Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is egoism?“
Egoism is the desire to attract life or forces of life to oneself. At its basis, the matter of our world is different levels of egoism.
We humans are unique because contrary to the rest of nature, we do not use our ego solely for the barest necessities. The still, vegetative and animate levels of nature receive for themselves only the amount of food and energy that they require for their existence.
Egoism has been inserted only into us humans, and it leads us to consume excessively. We derive enjoyment not only from having life’s essentials and even something extra—but we also enjoy when other people lack something and suffer, unlike us. This gives us the feeling of even greater fulfillment.
This is why we consider only the human ego as truly egoistic compared to the other desires in nature. With the exception of the human, egoism does not develop in any part of nature. For instance, a one-day-old calf is like a grown bull, that is, even the representatives of the animate level complete their lives just as they were born. Their ego does not develop, whereas we humans develop by means of growing egoism, over the course of our individual lives, as well as over the generations. Each generation progresses due to its egoism being more developed than that of the previous generation.
This egoism pushes us to civilizational progress. However, now that we have reached the last stage of human development, egoism is leading us to a dead-end. We no longer know where to progress, and we become immersed in a global crisis in all spheres of our activity.
In essence, the forces of nature comprise a single closed system—besides us humans, who in our egoism consume more than our life’s essentials. It is precisely us human beings who are the imbalanced elements within nature, since we use more than what we need in order to exist. This is why only we humans are the sole elements of nature that harm other people, as well as the other levels of nature.
Based on a Q&A with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on September 9, 2006.
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.