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The Times of Israel published my new article “A Cure to the Economic Anxiety of the Coronavirus Pandemic”
As the coronavirus pandemic advances globally, it is fair to think that no one in the world will be exempt from its economic impact.
Just as the development of the global capability to contain the coronavirus pandemic is uncertain, so is the economic forecast, but it is estimated that COVID-19’s effect on the world’s economy will surpass a $1 trillion loss in 2020.
Suddenly, the fear of appalling economic damage becomes stronger than the anxiety over harm to health. Job losses are paralyzing many people, and the threat takes new forms on a daily basis.
Undoubtedly, common citizens who depend on an average monthly income, who need to put food on the table for a number of family members, and whose partners are also obliged to stay home to care for children, are faced with a frightening new reality. The long lines to purchase such items as toilet paper under directives that caution them to stay away from crowds causes them to fear for their lives, ponder their destiny and the paralyzing uncertainty of the unknown.
Business owners, large and small, are in grave danger. Suddenly, their accounts plummet toward deficits and their routines are shattered. Customers, suppliers and orders have come to a halt, and nobody knows if, when and to what extent they will return. No one owes these business owners anything. Who will take care of them? Who can ensure that the virus will be stricken from the earth tomorrow and that life will return to normalcy?
Human society is disintegrating and falling from our sanitized hands. For years we have made a living off of one another and suddenly in one swish everything has become frozen and neutralized. The threat brought about by the coronavirus covers all economic spheres, but the strongest hit was to the tourism sector. There are no flights, no hotels, no open restaurants—a tourism industry death sentence.
Therefore, the cries of misfortune and despair surfacing with each new limitation and subsequent new level of severity stemming from the pandemic are understandable. However, we can also find solace in the fact that humanity is looking at itself in the mirror, discovering that it created a dysfunctional society awash with exaggerated self-importance. Now, with a paralyzed economy, we have the sharp taste of the spoiled fruits of our long-standing egotistic behavior, and we must decide on how we view our situation.
Thus, this is a blessed moment for national and global soul searching. It is a time to ask about what nature wants of us. Why were we given life? Was it merely to somehow find a way to survive on this planet? What have we achieved? In the first thirty years of our lives, we went through our primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education. We traveled the world and spent another decade building a family, took on the Sisyphean toil of purchasing a home, a car and raising children.
What is next? We were thrown into a whirlpool from which it is difficult to extricate ourselves. We are in a modern form of slavery, locked in golden cages, and enclosed in social networks. Now, suddenly, isolated from everything by the coronavirus, we have an opportunity to make a change. We just need to figure out how we fell into this global inconvenience in order to know how to make the best of it.
This is the positive aspect of the coronavirus. It helps to elucidate the comprehensive system in which we live, the system of nature, which is all about interdependence, where every part supports another. The exception is the human being, who we know is ready to destroy everything to overrun and conquer just as long as he feels good. He does not want to integrate with the interconnected and interdependent laws of nature.
So along comes the coronavirus and breaks down the anti-integrative edifice we have created in human society. It will force a fresh examination of the order of life and the understanding that if we continue to act savagely, as narrow-minded egoists, and not behave according to our bodies’ needs—just like any other animal or plant in nature—we will only harm ourselves and our environment. This human “exception” is the one that we need to balance today, in order to connect with the integrative system of nature so that we can be happy and satisfied with our lives.
Nature programmed bringing us to this critical adjustment. Let us then anticipate an antidote to the virus, open our ears to the messages of the Kabbalists and what is written in the books of Kabbalah: that we live in a world that is all good, and that it is us, human beings, in our egoistic, selfish relations that knock it off balance.
By treating the other well, in mutual responsibility and consideration, we begin to uncover the complete and eternal nature in which we live; a fearless life, free of pressure, a long, healthy and beautiful life on earth.
KabNet published my new article: “Coronavirus: Nature’s Vaccine To Cure Egoism”
With all the home quarantines and health department orders to stay at home except for essential needs amounting around the world at this time, while these moves are meant to protect our physical health, they can also serve as a new environment for us to heal ourselves as individuals and as a society.
