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“Straightening Up The Economy” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Straightening Up the Economy

We never knew it, but our economy has been standing upside down for more than a century. Instead of catering to our needs, we had catered to the “needs” of the economy. We worried about growth, production, consumption, and trade deficit or surplus. Somewhere along the way, we had forgotten that the economy was meant to cater to our needs, to see that we had food, clothing, healthcare, housing, and education. If possible, it should also provide us with some pleasant pastime but until COVID-19 came along, we had completely forgotten about it. Now we have been given a chance to straighten up the economy and rearrange our lives in a way that suits our needs.

“Professional trainings will make way for social trainings; we will learn the forgotten arts of making friends, of sharing and caring.”

With today’s technology, there is no need for everyone to work, certainly not the insane amount of hours we had been working until the onset of the lockdown. The average white-collar employee worked far more hours than slaves worked just two centuries ago. It might have made some sense if employees had more freedom or security than slaves, but when the coronavirus crisis shut down the economy, tens of millions of people were left without any security whatsoever — not housing security and not even food security. In other words, yesterday’s slaves are today’s IT professionals, software engineers, freelancers, employees in finance, law, insurance, tourism, and most white-collar professions. In the pursuit of freedom, we had replaced the relative safety of the slave for job titles. But when we needed to fall back on something, we discovered that our titles were completely meaningless. Never mind that they did not make us happy; they did not even give us any security.

The blow that COVID-19 has landed on the economy is humanity’s chance to free itself from the shackles of capitalism. Now is our chance to reevaluate the whole concept of work. Should our job define who we are? Why, for example, should our contribution to society not determine our social status? Why should a lawyer have a higher status than a teacher? Who contributes more to society, the lawyer or the teacher? Instead of appreciating people according to their contribution to society, we appreciate them according to their contribution to themselves. Is it not time we changed our values?

Thanks to technology, very few work hours are needed to provide for the needs of humanity. Within a few years, there will be no jobs the way we think of them today. Simply, there will be no demand for them. Instead of paychecks, governments will provide a basic income or some other sort of secured sustenance to all the residents. This will be necessary in order to prevent complete social collapse.

Then, once people’s livelihood is secured, it will be possible to establish a truly free society, where people work on bolstering their environment rather than their checking accounts.

Secured income frees people to secure their happiness. Therefore, people will focus much more on fostering fulfilling relationships. Professional trainings will make way for social trainings; we will learn the forgotten arts of making friends, of sharing and caring. The end of the reign of the economy is the beginning of the reign of humankind, of human kindness. The coronavirus is not just another virus; it has come to heal humanity, to straighten up our economy and put man on top, rather than money.

Do Not Fear The Coronavirus

281.01Question: A simple person is afraid of the coronavirus. He is afraid that his family or loved ones might get sick. He cautiously ventures into the store armed with two masks, puts them on, and makes purchases for weeks at a time. Such is man’s life. Especially since mass media keeps exacerbating the situation.

Everyone has fears. I do too. How can one live and behave in such times? How can one adapt to this virus?

Answer: Calm down, sit, stop running around.

Man is not created to run around but to sit. And contemplate: how life can be different from the one we have created for ourselves in the latter half of the 20th century? It is a slightly different kind of life when you understand what you live for. Not just run, run, run until you drop and die.

We do not know where the coronavirus came from. By the way, it does not matter anymore. Let’s just say that it is a good thing.

Question: This is your advice for a regular person?!

Answer: Yes. The virus stops us. It says: “Stop, people! Earthlings! Look at what you have done with the Earth! You destroy everything you exist on. You are destroying the nature that developed you, created you, nurtured you, the nature where you live.”

Our world was moving toward a world war. There are such states in life, even in personal life, when in the middle of it, one realizes that there is no getting out, that it will definitely end badly, an unhealthy situation one cannot come out of. This was the state we were in.

Question: Are you saying that this virus saved humanity from a world war?

Answer: Absolutely! I am convinced that if not for this virus, we would have been dealing with a war in the very near future.

Question: Are you suggesting that we should be grateful to the virus?

Answer: Of course!

