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Medium published my new article “A Ray of Light Out of the Pandemic”
A huge, thick grey cloud covers the planet and there is no sign of it going away any time soon. This is how people feel after so many months of Covid-19 impacting our lives. Humanity doesn’t see on the horizon a way out and begins to feel tired, drained, and stuck in negative thoughts about what might come next. Our perspectives on the future are uncertain, and bewilderment has become a breeding ground for despair and depression. All this darkness could quickly change if we could discover the source of lasting fulfillment which the current crisis is leading us to reveal.
Only when we connect positively with others will we dissipate the looming cloud dimming the current atmosphere and will transform the climate into a sunny and shiny reality.
The pandemic has caused critical disruptions in mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide as the demand for psychological support has dramatically increased, according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, scientists warn of what seems to be an imminent new wave of the coronavirus in the upcoming winter, combined with the flu season. We have started to understand that the lifestyle restrictions are going to stay with us for a long time, at least until a proven vaccine is released, and even then, there will be no absolute certainty about its effectiveness as new mutations of the virus may arise. Our situation is changing the way we perceive and approach our lives.
Some are trying to maintain some sense of normality, going to work — if they are still lucky enough to still have a job — and include in their daily schedules some exercise to stay fit and healthy. But deep inside, the joy and enthusiasm for life has faded. The internal distress caused by the crisis is triggering apathy and bitterness.
The pursuit of materialistic aspirations has lost much of the relevance it had in the past when we craved power, money, and status. Now, the madness of endless competition and the ongoing quest for pleasures have become secondary concerns. And since life no longer offers a clear purpose, people feel overpowered by fatigue. Some struggle to get out of bed, having fallen into depression and powerlessness, while others react with angry outbursts against the pandemic-related restrictions, lockdowns, and preventive measures.
These manifestations reflect a lack of perspective about the future where we fail to see any compensation for the suffering we face. Subconsciously, humanity asks, “Why do we have to endure this situation? For what purpose?” Nature is precisely pointing out what humanity needs to change. It is revealing to us that the way we have lived our lives until now, driven by our egoistic impulses and actions for self-benefit, is no longer possible. The world is increasingly being revealed as behaving like a complex and mechanistic system of cogwheels, where we can only guarantee its smooth functioning by taking into consideration how to mesh the complementary and correct gears of all its elements.
Therefore, we need to adapt to our new reality. We have no control over the virus, but we do have control over how we deal with its consequences as a human society. We must therefore help each other to stay afloat during the plague’s storm. It is imperative to find ways to battle the state of general despair and to organize support systems that will strengthen individuals to prevent them falling into helplessness. The more we invest in the general wellbeing now, the more we will be able to safeguard the mindfulness and good spirit of society. Every country in the world should make all the possible efforts toward making communities more cohesive, where no one is left alone, where everyone has group support as a safety-net, employment, and the option of engaging in physical and social activities such as group games, music, and sports.
We can achieve the desired cohesion in our societies through a fundamental shift in our values: from competitive, individualistic and egoistic to cooperative, connected and altruistic. When our desire to enjoy is redirected, when we stop aiming to fulfill ourselves individually and start aiming to fulfill others, we will find the key to boundless happiness because we will be free from our enslaving self-concern. Only when we connect positively with others will we dissipate the looming cloud dimming the current atmosphere and will transform the climate into a sunny and shiny reality.
Medium published my new article “Covid-19 — the Next Stage”
We’re entering a new stage in our “relationship” with the coronavirus. We’re pretty much done with the denial stage and people are beginning to accept that it is here and there is nothing we can do to chase it away. Although we seem to be deep in the stage of anger, and it could still create a lot of damage, we are also beginning to tire of the war and give up. We don’t have much to look for. We search for the old ways to have some fun, to get something, make some profit, compete, but there is none of it. We’re just going aimlessly from day to day. This aimlessness is not as passive as it sounds. In some, it arouses anger and aggression; in others, it causes apathy.
We search for the old ways to have some fun, to get something, make some profit, compete, but there is none of it. We’re just going aimlessly from day to day. This aimlessness is not as passive as it sounds. In some, it arouses anger and aggression; in others, it causes apathy.
Worse yet, the frustration and hopelessness can stream from the personal level to the social level and lead to social disorders, revolutions, and disintegration of societies and countries. From there, the hopelessness can spread to the international level and lead to clashes between countries, which, seeing no future for themselves or the world, might lead to an all-out world war where they will strive not to win, but to destroy one another. If matters come to this, it will be a nuclear world war, humanity’s worst nightmare.
It’s not as if our lives were so meaningful before Covid-19, but prior to the pandemic, we could camouflage our emptiness with trips, shopping, careers, frequent relocation, frequent change of partners, and Netflix. Now all we have is Netflix. But with the dying movie industry, even Netflix seems more like a monument to a past life than a nice pastime in the present. It’s as if the virus has choked our previous ways of enjoyment and left us gasping for air, seeking desperately for a new way to find vitality, to find a reason to live.
