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In the News (from ABC Net): “In a commentary piece in this week’s Nature, Dr Robert Costanza, chair in Public Policy at ANU, and his colleagues argue that GDP should be replaced with a more sophisticated metric that represents a more comprehensive account of a nation’s economic well-being. …
“Whatever you think it is that makes life worth living, as Robert F Kennedy pointed out in 1968, it’s almost a sure bet that it isn’t measured by Gross Domestic Product, or GDP.
GDP simply measures a nation’s raw economic activity in terms of production and consumption. It makes no attempt to factor in the depletion of natural resources or the degradation of the environment. It cares not for income inequality and all the ills that come with it. It doesn’t pretend to discriminate between beneficial economic activity (new infrastructure, investment in education, disease prevention, etc) and negative activity (the cost of crime, pollution, etc). And it entirely ignores whole swathes of fruitful activity, such as housework or volunteering in the community.
“One sign of how destitute GDP is as a metric of well-being is that it tends to go up after a natural disaster. Reconstruction and remediation spur intense activity that is registered by GDP, while the destruction, lives lost, suffering and disruption to families and communities in the wake of a flood, cyclone or bushfire are ignored.
“One of the frontrunners to replace GDP is the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). It was proposed in 1989 and has been developed since to accurately measure not just economic activity, but also how that activity impacts the well-being of individuals living in that economy, and how sustainable that activity is.
“It effectively uses GDP as its foundation, but then scrutinizes economic activity in more detail, making subtractions for negative activity and adding in beneficial activity that is overlooked by GDP. …
“It also factors in the environment, in terms of the cost of pollution, the loss of wetlands and farmland, the depletion of natural resources and the emission of carbon dioxide. It also takes account of the cost of crime, not only in terms of direct impacts, but also the cost of policing, prisons and even the amount of money spent on locks and alarms.
“GPI isn’t the only alternative to GDP, but it is one of the most respected by economists and public policy experts around the world. The question now is: what’s stopping us from adopting it?
“’It’s going to take some therapy to make the transition to a sustainable economy that isn’t based on growth or GDP but on improvement of well-being,’ Costanza said.
“While the unbridled pursuit of GDP growth has not done much to increase our well-being over the past few decades, it has been a triumph for big business and the finance sector, i.e. those who disproportionately benefit from raw economic activity. Not surprisingly, as a result of this windfall, these sectors – and the politicians who serve them – are likely to resist any move to a more comprehensive metric of national economic well-being.”
My Comment: No matter what is measured or how what is important is the principle, the purpose of development, for what? It is necessary to curb appetites, take from nature only what is needed, and use our free time to re-educate humanity. Otherwise, we are heading to a looming confrontation with nature, which will be reflected in all aspects of our life.
Usually people understand nature of the world around us at the levels of the still, vegetative, and animate, and exclude ourselves from this definition. This is our fault; after all, we are also under the control of nature and under its laws. We use these laws erroneously, harm ourselves, and use the intelligence that was given to us against ourselves. Kabbalah warns of the impending retribution for our disregard of nature.
Answer: First, you need to figure out what freedom is and what is being sought? Are we looking for freedom from the angel of death as it was carved on the tablets of the covenant, searching for eternal spiritual life, or do we believe that we can be free in our materialistic everyday activities?
Kabbalists explain to us that in regular life we don’t have any independence whatsoever, but rather all our life is already predetermined and each step is previously scheduled for us. Freedom is possible only if we rise above life to the decision making level, to the spiritual level.
This is where freedom of choice exists since there are two opposing forces at this level, receiving and bestowal; whereas within our world, there exists only one force, the one of receiving, which only allows us to accept more or less depending on our understanding of what we stand to gain or lose.
In other words, everything depends on our simple understanding of where we win or lose more. Thus, there is no such thing as freedom at all! I always weigh before deciding what to choose. After I evaluate the “cost” of something, there is no freedom of will left in me to go against it. My nature is tuned to maximum receiving and minimal giving. This is how we act in everything, consciously or not.
Sometimes it looks like we can go against our earthly logic, but it is an illusion since a deeper egoistic interest that defines our actions hides behind it.
