The Times of Israel published my new article “How to Make Optimal Use of the Coronavirus Era”
Mutual responsibility is the fundamental law of nature. It is what connects between all elements of nature on still, vegetative, animate and human levels as a single system.
According to the law of mutual responsibility, as the human elements in the system, whether we know it or not, we have an obligation to understand what our attitudes should be toward the system in order to bring about a state of equilibrium: relations of mutual consideration, support, love and care among all of its parts.
The problem is that we are unable to perceive the law of mutual responsibility, and thus we have no idea how to meet its demands.
The Problem of Agreeing With the Law of Mutual Responsibility
How could an individual agree to being blamed for the entire system becoming imbalanced and bringing about suffering to so many people?
How could an individual feel that crises occurring in the world are due to his or her failing to fulfill a certain role in the system?
Such a view stands against our very reason, which by default blames other people and other things in the world for our shortcomings.
However, according to nature’s perfect functionality—a well-oiled system of mutual consideration and responsibility—every individual element is equivalent to the whole system. Thus, every element holds monumental importance and responsibility.
If nature’s law of mutual responsibility had been revealed to us, we would see that every person is responsible for the entirety of humanity.
But we live our lives in concealment of this law, within our individualistic and narrow self-serving perceptions.
On one hand, living in concealment of nature’s law of mutual responsibility provides us with room for free choice, since if we had clear perception and sensation of our tight interdependence, we would all be compelled to think and act for humanity’s common benefit involuntarily, living like animals that instinctively follow nature’s commands.
On the other hand, human development in concealment of our need to establish mutually considerate and responsible connections led us to a state where we were each ready to exploit, manipulate and even abuse others in order to benefit ourselves—the polar opposite of mutual responsibility.
Sit and Do Nothing—Better
There is a Kabbalistic saying that goes, “sit and do nothing—better.” It means that before we dabble about in all kinds of activities, it is better to stop and contemplate on whether the intention behind our actions is correct, whether what we are about to do will lead us all in a positive direction, and whether we aim ourselves at benefiting other people and nature and not simply live our lives trying to fulfill self-serving interests.
Until very recently, we were in a competitive-egoistic grind trying to profit from each other as much as we could. We were engaged in a common attempt to make our way in life by trying to prosper from our exploitation of other people, as well as from nature’s still, vegetative and animate levels.
Nature itself then revealed a new situation that forced us to enter the state of “sit and do nothing—better” that Kabbalists discuss.
How? It was by giving us the coronavirus.
Together with the rapid global spread of the coronavirus, conditions materialized from one country to the next in classic domino-effect fashion, as if nature, like a caring-yet-strict parent, grabbed its misbehaving child—humanity—by the arm, and put us into detention:
“Now, listen to me! You’re not going out anywhere for a while. No going out at night. No parties. No traveling overseas. No meeting up with your friends. You can only go out to get whatever you need to get by, and then you have to come straight back home.”
“I want you to think about why you’re in detention, about what you were doing wrong. You’re getting older now, and you can’t keep going around making a mess anymore, only thinking about yourself, like a baby.”
Global-Scale Blows Call for Global Awakening
The 2008 global financial crisis was a major wake-up call for humanity to realize how globally interconnected and interdependent we were.
The fact that one bank falling in one country led to more banks falling in other countries, which further prompted home foreclosures, mass unemployment, and later, protests around the world—words like “global interconnection” and “global interdependence,” which mostly new-age and spiritual types had used before that incident in niche circles, then became the words of politicians and economists heard frequently in the daily news.
We were taught a lesson in how the value of maximizing self-interests at the expense of others, which worked itself across a chain of loan borrowers, lenders, investment banks, investors and ratings agencies, prompted a collapse of our financial infrastructures, which had further negative rippling effects felt by people all around the world. In other words, we were taught a lesson in how by living in an interdependent world while thinking only about our personal benefit leads to crisis.
Today’s coronavirus crisis comes to show us how globally interconnected and interdependent we are on a whole new level.
Humanity has become quarantined, each person and family in their respective homes, for a considerable amount of time, in order to give us room for introspection and learning.
Today, however, we are given a chance not only to see how interconnected and interdependent we are, and how our paradigm of maximizing self-interests at others’ expense was leading us to a dangerous state. This time, we have been given conditions and time to learn how we can realize our interdependence in a positive manner: by learning how to act in a mutually considerate and responsible way toward each other.
With the limitations imposed on us today, it would be beneficial for us to learn about how we can change our interdependence from one that nature compels us to wake up to via means that we sense as undesirable and even painful, to an interdependence that we perceive as desirable.
In other words, today we can learn how to want to take responsibility for others, how we can find pleasure in thinking and acting for other people’s benefit, and how such a form of connection is much more fulfilling than our previous mode of thinking and acting out of self-benefit alone.
If we take a step toward engaging ourselves in such a form of integral learning—education that enriches our connection to each other and with nature—we will discover that outside of our desires to benefit ourselves alone exists a heavenly life.
Implementing connections of mutual consideration and responsibility among each other will “click” us into balance with nature, and we will then feel nature in its perfection and wholeness.
Wake Up and Smell the Shift to a New Evolutionary Phase
“Sit and do nothing—better” is the next phase of human evolution that nature has driven us to realize with the onset of the coronavirus.
It is a necessary phase that we have to experience in order to depart from the self-interest based rat race that we were running beforehand.
Today, with the mass-scale quarantine-like conditions imposed on us by the coronavirus pandemic, nature is encouraging us to settle down and start a new process of introspective learning about who we are, what is this reality we are in, what are its laws, to what extent do we depend on each other and on nature, to what extent does nature depend on us, and how can we make optimal use of this state in order to upgrade ourselves, to act more harmoniously with each other and with nature?
At this juncture, integral connection-enriching education comes to our aid.
To realize the state we have entered ideally, we would benefit most from absorbing wisdom of connection as regularly as we consume the news, or as much as we play video games or engage in social media, i.e., that we nourish ourselves with educational materials, examples and practical activities that infuse us with the necessity and importance to become more considerate, responsible and caring of one another.
By doing so, we will open ourselves up to a whole new dimension of existence, where we will experience nothing less than perfection, peace, unification, and complete fulfillment and happiness.
We have been handed a momentous opportunity to rise considerably in our relations to each other and with nature, and to deepen our awareness of the system of nature and its laws.
I thus hope that we will make constructive use of this unique period we have entered, and indeed use it to become more balanced and harmonious with nature.