Question: When we study nature and ourselves, we discover that we all totally depend on our genes and surroundings. Compelling evidence suggests that there is no freedom of will whatsoever and that we all are mortal. However, we are not ready to conform to these facts; we ignore the results of our own research and prefer to stay in the illusions that appeal to us. How can this conflict be resolved?
Answer: We study many phenomena, but are not necessarily guided by the results. There are such things as doubts, beliefs, faiths, and egoism after all. Even if we know we’re wrong, we still stick to our “opinion” since this is what we really want. We know this about children, but adults often do the same.
In short, our life is difficult. But in any case, the impartial, reasonable data proven by scientific research should be accepted as facts. Otherwise, in the end, we’ll hurt others and ourselves.
On the other hand, concepts that have not been validated or proven by science cannot be accepted anymore.
Question: So, a human being is an egoistic irrational creature that believes in fairytales if they suit him?
Answer: Really! How can that be? Are we actually triggered by pleasant sensations even if they are wrong? Let’s say, I like to smoke, overeat, and do many other unhealthy things. I don’t care that it harms me as long as I enjoy them. I want to do what pleases me and if I have to pay for it later, who cares.
Such an attitude is irrational. Logically, I have to accept the laws of nature and comply with them, following them as precisely as a machine. However, my desire “spoils” everything and instead, I do what pleases me. This is the way a human being is created. In contrast to inanimate, vegetative, and animate nature, humans are spoiled.
If not for our egoism, we would simply be animals that have a rigid program inserted in them; if it were so, it wouldn’t leave us any choice. Animals don’t face dilemmas like: “To do or not to do something? Should I do it this way or that way? Will it be pleasant or not?” They are governed by rigid commands; that’s it.
And here we are worse than them; we are the worst of all! After all, our egoism stands in our way and prevents us from observing the laws of nature; it doesn’t let us act as we are supposed to, without deviating an inch to the right or to the left, to only walk on the fine line of the route. The laws of nature are immutable, invariable, and infinitely precise; however, the surplus egoism destroys and overwhelms all of us. We do what is good for our ego and it is always is against reason.
This is the way a man turns into a “spoiled animal.” All of our additions to the animate level look extremely good: culture, education, etc. These things are particularly based on our corruption. Literature, music, and other “spiritual heights” result from man’s deficiency after he stopped being an animal. Birds are singing not because they are aspiring to beauty, but do so. Yet, we are different…
In the end, any embellishments to common sense and to science in its pure form are harmful. In fact, all we should promote is science. However, we are making use of everything we can. What can we do about it? In fact, even education, upbringing, and culture, all that is not derived from animal instincts, is flawed and are attempts to compensate them. We don’t realize how strongly we deviate from the way that is given to us by Nature, nor do we understand that we have become an alien element, a “cancerous tumor,” that developed in our collective body. Eventually, the tumor destroys itself and the environment it lives in. Ecology is the best example. Cancerous cells devour the body and die together with it. They cannot stop. This is their form of existence. Egoism acts the same way in us.
So we have to clearly understand where the thin line is, the edge, the partition between science and “science fiction,” that is, religions, beliefs, philosophical concepts, psychological constructs etc. We can use things within the scientific sphere if we do it accurately, like animals following instincts, and don’t make mistakes. Even though we have discovered all sorts of phenomena and developed various methods that are based on our findings, these things still originally exist in nature. Therefore, if we follow the laws of nature, everything goes well. It’s fine if the laws of nature are revealed in science.
However, if we refer to the speculative sphere, to artificial theories and practices, we should keep in mind that all of them are imaginary and false. You cannot apply them in life. In that case, how do we relate to the soul? We did not find its scientific methods and we don’t feel it with our sensors. So does it really exist?
It’s quite possible that science will soon be able to answer this question. Science constantly brings something new out of hiding, corrects current deficiencies, modernizes and improves things that had already been discovered previously. However, we cannot base things on guesswork.
So, until we attain these things ourselves, no evidence proving its existence, we will have doubts.
What can we do?
We should reconcile our natural progression as an “electrochemical driven bio-machine” and clearly realize that we don’t have any freedom of choice except in selecting our surroundings and placing ourselves into the correct environment. It has to be done strictly scientifically; we should see everything around us only through the laws of nature that can be reduced into two parts, which we call “the path of Torah” and the “path of suffering.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/3/12, “Body and Soul”