Audio Version Of The Blog – 6/22/20

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“Masks And Freedom” (Newsmax)

My article in Newsmax: “Masks and Freedom

America, like the rest of the world, faces an ongoing war against an invisible enemy, COVID-19. Prevention of its spread, though, is highly visible in the use of face masks. This prophylactic measure has split the public between those who refuse to wear masks based on their right of free choice, and those who regard face covering as an act of solidarity with others to limit the pandemic’s transmission. Thus, the virus has provided us with an exemplary exercise in mutual responsibility since we will all need to realize that, because we are in the same boat, consideration of collective wellness must supersede individual calculations.

“Some feel face coverings infringe on their freedom of choice — but if more wear them, we’ll have more freedom to go out,” said US Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Studies show that face coverings are critical to helping limit the spread of the coronavirus, and yet, many people still defy requirements to wear masks in public settings. Others follow the advice of medical doctors to the letter, while most are found somewhere in between.

Because COVID-19 is a new and previously unstudied disease, it has evoked in us fear of the unknown. It is not clear what would happen if, God forbid, we were infected. Therefore, uncertainty is causing a general feeling of hysteria.

The coronavirus disease is discussed on the media from morning to night, and every political and professional personality tries to take advantage of the situation to demonstrate how clever or important they are and that they know the best way for the country to go forward. If they happen to be correct, it is to their credit, but if not, it is somebody else’s fault. As always, success has many parents and failure is an orphan.

If there had been separate locations for the cautious and the careless, things might have worked out. However, we are inseparably interconnected in this situation, so what do we do? The solution lies in the way we calculate the risks. Whether I am extremely worried about the disease, unconcerned or somewhere in the middle, perhaps there is a need to change the focus of my attention. In other words, instead of measuring what I feel and think about the risk of contracting the virus, I should measure how my behavior might impact others.

That is, I have to tell myself that I may be a carrier, and whether or not others are infected depends on me. Consequently, I should consider my behavior every moment and in every place to ensure that I do not transmit the virus to others, and thus I guard their health.

Unfortunately, the public is not yet very mindful of personal responsibility because, day in and day out, we are bombarded with conflicting opinions of doctors and others. This leaves us confused. While consideration of a variety of opinions is a positive thing, the public needs a clear and informed direction in the end.

If we continue down the road we are traveling now, we will come to a situation where each person follows his own advice and no precautions for the general welfare are possible. This would drive people even further away from the security of living in an orderly society. The circumstance in which each follows his or her natural tendency to consider only themselves to be the world authority will only create mayhem and drive us to anarchy.

A public agreement to wear face masks for the sake of others can help prevent such a slide toward social disorder. Wherever there is a dispute between the collective and the individual, we are obliged to rule according to the will of the collective. Why? Because by doing so, we align with the general connecting force of nature that is able to positively permeate society, as opposed to the negative egoistic force of the individual that disintegrates order. As it is written, “In the multitude of people is the king’s honor.” (Proverbs 14:28) And this is also the bottom line.

Though some of us are wary and some are careless according to our innate characteristics, a healthy society must be linked to a new consideration — the benefit of others. If every person tries to always act in favor of others, there will be no need for either excessive fear or disregard. We would all be in tune with the integral system of nature where balance prevails, and we will discover that ultimate freedom is found when one upholds the interest of the collective which is, after all, the sum of every single one of us.

Experiment: 5 Days In Complete Isolation

laitman_962.3Comment: We know that people are immersed in the Internet now; they don’t seem to need anyone, just a gadget and internet access. Recently, an experiment was conducted: five days in a single, cozy cell without the internet.

My Response: That is a death-like experience.

Question: This was in the UK, where TV Channel Five launched the show called “In Solitary: The Anti-Social Experiment.” Each person had a single, comfortable cell with a soft bed, sanitary conditions, and wholesome food for five days.

But the main condition was complete solitude. People could only draw, read, and talk to themselves. And within a few hours, they began to panic.

Everyone coped with this panic in different ways: one pressed the rescue button, one started talking to the surveillance cameras, and another had an upset stomach. Only one person, a female blogger, who had set herself the goal of getting rid of her habit in this way, had brought pencils, markers, and a lot of paper, and she drew some meaningless pictures.

What was the conclusion of the experiment? Researchers write that a social
being, a human, suffers from loneliness, but a citizen of the modern world with constant internet access does not fully realize this until he is completely isolated.

