Consumption Is Not The Problem

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: We have been discussing the fact that excessive consumption has brought humanity to a troubled state. However, some economists surmise that if we start consuming less, this will also have a negative effect….

Answer: Every phase of development has its own spiritual HaVaYaH sequence. It includes phases of bestowal and reception, idleness and a combination of different factors of interconnection. Therefore, we cannot draw a direct interconnection between the level of consumption and the solution to the problem.

Previously we might have been able to improve the situation by distributing goods among everyone because the egoistic desire was developed to a certain level where the gap between the layers of the population could really have been ameliorated in this way. However, today we have risen a level higher, and the methods that were suitable at the previous phase are no longer working. The accent is shifting from the receiving desire to the bestowing one, and you cannot attain real improvement through mere “hand-outs.” You have to understand that by giving out products, you are trying to block the path of the crisis and are thereby depriving yourself of the opportunity to get down to its causes, the bestowing force, the Creator. But in the meantime, our troubles are already acquiring a goal-oriented nature.

Analogously, at the second phase of the expansion of Direct Light, it is impossible to act the same way as at the first phase. That’s because the second phase derived from the first precisely because it was time to realize the primary cause of the Light. Even though it is entirely filled by the Light, this is no longer sufficient.

Likewise, today simple distribution does not solve the problems. The goal of creation is not to satiate our egoistic desires or for us to “stuff our bellies.” That is why we are discovering the second phase of development: by giving out goods to the poor, we will only accelerate the collapse.

So what should we do? After all, this is contrary to all logic. Previously egoism ruled the party: The more we received, the better we felt. But now consumption and restraint, selfishness and concessions in favor of the weak are equally destructive for the economy. Stated differently, we have no more effective methods left to work with the egoistic desire. It has depleted itself both in reception and bestowal.

This is the beginning of the two-sided realization of egoism’s evil—the total recognition of the fact that it cannot be used.

So how can man survive? Several million people in the world will manage to feed themselves with the fruits of the earth that they farm. And what will the others do? We will not be able to maintain the previous connections, and moreover, we will not be able to exchange goods and production the way we once did. The word is starting to reduce its circulation, to “freeze up.”

Under these conditions, the only thing that can really help humanity is a clear attitude to what is happening, the understanding of the need to change the nature of our connections. This is the only thing that will give us good results.

Therefore, first and foremost people need to study. Leave everything else. Provide everyone with the base minimum just above the poverty line, and use the rest of the efforts to improve our interpersonal relationships.

“Fair distribution” and “social justice” are pretty words, for the sake of which tens of millions of people were killed or killed others. Slogans such as these will only help on the condition that we change people’s consciousness. And for that we need upbringing. A person just needs the vital necessities and the willingness to listen, and that’s all.

However, he won’t be learning about “how to consume properly,” but about how to relate properly to others. Everything else will become a natural consequence. When people’s desire changes, they will understand how to manage life of their own accord. By virtue of upbringing, all the practical solutions will become obvious.

First of all, a person has to be educated and changed at least slightly. This is the only way we will avoid Nazi regimes of different kinds, by building an environment that changes people for the better.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/8/11, “The Nation”

Related Material:
The Bitterness Of Inequality
Not Bolts, But Creators Of A New World
The Open University Of The Integral World


  1. thank you! 🙂

  2. The problem is over-consumption, greed, and gluttony.

    We need to return to humanism and Spinoza

  3. Humanism seems to just take us back full scale into egoism.

    And Spinoza based his entire philosophy upon a Euclidena notion of infinity that implies domination by finite mathematical logic (his “Geometric Method”) — again an extention of ego. The realities of this became well understood as the absolutism of the Euclidean system crumbled into the 19th century with the rise of nonEuclidean geometries, and final Wierstrass’s “bombshell” concerning the failure of the Newton/Liebnitz limit system in Calculus (which deal with the limiting algebra of small finites, not actual infinitesimals). The resulting “Great Crisis in Mathematics” continues to this day despite various rationalizations to the contrary (which begining with a classic mathematics paper by Hilbert, reduces to the reason being “the dignity of Man” requires such — i.e., ego. In its wake come the nonEuclidean reality of Relativity, and “Quantum Logic” that folds up paradox even into our physical, finite world of appearance.

    In short, a return to classic Humanism and classic Spinoza is the proverbial of the ostrich sticking its head in the ground. Real ostriches do this just to cool their heads I understand. Only human ostriches do so in fear and rationalization. But if all of Humanity does this, the kick on the backside will get ever worse. Will we wait till the blade is at our half-buried throat?

  4. Just a final point on the below — the problem, arrogance on the part of philosophers so decried by the Baal HaSulam, as they imagine their understanding proceeds beyond their perceptions into the nature of Infinity Itself, into Nature or G-d, as one will, into its very Essence.

    Spinoza was interviewed by a journalist later in his career, who asked him whether pursuing his philosophy was worth the loss regarding his former familial and communal ties. “How can you be so certain that you have found the best philosophy?” To this he answered, “I do not know that I have found the best philosophy, I know that I have found the True philosophy. And if you ask me how do I know this, I know it in the same way that I know that the the internal angles of a triangle sume to 180 degrees.”

    As only coming to light in a future century, the triangles even of our physical spacetime are primarily best described by nonEuclidean geometry, and therefore, their angles do not add to 180 degrees.

    That deeper perceptions (in this case, concerning light and gravity) will alter more shallow perceptions, is growth — not shame. But the philosopher’s belief that the mind can project finite observations out to infinite depth is an arrogant egoism which is destined to become a laughing when the mists clear a little deeper into the distance. History, particularly scientific history, buries such philosophers.

    Spinoza was, unfortunately, the example par excellance of such foolishness. From the vanatge point of the 21st Century, it would be even bigger foolishness to return to his views.

Discussion | Share Feedback | Ask a question Comments RSS Feed