Comment: I am a regular person. Avoiding a war is definitely a good reason.

My Reply: We were approaching it! We had no choice! Being egoists, we kept advancing toward a state where only war could save us so that markets or anything else would be renewed. And then again, we would start running after we destroyed everything. And again, we fall into the same routine. This is what we do.

Question: In general, I understand this issue. But what do we do with the virus?

Answer: First of all, the virus is global. This is quite surprising. Look at the interesting things that nature, or the Creator, which are the same, has up its sleeve!

Comment: Indeed. He got to everyone.

My Reply: Absolutely! And quietly so.

Comment: And before this, we had fires, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and it always seemed that it was somewhere far away. It only concerned those who lived there and nobody else. Suddenly, this little virus… It got to everyone! Absolutely everyone! This is amazing!

My Reply: And everyone agrees with it, everyone agrees! At first, some people said: “This does not concern us! Who cares?” But as soon as it came to us, everyone humbled themselves and got ready for it.

Thus, we must understand the special mission of this virus. There is not much to say about it. We must talk about ourselves rather than the virus. Not about how to protect ourselves from it but about how to transform ourselves individually and between each other.

Comment: So, I am sitting at home in isolation with my family…

Answer: So, think of why it is acting in such a selective way. It put you in isolation with your wife and kids. You have not spent time with them in 10, 20, 30 years.

Comment: Indeed. For the first time in a while; that is true.

My Reply: And now you can find out what their names are, what each one does, what grade they are in, and how much they have grown, etc. And now you finally get to see these kids, yourself, and your wife.

Comment: This is true, actually. This is how it is in my house too. I am sitting at home for the first time in a while. I used to only drop in for a quick break.

My Reply: Poor you!

Question: No, don’t say it. And all of a sudden, I am sitting, my wife is sitting, and we begin to talk about life and things in general. We even got to what you have been saying about our lives and our future. We started having such conversations.

I also wanted to ask you about the fear that inevitably exists in man. What advice would you give? How should we work with the fear of getting infected or infecting others?

Answer: How is it different from previous viruses? Did people not die from the flu or other diseases? We simply do not talk about it because we got used to a certain number of people dying each year. So, what?

Today also, what is the percentage? I am talking about the fact that we are raising panic for a completely natural situation.

Question: Does this allude to a higher wisdom that is pressuring us all?

Answer: Yes, of course.

Comment: This truly is something from above.

Rational people say the same as you do: the flu and car accidents take thousands more lives! Although, they too stay home. They also write, but they too are affected by it! The virus is inside them! What is it about this upper governance? What does it want?

My Reply: It is not something that the virus transmits to me. It penetrates me through my mind, through inner feelings! It is that kind of a virus. It works in our mind and our heart. This is why we have a different attitude toward it. Well, what is there? I drank half a bottle of vodka and forgot about it. This is different. Beginning with high ranking officials, presidents, down to the people who clean the streets, everyone is stricken by its power. And not because the virus infected or killed anyone.

Question: And this is not because the mass media is making it worse?

Answer: No! They think that they are doing it. There are many conspiracy theories today about where it came from, and the Internet, I suppose, must be full of it,.

Comment: Full of all this nonsense! So many theories, you cannot even imagine. While you insist that this is a targeted.

My Reply: This is done to shake up humanity, like a child. You shake him up to get all the nonsense out of his head so that he would listen and act differently.

Comment: At the same time, to shake everybody! This is incredible! From a president to a janitor.

My Reply: Yes. I am thrilled about it. “Happy is he who will be present at that time.” So, we are here during the turning point! This is a serious restructuring of the world! I hope that this will be an ideological restructuring rather than financial or psychological. This is specifically a spiritual restructuring, when the world begins to think of the purpose of their lives.

Question: Will the world change or forget like we forget everything else? Even the second world war, such catastrophes!

Answer: Everything that happens on the corporeal level is forgotten within a century. Maximum a century!

Question: So, this too will be forgotten? Will the virus also be forgotten?

Answer: If we allow it, it will be forgotten.

Question: So, we must not allow it?

