In my column in Ynet: “What Is the Hidden Law of Nature?”
A butterfly fluttering its wings in Paris creates small changes in the atmosphere that can ultimately generate a tornado in Brazil. The “butterfly effect” that operates in an integral system also has an optimistic side: a small action on our part for the benefit of society can trigger a lot more goodness on the other side of the globe.
Imagine a person who decides to retire from social life in order to live in a cave or in the mountains or on a desert island in the middle of the ocean.
He lives cut off from everything: no fast food, no Internet, no cell phone, and no people around him, only the person himself and nature that surrounds him. At first, he probably feels an amazing sense of freedom, a dream come true, but soon enough, he finds it difficult to meet his basic needs: food, protection from predators, shelter from weather changes, trouble taking care of himself in case of an injury or an illness, and no one to share his moments of sorrow and joy with.
Ironically, this person can be any one of us. Even in the global era of the 21st century, in a society where we all are connected to each other through advanced technology, everyone retires to his own desert island, prefers to cut himself off from others, and takes care of himself instead of cooperating with his environment. By doing so, we go against nature, disrupting its global laws, and the immediate result is that our relationships are in a crisis, reaching a dead end expressed by the high rate of divorce, conflicts between neighbors and colleagues, wars between peoples and nations, as well as by poverty, hunger, and deprivation, which unfortunately are becoming the daily routine of most of mankind.
How have we reached this absurd situation in such a developed world? What can we do in order to change things for the better, and what does nature actually expect from us?
How to Survive These Days
Man is a social creature by nature. Nature has motivated man for ages to create infinite social, economic, and cultural relationships that have been woven into a tight global network thanks to which a person can get anything that he wants today by the click of a button. It may seem that nature operates randomly, without a certain purpose or direction, but the vast nature works very precisely, according to a predefined range of laws that drive every detail in harmony toward a single goal: to connect all parts of humanity into one society.
Nature could have developed in a perfect manner toward ultimate happiness, toward global unity where we could live as one big family, but this isn’t what we are seeing. So, what prevents us from connecting this way? It is our egoistic nature. A man’s heart is evil from his youth, the negative force in us that often makes us prefer our wellbeing to the wellbeing of others.
The combination of nature that pressures us from the outside by different climactic changes and places obstacles along our way so that we would unite into one society, along with the forces that operate on us from inside, the negative feelings that make us feel repulsed by each other, are leading us to an eventual clash. They disrupt the balance in our relationships and lead to the disintegration of social infrastructures and all of the troubles and disasters that we encounter.
We must spur the force of connection, the positive force, in order to overcome the ego and balance the bad relations between us. When we sit together at a roundtable and focus our conversation on the internal point that ties us together, the effort to leave the desert island and to move toward the common part, it will reveal the positive force that is concealed in the connection between us. We will be wrapped in a feeling of love and warmth. This togetherness will make us feel good and comfortable, but this is only the first step of the process. The stronger the connection between us becomes, the more connections we will create that are essentially similar to the connections that operate in nature.
A Relationship of Give and Take
At the roundtable we will learn about the force of nature that operates in order to connect us. There are only two laws: giving and receiving. The law of receiving obliges every individual in society to receive the basic necessities for himself so that he can care for his own wellbeing and prosperity. The law of giving, on the other hand, obliges every individual to care for the prosperity of society and its wellbeing. The law of receiving is embedded in us just like the law of gravity. We keep it naturally since if we don’t, we will be “punished.” A person who stops working, for example, soon will face economic problems. Life itself forces us to keep the law of receiving.
The fulfillment of the law of giving is much more complicated. Our contribution to the development of society does not always bear immediate fruit, and sometimes it takes time until this goodness returns to us. Therefore, we don’t have a strong desire and a natural urge to obey the law of giving and to care about the prosperity of the society. When we don’t obey this law, the punishment arrives very soon. As Baal HaSulam, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, writes in his article “The Peace.”
“Thus, humanity is being fried in a heinous turmoil, and strife and famine and their consequences have not ceased thus far. And the wonder about it is that nature, like a skillful judge, punishes us according to our development. For we can see that to the extent that humankind develops, the pains and torments surrounding our sustenance and existence also multiply.
“Thus you have a scientific, empirical basis that His Providence has commanded us to keep with all our might the Mitzva of bestowal upon others in utter precision, in such a way that no member from among us would work any less than the measure required to secure the happiness of society and its success. And as long as we are idle performing it to the fullest, nature will not stop punishing us and take its revenge.”
The law of giving is intentionally concealed from us since it is thanks to this concealment that we have a chance to develop independently in order to acquire the great wisdom that is concealed in nature. A butterfly fluttering its wings in Paris creates small changes in the atmosphere that can ultimately generate a tornado in Brazil. The “butterfly effect” that operates in an integral system also has an optimistic side: a small action on our part for the benefit of society can trigger a lot more goodness on the other side of the globe.This goodness sooner or later will return to us. Nature is stronger than all of our forces and will continue to “beat” us until we join it and fulfill the law of giving. Then, we will pave the safe way to happiness.
Based on the “Necessity to Practice Caution with the Laws of Nature” from the article “The Peace,” by Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam).
From Ynet article 6/2/16