Mankind and loneliness, are these categories compatible?

Answer: A person, who had always been closed in the world and now finds himself torn away from it, feels a huge vacuum. He worked at the pace of this world, day, night, news, and so on, all of these programs and calls, and suddenly he no longer has access to any of it. Of course, this is a huge void for him.

People used to live in such emptiness. I remember my childhood and youth until the 90s. In 1995, I created my first website Before that, how did we live? We had newspapers and television. Before television, which came to me in 1955, we had newspapers and books.

Question: What has changed in a person in just 50 years that he suddenly cannot be alone?

Answer: A person has a connection with the world and he cannot live without this connection. It is not the electronic web; it is the web of connections between us that has opened up. We can no longer exist without feeling each other. But, we fill this feeling with completely different thoughts, news, and with other unnecessary things. But, in general, we have discovered a web of connections between us.

I feel like I am connected to it and I cannot do without it. It is like air to me. I am connected and I feed from it; I get this information feed and it keeps me going. Without it, I do not feel like I am alive.

Question: If you take out the layers of information that a person receives, what is still important to him in this web of communication?

Answer: Look at what is going on in the evening on TV news and sports programs. Here, they dance, they shout at each other, and argue. All of this is now called “the world” or “our world.”

If it were all turned off, do you understand what would happen to the world? The world would plunge into the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages! People will have such a lack of information! They don’t need it and they can, in principle, survive without it, but they won’t be able to. They are already different.

You can view the news as it is presented and you will see that out of every 100 news items, maybe one or two will interest you enough to open them, and all the rest, you don’t need. But you cannot do without them.

Comment: Researchers write that all of this information showered on a person causes stress because it is so superfluous to him.

My Response: But he cannot be without stress.

Question: How would you fill the content of these programs?

Answer: I can choose the content, but it would require completely different people. We need to educate people. It is necessary for us to educate people regarding how to discover the source of life and the source of the world and how, not to be lost in these streams of news that are composed for them.

A person is in need of good connection. In need of good communication! And the web doesn’t make any connections. It’s just like a spider’s web.

Question: What is a web of good communication?

Answer: This is when each person thinks about how to do good to others.

Comment: And then, if he is isolated…?

My Response: This web will still act on him because others will think about him.

Question: And you don’t need any gadgets for that?

Answer: Nothing is needed! Only good intentions that will connect people with each other. People will be connected in such a way that everyone will feel one another’s good intentions and nothing else is needed. And, from this, everyone will be delighted and feel a sense of meaning of existence and in their capacity to rise above their “I” and so on. This is necessary.

I have no doubt that we will succeed.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman,” 3/3/20

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What Does The Virus Point To?

laitman_566.02Question: If all unnecessary jobs disappear, 90% of the population will remain unemployed. What will these people do and how will the economy support itself without these jobs?

Answer: But the people who occupied these places did nothing useful. What did they work for? To throw money around?

What are we afraid of giving up? Doing useless work: taking from one place so another can pull it out and throw it to another place? So some people can dig a hole and others fill it up?

Question: Baal HaSulam wrote in the newspaper The Nation: “Clearly, the measure of egoism inherent in every creature is a necessary condition in the actual existence of the creature. Without it, it would not be a separate and distinct being in itself. Yet, this should not at all deny the measure of altruism in a person. The only thing required is to set distinct boundaries between them: The law of egoism must be kept in all its might, to the extent that it concerns the minimum existence. And with any surplus of that measure, permission is granted to waive it for the well-being of one’s fellow person.”

We only need to find out what the benefit of others is. This is not just to redistribute production toward minimal necessities, but to determine what benefits will flow from this to others. How will we experience this, and what is this trend?

Answer: I think we need to create a new group of states that can really solve this. But there must be leaders who understand the integrality of the world and the need of the moment to bring it to an integral form.

Question: Where can we find such leaders and politicians? Look what is happening! Trump is now blaming China, China is responding in the same way, conflicts arise. The same trends as before. The world has not changed.

Answer: We, the Kabbalists, need to move in the direction of our vision. We must explain, in every possible way, advertise and disseminate our knowledge, which is consistent with the laws of nature.

Nature will not allow us to do anything else. As soon as everyone starts going back to the old ways, the mutated virus will hit even harder. Now its consequences are harmless. According to statistics during the worldwide reign of the virus, far fewer people have died than if it had not existed.

