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From My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 8/20/20
We are nearing the end of the summer and Covid-19 isn’t letting up. Wherever restrictions are eased, it erupts stronger than before, infecting younger and younger people, and with strains up to ten times more contagious. As temperatures begin to drop and outdoor entertainment becomes less appealing, people will either avoid going out or attend indoors events and increase the already high risk of contagion. At the same time, those who stay home can expect irritation and low spirits, at best, and temper tantrums are more than likely. And worst of all, domestic violence is bound to soar.
Also, as jobs run out and scores fall into a cash-flow crisis, food insecurity and disconnection from utilities will become commonplace. In that state, hopelessness coupled with the tense upcoming elections will exacerbate street violence, homicide, looting, and arsons to the point where they become routine. In many towns and neighborhoods, people will not dare set foot outside their homes. Unless something changes fast, we’d better prepare for a very tough winter.
But if anything can change, it is the future. The future is always in our hands to shape. And now is our last call to shape our society into a community, a congregation of accountable individuals who are responsible for one another and do not let other people fall by the wayside just because they’re not on my political, racial, or ethnic side.
We are living the final days before the collapse, but we haven’t fallen yet. We can eyeball the hatred in our hearts and tell it, “The more you grow, the more we the people will unite. It is only thanks to you, hatred, that we tighten our bond.”
It’s natural for opposites to dislike one another. Love between people of conflicting views always requires hard work. But precisely because of it, it is the only love that you can truly say you chose of your own volition. Only when you rise above your natural inclination can you say that you have made a free choice. But once you’ve made it, it is yours.
This should be our preparation for the tough winter ahead. Hatred will come for sure, but we must be prepared to fasten the wings of our society together right above the hate. And the more it grows, the tighter we will tie ourselves together. If we do that, then by winter’s end, hatred will be gone, and Covid will be gone right along with it.
Medium published my new article “Covid-19 Has Quenched the Flickering Candle of Higher Education”
Covid-19 has crippled every conceivable aspect of civilization. Yet, some aspects suffered such a blow that in all likelihood, we are witnessing their premortem spasms. One such aspect is higher education. After decades of accelerated ethical and political decadence, and voluntary discarding of academic integrity in pursuit of wealthy donors, all that remains of the Ivory Tower is an empty shell. Now, thankfully, social distancing has puffed away that, too, exposing what was once the zenith of human engagements as the nadir of human indulgence.
Today’s employers attribute much greater weight to candidates’ professional experience and independent learning skills than to their academic background. In that regard, a study that surveyed over 3,000 U.S. teens and adults found that half of young Americans think that their degree is irrelevant to their work.
When Plato founded the Academy, he encouraged diversity of perspectives and discussion of alternative views. Being a participant in the Academy did not require adherence to Platonic orthodoxy. What a stark contradiction this is from today’s blatant political agenda that every academic institution advocates. If you can tell what political views students of a certain academic institution will have at graduation, this takes away even the pretense of academic or intellectual integrity.
Worse, when every student is indoctrinated according to the institution where he or she studies, the more institutions you can buy into promoting your ideas, the more you will control the leadership of the country in a few years when the graduates take their places in the country’s corporate world and political leadership.
When universities began to develop in Europe in the early Middle Ages, they started as monastic (or cathedral) schools that focused on religious studies, as well as liberal arts (grammar, logic, and rhetoric, music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy). As in ancient Greece, their focus was on development of thought, but also on provision of knowledge. In the middle, and especially the late Middle Ages, universities began to emerge as independent institutions in Italy, England, France, and elsewhere in Europe. By the time of the Renaissance, they were fully developed academic institutions, and many of them were funded by the Monarch rather than by the Church.
Yet, in doing so, they also lost their academic independence. To maintain the favor of the benefactor, academic institutions had to “bend” science to meet the views of their sponsors, and objectivity flew out the window.
While it is possible to accept partiality when it comes to humanities, it is far less acceptable when concerning hard sciences, and it is downright detrimental when it comes to medical studies and other fields of research that concern human lives and people’s health and well-being. Over the past few decades, there have been numerous cases where medical research was distorted, and medical evidence concealed in order to meet the interest of the funder, often causing horrific consequences to numerous people. The thalidomide distribution scandal of the late 1950s and early 1960s, for example, left a lasting effect on the world. Released as a sedative drug in the late 1950s, thalidomide was also found to ease the effects of morning sickness in pregnant women. The drug was sold over the counter for five years before it was discovered that it could interfere with developing fetuses and cause death and horrible birth defects. During those five years more than 10,000 children were affected, some 40% of whom died and the rest were born with abnormalities to the arms and legs, as well as other parts of the body. And worst of all, at least in Britain, the company that distributed and sold thalidomide knew almost six months before it was pulled from the market that there were credible claims it caused terrible deformities and the deaths of infants.
