Entries in the 'Egoism' Category

The Cycle Of Calculations And Benefits

laitman_610_1Question: Is spiritual work a suppression of one egoistic desire by another?

Answer: What kind of spiritual work is this? You change one desire for another as if in the market, that’s all.

For example, I wanted to lie on the couch and watch football. And the wife says: “Go to the market and buy potatoes.” I think what’s better for me: watch the football game or go and buy potatoes.

If I do not go to the market, the children will remain hungry, the wife will make a scene, and it will cost me more. I make a calculation: I better skip a football match and go buy potatoes.

There cannot be altruistic calculations in our world. Man’s highest impulses are entirely selfish.

Question: What does it mean to engage in spiritual work without a selfish calculation? Can you give an example?

Answer: In our world there is no such example.

Let’s say I transfered a portion of my salary to the starving in Africa. Nobody knows about this. And the people of Africa do not know they get it from me, and I will never get to know them, I just transferred it. So why did I do this? Where did I get energy and desire to do so?

The point is that if we only are the selfish desire to enjoy, then we get some sort of pleasure from our actions; otherwise I would not have the strength to make a single movement. The atom could not spin, molecules and electrons could not circulate in our body if we did not see the benefits before us.

And the more intangible this benefit is, for example, a psychological or romantic benefit, the more energy it can give us. For instance, in order to earn my food and have a good dinner, I can spend a day, but in order to earn love or to take revenge on someone, I’m ready to spend my whole life. That is, there is already a calculation concerning desires. “Love and hunger rule the world.”

Question: What motivates a person in spirituality?

Answer: Also love and hunger, only the calculation is different: I shift the importance from the love for myself to others—to the entire humanity. This gives me the opportunity to experience the Creator, to be like Him.
From KabTV’s Lesson in Russian 12/18/17

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Marriage To Yourself

laitman_564In the News (Deseret News): “Polonious may have been just a tad ahead of his time when in Hamlet he counseled, ‘This above all: To thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night to day, thou canst not then be false to any man.’

“According to Literarydevices.net, he was talking about ‘living a good and balanced life.’ But he might have been speaking of the latest quirk in marriage ceremonies: The marrying of oneself to … oneself.

“Sologamy, as a ‘wedding for one’ is called, is not attracting a tidal wave of people who want to do it, but it’s capturing some attention in parts of the world as diverse as Denmark, the United States and Japan. Single women, particularly, are pledging in formal ceremonies to love themselves, be good to themselves and treat themselves as a best friend. It’s not just the gals, either, though they’re a bit more apt to take the solo plunge.”

My Comment: This is said very beautifully. In fact, this emphasizes the basis of human nature—self-love. Man does not love anyone as much as he loves himself. This is absolutely honest, instinctively correct, and occurs naturally. I think only about myself, and no one blames me for that. I only take care of myself, serve only myself, so long as I feel good. This is true narcissism; I was engaged to myself to begin with.

This whole situation leads a person to the recognition of his true nature. Therefore, I am in favor of a person claiming, confirming, and admitting that he only loves himself and that he became engaged to himself the moment he was born. He doesn’t need to sign it but simply recognize the fact that he truly dedicates all his time and energy to himself. This is really our nature, and where can we escape from it?

Then suddenly he promises to live with, take care of, and think about some person all the time, to think about him. Today we see that love cannot exist. The attraction and living together for most young couples today lasts for about two to five years at the most, and then the marriage falls apart, crumbles, and they cannot take it any longer. We have reached a state where we cannot think of any type of communication other than temporary ones.

This is our way of recognizing evil. Human nature needs correction. Within us lies a second hidden part of our nature, which will not allow us to remain in our fraudulent state. Humanity cannot agree with this; it will look for a way out and find it—in correcting itself.

Therefore, any awareness of the evil of our nature is a positive process. I hope that we will discover more impulses of humanity and rise to the next level.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 1/23/16

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The Method Of Nimrod And That Of Abraham

Two MethodsBaal HaSulam, “The Freedom”:  Separation between people is the source of every calamity and misfortune.