Answer: No! We must understand that this is not a virus at all. This is an upper mercy showing us what a terrible world we have created, how we, in principle, suffer in it, and how dumb we are to turn ourselves into slaves.

I run to my car in the morning, start it, spend two hours in traffic to get to work, spend the day working to refuel the car and come home. I come home in the evening and watch some stupid TV show.

The next day, the same thing repeats for myself and my wife. And where are my children? I have no idea. In some activities that we pay for so we can work, and we work in order to pay for them, etc. This is absolutely terrible! It is awful what is going on! All those debts!

Comment: Such a vicious cycle, a constant rat-race all the time, non-stop.

My Reply: We have purposely created such a world for ourselves. Let’s think of how we can change it. The virus will help us. Indeed, the virus will help us do it!

Question: The virus will help us with this. Will it also help us leave all the fears behind?

Answer: There should be no other fear but one: to use the given moment correctly. That is all.

Question: To draw the right conclusions?

Answer: Yes. And the right conclusion is very simple: thoughts. Thoughts! Let’s think of what we live for and how we can build our lives differently.

We see that some little virus can turn us into very calm people: we can sit at home, we will not rush, we do not need billions; they will gradually disappear, thank God, there will not be much left of it, etc. We do not need any of it. We came up with money and all the riches to show off in front of each other in our endless egoism. Let’s change our aim.

And this is possible today. If the virus would act on us a bit longer, cleansing all of us, what would we do? Look: billions of people, what will they live on after the virus?

Question: I was hoping you could tell me: what will they live on? The economy is crashing, people are out of work.

Answer: Of course, it is crashing! You see, planes are grounded, ships are docked, there is nothing to trade, nothing to do. And we do not need any of this! We will provide ourselves with necessities, and that is all! Everything will be quiet.

Question: So, is this how we come to wholesome food and good relations? Is this possible?

Answer: Of course, it is possible. Why not? Unless the virus disappears. Without it, we are doomed to return to the way things were. For sure. Therefore, instead of the virus, we have to clear our heads and bring ourselves to a reasonable state.

Question: When you say that the virus will not go away, does it mean to clear our heads in order to?

Answer: In order for us to remain in today’s state, and much, much longer, in order for us to understand that we want to live for our sake. For our sake means for the state that I want to be in forever. This can be an appealing reason.

Throughout our lives, all we did was avoid the issue of death. The virus is offering us a new perspective: Do not try to run away from death, you can not avoid it. Let’s do something to overcome this imaginary threshold of death. We can do it. It is possible to be immortal. And the virus can help us do that.

Question: How can we become immortal?

Answer: We must rise above our egoism, which is killing us! Egoism is not only acting when we wish to show off in front of each other by being stronger or smarter than others. Egoism is confining us into a limited perception of the world through our bodies. Let us perceive the world through our inner structure—our soul. Then we will see the world quite differently: eternal, infinite, perfect.

It has nothing to do with religion. Let’s feel within ourselves how much we live in a perfect and eternal world. The wisdom of Kabbalah speaks about it. It does not advocate any religion or anything else. It only develops the human soul. By this, we can become truly happy.

The billions will disappear one way or another. Man will have no need for more than good quality healthy food, normal clothing, and wholesome family. This is actually quite simple: better not to work for what you throw away. Working and throwing away, working and throwing away. All because my neighbor has a new car, I am still driving an old one, and so on. All this must disappear.

I hope that people will understand, through our materials on the Internet, that it is possible to reach such a state. Nature will help us do that. Otherwise, we will destroy ourselves.
Nature will help, and the virus will not leave us.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman,” 3/18/20

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“Above Our Petty Selves” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Above Our Petty Selves

Detecting new phases in the development of humanity is easy: If a new level of interconnection and interdependence emerges, it’s a sign that we’ve moved into a new phase. COVID-19 is a classic case of emergence of a new phase.

Until now, even in the worst blows that humanity had suffered, such as the two world wars or the Black Death, not all of humanity was involved. The coronavirus brought about the first pandemic that truly merits its name. This is a clear sign that the evolution of reality has entered a new phase. The sooner we accept this and stop expecting life to return to the pre-coronavirus mode, the better it is for all of us.

