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The #coronavirus has powerfully altered the relationships between people in human society, making us face some serious questions:
1. We are very connected and dependent on one another
2. Our connection is not a good one, and we have to learn how to change it.
The coronavirus is exposing the full gravity of our state.
From Twitter, 3/12/20
Thrive Global published my new article: “Coronavirus and the Value of Life”
We like to think of ourselves as conscientious, moral people. But COVID-19, or Coronavirus Disease, is exposing our true nature: selfish to the core.
2019 was a record year for Dengue Fever in Latin America. Some 3 million people were infected, and 1,500 of them died. Each year, the disease is claiming more and more lives but hardly anyone outside Latin America knows about it. Why? Because it’s Latin America, and in the eyes of the West, Latin American lives are worth less than West European lives or North American lives. If we in the Western World valued Latin American lives the way we value our own, the media would give it due coverage.
Likewise, the coronavirus aroused very little interest as long as it remained inside Mainland China. Would we really be alarmed if the virus killed, say, 100,000 people, or even a million people in China, but did not migrate to other countries? What would it take for us to move uncomfortably in our seats? The answer is not a number, but the identity of the affected.
We like to think of ourselves as conscientious, moral people. But COVID-19, or Coronavirus Disease, is exposing our true nature: selfish to the core. This is why the world started panicking over the coronavirus only when it spread to the rest of the world; this is the sad reality of our lives.
Two Lessons from the Virus
So far, the coronavirus has taught us two very important lessons:
We are all equal in the eyes of nature. Whether you are rich or poor, a tyrant or a servant, the tiny bug could not care less; it’ll hit you just the same.
We are all mutually dependent. We are passing the germ from one person to the next and one person’s irresponsible behavior, even if inadvertently, can cost other people’s lives and numerous others pain and agony.
What the virus will not teach us is how to turn this negative interdependency into a positive one. This, we will have to learn on our own, through our efforts to build a new paradigm of living. If we focus our efforts on improving life for everyone rather than only our own, and often at the expense of others, we will transform our environment, the social and ecological ones.
The pandemic is an opportunity for us to develop a new outlook on ourselves, to envision success not as a triumph over others, but as empowerment of society as a whole. True, this thinking goes against our nature, but nature itself is going against our nature nowadays, so we had better start thinking outside the box. If we don’t change our mode of thinking, reality will force us to, and much more painfully.
Coronavirus Disease is a prelude to a stream of ordeals that will befall humanity until we’re willing to become mutually responsible on the social and ecological levels. It does not take a lot to see that the virus is a test to our mutual consideration. Look at how China reacted in the beginning of the outbreak, pretending that the virus was no big deal, and look how it has managed to slow down its spread—by placing everyone in quarantine until the spreading dwindles. And it worked. Look at how Italy initially dismissed the danger, and look at the catastrophic results.
Now we need to take the mandatory mutual responsibility to the next level and start reaping its fruits. We can do much more than heal society from the virus. We can heal it from the spreading alienation, loneliness, and depression that have plagued our societies long before the virus. All it takes is our willingness to accept that we are responsible for one another.
Cherish the Difference
If we accept mutual responsibility, we will learn to cherish each other’s differences. Our unique characters will no longer separate us; they will connect us and will give each of us unique ways to contribute to society, which no one else will be able to give.
Questions of race or gender equality will become extinct since each person will be priceless. How can you evaluate a person who has unique qualities that no one else has, and who is ready and willing to use those qualities to benefit all of society? Will it matter if that person came from Latin America, China, or Germany? Will it matter if that person is well educated or not, rich or poor, black, white, or yellow? None of it will matter. All that will matter is that that person has a priceless gift to give to all of us. This is the reality of people living in mutual responsibility.
— Published on March 11, 2020
My article in Newsmax: “Sooner We Learn Coronavirus Lesson, Sooner We’ll Heal”
We’re still not getting what’s coming.