But with concepts and ideas, it is the complete opposite: Unity and lack of criticism is deemed the source of every failure and hindrance to all the progress and didactic fertilization. … The more contradictions there are between opinions and the more criticism there is, the more the knowledge and wisdom increase and matters become more suitable for examination and clarification….

Thus, evidently, the whole basis of physical success is the measure of unity of the society, and the basis for the success of intelligence and knowledge is the separation and disagreement among them.

In ordinary human society, the more peace and agreement the better, as between good kids. But if we want to grow, this growth is possible only if contradictions, mutual criticism, and disagreements intensify too, and at the same time, “love should cover all transgressions.”

We have to understand that we argue only because bigger desires are revealed in us, which prevent us from uniting with each other. Consequently, we demand unification above all disagreements.

An ordinary connection is possible in a family or among primitive peoples who existed before the Babylonian shattering. In ancient Babylon, many nations used to live as one family and spoke one language.

But all of a sudden, egoism sprung and it turned out that their desires contradicted each other. They began to quarrel, which resulted in the construction of the Tower of Babel. Two methods to solve this problem emerged since then. The first method was proposed by Nimrod who said: “Let’s divide and disperse in different directions, as far as possible from each other.”

Later on, egoism in us grew even more, each group started fighting again, and we divided further. New fights led to new separations. And so we arrived to the contemporary world where everyone lives for themselves and do not want to see anybody near them. Cell phones and computers—that’s all we need. We want to be left alone in our homes and not to be bothered by anybody.

Soon, food will be delivered to us by helicopters, biomass with any taste on demand, so we don’t even need to leave the house. This is Nimrod’s method, which came into being in ancient Babylon and has reached its final manifestation nowadays.

There was also the method of Abraham, who taught to unite above all these disagreements. That is, differences in opinion should remain and the more they are revealed the better, the stronger is the connection that could be built.

The followers of Abraham, who called themselves the people of Israel, succeeded in reaching the peak of unity called the construction of the First Temple. But they were not able to hold on to it. This was not possible since and they had to go through shattering and disperse among the nations of the world in order to pass to them the willingness to unite.

According to the method of Abraham, the disagreements remain but “love covers all transgressions.” Thus, we come to true freedom, when we are free from the rule of the angel of death and rise above it. Specifically due to egoism, we unite with others on an ever higher level.

Thanks to unification above disagreements, we start to understand, to feel, to attain the difference between darkness and light, which gives us the sensation of spiritual reality, although we ourselves are completely corporeal.

This is the essence of Abraham’s method. There are no other methods but these two: either distance from each other, according the method of Nimrod or unite above differences, according to the method of Abraham.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/3/17, “Education for Concession”

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Why Are There So Many Single Women?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why there are so many single women nowadays?

Answer: It is because our ego grew so much that we cannot get along with each other. Women may claim that men cannot get along with them, and men may say the opposite. Our ego is so big, confused, and complicated that we cannot stand even the best person for very long.
From KabTV’s Lesson in Russian 12/4/16

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Does Satan Exist?

laitman_207Question from Facebook: Does Satan exist or is it fiction?

Answer: It exists, it is the egoistic power of man.

A lot is said about this in the wisdom of Kabbalah. In the Torah and in The Book of Zohar, it is called “Satan” from the word “Sotah” (deviation), “Masit” (diversion). It diverts a person from the right way.

This force lives within everyone and it is impossible to get rid of it; there is no “surgical operation” that will help. There are many different manifestations of egoism, and the one that diverts us from a good connection between us is called Satan.

Question: Can it be managed somehow?

Answer: There is only one case in which it cannot get hold of us. It is when we build our communication above it.

This force will always exist and will constantly generate discord between us. But when humanity unites at one time, then all the satanic mischief will be added to our good deeds and increase them.

Specifically, thanks to the tricks of egoism, we will force ourselves to get closer to each other. Therefore, Satan will turn into a good force, because ultimately it is what helps us reach an understanding of the right interaction.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 1/30/17

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Revenge, The Defeat Of Egoism

Laitman_155Question: Where does the feeling of revenge in a person come from?