But when we rise to the spiritual level and attain the desire to bestow, which works together with the desire to receive, we begin to have balance between these two desires and remain between them, in the middle third part of Tifferet, not leaning towards either side. We are not choosing what is more attractive to us, receiving or bestowal, otherwise it would not be considered an option, but rather depends on our evaluation.
Freedom of choice is possible only if I am between two forces, positive and negative (bestowal and receiving), and if I manage to set up myself between them as if I were an engine in the circuit.
Thus, I use both forces since I have freedom to build myself by including myself in both forces; this gives birth to a new reality. The free choice that we possess in spirituality allows us to build the Creator! The Creator is me but in a corrected state. That’s why He is called “Bo-Re” (come and see).
You build a new reality out of these two opposite forces. Before we reach this state, there is no freewill. There is no way to obtain freedom of choice by selecting from one force only or from two opposing forces; only if we manage to correctly connect them together do we get a third component called, “Adam (Man)” or “The Creator.”
Our desire is made by a reverse imprint of the Light, so if it senses only itself, it turns out to be something dreadful!
Question: Why is it that in the Torah everything seems to exist separately: Esau is separate, Jacob is separate, Jacob is afraid of Esau.
Answer: There was a time when I studied music. What do you see when you look at sheet music? You see what you are to reproduce. You see signs: measures, notes, pauses, piano, forte. All of that is drawn for the person who will be playing it.
I open the Torah. In it is written: Jacob, Esau, Israel, Shechem, Benjamin, Dina. What are all these names referring to? These are notes that I need to play. These notes are my inner properties and forces; they exist in me and are called angels. Angels are forces of nature that the Creator has given me so I would be able to organize myself with their help and become equal to Him. Why do I need to do this? Because dues to this, I become independent; I really acquire the Creator’s status.
This is why the Torah is called both Light and instruction. I read these instructions and work according to it. Jacob, Esau, Dina, Shechem, donkey, all these are forces of my soul, and the Torah reveals to me what I need to do with them. It describes to me exactly those processes I need to carry out; the interaction of its characters is the correlation of our inner properties, our desires. When I read it, I literally feel how these properties intertwine within me, go through different changes, how I work with them, how I am to connect them, and what I am to come to at the end of it all.
I look at the text the same way as you look at sheet music so you can sing or play, even now without an instrument, using just your inner strings. This is the only way for us to perceive the Torah, and this is the only reason it was given.
From the Weekly Torah Portion 11/18/2010
It is written: “I created the evil inclination.” In the weekly chapter “VaYishlach,” the image of Esau is a certain special interpretation of the evil inclination; in other chapters, this will be the pharaoh, Bilak, Bilam, and other villains, but this will always be my evil inclination; it does not exist outside of me. It is simply described from different perspectives, emphasizing different properties that I need to work with each time on a different level.
In contrast, I am also being told about the forces that I must use to help me work with this, and I am shown that my first encounter with this evil inclination results in complete failure.
I immediately submit to it when it becomes revealed; I do not know what to do! But then, gradually, I begin to free myself of it, I separate myself, I restrict it, and begin to control it slightly. I cut a piece of it and correct it, then another piece, and in this way we go from one layer to another until the very end of correction, until we correct our entire egoism.
The Torah always reveals how man corrects himself, and now you will not have any difficulty reading it. Man is a small world, and everything must exist within you, you only need to try to find Beit El, Shechem, Balak, Dina, all the character of this tale within you, and also all the still, vegetative, and animate nature that the Torah speaks about, because these things are also properties of your soul, just on a lower level.
By no means should you ever see a literary work in the Torah. It is written about this: “Do not make images, do not make any images for yourself.”
From the Weekly Torah Portion 11/18/2010
All articles written by Kabbalists about “mutual guarantee” represent an outcome of their perception of the upper reality and convey its laws to us. Obviously, these laws can be expressed by formulas and graphs as it is accepted in any other science. However, since they balance out other laws of nature and can be sensed rather than obtained in the form of dry knowledge through our intellect, they are written in the form of stories, letters, and parables.