Since the 1960s, the situation has only gotten worse. When even medicine is for sale, anything is for sale. Today’s universities are mostly funded privately, or rely heavily on private donors to secure their budgets. These sums are not pro bono. They carry a very clear and high price tag, which the university agrees to pay when it decides to accept money from individuals, corporations, or foreign governments. These donors often get to determine much of the curriculum, the lecturers, and even some of the public statements that the university makes on issues of interest to the donors. In fact, these are not donations; it is quid pro quo.
But fortunately, times are changing thanks to the coronavirus. Covid-19 has uncovered the worst of the medical community, exposing nearly every official medical personality as a promoter of the financial or political interest that he or she supports. The views among so called “experts” concerning the nature of the virus and the ways to deal with it are so conflicting that it has become clear that none of them can be trusted to speak with the public interest in mind. In that state, the public cannot know the truth about the virus because either no one knows it but will not admit it, or no one tells the truth because it does not promote his or her vested interest.
Even more importantly, the transformation that the job market has been going through since the turn of the century has made universities almost superfluous. Today, when you study computer science, for example, by the time you graduate, at least half of what you learned in the first year has been changed and your knowledge has become irrelevant. Today’s employers attribute much greater weight to candidates’ professional experience and independent learning skills than to their academic background. In that regard, a study that surveyed over 3,000 U.S. teens and adults found that half of young Americans think that their degree is irrelevant to their work.
It is not that young adults do not need to learn. They need to learn and they learn a lot, but not in universities. They find that dedicated, professional trainings in their field are far more relevant, affordable, and effective. They get what they need from these short, usually online courses, which make them more professional in their fields and do not leave them in debt for decades to come, and with heaps of irrelevant knowledge.
When Covid-19 forced social distancing on the whole country, it shut down the universities. Thankfully, this coming fall, hundreds of them will not reopen but will continue teaching online. In doing so, it takes away the little appeal that universities had — the campus atmosphere.
I think it is time to move to the next phase in learning. There is no point funding behemoth institutions that do not benefit the public. Medical research institutions should be funded solely by the government so as to maintain objectivity and their ability to focus on the public benefit and not on catering to various vested interests.
Social sciences and humanities should not be regarded as sciences, since they are not. Those who want to study them should be able to do so, but institutions should openly profess what ideology they are endorsing so that when people study there, they will know what will be their views when they come out. Additionally, people who listen to a graduate from this or that institution will know what to expect and will not be misled into thinking that that person presents objectively researched information.
It is a long overdue cleanup of the Academia, and the coronavirus expedited it. In the near future, I believe that higher education will take on a completely new and much healthier form.
The state of the last generation is a shift to a new form of social organization, where we gradually learn how to work correctly with our ego and come to sensing an integral connection between us.
Today, we are in a transition phase that lets us realize the corruptness of our attitudes toward our social and natural environments and start rebuilding ourselves to fit the whole, complete, and caring structure of nature.
Therefore, the main value of tomorrow is our ability to mutually support and take care of each other.
Medium published my new article “Desperate for an Economy of Sharing”
Despite the insistence to keep the economy running, it’s grinding to a halt. “The U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 33% annual rate in the April-June quarter — by far the worst quarterly plunge ever,” wrote Time magazine.
In the near future, people will realize that only the well-being of society guarantees the well-being of the individual within it.
There are consequences to a slowdown. According to Bloomberg, “A special project by the Census Bureau has set out to map and measure all the anxieties that Covid-19 has brought in its wake.” And the findings are alarming: Almost a third of people in some states have little or no confidence they can pay August’s rent or mortgage. Almost 127 million Americans experienced a loss of income since mid-March, and millions were forced out of work dealing with the pandemic. Worse yet, people’s health was adversely affected by the virus, even if they didn’t catch it. In fact, in addition to high levels of anxiety and depression that the virus stirred, 71 million adults did not get medical care that they needed for a condition unrelated to Covid-19, between mid-June and mid-July.
We’re clearly at a crossroads. Eventually, the government, any government that is elected, will have to make the necessary changes to secure people’s well-being. Otherwise, the chaos we are already seeing in some cities will spread throughout the country.