But the virus works for the whole system of humankind, and if we do not do what it is pointing us to, i.e., if we do not become integrally interconnected, then nothing good will come out of it. Wait and see. We are still on the way toward it. I see that, unfortunately, all countries want to return to the way things were in the past.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 3/5/20

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Crises Are A Consequence Of Imbalance In Nature

laitman_959Question: Now in many countries people are starting to slowly take to the streets, fill up coffee houses, and go shopping. Can this going out of the house be called going out of the crisis?

Answer: No. Going out of the crisis means that we really understand what it means to be in the crisis, to get out of it, and to already have exited it. Until how we have not even delved into what happened to us.

We do not know the nature of this virus, how to completely get rid of it, whether it has other forms, whether they are recurring, etc. Therefore, we cannot confidently claim that we know where we are.

Everything is as usual: a person wants to live as conveniently, comfortably, and simply as possible. We can no longer afford to stay at home and, and therefore, they say we are, “exiting the crisis,” running away from where we stayed closed in for a while. But I would not say that by this we are really getting rid of the crisis.

The fact is that the crisis is a consequence of the pressure of nature on us, which wants to see us integrally connected with all its parts. Its inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels work together in unison. And due to the fault of human egoism, nature throws us out of its framework, puts us outside of itself.

By its crises and cataclysms, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, nature indicates that we arouse very bad, unbalanced forces in it and do not want to be its integral part. In order to do this, we need to become interdependent, interconnected between us. But we do not want that and cannot do it; therefore, humanity has problems.

Now we have reached the point where nature begins to push us to happiness with a stick. So all kinds of viruses are activated, which will inevitably push us toward connection, toward a more correct attitude toward ourselves and nature. In the near future, this will become clearer, until we understand how to behave.

Question: The feeling of the crisis is a feeling that evil rules the world?

Answer: The feeling of the crisis is those compulsive forces of nature that manifest themselves in order to balance the egoistic disturbances that we cause in nature.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 5/10/20

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Equivalence Of The Integral System

laitman_962.6Question: We do not understand the relationship between man and nature, let alone the relationship between people. They are totally hidden.

For example, the destruction of sparrows in China in the 60s led to famine in a country of tens of millions of people. The extermination of cats in North Korea caused the emergence of a huge number of rats and snakes, resulting in the need to import cats from neighboring countries.

The destruction of wolves also always leads to an imbalance in the number of deer and wild boars because wolves, in general, only kill sick animals.

There are many such examples. But my question concerns the human level in particular. Do you agree with the statement that in nature the general is more important than the particular?

Answer: But not one at the expense of the other. If we take an integral system, then each part in it is equal in value to the entire system. Otherwise, the system will not be integral, complete, and absolute.

Remark: It is also stated that if a person is needed by the general system, then he exists, and if not, he does not exist.

My Comment: I can say this about inanimate, vegetative, and animate nature, but not about man, because he, with his egoism, interferes with nature, dominates it, and can do anything, even against common sense.

Question: Scientists say that all systems go through some kind of evolutionary process, development. In the beginning, there is always a process of rejection and separation in order to move to the next state, to unification, but at a higher level. Now nature has divided us with a coronavirus. We are developing a kind of virtual reality. What is the next stage of the level of connection between us?

Answer: We still need to realize that our connection should, first of all, be integral and lead us to unity. We are not animals that unite instinctively. We are people, but we are against this connection. Egoism plays tough on us. So, we will have to recognize its corruption and rise above it.
From KabTV’s “The Post-Coronavirus Era,” 4/16/20

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“America’s Test Will Determine Its Fate, And Ours” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “America’s Test Will Determine Its Fate, and Ours

A few days ago, I spoke to my longtime student and friend Leonid Makaron. He reminded me that soon after the turn of the century, I told him that America was on the decline. It wasn’t so obvious then, but since the financial crisis that sparked The Great Recession, it has been quite evident. The soaring rates of depression, epidemic of substance abuse, frantic purchasing of firearms and never-ending shooting incidents, and now the coronavirus disease and the anti-racism protests are all links in the chain of America’s decline.

The ego-based values that have brought America to greatness are now bringing on its demise, as they are doing to the rest of the world. But if America shifts direction, so will everyone else.