This supergerm isn’t just another virus. Its impact on the world is forcing us to rise to new levels of connection. Until recently, very few people would as much as think about someone else’s health. Now, all of us are thinking about everyone’s health. Although there is clearly a self-centered motive in this thought, it is nevertheless a level of connection we could not achieve before. Even as the level of contagion in society decreases, we will continue to think about others’ health since we will not want them to become sick and endanger our own health. In this way, the virus has inadvertently connected us and made us considerate of each other.

Once such a level of interconnectedness and interdependence manifests, it does not decline. From now on we will have to calculate all our moves as a society rather than as individuals. Clearly, this is a very difficult shift that our egos shun, but evolution does not cater to our egos. Evolution advances in its path, which has always been toward increasing complexity, increasing interconnectedness and interdependence, and therefore increasing consideration of others. The fact that our egos are uncomfortable with it is irrelevant. This virus or the next, or the one after will impel us to learn to think of others no less than we now think of ourselves. To the extent of our obstinacy, so will be our pain.

Nature’s goal is not to torture us. Its goal is to lead us to greater and much deeper joy than we can even imagine today. It aims to open our eyes to all of reality, to make us omniscient. Yet, nature can do this only if it lifts us above our concentration on ourselves. It has to lift us to heights from which we will be able to see the whole world, not just our own little bodies. To do that, it needs to raise our gaze above our petty selves.

Just as a mother painfully presses her baby out of her womb through a narrow birth-canal, all of humanity is now being pressed out of its old worldview into a new reality, a new world. And just as a baby has no choice but to be born, so will we be born into the new world, as pang by pang our consciousness accepts the reality of our interconnectedness. But once we accept it, we will discover that the world we had lived in before was dark, cramped, and inhibiting.

Through sympathy with others we will learn what true love means, what mutual responsibility is all about, and how each of us is so unique that the whole world will not be complete if we’re not there to give it our share. We will live in a reality of total personal expression and absolute devotion to humanity all at the same time. We will feel satisfied and safe, and we will give that feeling to everyone around us and to all of reality. Life will stop being a nightmare and will start being the dream world that we all feel it should be.

Achieving these rewards depends entirely on our mutual contribution. Only if we all pitch in, the new world will emerge. And until we pull together, we will have to endure the likes of the coronavirus.

“You Cannot Step Into The Same River Twice” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “You Cannot Step into the Same River Twice

We may be relieved that the economy is reopening and we are coming out of the lockdown, but as Heraclitus said, “You cannot step into the same river twice.” Our pre-coronavirus way of life will not return. We have entered a new era, and the quicker and more consciously we step into it, the easier will be the transition. The more we resist the transformation, the more traumatic it will be.

COVID-19 has ushered us into a new reality. It is the first time we truly see that humanity is one entity whose parts are all interdependent. It is also the first time we realize that thinking of ourselves is useless, since others can infect us no matter how careful we are. This pandemic was the first lesson in mutual responsibility that the coronavirus gave us, and it is one of many more to come.

“Since society will commend people who promote the well-being of the whole society, people will value themselves according to their contribution to society.”

Now that we have learned that we are all responsible for one another, we will gradually learn what that means in every aspect of our lives. At first, we might wish to return to our previous lives of excessive consumerism and self-entitlement, but this will only result in a return of the virus or its “successors.” We already know that our mistreatment of the environment inflicted this menace on us, so as we suffer more and more blows from nature’s “retaliation,” we will accept that we cannot keep living as we have.

The abandonment of unbridled capitalism and ruthless competition will inevitably result in high unemployment rates. At that point, the virus (or its implications) will teach us another lesson: Authorities will see that every person gets a basic income that enables provision of all staples — food, clothing, healthcare, housing, and education.

As more and more jobs become automated, the level of joblessness will grow and force authorities to rethink priorities. Provision of basic income will sustain people on the physical level but their idleness and lack of challenges will impair their mental health and make them apathetic and unruly.

This is where the next lesson of the coronavirus will come into play. To cope with growing apathy, authorities will be compelled to stipulate reception of basic income benefits on participation in courses and trainings. This will begin the actual transition of society into the new era.