Although a pandemic is troublesome enough, Covid-19 is much more than that. The transformations it is imposing on us are not merely measures to curb its spreading; they are revolutionizing our entire civilization. The job losses we have experienced until now will dwarf compared to the job market that we will see in the near future. In fact, we are racing toward a reality where not working is the norm and working is the exception. In such circumstances, relief packages will not do; we will need a deep change in our perception of the concepts of work and society.
Only essential jobs will remain. Production of food, clothing, housing, healthcare, education, and other basics are necessary. But even here, automation and robotics will shrink the number of workers. In such a state, it will be impossible to maintain the existing model of salaries to those who work, and a few months of benefits for the unemployed. You can’t have the majority of the nation living on food stamps and in affordable (low-income) housing.
Therefore, we need to establish a two-arm program where one arm adapts the economy to the evolving circumstances, and the other adapts the society to those same evolving circumstances. The economy-arm will reshape production so that monopolies cannot exploit their power and people can afford to buy everything they need to support a modest but reasonable standard of living. If the society-arm works correctly, there will be no need for austerity measures of any kind, everyone will have a decent life, and the country’s budget will be balanced.
People’s income will come either from jobs or from the federal or state governments, a bit like today’s public sector employees. However, these people will not work in public service jobs, but in building a completely new society, since the current structure of society is the cause of the crisis.
The economy is a reflection of the society we live in. The current society fosters excessive consumption, unbridled competition, cruelness, and apathy to the plights of others. These, in turn, create depression, violence, substance abuse, suicide, homicide, bullying, racism, eating disorders, numerous mental health issues, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and any form of conceivable misery. The task of the society-arm of the program will be to create solidarity, mutual responsibility, and care among all people. As a result, the economy will become an economy of sharing.
In such an economy, the role of production is not to further pad the already bloated bank accounts of companies’ shareholders. The redesigned economy produces only what is needed, and with an added goal to bring people closer together. Whether one works in manufacturing or provides services, the salaries will be similar and the goal the same: to increase social cohesion and solidarity.
To foster such a society, people will need to understand the shift that the world is taking and participate in it of their own volition. To facilitate this understanding, governments will provide mandatory courses that will show how we are becoming an interdependent society where our lives depend on the lives of everyone else, similar to the way we must keep social distancing in order not to infect other people.
Until today, society consisted of individuals who tried to exploit others for their own needs without any accountability. However, that model has failed and exhausted itself. In the near future, people will realize that only the well-being of society guarantees the well-being of the individual within it. Therefore, people will learn to care for society so that it will care for them. The sooner we realize that this is where we’re going, the better and easier it will be for all of us.
My new article on San Diego Jewish World “Pandemic ended our childhoods”
PETACH TIKVAH, Israel — We can get all teary-eyed over it, but it won’t help. The world we knew until the beginning of this year is over and will not return. And with it, it took our childhood. Until Covid-19, we were like kids wrecking up the house doing whatever they want while the parents are out on business. But Covid showed us that they’re not gone; they’re just invisible. And instead of showing up and yelling at us, they sent an invisible force with the odd name, SARS-CoV-2, aka, the novel coronavirus, which sent us home and told us to stay home. And every time we come out, it returns and lands another blow until we learn we must obey.
We don’t like it; we want to get rid of it, but we are gradually realizing that we can’t, and probably will never be able to, at least until we do what it tells us: “Stay apart and stop infecting one another.”
We already know that Covid-19 is affecting our brains, but what we haven’t realized is that it is affecting our hearts. It will change our hearts from alienation to connection. For now, it only increases our loneliness, but at some point, we will realize that to connect and not be lonely, we have to connect in our hearts before we connect in our bodies. Only then we will overcome seclusion, the negative influence we have projected on each other will be reversed, and this will be our healing.
The virus has come to teach us how to be grownups, responsible for our common home, and accountable to one another. It has come to turn us from unruly children into caring adults, who tend to one another and to the world around them.
Just as children do not notice as they grow until they are already adults, we will see what we have become only after the fact. And probably, only then will we be thankful to the virus, without which we wouldn’t be able to disconnect from our previous, infantile, and destructive little selves, and become mature, responsible, and caring humanity.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Is there a learning from the global Corona pandemic, that we all are missing?“
We should learn that the coronavirus is not merely a blow to our health and the economy, but it emerged in order to completely transform our lives.