Answer: The feeling of revenge comes as a result of a very difficult defeat of the ego, an ego that experiences humiliation. In such a situation, a person is ready to do anything; he has no other choice. A situation in which you insult the most central point of my ego, if you show me that I am zero, and you do not leave me an opportunity to exist, this feeling arouses a feeling of revenge in me.

If I thought that I was higher and you “push” me off of that summit, showing me that I am nothing, then an extreme reaction is formed in me toward the factor that produced that emotion in me. In such a situation, I am not only ready to kill, burn, and trample, but I also want this factor to disappear form this world, in any form!

Question: Is it possible to arouse an emotion like this in a Kabbalist?

Answer: Certainly, Kabbalists experience emotions much more acutely than others. However, the Kabbalists understand that these feelings come from the Creator and come only so that a person will draw himself back to Him.

Question: In a humiliating situation, the average person will take vengeance. What would a Kabbalist do?

Answer: The Kabbalist will correct himself until he reaches a state in which that emotion will not be felt as humiliation in him even a little, because that feeling comes from the Creator and not from anyone else. This is because“There is none else beside Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35).

Question: Why is it, that among particular peoples, revenge is raised to the rank of tradition and passes from generation to generation, while among other peoples this is not so?

Answer: This is related to upbringing and the period in which they are living. There were periods when a “blood feud” was a very widespread custom. It was impossible to tolerate defeat, and only a duel could erase these feelings.

In the whole history of mankind, there have been many periods when a person who felt great humiliation calculated how to proceed. Today, egoism has become so great that it has created special mechanisms of protection. Otherwise, with every blast of a horn from a passing car, we would see drivers shooting each other.

Today, a Kabbalist doesn’t relate to insults, forgiving, or taking actions in response to an insult. Basically, we must not take it to heart in order not to feel humiliated, even though, in fact, life is an immense source of humiliation.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 8/21/16

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The Development Of Egoism

laitman_566_02Question from Facebook: You claim that the development of society is the development of egoism in it. Why isn’t it the development of altruism? Could it be that we should begin to promote cooperation between us instead of promoting competition?

Answer: I see how the world has been evolving for ages and that it is only as a result of egoism. Moreover, all scientists and researchers confirm it. The wisdom of Kabbalah says the same thing.

We should not develop through egoism, that is, not in the desire to receive everything inside you and thinking only of yourself at any given moment: “What should I do so that I will feel good?” But we should change our paradigm, that is, we should think of: “What I should do so that others will feel good?” This is a significant shift, an internal revolution in a person, which he cannot do by himself.

Question: How can I change myself if our nature is pure egoism?

Answer: This is an internal paradox; we cannot exit the framework of our nature. We can fix it but only with the help of the upper force, the Creator.

If the Creator illuminates His force on us and influences us like a magnet moving a piece of metal from a distance, we will be able to change ourselves and move in the opposite direction from our egoism.

In order to do so, we need to convince the Creator to move us forward to a totally different attribute: from the property of receiving to the attribute of bestowal, not the attribute of egoism but the attribute of altruism, not the attribute of hatred but the attribute of love.

Let’s try to do it. This is what the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us!
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 2/15/17

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From Emptiness To Emptiness

laitman_424_02In the News (The Guardian): “Jonathan Safran Foer: ‘Technology Is Diminishing Us’

“Most of our communication technologies began as substitutes for an impossible activity. We couldn’t always see one another face to face, so the telephone made it possible to keep in touch at a distance. One is not always home, so the answering machine made a message possible without the person being near their phone. Online communication originated as a substitute for telephonic communication, which was considered, for whatever reasons, too burdensome or inconvenient. And then texting, which facilitated yet faster and more mobile messaging. These inventions were not created to be improvements on face-to-face communication, but a declension of acceptable, if diminished, substitutes for it.

“But then a funny thing happened: we began to prefer the diminished substitutes. It’s easier to make a phone call than to make the effort to see someone in person. Leaving a message on someone’s machine is easier than having a phone conversation – you can say what you need to say without a response; it’s easier to check in without becoming entangled. So we began calling when we knew no one would pick up. Shooting off an email is easier still, because one can further hide behind the absence of vocal inflection, and of course there’s no chance of accidentally catching someone. With texting, the expectation for articulateness is further reduced, and another shell is offered to hide in. Each step ‘forward’ has made it easier – just a little – to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity.