When we are at that stage, we can really start building something new. Only when we give up entirely on finding ways to please ourselves, we will begin to look more favorably at pleasing others. This is where Covid is leading us, because when it comes to pleasing others, there is no end to what we can do, and what others can do for us.
Humanity is heading toward mutuality of a kind we’ve never known. Until now, we were used to thinking of society, friends, and even family as sources of benefit and pleasure for ourselves. The coronavirus is making us invert our attitude to the people around us and begin to see them as opportunities for giving, and in the giving itself find new meanings to our lives, new sources of pleasure and enjoyment, new vitality and energy as we engage in reciprocity rather than in self-absorption.
The transformation will not happen overnight. We are still at the very beginning. The plague is very “young,” only a few months old, but we can already see the trend. Little by little, the virus will make us similar to the rest of nature: giving and receiving, balanced and harmonious. It will make us conscious individuals who feel as part of a great and grand design that nature has created and that manifests in the reality around us. Instead of constant emptiness from seeking pleasures, we will celebrate life. Instead of draining and depleting our social and natural environment, we will become like open faucets, springs that always satiate yet never run dry.
In striving to give instead of receive, we will find more than a reason to live; we will find the meaning of life! We will discover that true joy and satisfaction exist in creating life, not in extinguishing it. In the process, we will unearth the integral nature of reality, where everything is connected and evolving. We will feel as parts of the common reality rather than as distinct units whose existence ends as soon as their physical life expires.
By robbing us of our past-life toys, Covid-19 isn’t punishing us. It is rather making us raise our heads and see where real pleasure lies. Had it not taken away our former lives, it would have taken us decades of human suffering, wars, and mutual annihilation to finally look up and see where real pleasure lies. Despite the toll, Covid is the least painful means that nature could employ in order to show us the way to a happy and sustainable existence. The sooner we follow its lead, the less we will have to ache before we find happiness and meaning in life.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What causes coronavirus?“
The cause of the coronavirus is fundamentally the human ego, i.e., the desire to enjoy at the expense of others, and our lack of desire to rise above the ego and positively connect with others.
What are viruses? Viruses are units of information that communicate with each other in the body, and the human body contains a lot of them. Although we name them “viruses,” we need them to survive. Every virus is intricately complex, and we lack a lot of knowledge about how viruses and the human body function.
Our suffering from viruses can ultimately be healed by a force above them—the force of thought. Viruses are carriers that transmit thoughts, data and information throughout the human body. Specifically today, since our thoughts are inflated with an overblown ego, we find ourselves dealing with serious viruses such as COVID-19.
Viruses and other negative phenomena surface primarily due to our ego-based negative thoughts about each other, and we will be unable to solve this problem until we improve our thoughts—from egoistic, divisive and hatreful to altruistic, positively connected and considerate.
Moreover, by letting our negative thoughts surface in words and actions, we commit negative acts—we try to bring down other people, and by doing so, situate ourselves in a reality that is abundant with negative phenomena.
Our failure to elevate positive values of unification and mutual consideration above our abounding egoistic-negative thoughts and actions gives rise to myriad problems in our lives, the coronavirus among them. In other words, at its foundation, the coronavirus is an outcome of our negative ego-based connections to each other.
We can thus expect to suffer from many viruses and other problems as a result of our negative egoistic connections.
I understand that this is an unconventional view since there are no instruments available for measuring a virus’ connection to our egoistic thoughts. When I was a university student, we had classes at the Institute of the Human Brain in St. Petersburg, and the head of the department, who was a renowned scientist, emphasized how scientists had not discovered the location of human thought.
Many scientists try to decipher human thought, but the fact is that thoughts are not in the human brain. Rather, they stream out into a sphere that is imperceptible to our current senses. Our thoughts exist outside of us, and the human brain is a computation device that connects between this thought-filled environment and our sensations. By connecting to it egoistically, trying to enjoy for personal benefit alone, we situate ourselves in opposition to it and experience negative consequences. However, if we rise above our narrow egoistic approach and aim to benefit others, we enter into balance with this field and thus feel its influence as positive.
We have entered a period where we will have to undergo an introspection and discover the way we influence each other at the level of our thoughts. Ultimately, we will need to transform our thoughts about each other from negative to positive, and in our positive attitude toward one another, we will sense an additional force of nature that we currently do not feel.
Transforming our thoughts from negative to positive will save us from the coronavirus as well as from myriad other problems. As the human parts of nature, the negative-to-positive shift at the level of our thoughts will enable our balance with nature, and we will then complement nature by fulfilling the human being’s role in nature at the level of thought.
