This is the way we are designed. Those, who seem reckless, imprudent, self-sacrificing romantics are actually no more than calculating people, for whom the past manifests as the present so obviously that they are ready to accept anguish unusual for others, which we take as a heroic feat (Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”).
Question: Does it follow that there are no heroic acts?
Answer: No, for people there is no other way out. Cowardly acts or heroic acts are programmed and expressed from a person’s essence and do not belong to himself. They belong only to the system of governance.
Question: Are people led by either pleasure or pain? Even when a person is about to die?
Answer: Suppose you were a gladiator who shouts to Caesar when he is about to die, “We who are about to die salute you.” Everything depends on the calculation.
But in fact, even in this case our body makes a conscious or subconscious calculation. Psychologists know that each man’s priorities may be changed so that a coward will turn into a hero. The future may be so elevated in man’s eyes that he will agree to any kind of destitution for the sake of it.
From this it follows that there is no difference between man and animals; and if so, free and intelligent choice doesn’t exist.
Of course not. If we exist in nature, in which pleasure is the goal, then the only choice is in the choice of the form of pleasure. And we confuse this with the concept of “freedom.”
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 5/12/19