COVID-19, or coronavirus, is messing up our lives and we have yet to grasp the consequences. The masks, the quarantine, but mostly, the fear, are telling us that a new phase in our existence is emerging.
So, the sooner we get a grip on things, the better it will be for everyone.
You’re sitting at home, cannot go to work because your employer went out of business, cannot buy food because the stores have all been emptied and there’s no supply to refill the shelves, and supply shipments have virtually stopped. But you have children to feed. What will you do? You can’t even send them to school where they can get a meal since all schools have been shut down by the virus!
What will you do, grow vegetables in the bathtub?
If it sounds mad, it’s because it is. But in a matter of months, this scenario could be the reality of tens of millions of Americans, Europeans and people in every country in the world.
The simple reality is that we cannot exist without provision from the outside, and the coronavirus is decimating that provision. If we don’t find a way to reboot the chains of supply that have been frozen still by fear, we could be facing hunger of a magnitude that will destroy our society and claim the lives of millions of people who aren’t even sick with the virus.
The Key to a Successful Reboot
Why is all this happening?
Because we are ignoring one simple, natural law: interconnectedness. Interconnectedness means that everything in nature is connected to, and therefore dependent on everything else.
We, on the other hand, live under the assumption that we needn’t recognize anything other than our own needs. Herein lies the problem: While the inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels of nature function in harmony and balance, the human level seeks only to exploit: We use nature and abuse each other simply because we can.
Now, in what seems like the first time, but certainly not the last, nature is saying, “Enough!” Reality is demanding that we become responsible, mature, but mainly, considerate of one another and of the environment.
Now we are called upon to raise our eyes, acknowledge the world around us, and begin to think more in terms of “we” and less in terms of “me.” This is how all of nature operates, and it demands that we do, too.
Becoming More Like Nature, and Less Like People
In order to start balancing our approach to reality, we should begin to work more like nature, and less like people, or at least less like the people that we used to be until the outbreak of COVID-19. To do that, we should start including other interests in our thoughts. What animals and plants do instinctively, we are required to do consciously.
While it is much harder for us to do than it is for animals and plants, it holds a unique reward: an enhanced perception of the whole of nature. The more parts of reality we include in our awareness, the broader our perception of reality becomes. It is an endless process of growth with infinite rewards, bound only by our willingness to exert in it.
As nature is interconnected, so we can become, if we set our minds and hearts on it. In that sense, the coronavirus is an unprecedented opportunity for growth, and it would be a horrible mistake for us to miss it.
By disconnecting our supply chains, the virus has reminded us that we are inseparably connected. By thinking about this interconnectedness and what it requires of us, we can defeat not only COVID-19, but also the “viruses” that sicken our society, pollute our minds, and make us destroy each other and the world around us.
In that sense, the coronavirus is a vaccine, not a pathogen, and the sooner we learn what it teaches, the sooner we will all heal.
Comment: Baal HaSulam writes, that at first the Torah was given on a condition of mutual guarantee (Arvut), although later, when the golden calf was made, this condition was no longer observed because wars were fought about this issue, and the sons of Levi killed 3,00 people.
All this, of course, did not add love and unity. Later, when they came to the land of Israel, there was no peace either. Therefore, there was no one who could observe this main commandment. Literally several decades passed after the giving of the Torah, and there was no one left to observe this condition.
My Response: I think it took longer. In any case, the entire period was accompanied by huge conflicts among the people. There were many different currents, opposing groups, that were ready to destroy each other.
Comment: Further, Baal HaSulam writes, that in order for the people of Israel not to forget the Torah they began to observe the other commandments, although the main commandment was abandoned because they had no other advice.
The main commandment of the Torah “love your neighbor as yourself” was abandoned because egoism grew and people began to observe other commandments. What does it mean “other commandments”?
My Response: “Other commandments” are the reflection in our world of the main spiritual commandment and spiritual connections between people. There are 613 desires in a person, the so-called TARYAG, and all of them must be directed to the connection with others and with the Creator.