On one hand, many understand that there is a major transition unfolding. On the other hand, we mostly wish to revive our pre-coronavirus lifestyles as soon as we discover a remedy for the disease.
We thus need to elevate our awareness to see that nature is acting on us via this pandemic in order to increase our understanding and feeling of why it is happening.
That is, the coronavirus did not appear to merely shut us off from each other in our respective homes, and to keep a distance of a few feet from each other when we have to go outside, and also not to stop us from attending public events, and so on. It surfaced in order to nudge us toward understanding our interdependence and interconnectedness, and to adjust our relations accordingly in order to live with more mutual responsibility and consideration toward one another.
The longer the pandemic dwells among us, the more it serves to gradually establish a new, more integral and global sensation.
Other than the blow itself, which does the work of teaching us about our interdependence against our will, I also very much hope that we will succeed in raising our awareness willingly, through education.
In other words, instead of merely reacting to a problem that suddenly reveals itself before our very eyes, we can learn about the greater evolutionary process we are in, and see how we live in a global and integral nature, acting to ultimately raise us to a harmonious state of perfect connection among each other and with nature.
By understanding this bigger picture, we can then view the coronavirus pandemic as a tough lesson that nature is teaching us in a very calculated way. Similar to how we educate children, if they willingly listen to our advice, then we relate favorably to them, and they spare themselves from various deviations. However, if they do not listen to our advice, then in order to save them from greater impending blows that we can foresee, we have to act more strictly and sternly toward them.
This is why I, my students and my organization invest so much in explaining the root cause of the pandemic, and how we need to use this situation in order to readjust our approach to life. That is, by learning about how nature operates on us, we can enter into balance with nature quicker, experiencing much healthier and happier lives, on one hand, and also saving ourselves from more intense future suffering.
We would thus be wise to accept the coronavirus as a warning from nature, using it to become more like nature. That is, as nature is interdependent and interconnected, so we should realize our interdependence as parts of nature positively by increasing our mutual responsibility and consideration toward each other.
Ultimately, there is no pandemic or virus here, but a single force pressuring us out of necessity. It has no desire to burden us, but like a loving parent witnessing his or her child straying to a negative course, it needs to act more aggressively in order for us to notice what it wants from us.
One way or another, we will need to develop and become more positively connected. The question is whether we do so harmoniously by activating our minds and hearts to positively connect with others, and by reorganizing our lives so that we supply each other with the essentials we all need; or on the contrary, that we let nature’s steamroller of evolution continue catching up to us, goading us from behind to wake us up through painful circumstances.
Medium published my new article “America — Either Everyone Succeeds Together, or No One Will Succeed”
A few weeks ago, I warned that the spreading unruliness and violence were only going to worsen unless they were treated correctly. After some of the countrywide George Floyd protests became violent came more localized incidents, but they were just as disconcerting. The Seattle Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), the Portland unending riots, the Chicago rampage on the city’s Magnificent Mile upscale section of Michigan Avenue, and the rising tsunami of gunshot victims in New York that has already claimed nearly 1100 lives this year alone are all symptoms of the same ailment: alienation and disconnection. The next president will have his hands full and I don’t envy his position.
We don’t have to like those who are opposite from us, but we do have to acknowledge, value, and maintain all sides and facets of the nation. Without even one of them, the country will crumble.
In many respects, America is already in a state of civil war. But without borders between North and South, without clear ideologies that one can choose besides a penchant for anarchy, it is hard to determine who is fighting whom. Therefore, for now, it looks more like chaos than war, but it is very painful nonetheless.
I don’t think that there can be a quick fix to the situation in America, but there is certainly a solution. The only question is how fast and after how many needless victims the American people will opt for it.
The solution is simple: Americans must find a way to live together. In the past, the relationships between blacks and whites, Democrats and Republicans, or Conservatives and Progressives were not as tense and full of hate as they are today. Of course, American history is rife with bigotry and violence on a racial background. However, it seems as though this time, it is happening all over the country, at the same time, and with added tensions and frustrations accumulated over decades of neglect. So although there has always been racism in America, this time, it seems like another facet of a generally disintegrated society that is coming apart at the seams makes the situation much more perilous.
I don’t know by whom and I don’t know how this can be done, but I know that as always, so now, the solution to America’s problems is not in dealing with each problem separately. The solution can only come through mutual responsibility, when each resident is guaranteed a sufficient and dignified standard of living, above which it will be possible to develop national consciousness that is stronger than one’s personal view on the sensitive issues that are tearing the country to pieces.