The fact that many of us have been confined to our homes should serve to reveal our true state: that we are internally remote from each other. Such a revelation can thus serve to show us how physical remoteness and corporeal isolation requires inner closeness and spiritual connection.
Physical Remoteness and Corporeal Isolation Requires Inner Closeness and Spiritual Connection
Thanks to the coronavirus closing us into our homes around the world, we gain access to a new space where we can all participate in the same thought. In this space, we have an opportunity to seek more internal contact with each other and with the force of connection, which was previously hidden from us. Due to our busy competitive and materialistic lifestyles coming to a sudden halt, we have been slotted into a new environment around the world where we have the chance to become closer to nature.
“The ego virus did not give us fevers and dry coughs; it attacked our thoughts and desires. It made us think about ourselves all the time, making us act solely for personal benefit, using anything and anyone around us in order to satisfy itself.”
What is nature? Nature is fundamentally a thought that has a quality of connection, love and bestowal. The more our attitudes to each other resemble nature’s quality, the more we discover a new field seemingly rising between us, a space existing in our connections that is alive, breathing and pulsating.
In this field that starts forming between us, we start living on a new level of connection. This new level of connection necessitates us developing a sense of mutual dependence and responsibility, with ties of support, encouragement and friendship between us. Everything else we created then turns out to appear all the more artificial and transient.
How Nature Teaches Us to Grow Up and Become Considerate of Each Other
The integral force of nature that becomes revealed in our connections both brings us internally closer together, and it also pushes us away from each other, in intervals. It can be likened to parents teaching their babies to walk by holding both the babies’ hands and guiding them through a few steps, and then letting the babies’ hands go, allowing the babies to fall, all under careful guidance, in order to let the babies learn how to start walking by themselves.
Likewise, there are times when we feel more together, and times when we become more remote, and this alternation is in order for us to seek how we can connect positively above the increased distance between us, to build more mature relationships to each other. “Mature” means that we feel a sense of rejection separating us, and above that negative sensation, build positive connections of mutual consideration and assistance.
Nature Injected Us with the Coronavirus as a Vaccine to Cure a More Severe Virus
Before the coronavirus struck us, we were hit with another virus: our egoistic human nature. The ego virus did not give us fevers and dry coughs; it attacked our thoughts and desires. It made us think about ourselves all the time, making us act solely for personal benefit, using anything and anyone around us in order to satisfy itself.
The problem was that the ego could never become genuinely satisfied. In an endless race to fulfill itself, it increasingly mutated, wanting more and more, making us forget about the need to be considerate to others, and urging us to seek more wealth, social status and power using anyone and anything it could make us get its hands on.
Nature then injected us with the coronavirus—nature’s vaccine for the ego virus that had recently mutated to extremes. Since we let the ego exploit the physical closeness that we used to have, nature physically distanced us from each other in order to give us time to heal internally, to realize that our egoistic quality was increasingly knocking us out of balance with each other and with nature, and to think about how we could fix this flaw—to develop a common sense of support, encouragement and responsibility for each other upon the ego.
Of utmost importance right now is to be in this together, to help each other relate constructively to this period of physical isolation that nature has forced us into—that we need nothing other than to develop feelings of consideration, concern and responsibility for each other in order to make a historical shift from the old competitive-egoistic world and into a new world of harmonious global connection.
Comment: The measures taken by many governments against coronavirus have literally paralyzed people’s lives.
My Response: Governments are very afraid for their fellow citizens. We must understand that they are responsible for the health of the population and for the economy. And the economy is completely dependent on our relations and international trade. This is a huge headache for governments. If they already decided to cut all ties, it means that they have no other choice.
For example, just the other day, US President Trump announced that he is canceling all flights from the United States to Europe. Do you understand what this means for the US aviation industry? Certainly, he takes this into account, especially since he has an election coming up.
He probably has data that confirms that I am not exaggerating. He would have liked to make a more lenient decision, but obviously he has such information that he has to stop flights.
Comment: The same is happening in the country where I live. Israel is completely isolated. You cannot leave the country. I have heard that this fact alone causes a loss of four billion shekels, not to mention all the rest.
