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Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is the purpose of the protests all around the US?“
The protests around the US that George Floyd’s killing have prompted are showing our true colors.
They display our negative connection to each other.
If we fail to improve our connections, we will end up enduring much worse blows than attacks on our small businesses by rioters and looters.
What will it take to improve our connections?
First, it will require acknowledging that we think negatively of each other, i.e., that our selfish human nature dictates our view of ourselves on a pedestal over others in various ways, and prioritizes self-benefit over benefiting others.
Therefore, according to human nature, which enjoys viewing others in a worse state than ourselves, we have no real desire for a solution to the social lacerations that become revealed.
Our egoistic nature is like a motor that never stops running within us, making us compare ourselves, our possessions and our success, to others.
It seeks how to justify us as being in a better place than others, and if it finds that others are at a higher level in one way or another, then it becomes restless, needing to do something to bridge that gap.
On one hand, the ego’s modus operandi leads us to self-improvement, for instance, by making us learn from others’ expertise and developing ourselves accordingly.
But on the other hand, the ego also often leads to destruction, when it becomes venomous jealousy that puts down others and tries to eliminate them in order to make ourselves feel at rest.
The ego’s latter destructive quality increasingly tears away at our social fabric, and will continue doing so until we rise above it in a common effort to positively connect to each other.
Therefore, there is a deeper purpose to the protests currently underway in the US, in the way nature gradually unravels itself to us: it flares up the negative attitudes that constantly dwell between us.
We will need to recognize just how negatively we relate to each other as a stepping stone toward positively connecting above our negative thoughts and attitudes.
The protests help guide us to realize our wicked nature.
When we become aware that we are egoists out to justify ourselves as better off than others, then we can start directing ourselves at self-transformation—to positively connect above our conflicting egos, and establish qualities of love, care, support and encouragement as more prevalent values than the negativity that instinctively surfaces to bring each other down.
While reaching a positive connection with ties of love and mutual consideration between us might seem like a utopian fantasy, it is indeed doable if we prioritize its importance throughout society, adjusting our educational and cultural influences to guide our improving social connection.
Above photo by Max Bender on Unsplash.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What are your thoughts on the Minneapolis riots and the governmental response to them?“
The riots in Minneapolis and other US cities in the past week show a clear example of how elusive love is in American society right now, and how divisive drives are overpowering the social atmosphere.
What does it mean to develop love among human society?
It means nurturing and articulating the nuances of our rich diversity in a common effort to strengthen that which holds us together as a society.
Instead of acting as if there are no (or should not be any) differences between us, we would be wiser to use our differences in order to invigorate that which connects us all.
The problem with acknowledging our differences is that we can fall into the trap of thinking of ourselves as better in one way or another to others, i.e., we can mistakenly be led by our divisive drives to feel a false sense of pride and self-esteem due to certain inborn features and characteristics.
Therefore, we need to be aware of our divisive drives, the ego concealed within each and every one of us, as an opposite form of love, which has the power to envelop all of our divisions.
It is written about this, “Love will cover all transgressions” (Proverbs 10:12). In other words, transgressions—our divisive urges—are needed in order for love to blossom, like the dirt that’s needed in order for a plant to grow. Likewise, the more hatred and division is felt underneath the love, the more fertile and voluminous the soil is for love to flourish upon it.
At the moment, however, we have no view of what is above the ground. We are still immersed in the darkness of our hatred and divisiveness, like a worm digging its way through a dark world inside a radish, unknowing that there is a completely different bright world full of light when it finds its way outside.
However, precisely due to our immersion in social division, and its destructive expression in the riots, America has what it takes to make a great overcoming, to rise above the divisions and build loving and caring relations among all American society.
The American Dream is infused with many examples of individuals beating the odds and achieving success in the conditions that the country provides. In the current crisis, the only difference in achieving the American Dream is that the success is not individual, but of society at large. As a result of overcoming hatred with love, the American society, with its major influence on the world, would pioneer a positive example that the world would be inspired to follow.
Yet, in order to cultivate love upon our differences, we first need to acknowledge our nature-given differences. That is, our skin color or other inborn characteristics are neither worthy of pride or shame, since they required no participation on our behalf.
We can be proud when we indeed participate in our development, building an atmosphere of love, mutual understanding, consideration, encouragement and support that fills society, upon the innate differences that we each have. Such a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere would then truly be our creation, worthy of pride.
While it seems impossible for a message of love to be heard among such divisive and destructive times, at one point or another, it will have to be heard, and even realized, in society.
If love fails to cover the hatred and division boiling throughout American society, then we can expect more riots, murders, destruction and suffering, until we will become completely helpless and desperate.
At that point, then maybe we will be ready to implement love above the divisions, but until then, the message of love above division will be like a message in a bottle floating around turbulent seas, waiting for someone to find it and put it to use.
Above photo by Mike Von on Unsplash.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Is the love of truth the ultimate spirituality?“
What is spirituality? Spirituality is an opposite altruistic quality to our egoistic human nature.
