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Using Obstacles For Our Benefit

Dr. Michael LaitmanWhat is the purpose of unity in the group and love of friends? We receive more and more obstacles, and we must connect them to the general jigsaw of unity. Each time we are aware that everything comes from Him, “There is none else beside Him,” “Israel, Torah, and the Creator are One.”

When we come to this, we see that we’re given huge help because it acts as part of reality for our benefit. We have the friends, the group, and together we can constantly connect everything that is happening to us to the unity of the Creator. Each one of us supports the others, and together we try to connect our aspirations in order to treat the Creator more objectively, while the general desire is constantly growing and being corrected.

In this case, I won’t be puzzled as to why I need the friends, unity, the group, and love towards the neighbor. Without this, I simply would not be able to solve the problems of connection between the Creator and myself.

This game is wonderful. As Baal HaSulam wrote in Letter 1, The truth is that all the wars in this exile are a truly wonderful sight, and all they bring is good. Elsewhere he gives the example of the ascent to the king’s palace. We constantly experience the sudden shifts and changes in this game, at times feeling the unity for a few minutes, then breaking into pieces and recollecting ourselves into one whole, on and on.

Working with obstacles is the main element of our work. First, we neutralize them, because one cannot sense the unity while sensing the obstacles. I just cancel them, in order to forget everything and connect with my friends. This is the smallest degree, the conception (Ibur).

Then I get obstacles of a different kind; I cannot simply cancel them anymore, I cannot erase them from my perception. Now I need to learn to always remain in unity, in spite of them. Desires of bigger and bigger Aviut (coarseness) arise, which cannot possibly be eliminated, I live with them: On one hand, I feel the obstacle to unity; on the other hand, I overcome it, I rise above it and connect nevertheless. This is called infancy (Yenika).

Finally, I start using the obstacles in order to unite; this is called maturity (Gadlut).

Thus, we always work with obstacles. There is nothing to do without them. They reflect the distance between the Creator and us, and we constantly cover this distance, first by neutralizing the obstacles, then rising above them and, finally, acting in accordance with them.

So the whole process can be broken down into two parts. After the preliminary stage, during which we prepare ourselves, comes a moment when we can unite. This is the first point above the Machsom (the barrier to spirituality): We enter bestowal for the sake of bestowal. In relation to the group, it is said about this: “Anything that you hate do not do to your friend.” This is still passive unity, I’m not yet truly united with the friends, but at least I’m not harming anyone. We might not be able to bestow to each other yet, but this is the way we advance.

And then we will reach reception for the sake of bestowal—the stage of love.

So the whole work is performed with the obstacles. And that’s why the only preparation is to seek the force and the means. When a person faces a problem, he finds out what can be of benefit to him and what to push away, so that it doesn’t get in the way. This is the way we always have to prepare ourselves in terms of obstacles, neutralizing and even using them whenever possible. Thanks to them we advance, and if there is an opportunity to unite while having them—all the better.

When we truly try to start working, we see that without mutuality we cannot make a single step forward. When I face an obstacle, I cannot overcome it on my own; I will forget and run away. Only in unity with others when we create the place in which to connect, we can start using the obstacles for the benefit of this unity. We unite in spite of them, and then we succeed.

And that’s why we shouldn’t treat the obstacles as individual effects of certain individual factors. The solution to any obstacle is in greater unity between people in order to reveal a form of bestowal, and this is what’s called the Creator.
From the Arava Convention 2/24/12, Lesson #4

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Introductory Lecture “Course To Be A Man, Generation Of The Future” – 03.06.12

Kabbalah for the Nation Introductory Lecture Series, “Course to Be A Man, Generation of the Future ”
WMV Video|MP3 Audio

The Saving Of The Euro Has Been Postponed

Dr. Michael LaitmanIn the News (from Associated Press): ” The leaders of the 17 countries that use the euro have delayed a decision on whether to give their bailout funds more firepower until later in March, European officials said Tuesday [February 28, 2012].

“Eurozone leaders were expected to meet Friday afternoon to decide whether the currency union’s bailout funds will be allowed to give more than €500 billion ($669 billion) in loans.

“However, Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy and the biggest contributor to both bailout funds, has so far resisted such a move.

“The delay of the decision on the bailout funds is yet another example of the slow pace of decision-making in the eurozone’s two-year-old debt crisis.”

My Comment: The euro will disappear if the EU doesn’t move on to full integration, which is impossible without compulsory integral education. This necessity was not taken into account by the founders of the EU, and they ignore it to this day. In the meantime, there is the threat of the disintegration of the EU, and if they don’t try to prevent it by implementing further integration measures, the disintegration will take place. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen by an explosion.

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The Unemployed Are Graduates

Dr. Michael LaitmanOpinion (Sergey Gubanov, professor at the Moscow State University): “One of the main problems in Russia today is unemployment. There are plenty of young graduates, but not everyone can get a job in their field. The social crisis is growing; there is a wide gap between the availability of jobs and the number of specialists. This contradiction is disastrous for the country because we are releasing an army of protest. Some economists believe that the unemployment problem can be solved by small and medium enterprises. This opinion is erroneous. The social crisis can be overcome only by large corporations. This happens in developed countries, for example, with the help of the famous Microsoft. Imagine how many personnel are involved in this system! Unfortunately, there are just five neo-industrial countries in the world now. The rest are their customers.”

