Still, Vegetative, Animate And Speaking

Dr. Michael LaitmanThere are four levels of development of the desire to receive in spirituality: the still, vegetative, animate and speaking.

The desire acts according to the force that is in it.

If it is a force on the level of the still nature, the desire keeps its structure and resists external forces as much as it can, so that they wouldn’t penetrate it and wouldn’t break it. There are materials that are more or less strong, more or less stable depending on the intensity of the desire of the specific still form. Some materials are very hard to break down, while others are malleable. Another question is which materials are eventually more resistant to external influences, a rubber wheel, for example absorbs the blows despite the external shaking and penetrations, while a stone or iron ring breaks down much faster.

This is how we check our desires according to their internal hardness and not their physical hardness: how do they resist external changes. Even in our world we see the difference between rubber and iron that can resist external changes but breaks down when something penetrates it.

After the level of the still nature there is the vegetative level. Its desire is stronger and greater, and it can resist external influences, sort them out and use the beneficial elements. It checks and sorts out external factors, absorbs what is beneficial and emits what is harmful.

Thus a very complex act of clarification takes place for which the desire of the vegetative has to know its own structure, how and what it exists for, what is beneficial for it, and what is harmful. The vegetative does this clarification instinctively, and by that we can understand how one should operate on the spiritual level of the vegetative.

The desire of the animate level can choose its environment, and so it can move from place to place. It needs a mate to reproduce. Birth is a real creation here, as if the Creator creates a new creation. In spirituality it is indeed so, and unless one acquires the force of Bina it cannot give birth.

The desire on the animate level can take on many forms. In addition to knowing itself, it also knows different phenomena that reveal smaller and bigger desires. Thus the animate level sees its life from one end to another. Animals have offspring and bring them up. On the whole, at this level, there is an instinctive inner program of knowledge of one’s life, even though it is limited and inevitable.

Animals move around and feel where it is good for them and where it is bad. They can choose the environment. The vegetative hardly influences the environment, but only protects itself from pests and to a certain extent opens up to beneficial external conditions such as sunlight, air, moisture, etc. On the other hand, animals choose and change the environment; they move from one place to another, they make themselves a place to live, and reproduce. To a certain extent they feel the other, including their prey, which they also have to understand and feel. They feel the other especially when they gather in flocks, which have a clear order and hierarchy.

These are profound things but they are still fulfilled instinctively.

As for us on the level of the speaking, everything has to be above the desire to receive, above the restriction. We should only understand that a person has to get to know the new world.

In the spiritual world there are 620 desires that operate on every level:

  • The still level is ready to resist any changes of its ego, by keeping itself under the Masach (screen), under the protection of the restriction, that is, above all the egoistic desires.
  • The vegetative level uses its desire to receive from the egoistic shell of the Klipot with the help of the Light that Reforms, and begins to empty it and clarify what is good for it and what is harmful. It absorbs what is beneficial and emits what is harmful, opening and closing itself, as all its actions are aimed at bestowal, but still operating within the general, with no personal clarification, not giving birth to anything independently. The creatures on the vegetative level remain within the framework of the general desire and change together. In other words, a person can be above his personal egoistic desire, but he cannot “bend” or change society yet, he cannot encompass it and correct it internally.
  • The animate level with its desire to receive can exist in the Creator’s world almost limitlessly.
  • A human being includes all of the environment inside him, the whole world, and becomes a “righteous that is the foundation of the world.”

Baal HaSulam speaks about it in article 115 in Shamati, which is also called “Still, Vegetative, Animate and Speaking.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/9/12, Shamati #115

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