Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World”: And in our subject, the benefit of each and every person within his collective is evaluated not according to his own goodness, but according to his service to the public. And vice-versa, we appreciate the attribute of evil of each and every individual only according to the harm one inflicts upon the public in general, and not by one’s own individual value.
These things are crystal clear both from the perspective of the truth in them, and from the perspective of the good in them. This is because what is found in the collective is only what is found in the individual. And the benefit of the collective is the benefit of each and every individual: who harms the collective takes his share in the harm, and who benefits the collective takes his share in the benefit, since individuals are part of the whole, and the whole is not worth in anyway more than the sum of its individuals.
Egoism does not allow us to understand and accept this; it distorts the picture. However, looking at things impartially, objectively, we will have to accept that everything is as it is. If you follow the simple normal logic, it is clear that this is how it should be. Nature is a unified integral mechanism, and obviously every part in it depends on everyone else, and the system as a whole depends on all its parts. In this case, of course, the collective and individual benefit is the same.
Question: But the individual cogwheel in this mechanism has no freedom of choice. Then what is the point of saying whether it is good or bad?
Answer: Indeed, the cogwheel itself has no free will. It cannot decide whether it should or should not rotate to the benefit of community. Everyone does what he or she is predestined to do from above.
However, this system has a mechanism similar to a clutch: the thing is the extent to which I am engaged internally with the “engine” to rotate with it without any questions asked.
Question: So, do we have free will?
Answer: It is to want to rotate or to rotate unwillingly. My freedom is in agreement. But I will be working in any case, either “under duress,” under the pressure of the “roller of development,” or of our own accord, with pleasure.
In general, the system is perfect and acts with absolute efficiency, but I feel and perceive it according to the measure of my consent to its work. In addition, others view it in the same way, and so in the end, we all feel the personal or collective flaw of disagreement—of the individual or of the system.
But nevertheless, our perception does not affect the system itself.
Question: How can we hasten correction?
Answer: To want to agree with the work of the system, with the movement of its parts. This will change everything in my feelings. I add and take away nothing in the true reality; the difference is only in how much its picture is distorted by the “distorting mirror” of my egoism.
My whole life is unfolding on this canvas as I “paint” myself relative to the true system, disagreeing with it in one way or another. And I call this picture “my world.” In essence, this is a snapshot, an impression of my disagreement with the original nature, with absolute love. My whole being is the projection on some “screen,” outlining this “discrepancy of opinion.” I do not see the real system; I see nothing, but my own internal flaws.
Question: Is there such a thing that’s detached from the wholeness of perception, my personal “corner”?
Answer: Yes. I can feel my desires to the extent of their oppositeness to the system. Thus, my world, like the spiritual reality, also consists of 613 parts, but each of them appears to me as opposite to the whole.
This oppositeness is divided into 125 degrees or stages of equivalence or non-equivalence. Now, I am sort of behind the last, the 125th degree, in complete detachment, in absolute lack of understanding. Then, as I rise on each degree, I will discover the discrepancy between me and the system in greater resolution, and by correcting these flaws, I get closer to agreement, to “complete faith,” complete adhesion.
Thus, for the time being I see and feel only myself relative to the state that they want to show me. Of course, for comparison, I am not immediately offered the world of Infinity, the ideal system of nature, the Creator. It is impossible because now I can distinguish only a tiny discrepancy, like a child, who is encouraged to study well in class, and if he succeeds, he is praised as an “A” student.
At the same time, we must remember: Now I see myself, and nothing more.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/24/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam “Peace in the World”