The human ego—the desire to enjoy—is behind every thought and desire we have, and behind every action that we do.
Therefore, we perceive what we want to see according to the ego, i.e., whether we can enjoy something, or whether something comes to threaten our enjoyment.
This is why if we want to discover spirituality, i.e., to find out what surrounds us that is imperceptible to our egoistic perception, we thus need to recreate ourselves, and in the process of recreating ourselves, our environment holds primary importance.
In other words, since altruism is imperceptible and opposite to egoism, we thus need help from our surroundings to inspire, prod and motivate us to want to reach an opposite quality to our egoism.
When we make the shift from egoism to altruism, corporeality to spirituality, we will sense a new world that has always surrounded us, but which we could not perceive.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, that new world is called “the spiritual world” or “the upper world.”
Our current worldviews are perceptions that have formulated upon our egos in order to comfort and shield ourselves in various ways.
“Truth” then becomes what coincides with our ego-based opinions.
We seek support for our opinions and repel what counters them. As such, we ultimately do not want to change ourselves.
How, then, do we reach a desire to change ourselves and discover spirituality?
If we fail to do so of our own accord, through positive means, i.e., by surrounding ourselves with an environment that supports the shift from egoism to altruism, then suffering will enter our lives more and more in order to show us that the purely egoistic direction we head in is problematic and that something needs to change.
However, suffering itself won’t lead us to change, but to a desire to change, where we will seek out different environments and influences than our current ones, in order to develop ourselves spiritually.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “How do I tell fake news from real news?“
The real news is that the media publicizes and broadcasts the news in accordance with its owners’ funding sources’ agendas, i.e., it is all ultimately fake news.
When subscribers were the primary source of news media funding, then the media was indebted to them, i.e., to the people buying, reading and watching the news on offer.
However, when media proprietors became the primary source of news media funding, with the media relying on advertisers for its sustenance, then the media serves owner and advertiser interests, blurring any authenticity that once existed in news coverage.
Today, there is widespread awareness of fake news reporting. More and more people are questioning the genuineness and the interests behind the media they consume, yet out of a lack of options, continue consuming the news from the same sources.
Yet, instead of finger-pointing at media corruption for fake news, we would be wiser if we took a moment to examine ourselves, each and every one of us that makes up society.
The media is no more corrupt than its enveloping society, which we all make up. It is, rather, a product of society’s values, influences and behaviors.
Fake news awareness is thus insufficient to reach a stage where we will have real news.
Reaching real news depends on undergoing serious introspection and realizing first that the media is no better or worse than the society it resides within—a society driven by individuals each prioritizing personal well-being over the well-being of society.
Fake news and corrupt media then become viewed as reflections of who we really are—self-centered beings who each try to benefit ourselves in life as best as we can—and such self-analysis should lead us to a pressing question:
Is this the society we really want to live in?
If it is, then fake news and media corruption should not concern us.
However, if we aspire to a society that blossoms with happiness, kindness, support, encouragement and a generally positive atmosphere, then we would need to reset our social values—to prioritize benefiting others in society over benefiting ourselves.
Such a change is easier said than done, but it is indeed doable.
It requires regularly learning about our interdependence, how we are all interconnected and dependent on each other.
We would do well to understand our interdependence from many different angles, until it starts becoming a tangible sensation, where we feel that any move we make has an impact on others’ lives.
The coronavirus exemplified our interdependence in terms of our health, how one person’s health depends on the other person following health department orders, such as the maintenance of personal hygiene, keeping a certain distance from others and wearing masks in public.
According to our interdependence, one person’s indifference, lack of concern, divisive attitudes and antipathy spreads negatively to others, sparking a harmful chain reaction that negatively affects society.
However, if we each feel our interdependence, as if we are all parts of a greater whole, then our care for our common possession would let us refrain from harming it, and instead, we would each seek how to make it prosper and grow as much as possible.
Understanding that fake news and media corruption stem from the way we each prioritize self-benefit over benefiting others in society, we can then see that nothing effective comes from blaming the news and those directly behind it for being fake.
On the contrary, if we want to change the media, we need to change ourselves and make ourselves first want to benefit society over our personal benefit.
If we continue letting ourselves be held back from improving our relations, then we can expect more fake news and media corruption emerging together with myriad other problems filling our society.
Moreover, we would see no solution in sight.
Real news would thus come as a result of self-examination and improvement of human relations.
Negative exploitative attitudes are like viruses that we infect each other with on a daily basis.
Positive change thus requires a common effort to build a positively-connected society by developing mutually considerate and responsible relations.
If we make that slight calibration in our thinking, then we will experience a completely new and upgraded world.
Above Photo: “Xenophobia” by Gideon at Flickr.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What do you think of Spain implementing a permanent universal basic income?“
We are quickly transitioning into an era where many of the jobs we once held will become obsolete due to our needs changing, and also due to technology increasingly replacing human resources.
In such a situation, basic income becomes a necessity.
I support basic income provided that it is given in exchange for learning and certain kinds of contribution to society.