My Response: Some people think this is an exaggeration. I think that it is underestimated.
Question: It turns out that the only way to fight the virus is by isolation. However, this is against the tendency of the laws of nature, which constantly pushes us to unite, to integrate. How can you explain this?
Answer: Very simply. It is written in an ancient Kabbalistic source, “Disperse the wicked; better for them and better for the world.” And vice versa, “Assemble the righteous; better for them and better for the world.”
Question: What is our sin?
Answer: It is in the fact that we do not connect correctly. In our connection, we do not wish each other well; therefore, this cannot be called unity. This can only be called a desire to profit at the expense of others.
Therefore, in our development, nature cannot accept such attempts to unite, to trade, and so on as positive, correct, and leading to a more unified state that it set for us. It believes that such a connection is harmful to us and to the entire universe. Therefore, it gives us a hard time in the form of viruses and all sorts of unpleasant excesses. These blows will continue until we change our attitude to each other.
From KabTV’s “Coronavirus Is Changing Reality, Part 2,” 3/12/20
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “How does coronavirus compare to past pandemics?“
Today, humanity is much more interdependent than it ever has been before, and thus the global socio-economic impact of the coronavirus differs significantly from past pandemics.
If past pandemics in Europe and other parts of the world had no influence over other continents and nations, the case with the coronavirus is completely different.
Today, we are culturally, economically and commercially tied together around the world.
Therefore, the coronavirus affects us all.
It spread from one part of the planet to another relatively quickly, and we have no escape from it since we cannot detach the connections that we have established.
We thus see that the coronavirus pandemic receives completely different attention to past pandemics, since we were never as connected as we are today.
Moreover, while so many of us around the world have become quarantined and instructed to stay inside our homes, we see how we cannot detach from each other. It has become impossible to imagine what it would be like to separate from our global connection.
From My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 3/23/20
Before discussing what will defeat the coronavirus, we need to understand that beyond all the causes mentioned about the coronavirus, there is a deeper cause: that the coronavirus pandemic is nature’s response to humanity’s negative connections based on self-interested calculations.
Such negative connections spanning our competitive, materialistic and individualistic lifestyles were creating increasing tensions on personal, social and international scales.
We thus needed a certain kind of blow from nature to stop us from heading toward a bigger blow that we would have induced, the likes of which could have been as destructive as a world war.
The coronavirus will not stop until we become ready to positively connect, replacing our egoistic, exploitative and manipulative attitudes to each other with altruistic, supportive, and encouraging ones.
Positive human connection will then create a balance of forces with nature. Then, the coronavirus, which emerged in order to highlight the extent of our negative connection to each other, will disappear.
Adjusting our attitudes to each other, correcting our connections from negative to positive, is ultimately what we need in order to defeat the coronavirus.
We thus need to see that the coronavirus has revealed our negative egoistic attitudes to each other, and if we can overcome the inner remoteness that has grown between us, we will then stop the virus, as well as myriad other negative phenomena and problems in our lives.
Answer: Of course. To the extent that you make the right efforts, you can calmly advance without any problems. You can even skip the necessary steps you must take. It is like at school or university: you can finish your studies without attending classes, in less time. Please, the path is open.
Question: What does it mean to win every moment?
Answer: Do not forget that there is a goal in life and yearn to attain it.
Question: The sensation of the world a person is in depends on how high he ascends and which part of the Partzuf of Adam HaRishon he occupies. How can we understand this?
Answer: It is like how in our world we cannot compare our present sensations with each other since each one has one’s own subjective sensations deriving from one’s primordial spiritual gene, so it is in the spiritual world. We have this so-called Reshimo (a spiritual record) in us, and we fulfill it. As a result, we feel our state at each and every moment.
Question: Why is it considered that we are not in the world of Assiya? If it is equal to Malchut, then do we consume too little, or on the contrary, do we attract and absorb a lot?
Answer: We are at the lowest level of the lowest world. At the same time, we consume an insignificant amount of spiritual energy, practically nothing. And our corporeal world is not considered as existing at all.