Therefore, to solve the coronavirus and many other problems in society, we need to revise our social and educational influences, to see the extent by which we are currently influenced to think and act egoistically and divisively, and to impact a shift in these influences so that we instead become motivated to think and act altruistically, responsibly and considerately toward each other. Even a tiny shift in a more unifying direction above our ego will attract a positive force dwelling in nature, which will in turn act to heal us from the coronavirus and many other troubles we face.
Photo by CDC on Unsplash.
The Times of Israel published my new article “Israel and the Diaspora Jews – Very Distant Brethren”
Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Omer Yankelevich, is promoting a proposal that will obligate the Israeli government to consult representatives of World Jewry on matters relating to them before making decisions. The idea, although essentially correct, highlights the chasm separating Israel from the Jews outside of Israel.
Before we make any decisions, we need to get to know each other. How can I make a decision concerning other people if I don’t know how they live, what they aspire for, how they make a living, or what they aspire for? Jews have been disconnected from each other in the Diaspora for nearly 20 centuries. If previously, religion kept some sort of similarity among Jews at least in prayer books and services, today even that aspect is gone. As far as their Judaism is concerned, there is nothing in common between American Jews, for instance, and Russian Jews or Israeli Jews. They are literally worlds apart.
For this reason, I think that if we want to rebuild the connection among Jews, we have to do it not through religion or relation to the State of Israel, which has become a contentious matter for many Jews, but through the ideology of Judaism, namely the idea of mutual responsibility.
If there is one motto that Jews the world over relate to, it is Tikkun Olam [correction of the world]. While each denomination interprets the term differently, there is consensus that hate is not part of Tikkun Olam. Therefore, this is where we must begin, with the acceptance that even if we disagree with one another to the point of hatred, we do not let hatred take over, but rise above it and form unity. King Solomon said about this, “Hate stirs strife, and love will cover all crimes” (Prov. 10:12). In other words, we do not deny our ill feelings toward each other, but raise the importance of love above it all.
Why is this important? Because by doing so, we set an example of Tikkun that the world will see. In rising above our hatred, we will help the world correct by setting an example. No other nation is expected to do this but the Jews, and the internal rift between us is on everyone’s minds (just read the news headlines). Therefore, if we unite and show the opposite example, it will prove that it is possible to rise above hatred and will set an example that other people will follow.
We don’t need to teach Tikkun Olam; we only need to set a good example. If we want to mend Israel’s relations with the Diaspora Jews, this should be our focus.
Effect of the Circle Method
Remark: The process of circles builds strong relationships and resolves conflict situations. It promotes openness of dialogue and change of motivation from external (i.e., as under a whip) to internal where a person already understands why he should do something. People work with the root of the problem, their egoism, and not just external problems. In addition, circles form a systemic vision.
Conclusion: the circle method is not only effective for communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution, but is also the basis for creating a society of the future.
My Comment: Sure. And we need to move toward this.
Question: Do you consider the round table as the only method that will be used by everyone or are there any other methods?
Answer: No. Except for the circle, there is nothing. We should strive to apply this methodology wherever possible, in all spheres of activity where more than one person is involved.
Question: Did you and your teacher also use this method?
Answer: There were two of us and he thought we were a group.
Question: So even two people can work according to the circle method?
Answer: Yes. So it is said: “The minimum of many is two.”
Round tables exist in order to bring a person, a group of people, even the whole of humanity, to a state similar to the integral law of nature. If they really unite and want to solve a problem, then they come as close as possible to the correct solution or at least to the highest resolution in solving this problem.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 7/9/20
New Life 491 – The People Of The Book, Part 2
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Tal Mandelbaum ben Moshe
Every nation has its own written proof that it is the chosen nation. We Israelis don’t think that we are chosen, but the world forces us to acknowledge this. The wisdom of Kabbalah, which means the oral Torah, teaches a person how to get to know the director of his life. Without this intention, we don’t understand a word that is written in the Torah according to its true, internal content, and we suffer as a result. The general law of, “love thy friend as thyself,” requires an internal change from being inside of oneself to being inside of others.
From KabTV’s “New Life 491 – The People Of The Book, Part 2,” 1/4/15
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Question: Earlier this year several news sources reported on a Carleton University School of Journalism survey in which almost half of the 2,000 Canadians reported believing in coronavirus conspiracy theories ranging from it being an engineered bioweapon to a 5G cover-up.
Who is behind the pandemic from your point of view?
Answer: It is human egoism that does not want to rise above itself and be in good connection with other people. With everyone! Just to be in a good connection without all kinds of conspiracy theories and without the dominance of someone over someone.
The unwillingness to treat each other well leads to the fact that viruses are awakening between us. We will not get away from this until we correct our attitude.