However, in our world, they are used to fulfill our egoism. Changing them to “love your neighbor,” to the fulfillment of others, of society, is called observing the commandments.
Question: So, are 613 commandments the internal actions as a result of which a person corrects his egoism in order to connect with other people in sensation, that is, through the souls?
Answer: Yes. In any case, the general rule of “love your neighbor” is broken down into many inclinations, desires, and actions. And all of them together make this rule.
From KabTV’s “System analysis of the development of the people of Israel,” 7/1/19
Answer: Love is the fusion of opposites.
Answer: No, but one flows from the other. The beginning of fear of the Creator arises from the hatred of separation.
Question: In the group we must go through all states. Whom does the speed of their passage depend on?
Answer: Only on you.
Question: Is it possible to say that if no desire receives fulfillment and a person feels intense suffering, according to the principle of opposites, then these desires will be completely filled and the pain and suffering will turn to joy and happiness?
Answer: Yes, but not if that person simply waits until he gets the filling. Rather he must work. But he will definitely receive fulfillment.
Question: If all humans on the face of the Earth are Jews and they all have a point in the heart, why is the pressure of the nations of the world aimed at the Jews as a people?
Answer: It is because the Jews are obligated to reveal the method of correction to humanity and they are not doing it. People instinctively feel that their suffering depends on this small group.
Question: If suffering is directed toward self-analysis, isn’t this an escape from suffering?
Answer: This is not an escape from suffering, but rather movement forward, i.e., the correct realization of suffering. One just has to know how to implement them so that they do not pass in vain.
Question: Being either in hatred or in love, can I come to something in between?
Answer: Yes, you absolutely can by elevating love above hatred and using hatred to constantly rise to love. But always with the help of both.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 12/15/19
Question: Our goal is to bring contentment to the Creator. Through love for our friends, we will come to love for the Creator. What does it mean to bring pleasure to a friend? What kind of pleasure are we talking about?
Answer: It is a very simple pleasure—when you assist him to achieve what he desires.
The friend wants to reveal the Creator, you help him in this. This is the pleasure you can give him, to become his real companion on the road, to bring him closer to his own goal.
From KabTV’s, “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 1/26/20
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Human Development: Nature or Nurture?“
Human Development: Nature or Nurture? Every person has a “preset” of unchangeable inner properties, which are congenial qualities that nature inserted into us.
We receive these qualities from our parents, who received them from their parents, and so on all the way back through each one’s ancestral lineage.
These qualities include our character, emotions, initial attitude to the surrounding world, and they heavily influence our actions and reactions.
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the person’s unchangeable qualities stem from spiritual roots, and every one of us is a part of a common collective soul, which in Kabbalah is called “the soul of Adam HaRishon.”
We receive our inborn properties and conditions according to our place within this common soul.
The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that the meaning of our lives is to regain consciousness of our place in this common soul by attaining the upper force of love and bestowal, called “the Creator.”
We humans have a completely opposite nature to the Creator’s: our nature is a desire to receive pleasure, while the Creator’s nature is to give pleasure, an attitude of pure love and bestowal.
Therefore, on one hand, we are egoistic beings who think solely out of personal benefit, while on the other hand, nature develops us to increasingly connect.
Thus, besides our inner qualities, we are given an external environment, a society that teaches us how to use these properties in a particular way, directing us to the attainment of the Creator, whether we realize it or not.
This is how nature nurtures us: by placing us inside the various environments that “sculpt” us, bringing us closer to understanding the purpose of our existence.
As we initially exist in a fixed interdependent system of nature, we are subjects to its laws. We can change neither the purpose of creation nor our inner qualities.
What, then, can we change?
What we can change is our environment.
Human development directly depends on the society that we build, on the positive attitude toward others that every one of us can show to our peers and children, and on each and every person’s personal example toward others, as well as the information we distribute through media channels.
The more that we can add awareness of who we are and what goal we pursue through society, the more we can benefit our lives, guiding ourselves to increasingly connect, and by doing so, reach balance and harmony with nature.