Question: What basic laws must I not break in order to advance spiritually in a good and quick manner?
Answer: Never harm others. That is the only law. If you keep it scrupulously, you will advance.
Question: Is there a level after which a person is never detached from the thought and the feeling that everything comes from the Creator?
Answer: There is such a level. It is called the world of Atzilut. If you ascend through the worlds of Assiya, Yetzira, and Beria to the world of Atzilut, you will think only about the one force, about the Creator, who is the attribute of bestowal, love, and connection, and you will exist in this force. I wish you success in this ascent.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 1/5/20
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Is nature an intelligence, a form of mind?“
Nature is a thought.
It has a plan for the development of the inanimate, vegetative, animate and human natures, with a beginning and an end, and it implements this plan in a determinant manner.
As the plan becomes realized, all sorts of problems arise, since the inanimate, vegetative, animate and human natures all participate in this plan.
Human nature, which is the highest and most qualitative of all the levels in nature, is subject to all kinds of fluctuations and changes in both directions.
While nature runs a completely determined plan, we humans have free will within the plan.
We can change ourselves to either resemble or contrast nature. Accordingly, we can alter the path of our development: by resembling nature we feel it as amiable and agreeable, and by contrasting nature, we feel it as nasty and disagreeable.
One way or another, we will all reach the same ultimate final state, however the way in which we get there can either be through the implementation of our free will, or by letting nature’s plan unfold toward us without our participation in the process.
In other words, while our final destination as well as our way there is predetermined, we, as humans in this process, have the free choice to segment the process, where in each segment, we can feel nature’s development as either kinder and more enjoyable, or harsher and undesirable.
The goal is to gather and connect in a corrected ten that strives to achieve balance and contact with the Creator, equivalence of form with Him. To this extent, they will be able to connect with each other like cells of one body and organize more correctly in order to bestow upon the Creator. Then, at least this part of the broken body of Adam HaRishon will come to life and pull the other parts after it, causing the correction of all the systems of this common soul.1
In order to reach the Creator’s palace, we need to unite and build it. The hidden palace of the Creator does not exist; it will appear only if we build it. And so, we build one vessel from our selfish desires. We all feel mutual rejection and do not want to unite. This is our nature. But if atop this nature we demand the power of unity from the Creator, then He draws us together, glues and dresses in the vessel created by Him.
All this is called the work of the Creator, but it is generated by our demand. Therefore, we must join the group and feel what kind of mutual rejection that we experience. But this hatred cannot be felt unless we have made efforts to unite and have revealed that we are incapable of doing so. By fighting rejection, we build our common appeal to the Creator, demanding He unite us. And if our request has reached the right force, depth, and number of people asking, that is, a ten, if we are able to demand it, then the Creator does the work.
Therefore, the whole work of a person is to bring about the work of the Creator. We oblige the Creator to complete this work, and He performs; as it is said: “My sons defeated Me.” Children ask and the Creator does, just as we fulfill the requests of our children. Children know how to beg from their parents, and we need to learn from them how to beg the Creator so that He can do His work. He is waiting for us to ask.
Therefore, we are going to the congress to build an appeal to the Creator, called prayer, asking Him to correct what He has broken. But when we ask for corrections, we begin to learn what our defect is, what we need to ask for, how the Creator should correct us, how we will feel the perfect state inside the corrected vessel made up of selfish desires, and how then He will fill this vessel with the force of love and unity.
It turns out that we use each fragment of the vessel, deliberately shattered to let us learn, assembling it as if from Lego pieces like children who, thanks to this, develop and grow until they receive a real spiritual Kli.
Therefore, the Creator says: “You have made Me.” We create the Creator by assembling the vessel from broken fragments, that is, from ourselves, asking the Creator to connect us and fulfill us.2
Obviously, we are unable to exit our egoism. It is impossible to do anything with it. But if we try to include the strength of our friends in us, then everyone receives the strength of everyone, and only on this condition can we overcome our evil inclination.
After all, evil was created in us as a result of breaking the connection between us when we were in the system of Adam HaRishon. Therefore, when the connection was broken, our evil became ten times greater than the individual strength of connection of each one. That is why evil in the world exceeds all the forces of good.