From KabTV’s “Kabbalah Express” 9/27/20
Answer: Nothing disappears in the universe. We simply stop feeling ourselves existing in the physical body and begin feeling in a different form.
Question: Is our world an illusion or reality?
Answer: What is the difference? An illusion is something that we thought was real before and then suddenly it turned out to be an illusion, something imaginary. It can be the other way around. There is no difference. We cannot distinguish one from the other; we have nothing to compare it with.
Question: So, there is no objectivity?
Answer: No, of course not. We cannot rise above ourselves and start to feel the universe, not from within ourselves. Therefore, we cannot talk about things that happen outside of the body, outside of life and death.
From KabTV’s “Kabbalah Express” 9/1/20
Question: The Internet is full of fascist elements and racists, and anti-Semitism is through the roof. Look at what is happening in many countries: riots, oppositions to governments. There is a lot of evil in the world. Do you agree that there is really a lot of evil?
Answer: The Creator created a good world!
Remark: He said: “I create evil: I the LORD do all these things,” and now we see with our own eyes that He really created evil.
The great Kabbalist Baal HaSulam wrote, “All there is in reality, good, bad and even most harmful in the world has a right to exist. It should by no means be completely destroyed.”
My Comment: Yes. Just to correct it by balancing it with its opposite.
Remark: Then he writes, “Our task is to merely correct it and return it to the Source.” A person would like to destroy the evil that comes into the world; for example, one wants to get rid of this virus.
My Comment: It is because he is reasoning with his egoism. If he were reasoning from the point of connection with the Creator, he would have said, “Everything has the right to exist.” Everything has the right to exist! It is very good that there is evil, and it is very good that it exists.
But how will it lead us to good? After all, on one hand, everything is one, and on the other hand, it points to the opposite of itself.
Question: How can I reason so logically when it comes to me? Evil comes to me and my first reaction is to avoid it! I had a normal life, I had everything good both at home and in the family.
Answer: That is correct. This is instinctively true.
Question: But why should I suffer? Can you explain this to me?
Answer: You do not have to suffer.
Remark: Then I should destroy the evil.
My Comment: No, by this you do not destroy evil. On the contrary, it is how you grow it! That is what is interesting! Both left and right, good and evil, all of them, both from their own side only cultivate evil and in case destroy it.
Question: Why don’t they understand this? We see more and more confrontation over the years.
Answer: A one-sided view of the world.
Question: Can they do some logical scientific research and see that it only gets worse and that their resistance makes it worse for everyone and for the world? Can a person sit down and think?
Answer: You see that they cannot. Thousands of years of existence of human society and it has not been achieved. It happened once a little bit when people fought among themselves and seized fortresses. Then they even threw food over the fortress walls for their opponents because they wanted to defeat them not by starvation, not by pestilence, but by their valor.
There are a few such examples. Yet, that was a long time ago when people fought not with firearms.
Question: Then what can we do? How can we introduce into the brain, into the consciousness, and into the heart of those who are fighting evil that this is useless, that it only increases evil?
Answer: Only through education and upbringing. Only by explaining to them that evil cannot be destroyed. Evil and good are two qualities of the world that run in parallel. Thus, you cannot destroy one or the other. By increasing or decreasing one, you influence the other. But in no case do you destroy it.
Remark: Baal HaSulam says that all the villains of the world should also be protected, not destroyed. How do you explain this?
Answer: I speak about this absolutely calmly. The Creator is above them and He lowers every one of them on a string into our world. And they are rustling and bustling in it. We have no right to destroy them.
We need to reveal their insignificance, harmfulness, and in parallel with it, also the opposite characters and actions. If in our world evil manifests itself in the form of some villain or a bunch of people, no matter whom, you must to the same measure reveal the good in the world.
This is the only way you can fight evil. You do not even need to fight with it, you must balance it correctly. Then it will be revealed as a necessary thing for the manifestation of good. Initially, evil is revealed only in order for us to reveal, expand, and increase the good in our world.
Question: In other words, the bigger the evil, the more good is revealed?
Remark: The second part about not destroying evil still requires some explanation.
My Comment: You cannot destroy evil because it is the force of the world—the force that manifests itself in human society. You can only balance it with good so that both good and evil will co-exist together eternally, and the most comfortable state of humanity will be between them when it absorbs both of these forces and builds an image of the upper force out of them.
How else can you build the upper force? Only by the correct combination of good and evil, and both come from Him. That is why the Creator says, “I created evil inclination. And then I have created good for its correction. ” Evil is the basis of the world! And good is for its correction.
Remark: This is beautiful! Yet, I still wonder if I could treat the real, terrible, huge evil like this!
My Comment: Rise above your egoism and you will be able to do this. Above egoism! Evil will force you to rise above egoism and good will not.
Everything is based on absolute inversion! Turn it inside out and you will get the truth!
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 8/10/20