My Comment: The numbers of the employed will decrease until it reaches the level sufficient to support the society at a reasonable level of consumption. All the sources of employment, except the necessary ones, will disappear. We need to develop a system of education and upbringing that will be perceived by society as work because being in this system, a person brings the world into balance, and this is the most productive human work there is.

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The End Of Capitalism

Dr. Michael LaitmanOpinion (Michael Khazin, an economist, from the end of the 19th century ‘left’ views have developed under the strong influence of Karl Marx who created a systematic and global description of the whole world, starting from ‘Adam’…. History, philosophy, and political economy, all of it was conveyed in a ‘transparent’ language, which created a very appealing and convincing approach whose authority increased constantly until the 1980’s.

“The capitalist world, however, didn’t have such a ‘transparent,’ unified approach, and so it was decided to create it in the form of ideological resistance, which began but did not succeed, and the current ideological crisis is an example of this.

“Since ideological resistance wasn’t very serious, some of its basic principles were not based on logical philosophic constructs, but were rather a rigid negation of corresponding Marxist ideals. In particular, if Marxism was a result of the end of capitalism, the basis for the Western approach is the assumption that capitalism is infinite.

“[However] …since the process of the expansion of markets is limited by the size of the earth, the scientific-technological process is limited by time and must, therefore, come to an end!

“The crisis of the decline in the effectiveness of capital that has been going on for several years cannot come to an end in the framework that preserves the previous model.

“…similar crises in the past were overcome by destroying the competition, and expansion was possible. But today the markets are global and it is impossible to expand them.

“All the theories included the principle of ‘infinite’ capitalism. And this is the tragedy of the modern ‘Western’ economic thought: The current crisis is the end of the scientific-technological paradigm, which actually cannot be described using its language.”

My Comment: Here comes the realization that it is impossible to describe the new economic system by using the old terminology, and in the meantime our egoistic thinking doesn’t allow us to move on to new concepts. Only the recognition of the bitter end will enable us to accept a new social model: integral, equal, and reasonable production and consumption, as described in “The Future Generation” section of Kabbalah.

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World Bank: China Faces Crisis

Dr. Michael LaitmanIn the News (from The Wall Street Journal): “An exclusive preview of an economic report on China, prepared by the World Bank and government insiders considered to have the ear of the nation’s leaders, offers a surprising prescription: China could face an economic crisis unless it implements deep reforms, including scaling back its vast state-owned enterprises and making them operate more like commercial firms.

“The report warns that China’s growth is in danger of decelerating rapidly and without much warning… A sharp slowdown could deepen problems in the Chinese banking sector and elsewhere, the report warns, and could prompt a crisis, according to those involved with the project.

“It recommends that state-owned firms be overseen by asset-management firms, say those involved in the report. It also urges China to overhaul local government finances and promote competition and entrepreneurship.

“While some reduction in growth is inevitable—China has been growing at an average of 10% a year for 30 years—the rate of decline matters greatly to the world economy. With Europe and Japan fighting recession and the U.S. experiencing a weak recovery, China has become the most reliable source of growth globally.

“But current forecasts by the Conference Board, a U.S. think tank, see the Chinese economy growing 8% in 2012, and slowing to an average annual growth rate of 6.6% from 2013 to 2016. …China’s annual growth rate will begin to ‘downshift’ by at least two percentage points starting around 2015.”

My Comment: The crisis will hit China in any case. The only solution is to restructure the entire society through integral upbringing of the population, and according to this, rebuild the whole country on the principles of reasonable consumption, equal distribution, and protection of the environment.

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The Creator’s Game

Dr. Michael LaitmanWe need to love the game the Creator is playing with us. A mother also plays with a little child, teaching him different things. This is the way He treats us, only we, being so “mature,” refuse to accept this game, this attitude, and do not wish to be His partners.

The Creator wishes to teach us what our nature is, what His nature is, and how we can transition from one to the other. Then once again He throws us into our nature and teaches us to rise to His nature again. This game continues time after time, thus teaching us to recognize Him, understand what His nature is like, what He wants from us, and the stages He uses to bring us closer to Him. We understand that He created our nature the way it is in order for us to attain the entire creation from two opposites.

However, we disdain this game, reject it, do not agree with it, and wish to come out of it. When a person understands that it is the Creator speaking with him and does not leave this course, things become easier for him. No matter what happens to him in life, he knows that everything comes from Above and he only needs to have the right reaction towards these things: to continue on the path without deviating.

It is very difficult to keep this mindset. The only way one can keep this attitude in understanding, sensation, awareness, and mutual work is when one is connected with others, when they support him and he supports them in mutual guarantee. One must not forget about it and always be connected to reality on this wave: “There is none else besides Him.” Anything being sent to me always pursues just one goal: for me to rise and become closer to Him.