But if we join together with a small force of bestowal of each one of us, then our power of bestowal becomes greater than the egoistic forces that arose during the shattering, and we can provide this force of bestowal to the Creator so that He can reveal Himself.3
Mutual integration has a unique property. Although I alone had a single force in the system of Adam HaRishon, after the Creator broke us, I integrate with everyone above the force of separation. And then each of us becomes ten times stronger than the force of connection that existed in this system of Adam HaRishon. If we were in the first degree in the system of Adam HaRishon, today, after the correction, each of us can rise to the tenth degree.4
Working against the desire, we cry, we do not rejoice. It is difficult to work against the desire and nobody wants it. If I hoped to gain something, I would work with joy. But if I do not see any gain and work without desire, then I am sad.
“Divinity is present only in a whole place, and not in a deficient place or a flawed place or a place of sadness, but in a proper place—a place of joy .” It is written: “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with singing. There is no service of the Creator unless out of joy.” It is so written in The Book of Zohar.
After all, this means that we want to work. If I do and shed tears, then it is not considered that I did something because it is not the action itself that counts in spirituality but the intention. And intention is measured only by joy, according to my desire: whether I want to work or not. If I work forcedly, under a stick, then it is generally not considered that I worked. I can do many actions during my life in this world and it will not be considered that I did anything. After all, I did not do everything of my own accord.
This is a very big problem; we need to pay attention to it. Otherwise, you will ask: “I have done so much, sacrificed so much! Where is my reward?” But did you really earn a reward? Did you really want to give, and love, connect to others, integrate with them? Or did you do your duty working without desire, without intention, so this work does not count? Therefore, many leave this world with the same thing with which they came, that is, empty-handed.
The Creator can only be served in joy, only if I want to be a bestower. But I do not want and cannot bestow? Right. The Creator deliberately made it so that I could not. Ask Him for the power of bestowal. Why didn’t you ask? Don’t let go of Him until you get it.
And when you receive the force of bestowal and see how the whole world needs your help and can receive it only through you, you will be happy about your every action. Everything is going well, we just lack the understanding that we need to demand from the Creator the force of bestowal, to whine and beg from Him like a little child.5
From the World Kabbalah Convention 2020, “Connecting To The Root of Life,” “Day One” 2/25/20, “We Have Gathered Here,” Lesson 1
1 Minute 33:27
2 Minute 44:47
3 Minute 58:23
4 Minute 1:00:41
5 Minute 1:06:30
Answer: Kabbalah was revealed gradually because this is exactly how the ego develops in humanity. It started out as very small and then Kabbalah began to emerge and develop with the arrival of the great Kabbalist the Ari. This is one point.
Secondly, Kabbalah is not a new science. The first Kabbalah book was written 5,780 years ago. There are more books from about 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. There is a huge body of Kabbalistic work, including contemporary books.
Question: Why has Kabbalah been on hold and not revealed until precisely our time?
Answer: Kabbalah has not been on hold. It is being revealed to humanity only to the extent of humanity’s ability to implement it correctly. Look what happens with the knowledge that is revealed to humanity before it is ready to realize it correctly: we invent atomic bombs and other harmful things.
Whereas Kabbalah is being revealed only to the degree to which humanity can use it without harming others. But the most important difference between Kabbalah and all religious beliefs, views, or anything else, is that it aspires for universal love that we don’t see anywhere else.
We see that religions hate one another, and nations are in a state of mutual hatred, because all other methods and theories are based on egoism. Kabbalah stands apart from them. It encourages love and sees universal love as the result of the corrections made by it. That needs to be studied. We can, of course, dismiss it. However, it is the method of Kabbalah that explains how to rise above egoism, letting us reach love.
Question: What does it mean as Baal HaSulam writes: “Until the world becomes one family”?
Answer: Yes, to a point where all humanity would once again feel as a single nation. Eventually, Kabbalah will bring us to it. The events that have happened in our world in the past 100 to 200 years, and those in our nearest future will show that with absolute certainty. This is the time of the revelation of Kabbalah.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 2/2/20