Why Do Our Desires Lag Behind Life?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why do we speak about the end of the consumerist society? Why does the era of consumerism have to come to an end?

Answer: There are two reasons:

      1. The first reason is external: We are running out of natural resources.
      2. The second reason is internal and it is the main reason: Our desire is changing—the foundation of human nature.

We can analyze economic theories, propaganda, and advertising, we can invent different tricks and technologies, like three-dimensional movies, but all that will not help. A person will simply lose interest in it, like a cat that doesn’t care about the TV set it is lying on. Instead, we will simply pay more attention to society, to those around us. All this is because the desire is changing. There is nothing we can do about it, since it is desires that motivate a person.

This, of course, will not happen all at once. Today it is still possible to promote consumerism by different “special offers.” Still, compared to the past, things are changing. The rate of suicide and divorce is rising, and disappointment and despair are spreading. It is in fact the beginning of a new trend. A person, of course, will still need food and other basic necessities, but the problem is not in such things, but in the desires that we are using incorrectly.

One way or another, the desire is changing very slowly. The question is why does it lag behind the parallel external changes? Why do we encounter problems like the crisis if instead we can leap to a new level by a quick change of our desire? Isn’t it better for people to switch from consumerism, to more social activities of their own freewill? Why do they still want to buy like before, although the previous system is collapsing?

The reason is that this is how they will recognize evil, so that the current situation will leave a bad taste. Otherwise, they will find a vessel, the desire, for something else. They have to feel that they are in despair—that the world is full and at the same time that it is empty. If the previous desires simply disappear, a person will not learn a lesson from the past and will not understand the problem.

Therefore, the desire is changing much more slowly than the external conditions. These conditions have to pressure us and gradually evoke the right response.

Then integral education appears, which explains that the desires in excess of the animal level, meaning basic, rational needs, can be met only in the context of human relationships. The current crisis is meant to show a person that he can meet his needs only in a new integral way. By that, his desires are not restricted, but they actually improve, become updated, and rise to a higher qualitative level. Then he will not settle for something transitory and ephemeral, but only for something that is more emotionally meaningful. A person develops, becomes sensitive to, and wants to enjoy other experiences, which are closer to spirituality.

So it is actually in personal relations, in the family and in educating children that the current crisis is revealed most intensively.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/13/12, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”

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