Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”: Moreover, even the things we imagine we attain by their essence, such as rocks and trees, after honest examination we are left with zero attainment in their essence, since we only attain their actions, which occur in conjunction with the encounter of our senses with them.
I perceive everything and feel only as an impression, created in my sense organs, not in the original form. The truth is outside of me and unknown to me. Only by perceiving something within myself, distinguishing what was “depicted” in my vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, can I consider something. All names and symbols, all phenomena, and responses, all kinds of matter, everything that happens is due to the perception in my sense organs. The essence remains “behind the scenes,” eludes material sensations, lies outside of the picture of the world that they “draw” for us.
Question: How, then, can we communicate with each other and understand each other?
Answer: We can understand each other because each one has a similar program with a similar template inherent in our sense organs. Their correspondence allows a person to pass his emotions to others because they are in the same illusion as he is. We are all at a certain level of perception and this situation allows us to discuss it among ourselves.
Based on the current “picture,” we admit the existence of our world, in which there are the still, vegetative, and animate natures, as well as people who perceive reality. What it is in reality, we don’t know. Perhaps, it’s just waves as physicists say, or almost primordial emptiness because the distance between subatomic particles is incomparably greater than their size.
How do we perceive the world? How does this affect us? How do we imagine what is happening? Why does reality specifically take these forms in our perception? How do we process the received data? How do we compare them with past results? How and with the help of what code do we pass information to each other? How do we store it to use the accumulated experience later to find something, to draw an analogy? All these are derivatives.
And the most important thing is that people in this material world perceive only a subjective picture. If they are given other sense organs, they will see a different world. If their program of perception is changed, the picture will change. Today we have already invented devices that enable us to modify and augment the perceived reality, to create illusions and false images.
Moreover, animals, compared to us, perceive the world completely differently. A dog orients himself by “spotting” odors; he does not look at a person, but smells him and by this means builds a human image. He recognizes a cat that runs by not so much by the eyes, but in the field of smell. A snake determines the temperature of objects to fractions of degrees, and this gives it a clear picture.
In general, it’s clear that everything in the world is relative. It’s relative even between people, although by nature, there is not such a big difference between us.
Question: In this case, how can Kabbalists, discussing the spiritual world, understand each other?
Answer: A Kabbalist is a person who resides in a body, like you, and who perceives the world through the bodily senses, as you do. Besides that, he has additional perception, in which he distinguishes the forces controlling the world and his connection with them. There is a network of forces before him, that’s all. But it is really everything.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/8/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam