Answer: This is a complex question, not because it is related to history or geography, but because it is related to our perception of reality.
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, there are two basic forces in the universe: the will to bestow or the positive upper force, the Creator, and the will to receive—the lower negative force, the creation. Both desires, interacting with one another, determine practically all of history.
Since their initial parameters and final states are set, we can describe all of these stages of the will to receive (creation) under the influence of the will to bestow (the Creator) in advance. In principle, there can’t be any surprises here.
The first part of the development of history happens completely under the influence of the upper Light, meaning the force of the Creator. In this process, creation feels the pressure of the Light and, being fully in its power, transforms under its influence, going through specific phases of development, the same ones that an embryo undergoes in its mother’s womb for nine months. This is why we understand absolutely everything that is happening.
Because only one factor operates here, the upper Light, we know in advance which stages we will go through and how.
In principle, this is how humanity developed. And this program of creation presupposes a person’s reaction to the influence from above: the extent to which he can advance contrary to his egoism, on the side of the upper Light, the quality of bestowal, love and connection; or he does not desire this, cannot do it, does not understand how to act, and by that he seemingly opposes the Light’s influence.
And if he opposes it, then he naturally feels different. Then history includes greater forces of resistance on the part of creation and greater coercive forces on the part of the Light, the Creator. However, in general, the development of history is strictly regulated from the beginning.
Today we have reached a very interesting stage of development where we can acquire a certain freedom of will, allowing us to change our history and change the speed and type of our development.
In any case, we will develop according to strictly delineated, pre-set degrees. We will either go through them consciously, with understanding and participation, in which case the development will be favorable, voluntary, and welcomed by us. We will see it as good development from our perspective and the Creator’s. Or we will resist it like small stubborn children, not wishing to implement the program of creation.
That is, either it is unknown to us, as is the case for most of humanity, or we are familiar with it, like people who study Kabbalah and are obligated to know it, as those who have already gone through these states thousands of years ago. We have to try to correct our path, making it more conscious and good for us, but most importantly—for others.
Thus, all of world history was written from the beginning. This is why philosophers and scientists, when beginning to examine history, man’s behavior, the present, past, and future, are stumped when trying to answer the questions: Can time proceed backwards? Is everything predetermined? Where is our freedom of will? How does an elementary particle choose the form in which to continue its development—as a particle or wave, meaning light?
Physicists say that everything depends on the person performing the experiment. When he sets up the device to measure the elementary particle either as a wave or a particle, the particle knows about it in advance and behaves in accordance with the chosen device. It’s as if the present determines the past, meaning time that proceeds backwards. This is what physicists assert.
Kabbalah speaks about this much more simply. In principle, it does not relate to the concept of time because there is no time; we realize that which exists in the world of infinity in its final form. But since all of our states are set in advance, there are no surprises here—there is no present, past, or future, as if someone is playing a movie for us and we see its separate shots.
Everything has already been recorded on the film in advance, and we are only viewing it. This is our life. It is being played inside of us, but practically, we can say that it is being played in front of us.
We are the direct participants of this viewing, which is predetermined in advance, and we know everything that will happen and what we will do, except one thing—by being in the group and attracting the upper, positive force upon us, we can elicit changes.
However, we can’t change history itself or the course of events, but only our attitude to it, and then it will look completely different. That is because our attitude to it determines what we will see on those shots: war or peace, good or evil. We determine everything.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 7/16/17