Basic income alone, without any requirements on behalf of the receivers, would stagnate society. It would create a society of disinterested and indifferent people who would lack motivation to strive forward in life. The sluggishness and dullness that would envelop society would end up erupting in our faces.
Therefore, in Spain’s case, I would recommend that the government provide courses that receivers of basic income need to complete.
The courses can be used to funnel people into certain jobs or areas of social contribution that would improve Spanish society, and they can also be used to teach people about the history and culture of the country and its people, in order to strengthen its citizens’ identification with the country, and in addition, the courses can be used to teach people about the new globally interdependent conditions we find ourselves in today: how we live in a new era where mutual responsibility and consideration are becoming increasingly essential in order for us all to live safe, calm, happy and healthy lives.
While the courses would ideally seek to develop people into certain areas where they could contribute—from finding new careers better suited to our times, to becoming instructors and aides within this new educational system—the educational process would be beneficial in and of itself.
The leading idea of the educational process is that people will improve their social connections, feel more connected to their country, and build the beginnings of a social network fueled by mutual consideration and responsibility.
The more such a network thrives and grows, the stronger a foundation people will have by which to navigate through any future crises, and also, to inhibit future social dissent and conflict.
About photo by Tom Morel on Unsplash.
Question: You always say that we do not need and cannot neutralize our egoism, level it. It is enough just to balance it with some positive force of nature. What is this positive force? Where does it come from?
Answer: This is the spiritual force.
In our world, we are at the level of inanimate, vegetative, and animate nature. Man is like an animal here. If he has any kind of anti-social actions, they can be balanced only if we bring him to the next level, the level of spiritual interaction, “love your neighbor.”
And then we will see the correct integral picture of all of nature and ourselves within it. Humanity will understand that it can exist without any problems, even without death.
Question: How can we evoke the force that neutralizes our egoism and balances it?
Answer: In nature, in addition to egoism, there is also a kind, altruistic force that can give, bestow, and think not about itself, but only about others. We lack this force opposite to our egoistic force, which in no way takes into account the desires of others, and even vice versa: The more it opposes the desires of others, the more it enjoys and is filled. We must balance these two forces.
Question: Do you mean balancing this good force is caused by some good deeds and the fact that we talk about it?
Answer: Yes. It must be developed when you are in the right environment, in the right group. It is caused by both thoughts and actions because actions are followed by thoughts.
From KabTV’s “The Post-Coronavirus Era” 4/23/20
Answer: If a person wants the Creator to hear him, he must understand the system of connection with the Creator. If a person exits himself and integrates in others, he integrates in the Creator to the same extent.
Then he can ask Him, thank Him, and do anything he wants to, since he is in contact with Him. But if I don’t exit myself in my attitude to the friends, and I don’t get close to them mentally, I have no contact with the Creator.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/18/18
Comment: In Kabbalah, there is a formula for life: If you live today because you lived yesterday, then you are dead.
My Response: Not “because,” but just as I lived yesterday. If you are not changing, then you are dead. Every day a person must be new, be born, as it were, anew.
Comment: Kabbalah says that a person is created new every time.
My Response: Yes, every moment a person is new. If only he feels it.
Question: And what does it mean “every moment a person is new”?
Answer: Reshimot, its internal natural data, are updated. But does a person adapt them to his life? Does he manifest them in himself? Does he feel his inner renewal?
Question: How can he feel it?
Answer: Being more sensitive to what is happening within him. I have to feel, hear, that the Creator is changing in me every second, what He wants from me.
Question: What is changing in a person?
Answer: The attitude to the world and to the Creator.
Question: Is it getting better, worse?
Question: And how should a person recognize it and act?
Answer: By the feeling of intimacy. The world and the Creator require the properties of bestowal and love from a person, participation. That is how a person should control himself, meaning, whether he is more and more in this property.
Question: How can an ordinary person recognize those new desires that lead him closer to the world, closer to the Creator?
Answer: Bestowal and love. He needs to learn that.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman,” 2/4/20
Answer: It is understood that the whole of creation, which is an egoistic desire for one’s own sake, must be corrected, changed, as if turning it inside out in order to do everything not for one’s own sake but for the sake of the Creator or for the sake of others, which is basically the same thing.
It is said: “From love of self to love of friends, and then to love of the Creator.” Meaning, it is one and the same. Only love of the Creator implies universal love, beyond all differences among people. Before that, we just practice on the love of friends.
Question: So both giving and receiving should be done not for my sake but for the sake of the Creator? Why?
Question: Just like in a single organism where each organ takes what it needs and gives everything else to the rest of the organs, which allows the organism to sustain life for the benefit of all. Does Kabbalah say that we all have to arrive at this state?
Answer: We must come to the most perfect, best possible state of great fulfillment and knowledge. Therefore, “Kabbalah” is translated from Hebrew as the science of “receiving.”
This reception can be eternal and endless, but only if it works together with others.
Question: So this kind of interaction should be between all people?
Answer: Yes. It allows you to receive eternal and perfect fulfillment.
Question: What has to happen for it to occur?
Answer: Recognition of evil in our current state.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 6/17/19