It will not come in a day, and it will not come without a learning curve, but there is no choice. Either everyone succeeds together, or no one will succeed. In today’s reality, interdependence is a given. No one can survive alone, and it is only the complementary nature of civilization that enables it to continue. If we try to eliminate the diversity and go solo, we are dooming ourselves.
Everything in reality has its opposite. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to know about it since we notice anything only on the backdrop of its opposite. The idea that eliminating the people or ideas we don’t like will improve our situation is a figment of our self-centered imagination. But it is a very dangerous one, since should we succeed, we would eliminate ourselves along with the target of our hate.
If we want to grow, we can do so only by examining ourselves against those with whom we disagree or of whom we disapprove. As much as we may dislike them, we are totally dependent on them. Understanding and accepting this truth is vital for our survival in the interconnected society that we have become. We don’t have to like those who are opposite from us, but we do have to acknowledge, value, and maintain all sides and facets of the nation. Without even one of them, the country will crumble.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What are the businesses of the future?“
We first need to understand that the financial, industrial and educational systems we have lived according to until today will change completely.
It is because the basis upon which we built all of our systems was our egoistic human nature, i.e., personal benefit at the expense of others. The more we develop with egoistic motives underlying our systems, the more corruption, exploitation, manipulation and abuse fills these systems, which gradually leads to a multi-system collapse.
Our past egoistic notion of success, where an individual or company is considered successful if they manage to run other individuals and companies to the ground, while simultaneously shining the spotlight on their increasing profit margins, is revealing itself to be unsustainable and harmful.
Today, nature presents us with increasingly interdependent and interconnected conditions, where we can no longer think of ourselves as separate from others, considering our own benefit alone. Therefore, increasing profit in one person’s hands as a result of subtracting from other people can no longer work as a success indicator.
Moreover, it is important for us to understand that the end of our egoistic-materialistic paradigm has been greatly accelerated by the coronavirus, which has forced us to distance ourselves from our past systems in a very poignant manner.
Today, we already live in a new system, but we have yet to fully acknowledge what that means. Thus, we are far from sensing our current transitional era positively.
The key for adapting to our new era is to start emphasizing the importance of human connections above all other engagements.
If we succeed in upgrading human connections, so that we will feel mutual consideration and responsibility toward each other, then we will discover exactly what kinds of businesses we will and will not need. In short, businesses will need to be conducive to improving human connections. On one hand, we will need our life’s essentials met, and on the other hand, we will need to continually invest in building positive connections among society.
All other surplus will be thus seen as nonessential and even destructive to our world, and the coronavirus has already helped us see this a lot quicker.
The principle of future businesses should be fundamentally opposite from today’s principle: that they benefit people’s connection, and that they cause no harm to people and nature. There should be no more situations where one person or company increases their profits at the expense of others. Our priorities will need to shift completely in order that we all focus on benefiting everybody. Success will then be seen not in terms of profiting from society, but in terms of contributing to society, and businesses that sustain the goal of benefiting society will be the ones that prosper.
For 4,000 years until the 5th century C.E. (Common Era), the desire for wealth became dominant in humanity. From the 5th to the 15th century it was the desire for power. From the 15th to the 20th century it was the desire for knowledge. And since the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century it is the desire to reveal the meaning of life and realize yourself precisely at this degree of the pyramid.
What is the peculiarity of our time? What does it mean to realize oneself at the last degree, in the spiritual?
Answer: The fact is that our desires develop gradually, according to special laws. The highest degree is the one we are on today. It is really the highest: egoism pushes a person to realize himself in equivalence of form with the Creator, to become like the Creator.
On the other hand, the absolute impossibility of achieving this is revealed in us. And here we come to the conclusion that the task of becoming like the Creator is not solved directly, “head-on,” but develops and is realized in a different way.
Everyone should receive the forces from nature that help him change himself and build a structure above himself called “Man – Adam,” “like the Creator – Adameh.” After all, we are animals in all our ordinary pursuits.
And where does the man we need to develop hide in us? Very deeply; it is just a small desire that has been developing in us for centuries, until in our time we begin to feel it. And its realization comes in a very interesting way: We should not develop our original egoistic nature, but change it to the opposite, altruistic one. This is the equivalence of form with the Creator.
If you want to be human, you must turn yourself inside out, renounce animal existence and human predilections. Renounce all current values, such as wealth, power, fame, and knowledge, and prefer only one thing to this—the study of the Creator and the equivalence of form to Him.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 6/25/20