We should keep in mind that Kabbalists never wrote moral admonitions or gave us advice, they explained to us an unbreakable law that they presented in a way that allows us to sense it and adjust to its level.
The whole nature of this world (the way we sense it) represents a certain law. When we are bringing up young children we acquaint them with this world very gradually.
Step by step we disclose this world to them and build their defense systems, which do not exist naturally; there is no such thing as natural restrictions, we create them ourselves.
Similarly, our spiritual “father and mother” (Aba ve Ima) work with us while they introduce us to the upper world. Auxiliary systems that were originally concealed from us, at some point, gradually reveal to us show that all of reality is one law.
The Torah, “Leviticus” (Shemini), 11:4, 11:6-11:8: But these you shall not eat among those that bring up the cud and those that have a cloven hoof: the camel, because it brings up its cud, but does not have a [completely] cloven hoof; it is unclean for you. And the hare, because it brings up its cud, but does not have a [completely] cloven hoof; it is it is unclean for you. And the pig, because it has a cloven hoof that is completely split, but will not regurgitate its cud; it is unclean for you. You shall not eat of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
This is a detailed description of the desires that cannot be corrected until the end of correction.
On one hand, they symbolize desires that can be used in order to bestow. But on the other hand, it is impossible to correct them since they require a Light that is so strong that we cannot acquire yet.
We will be able to do so after the correction of all the other desires: the still, vegetative, and animate desires in us. Then in the corrected state, we will be able to use the desires called camel, swine, etc.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 1/22/14
Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein, Maor va Shemesh (Light and Sun), Chapter “VaYakhel” (And He Assembled): There is a great advantage in the connection of simple people to the righteous of the generation since simple people don’t have the heart to understand how to really worship the Creator and how to do everything clearly so that their actions will illuminate for the Creator.
It is only by connecting the righteous of the generation and by spurring their hearts with enthusiasm by the righteous’ holy words that they can understand how to really worship the Creator.
By connecting to the righteous of the generation whose work is clear and illuminating in all the worlds, it also illuminates the souls of Israel who will leave all their doings and also raise a scent of incense to the Creator.
The nature of the Light and the vessel, the created being that was created by the Light, is a circle in which at first there is no difference between all its parts, but if we speak about correction, we can see a hierarchy there.
The first restriction is made equally on all sides around the central point, but then by working with the Masach (screen) of the created being himself who wants to resemble the Light, the circle cannot remain anymore because on every level of Aviut (thickness) of the desire—the root level, levels one, two, three, and four—the created being tries to resemble the Light each time. Thus, we reach a form of a square as the corners of the square stem from the attributes of phase one, two, three, and four.
After the restriction, when it is impossible to work with Malchut itself anymore, but only with Malchut that is sweetened in Bina, the square becomes a triangle, and a Star of David is formed from these two triangles, the lower and the upper.
This is how the hierarchy of attaining the upper is created on the part of the lower, and thus the difference between the souls is created. It is because before the shattering, the souls are on different level of Aviut, and he who is greater than his friend, his desire is even greater, but he is greater since he has a Masach.
However, after the shattering and the loss of the Masach, those who had a greater ego fell lower than the others, from the high mountain to the bottom of the abyss. This is how the hierarchy of the correction is determined, from the lightest to the most serious. So there the levels of the patriarchs, the sons, the sages, the prophets, the kings, and the Kabbalists, and so forth, from the time of the second Temple until our time appears.
The corrections are derived and continue in a chain from the purest desire to the coarsest, and so the Light is conveyed from the top down, which means according to the purity of the vessels that are attained by the size of the Masach. First of all, it depends on the Reshimot (reminiscences) that are left in the shattered vessel. They actually determine when it is a person’s time to be corrected.
It isn’t up to a person who can only participate in the correction of the Reshimot by organizing the right environment. From the time of Moses until the receiving of the Torah, we constantly are drawn to the high souls that are before us, trying to adhere to them. It is because through them, we receive the Light from above, and, through them, we raise our prayer, MAN, and thus correct ourselves.
From the Preparation for the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/23/14