The trainings and courses will focus on two categories: technology and society. The courses in technology will equip people with the professional skills required in an era where jobs change quickly and evaporate even more quickly. People’s learning skills will need to be honed so they can become flexible and open to changes.

The more complicated training will deal with society. First, people will learn what it means for them that the world is an integral system whose parts are all interconnected and interdependent.

Since people feel good when they can live according to their values, the training will focus on the merits of individuals who contribute to society. Gradually, people will shift from perceiving success as gaining possessions to perceiving it as advancing society. Since society will commend people who promote the well-being of the whole society, people will value themselves according to their contribution to society. At that point, they will perceive themselves as parts of the common body of society and will function in harmony with it.

Once people have fully processed these lessons, they will no longer mistreat one another or nature. Their worldview will become expansive and complete, and they will grasp reality from the point of view of the whole of society and the whole planet, our common home. By this time, people’s attitude toward each other and to nature will have been reversed from negative to positive. Just as it was natural for them to care about themselves before, it will be natural for them to care about others. And since everyone will operate precisely so, the new reality will actually be a different world — where ill will and mistreatment of others will become contemptible, abominable, and humanity will abandon egoism once and for all.

For The Creator To Become Our Home

laitman_276.02Question: Baal HaSulam writes: The whole world was created only for the improvement of man, in the image of the Almighty.

Since it is necessary to make efforts to correct our nature, it is said we will make man together with the whole act of creation, since his creation is completed only with his efforts and with the help of all creations. However, apart from man, everything else is already perfect. ”

It takes some effort for a person to bring himself to a better state. What is the connection between these efforts and the fact that the coronavirus is affecting us now? What efforts should we make and in what?

Answer: In finding the right connection between us. Moreover, this connection should be good, higher than our selfish hearts. It should be that with the help of mutual aspiration with each other, we unite in the Creator. In the Creator Himself.

That He will be our home, the so-called Temple. So that we come together in a common desire, common intention, and common aspiration. For this we have been given this life and this opportunity.

Viruses and other similar things push us to this. But they adjust it so as not to deprive our freedom of will so that we would still find the right connections between us.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 3/22/20

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How Does The World Feel The Approach Of The Creator?

273.02Question: The growth of the soul and the changes in it due to the light’s influence is something very internal, abstract, and hidden from strangers. How do these changes appear in the material world? Does a person become more harmonious? Are good relations revealed between us?

Answer: I would not say that good relations are revealed. But everything that happens in our world is carried out under the influence of an upper field. It constantly increases its tension, intensity, and this is felt as the Creator is approaching us.

But this is a very unpleasant approach because the Creator is the quality of bestowal and love, and we, being uncorrected egoists, feel His approach as negative. This is similar to the way teachers and parents approach us and demand us to behave more maturely, more seriously, and we do not want to.

Today we can see it in the development of all humankind. The Creator’s approach to the world determines the current crisis. Since we have not become similar to the Creator, this is not a good rapprochement; we would otherwise feel this approach as His revelation. Not the revelation of darkness, suffering, problems, and various viruses, but the revelation of the light. Everything depends on us. If we manage to rise spiritually, we feel the approach of the Creator as a blessing. If we do not, we feel it as evil.

The Creator always wants to get closer to us and He does so gradually, but so far we feel His approach as a constant decline of mankind.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 2/16/20

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If The Pleasures Of This World Do Not Let Us Rest

laitman_600.04Question: The moment the importance of spirituality is revealed, a certain desire of this world suddenly appears, does not let us rest, and it becomes stronger than the desire for spirituality. Why is this disturbance given to us?

Answer: The problem is that you do not have a proper environment that will give you an even greater thirst for revealing the question of the meaning of life.

If you are alone, the environment you are in will, of course, be much stronger and will drag you down. But if you create a small society around you in which everyone tries to cooperate mutually and correctly, each one can lean on the others and thus advance.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 2/2/20

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 5/8/20

Lesson Preparation

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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah” 

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Lesson on the Topic “Connecting the World in the Last Generation” 

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Selected Highlights

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