Makaron asked me how I knew then that America was declining. I told him that on one hand, it’s a natural process, but on the other hand, it is not set in stone; it can be reversed. All ego-based systems go through the same cycle. They begin with rapid growth, great achievements, increasing pride, hubris, growing internal alienation, social disintegration, and finally, demise.

America is going through the same process. But because America is such a dominant figure on the international arena, the process it is going through affects the whole world. It has already been through all the stages of growth, and it is well into the decline. Since the turn of the century, the process of America’s social decline has become increasingly evident and has been growing at a growing speed. The violent protests, looting and shooting, anarchist elements that tear cities apart — yet encounter little resistance from law-enforcement — indicate a rapid deterioration. It feels like America is racing toward the end of its lifecycle.

But if there was no hope, I wouldn’t be writing about it. I believe that America can still save itself, and spare itself and all of us, tremendous agony. Today we know why ego-based empires sink. We know that reality is an integral whole. As a result, any part that does not take all of reality into account acts like a cancerous cell, grows by exploiting its surroundings, and finally brings on itself its own demise. The ego-based empires of the past grew like tumors and died like tumors. America evolved to greatness in the same way, but it is not dead yet. As long as people can communicate, they can connect. If they connect, they will shift from an ego-based society into an integral society that cares for all its members equally and serves as an example for the rest of the world, which currently runs solely on the ego-based model.

Being the most dominant nation on Earth, such a shift in America would infuse the whole world with a new spirit. It will legitimize such values as giving, caring, and accountability, and other countries will follow suit.

It is said that when Wall Street sneezes, the rest of the stock markets in the world catch a cold. The same is true for social values. The American materialism and consumerism have taken the world by storm.

Now it is time to administer the antidote. The ego-based values that have brought America to greatness are now bringing on its demise, as they are doing to the rest of the world. But if America shifts direction, so will everyone else.

To do that, America must do what America does best: campaign for caring. The federal government, state governments, and local authorities must all partake in a comprehensive effort to promote mutual responsibility and the importance of placing the American society as a whole above the factions in it. America has much to be proud of. The fact that people can protest so openly is by itself a testimony to the openness of American society and its ability to accept diversity. In a truly racist country, you wouldn’t be able to talk about racism; you’d be locked away for doing so.

Today, the resilience of the American society is being tested. If each faction takes its own direction, this great society will fall apart. Now it’s time to reinforce the collective American identity, which will give the country the structural fortitude to weather the stormy times ahead.

The country will have to tend to the tens of millions who have no income and will have no income going forward. It will have to teach them how to become “workers for society,” where they dedicate their time to strengthen the unity of the nation above all colors, races, and faiths. And while people who have jobs see to the country’s sustenance, those currently jobless will see to the country’s happiness. If carried out, it will be the greatest ever accomplishment in the history of humanity. It will usher the world into a new era, when nations and countries cater to each other’s needs rather than venture to control them, and the whole planet will prosper and thrive as it truly can.

Two Kinds Of Love

laitman_565.01Question: How can the principle “love your neighbor as yourself” be fulfilled if I love my neighbor with selfish love, but I must love him altruistically?

Answer: Indeed, these are two kinds of love. But you can love another person more than yourself if you begin to realize that to love another is the same love, only at the next level, global, integral, eternal, perfect. And to love yourself means that you love only at the animal level.

Therefore, it is impossible to compare love external, integral and internal, linear, selfish. When both types of love arise in a person, he begins to love eternity, perfection, and the world more than his animal body.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 4/19/20

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New Life 1202 – The Mirror Effect

New Life 1202 – The Mirror Effect
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Tal Mandelbaum ben Moshe

We do not see others as they are, but we subconsciously sculpt our internal images of others according to our own desire. The world has no form of its own. Rather, the form is recorded subjectively in our desire to enjoy. We are a kind of emotional camera that desires to enjoy, puts together an identity kit, and draws characters forth who could fulfill those desires. Naturally, we look at others in a possessive and utilitarian way. The behavior of others toward us influences the design of their image in our eyes. If someone “paints me in a negative light,” I can transform my perception of that person by appreciating their positive characteristics and loving them.
From KabTV’s “New Life 1202 – The Mirror Effect,” 1/28/20

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 6/22/20

Lesson Preparation

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Lesson on the Topic “Concerning Above Reason” 

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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 4

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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Matan Torah [The Giving of the Torah]” 

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Selected Highlights

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