare in dire circumstances, but we see that young people in particular hold onto things such as the Islamic State. They have ISIS and it is greatly influential. Not only for ultra-religious young people, but even for those who come from a normal secular background and even those who know nothing of religion and spirituality. Rather there is something in people, something tough and evil that the Islamic state connects with.

True. It’s because they offer psychological compensation. They have a vision of the future. The connection draws people. What’s the use of this life where I only suffer? Unless one takes some drug to smoke or perhaps anti-depressants. But if I want to feel some kind of suspense, certain interest in life, where I’m actually accomplishing something, I don’t have anything like that. Especially in Europe. What is there? Nothing.

In the past, there was literature, art, music and so on. Afterwards it was more about science and psychology. Now it’s all finished. Science is in crisis, psychology and all those things… they’re of the past.

Well thats not entirely truebut right here we have an artist listening to us. Art isnt over. Everything is still around, always ready to improve the world…

Through modern art, we only discover how limited and self-centered Man is. But I want to continue, regarding all those organizations such as radical Islam, which are greatly attractive to all kinds of people and especially the young generation, because they give a vision, a purpose for which to exist. They portray the upper force, Allah, as suited and open to everybody.

The wisdom of Kabbalah says that you don’t need to die for that and you can draw the Upper force and feel it such that you immediately enter Heaven on earth.

I wanted to object to something you said. In my understanding, the attraction of organizations like ISIS and the willingness of young people to join them is not because of a vision, its because theyre given some kind of purpose and hope for something theyll never have in their boring lives.

They have some very aggressive inner desires which have been kept under a lid for two thousand years of civilization. A desire for violence, all of the dark things within Man, where after hundreds of thousands of years we understand in our civilization that we have no outlet for these emotions. And here they can be let out. Let out against homosexuals, women, whatever doesn’t suit them. It just allows people to let out their aggressions. Its not some hope for a better future or hope for Heaven that lures people out of their homes, but rather the chance to let the dark side of man out, free of the limitations of civilization, without everything weve built up for thousands of years.

That is the other side of the ego. You’re right and I agree with what you said 100%, our ego is being revealed now to be just like that. It’s not being revealed in a few individuals. We may yet reveal it as an atomic world war in the near future, and other kinds of upheavals everywhere in the world.
Our ego awaits an opportunity to erupt. Yet, they still draw people not by saying “Let’s all slaughter others now.” They’re being drawn by some ideal. It also manifests in the way you mentioned. That’s the other side of the coin.

Everyone asks themselves in some way how to educate people. Education is the weakest point. It is difficult to educate people. And here were talking about the education of the young generation. Where do you see the biggest lack of education? We all agree that there is a problem with education. What do you see as the main problem of the education system today?

We’re nearing a world where people will hardly have to work at all. It is said that even if 97% of the world’s population did nothing, the other 3% could feed and clothe the entire world. Let’s take smaller odds than scientists give, let’s say that 70% of people can stop working today and this will actually only be to everyone’s benefit. We won’t be polluting nature, the air and everything will be better. There’s no need for people to work today and bringing food and clothes is no problem. It’s very clearly understood today, there are  economist accounts on that.

I suggest something simple: you don’t work, you study. The whole world as one global university, through the media, internet; everyone sits and studies, wherever they are. They receive food, clothes, everything they need. They work by studying. Studying how to be wholesome people, including both forces of nature, revealing the Upper force now, in their lifetime, coming to the “opening of the Heavens,” as is written. There’s no problem carrying it out, because the less people work, it will only be better, and they’ll be content with what they have, because we can supply them with everything. No problem. They’ll receive fulfillment, because they’ll suddenly reveal what they have felt was missing for thousands of years. As you said, it’s now being revealed as evil in the world, where people want to kill and destroy each other. We will help them discover the other force which balances this evil, and so good and evil will come into equilibrium. Then, our lives will be of the highest level. We will truly feel the next world.

There are all sorts of theories, where the first condition is always for us to somehow limit our desires. Meaning, for us to settle for the bare necessities. But who decides what is necessity? How do I need to limit myself then and who rules this process?

No! Nothing like that. It’s never good to limit one’s desires. It’s not good to destroy the evil. Not good. The evil must be balanced with the good. If we don’t have both the good and the evil, we won’t be able to reveal the good at all. Plus and minus have to be in balance, and as broadly as possible.

I need to slightly defend the people here. If we agree regarding all these organizations such as the Islamic State, where people can break all  boundaries and take out all their aggression, I still have to defend humanity and say that we do have some tools with which to protect our civilization. Meaning, I look even at the Pokemon go, I see that its better to run around hunting Pokemon than to go around beheading people. Is there anything like that to aim for?

What do you want? To dumb people down even more? To make them more primitive, stupid, to have them play with all kinds of nonsense only to calm themselves?

Actually yes, its better than having them cut off heads.

That is true, but it’s not correction. So let’s do this: let’s put even more of those substances inside their food and water which will make them dumber, so that they feel better, for them to just sit and do nothing. Or just make them die faster- even better, because why suffer?

What is the use of seven billion people doing nothing, other than  harming the world? This poor planet cannot tolerate them any further. Well? But this is not our purpose. The purpose of mankind’s existence on this planet is to emerge from this life into another dimension, a different dimension, spiritual life. What is spiritual? To live between both forces. Then you exist above time, motion and space. You traverse to a world that has no past, present or future.

This is what humanity exists for. You’ll get there anyway, whether you want to or not, nature will take its course. This is the plan of creation, and we will come to its end. But what the wisdom of Kabbalah reveals is this: it shows you what is taking place and where we are headed, and that it’s better for us to do it ourselves and not be driven forward by great wars,  suffering and pain which await us, otherwise.

I think its very nice that weve come full circle to why the wisdom of Kabbalah exists, what its purpose is. As a partly intellectual European, Id like to hear you explain what actually  is the essence of the wisdom of Kabbalah?

The essence of the wisdom of Kabbalah is to reveal the positive force against the negative force, which is already found in our nature and so to help man balance himself between both of these forces, because between then he ascends to a higher plane and begins revealing his non-material life, above matter. He begins to be the “upper human,” in that existence. That’s the level of consciousness all of humanity has to attain.

And it’s all in this life. You don’t need to die or kill anyone, or be killed or the like. No. Acquire the second force inherent in nature and balance yourself. For this purpose you are alive. That is the work of mankind.

For me, that sounds perfect as the concluding statement.

Dr. Michael Laitman was born 1946 in Witebsk, Belarus
Dr. Laitman is one of the most significant Jewish Kabbalists of the 20th century.
Dr. Laitman heads the Ashlag Research Institute and is the Founder of the Bnei Baruch Organisation. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
He now lives and teaches in Israel.

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