In the wisdom of Kabbalah, when we speak about “matter,” we mean desire. At a fundamental level, the desire is just an inanimate drive for self-preservation, the “laziest” of desires. It is satisfied with preserving its structure only, that nothing should hurt or help it. The main thing is to remain this way forever. This is the simplest desire, an eternal rejection of any development. Like the flow of water, the desire of the still is to aspire to a more stable existence, and the most stable one is below.
Problems begin only when desire develops, becomes “heavier” like elements at the end of Mendel’s Periodic Table. They are no longer stable and so are ready to “illuminate,” to emit radiation. There are times when they break down.
Generally, everything technical, all of our technology, is based on the still level. It is only recently that we have begun to enter into living cells with the help of biotechnology. Until now, we have been satisfied with the lowest level of matter, which happens to be very rich and great. This is not just rejecting something; rather, it is possible to utilize it in various ways.
For example, by connecting metals, we get wondrous results. Even semiconductors and components of electronic systems are the result of metal alloys due to adding or subtracting electrons, due to differences between the substances. In brief, only on the still level do we use a richer variety of forms, and some are not yet known to us, and with respect to the vegetative level, we are complete amateurs.
Question: Why specifically is there a potential of intense power in still matter? Nuclear explosions, stellar processes—do these seem like a yearning for rest?
Answer: The vegetative level absorbs substances from the environment and use it to develop, but the still level only wants to preserve itself. The ideal state for it is a stable environment in which it also is stable, and, on the contrary, environmental influence doesn’t develop it. Rather, it shatters, destroys and “kills” it. Plants absorb what is useful to them and emit what is damaging, and thus develop. Even if the still level emits or expels something, this is only so as to remain even more still. Radioactive substances ultimately stop radiating, even though this may take hundreds and thousands of years, because on the lower levels processes progress at the slowest rate. In any event, all this tends toward rest, emitting only what doesn’t help it maintain a static state.
So energy, which originates in nature, is derived from communication between the Light and the vessel or in other words, from a conflict between opposites. If we can create resistance between plus and minus, we get energy and utilize it. This is relevant to nuclear energy. We create it with the help of resistance, and if this resistance doesn’t exist, in contrast, we push opposites toward each other resulting in an explosion.
Incidentally, in an atomic explosion, first, there is activation of a regular explosion that brings two opposing parts together to the point that they begin to emit the energy of a nuclear explosion. Clearly, I am giving a primitive description of these processes for illustration only and not in detail.
Therefore, when there is a lack of resistance when opposites come together, this leads to a “short circuit” and destruction. In Kabbalah, this resistance is called a screen (Masach). When we have a screen, we get positive energy for spiritual work, and when we don’t have it, the Light enters the substance of desire and shatters it.
Question: Still, why is such intense energy released with a nuclear explosion on the still level of nature?
Answer: Indeed, this energy destroys the vegetative and the animate returning them to the still level. This happens because the level of the still is the fundamental level of development. Everything begins from that, and it is ready to destroy, returning everything to its source.
However, in any case, the primary source of energy is the Light, Kli (the desire), and the resistance between them.
On every level, we can utilize this energy only if we control the state. At the present time, we can control processes well only on the still level. As to the other levels, we still have not learned to use them because we still don’t know and aren’t connected to the source of life. We have in our hands only the plus and minus of the still level, and on the other levels we still need to be similar in form to the real life, meaning a screen with the Reflected Light.
Therefore, as of today, we don’t understand the deeper mechanisms that are characteristic of the vegetative and the animate world. It is true that we investigate various phenomena, yet we don’t touch the essence, the inner, vital force. It eludes us because it is developed in accordance with spirituality.
So, life is a unique phenomenon. All conditions are formed such that there is only one place in creation, like the point in the heart, where the silent level develops into the vegetative. All the components and factors from here to the infinite are connected together to awaken the development of the vegetative, animate, and speaking nature on Earth. In this sense, the Earth can be said to be found at the center of the entire universe.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/10/13, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”