Question: A principle difference, let us say, between the Israeli and the Russian societies is that Israelis are more likely to say “yes” to any new proposition and express interest in it, while in a Russian society, due to oppression and the fact that people have become accustomed to being threatened and forced by the outside world, the first thing people say is “no.” We have done these experiments on the streets.
Answer: I arrived in Russia after many years of being away, and the first time I went outside, I was surprised by the external appearance of the people. All the women had their chests proudly parading in front of them, while all the men were hiding their heads in their shoulders. This is a statement against the pre-existing threats from all sides.
I think this reaction is only inherent in Russian society because I have never seen anything similar anywhere else. I have traveled, you can say, throughout the world; this does not exist anywhere else. This is a very somber quality.
This defensive reaction is unwillingly cultivated by mass media to make it easier for people to survive, defend themselves, continue to exist, provide for themselves, and so on. We need to understand how to approach this because people are tired of aggression, and they do not wish to hear anything about unity and integration of which they have heard plenty, but have had very unfortunate consequences. So, we need to look for an approach.
From a “Talk on Integral Upbringing” 5/28/12