If there is one desire to receive in us and nothing but that, then we operate like robots. The moment some pleasure illuminates for us, we immediately begin to chase it and the moment we feel sufferings, we try to escape them. It is the natural behavior of every created being: the inanimate, vegetative, or animate.
An ordinary person in our world is no different from animals when it comes to this, because the desire to receive also operates in him, but his desire to receive is simply more sophisticated and confused since a person doesn’t understand where it comes from all of the sudden.
Animals operate according to their natural instincts and there is nothing external that influences them. A person, however, is motivated by attributes such as envy, lust, and honor. He is impressed by the environment that can influence him to value things that are against his nature and which destroy him.
Society doesn’t operate in favor of the individual, but in favor of the general egoistic, broken society. If one person is an egoist, then he simply operates like an animal with his small ego. He tries to get along in this world as well as he can: to build himself a better home, with healthier, more comfortable conditions. He tries to do what is beneficial for his body.
This is how people developed in ancient times. But when their ego grew and forced them to connect, in order to make a greater profit one at the expense of another, this egoistic connection generated a phenomenon called “public opinion.” This environmental effect became harmful for the individual, since not only did the ego grow because of such a connection, but it also took on distorted forms that are far from the natural forms.
It wasn’t a natural connection, but a distorted connection of desires, since when many egoists connect, their desires are opposite to the other desires and it is impossible to understand how they can even connect. So the influence of the environment on each individual brings about such distortions and corruptions of the natural desire, such as: envy, lust, honor, and power.
This is how humanity developed: The individual ego grew, and as a result of the distorted connections of egoists under the negative influence of the social system on every individual, society developed in a direction that is opposite from Holiness, from the corrected state which we eventually have to reach in the future.
Our social values have drawn light years away from the natural human needs… and as a result we all operate according to artificial, egoistic values that only harm us. But we are compelled to operate this way since we are subordinate to the law according to which the environment affects a person.
The whole problem is in the fact that this environment is bad and our big, complex, and distorted ego has mutated in different ways from one generation to another so we don’t even understand that it affects us and leads us in ways that are opposite from the natural correct way.
From the 1st part the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/29/12, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”