“The problem with accepting – with preferring – diminished substitutes is that, over time, we too become diminished substitutes. People who become used to saying little become used to feeling little. Or just feeling what’s been designed and sold to us to feel.”

Question: Where do you think modern technology, artificial intelligence etc., is leading mankind?

Answer: To the recognition that we have to give all that up and start working from heart to heart, to actually give up everything that is not related to the feeling in the heart. Everything else will reach its peak and then disappear. We will not need to connect through long lines and web networks, the highest technologies in space or in new cities, nothing.

We will not even need TV with giant screens and thousands of channels. No one will want to clog his head with all that. We see that young people are gradually turning their backs to that. It will take a few more years and we will also get rid of all the phones.

Comment: Futurologists say the exact opposite. They believe that an interstellar communication will be developed…

Answer: Nonsense. Nothing will happen.

Question: Are you saying that all this will disappear and man will want to feel warm affection again?

Answer: Today, for example, a car is a means of getting from one place to another, not the goal itself. Imagine that you had a spaceship and ten stars, and that your mother-in-law lived on one star and another relative or a friend lived on another, and you could get away from them all, get your own little planet and live there peacefully.

But we already realize that all these things lead to nothing. A person has to fill himself, and he cannot find a filling in all that, so we keep chasing different fillings and eventually see that although we have the means for that, it doesn’t justify itself. A person feels more and more empty.

Comment: It turns out that our whole life and future developments are merely a race actually a race after fillings…

Answer: Of course! See how writers depict futuristic pictures: we are moving from one place to another at such great speed, where to? From one empty end to another empty end, but at least they are writing best sellers.

Question: Jonathan Foer says that we are drawing away from the hearts. He actually fears that. Do people feel this fear as a result of progress?

Answer: No, they feel that because there is no way out. If humanity does not discover the reason and the goal of the creation, it will sink into drugs and sleeping pills.

Question: Why do we go through such a long way? Why do we need all these technologies?

Answer: Because we have to recognize the evil part of our nature. If we don’t get to fully know it, we will not be able to correct it.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 3/1/17

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“I,” “We” And Social Systems

Walking through the WallQuestion: In the past, did people feel “we” but not their “I”?

Answer: That is what was happening in ancient Babylon before the crisis and what was called the confusion of languages (building the Tower of Babel). But it was not because people were connected and united but because their egoism was very small, on the level zero.

The ancient societies in which everything was shared, lived under a primitive communist regime.

With the growth of the ego, five systems (configurations) of rule gradually appeared until capitalism. Now the time has come for socialism, and after that the time of communism will arrive.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 10/30/16

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What Is Happiness?

Laitman_715Question: What is happiness?

Answer: Happiness is a state in which the Upper Light descends upon a person and fills him with the sensation of an eternal perfect existence.

Happiness (“Mazal” in Hebrew) means luck, which stems from the root of “nozel – drip.” When the Upper Light descends on a person, then the Upper Light flows, then, it fills him with attainment, with knowledge, and the sensation of absolutely clear, perfect, and eternal existence. This is happiness.

Question: Can such a state come without any effort on a person’s part? After all, there are people who are lucky in life.

Answer: In our limited material existence, of course. It may be that a person feels that everything is fine and that he doesn’t need anything else. He simply lives an empty life. Why not? Walk into a hut in some remote village, build yourself a cozy den there, and be happy if you can.

However, the fact is that the ego is constantly developing. It needs new fillings all the time. Otherwise, a person will not feel satisfied.

How do we make the sensations that come to our ego fill it without any problems? Only if his desire is focused on bestowal, outside of himself, will he not feel that he is empty all the time. Happiness is creating such senses that are external to us, and then we will be happy.

Question: Most people think that we need harmony, a balance of attributes, in order to attain happiness. Which attributes are we talking about?

Answer: A person can live in harmony with the world around him if the person and the world become one general collective. This can happen only if a person feels the world as himself and cares for it just as he cares about himself.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 12/11/16

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