We must learn this from life with the example of children. We only need to take into consideration the fact that they are given a means of instinctive preparation. Their inner calling pushes them to experience the world, learn from grownups, and enjoy the games we give them. We purposefully buy them building blocks, mosaics, and constructor sets for them to build, glue, and assemble things. And they instinctively enjoy this, but we do not. So, instead of instinct, we need to add efforts in understanding and awareness. We develop following this principle.

Our development consists of assembling ourselves like a construction set. And this is why from the beginning I am not able to last in this game without the support of others. This is the starting point: The Creator is willing to play with us if we decide to assemble the common mosaic. But if I forget about everyone, there is nothing to assemble. Then I am not even a part of the game yet, no matter how much I fuss. The game begins with readiness to unite.

We join the game the moment we grab on to this tendency, when we acknowledge and accept this approach.

And then fluctuation begins. A person can encounter difficulties, become disappointed, and lose understanding and drive, but all this happens within the framework of the game. No matter what happens, the thread towards unity always remains both in happiness or despair. The Creator presents us with these kinds of forms in this game.

We must always be prepared for it and remind each other that essentially, we are all standing before Him. Sometimes we are for and sometimes against, but we always interact with Him, whether in a positive or negative way. One way or another, by keeping this attitude towards the Source of everything that happens, we take steps towards attaining Him. We do not have another business: As we “press” on unity, we begin to reveal His form—from the simplest level. It’s like in a mosaic: We get a part of the common picture by putting together two or three fragments. We already know something: This must be a cloud, this must be grass, this must be a flower, and so on. In other words, we attain Him in certain things. And then we continue on.

This is what the correction of the broken Partzuf of Adam HaRishon consists of. We reconnect it, where everyone reconnects his piece of the common mosaic.

At the same time, one should not be ashamed of difficult questions and disturbances, or of anything in life. We see that if we manage to connect our entire life, all the crises and problems, from the most difficult to the lightest, to this game the Creator presents to us, everything suddenly adds up. Every part finds its place, and we see that “There is none else besides Him.” He is everywhere, working in very different forms. Sometimes He is behind, sometimes in front, sometimes in my life, and sometimes in the life of the world, in the group, and outside of it, in my feelings and mind.… I begin to recognize Him everywhere as the only Force that operates on different levels, and this way I gradually reveal Him.

The essence of the wisdom of Kabbalah is the revelation of the Creator to the created beings in this world by having us assemble His form. Is it possible to advance without starting with the smallest and easiest moves in this game so that we will gradually transition towards more serious and complicated moves? After all, this is what everything is about—to become closer to the Creator, to understand and feel Him better. When a person completes the “moment,” connects another obstacle or difficulty to the complete picture, then it is written regarding it: “Israel, the Torah, and the Creator are One.” Everything comes to me from the Creator, and then all the pieces in the group and the entire world will connect in my perception. This way I realize this principle of unity.

This way we grow and go through the “childhood years,” when we can unite only in Galgalta ve Eynaim, that is, in the light vessels, and then we come to more difficult desires. This is the path. We go through moments of despair, but they also need to be seen as a game, the game of life, which encompasses all the worlds, the entire reality. And then it will be easy because all the worlds are between us and the Creator—we play with Him at the place where we create unity together.
From the Lesson #4 of the Arava Convention Lesson 2/24/12

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Collective Intelligence

Dr. Michael LaitmanOpinion (Matt Ridley, science writer and former Economist journalist): “Brilliant people, be they anthropologists, psychologists or economists, assume that brilliance is the key to human achievement. They vote for the cleverest people to run governments, they ask the cleverest experts to devise plans for the economy, they credit the cleverest scientists with discoveries, and they speculate on how human intelligence evolved in the first place.

“They are all barking up the wrong tree. The key to human achievement is not individual intelligence at all. The reason human beings dominate the planet is not because they have big brains….

“Human achievement is entirely a networking phenomenon. It is by putting brains together through the division of labor — through trade and specialization — that human society stumbled upon a way to raise the living standards, carrying capacity, technological virtuosity and knowledge base of the species….

“Human achievement is based on collective intelligence — the nodes in the human neural network are people themselves. By each doing one thing and getting good at it, then sharing and combining the results through exchange, people become capable of doing things they do not even understand. As the economist Leonard Read observed in his essay ‘I, Pencil’ (which I’d like everybody to read), no single person knows how to make even a pencil — the knowledge is distributed in society among many thousands of graphite miners, lumberjacks, designers and factory workers.

“That’s why, as Friedrich Hayek observed, central planning never worked: the cleverest person is no match for the collective brain at working out how to distribute consumer goods.”

My Comment: Namely the creation and management of society through the collective mind is the next stage of human development to which the crisis leads us. Not only the collective mind but acquiring a general collective feeling is the key to mutual understanding and harmony in the emerging integral society. It should be introduced to people gradually, through integral education.

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Pictures From The Arava Convention, Part 2

Here are some more pictures from the convention in the Arava Desert, February 23-25, 2012.