Listen to an Audio Version of the Blog
Listen to an Audio Version of the Blog
From My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 2/1/22
Why do children wake up with their eyes wide open and jump out of bed while we open them just wide enough to see the phone so we can set it to snooze? Why are young people energetic and ready to “conquer the world” while older people are cautious and hesitant? Can we stay young-spirited forever? After all, if life is not a game, there is no excitement in it. And if there is no excitement in life, what is the point of living?
If we want to keep enjoying, we need to make life a lifelong game. This game is very different from anything we know. It is not about what we can receive, but about what we can discover! By connecting to other people, we discover new worlds, other people’s worlds!
How do we achieve this? Quite simply, we need to focus on others rather than on ourselves. This may sound simple, but if you try it, you will realize how self-absorbed you are.
We are all like that. Even those who feel that they are generous and giving are absorbed in their giving and do not see how much they do it for their own interest, and how they are focused on their own benefit when they give. Giving is fine, but the focus is the point here. Had the focus been on the receiver, the giver would have discovered countless revelations that are hidden from a self-centered eye.
For the game to succeed, you need partners. It is impossible to play the game of giving without people to whom you can give and from whom you can receive. Therefore, there must be a group of people, up to ten or so, who play the game together.
In order to succeed in discovering the other players’ worlds, we need to think good thoughts about them. Otherwise, we will have no incentive to approach them, no desire to discover their world. We can think good thoughts about each other if we do good things for one another. These can be the simplest things, but they must make us feel good about each other. Positive thoughts about each other bring us closer, and closeness opens our minds and hearts to others, so we can see the world through their eyes.
As with any game, the more we practice, the better we get, and the harder, yet more rewarding the game becomes. But unlike any other game, as we improve in it, we will find that our entire perspective on life changes and expands, and we become wiser and more competent.
The game of life, unlike any other game, reveals to us the secrets of life, the secrets of reality, because when you can look at something from all angles, nothing remains hidden from you.
My new article on Linkedin “To Live, or Not to Live, That Is the Question”
“To be, or not to be, that is the question,” mused Prince Hamlet in the so-called “nunnery scene” of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Every year, around the world, some 800,000 people answer this question negatively and take their own lives. Even worse, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young people. Why do people, especially young ones, take their own lives? Is it possible to strengthen their desire to live?
The authors of the Talmud wrote, “For two and a half years, the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel disputed. One side said, ‘It is better for man not to be born than to be born,’ and the other side said, ‘It is better for man to be born than not to be born.’ They concluded, ‘It is better for man not to be born than to be born, but now that he is born, let him look into his actions’” (Eruvin 13b). Indeed, if an alien were to land on Earth and look at us, it would probably say, “The pathetic humans bump into each other, ridicule and humiliate one another, and do everything they can to ruin each other’s lives. No wonder they are so depressed. Why did nature create such miserable beings?”
Suicide is the extreme consequence of a series of problems that afflict people to the point where they decide to end it all. But even before these problems become too much to handle, they make us ask about the meaning of life. After all, if life is only about survival through ordeals, then it is indeed better not to be born than to be born.
The thing is that when we begin to ask questions about life, or as the sages wrote, “look into our actions,” we begin to grow. Pain leads to spiritual development that lifts us to realms we would not have dreamed existed, and we would not have searched for them were we not forced by pain.
The key to these new realms lies in fostering positive connections among people, in emerging from the mindset of alienation and narcissism we have so devoutly nurtured until now, to find that when we sympathize with others, we gain rather than lose. We win new perspectives and new ideas, new wisdom and knowledge, and new friends. By changing our attitude to others, we change our world.
Moreover, by choosing who we bond with, we shape and reshape our world with every new acquaintance. In this way, no world is too harsh to live in, since we can always change the people we connect to, and in so doing, change our world. Also, there is no end to the insights and knowledge we can gain since there are always more connections to make than we can establish in our lifetime.
And best of all, when we connect with other people, we attune ourselves to our surrounding reality, which is already connected and would have worked in perfect harmony if we, humans, did not disrupt it. The more we develop positive connections, which aim to support and nurture rather than depress and oppress one another, the more we expand our perception of reality. We find that the reality we have known until now was only a “corridor” to a deeper and more expansive perception.
If we want people not to take their own lives, we must give them a reason to live. When people understand what life is for, they will have a purpose to go through life’s trials and tribulations. As Nietzsche wrote, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Therefore, our task today is to reshape our connections in order to reshape our world. The world reflects our attitude toward others. If we jointly transform our attitude toward others from abusive and aggressive to considerate and caring, the lives of all of us will change, as well, from a losing battle to a smooth and pleasant ride. It is really up to us.
Michael Laitman, on The Times of Israel: “On the Difference between Unity and a Show of Unity”
On January 26, Jewish leaders met under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, to discuss unity in the face of antisemitism. The meeting took place one day before the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The speakers stressed “that the community should unite and go on offense against anti-Semites across the political spectrum.” Former Obama-administration Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman, for example, said, “If we only criticize anti-Semitism from our political opponents and not people in our own party, our own ideology, we really aren’t caring about anti-Semitism. …We’re just using the platform of anti-Semitism to wage war against our political opponents, and those are those of us on the left, like myself, those on the right, have done too much of this and we have to end it.”
Unity has great power. Accordingly, this meeting could have been a powerful show of force. It could have shown that Jews can unite in the face of Jew-hatred, which would have gone a long way toward mitigating antisemitism.
Regrettably, there is a big difference between wanting unity and wanting to show unity. The latter is powerless and evokes ridicule and contempt. The former is what we really need but do not have, and Jewish leaders around the world do not seem to aspire to it. Their goal, it seems, is clout and wherewithal. This is why nothing will come out of that meeting.
Unity is the key to mitigating antisemitism. It is also the key to the success or failure of our nation. As I have shown multiple times in essays, op-eds, and in several books, unity is the foundation of our nation. When we are united, the world welcomes us; when we are apart, the world scorns and despises us.
Uniting in order to fight against antisemitism would have worked had we used it as a first step toward true unity, unity of the heart. If we had moved from unity because of fear to unity because we care about each other and feel responsible for one another, I would have rooted for it. But the “unity” of Jewish leaders is merely a front. Behind it hides the same division, the same hatred between the parties, and no real effort to form a bridge above it. I am convinced that the only goal of the conference is to raise money for the organizations running the event and increase their influence in the community and in politics.
If this is the goal, the result will be the opposite of unity; it will lead to more division among us and more derision from the world. Time will tell, but I have little doubt about my conclusion and little hope that I am wrong.
For more on the significance of Jewish unity, see my books Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour, and The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.
My new article on Linkedin “The Discordant Drums of War”
As the world waits with bated breath to see if Russia will invade Ukraine, as thousands of American troops are on high alert to invade Eastern Europe, and as NATO announces it will send more ships and fighter jets to Ukraine to reinforce the Baltic states, I am convinced we are not on the brink of a world war.
Invading Ukraine is not worth it for Russia because such a move could lead to a war that the Russians will undoubtedly lose. They will probably succeed here and there militarily, even if their army is not as strong as in the past, but financially they will lose. Russia’s economy is weak anyway, and life there is difficult. The war would only crush them.
In today’s modern world, it is no longer worth fighting. What is the point? More money and natural resources? After all, the investment in conflict is greater than the profit, not to mention the subsequent participation which will cost a fortune. Nowadays it is more beneficial to enter into economic cooperation, as initiated by the European Union—to arrange industrial and cultural relations, to engage in economic activities and trade, and thus all countries joining the alliance will benefit from joint business.
So what will enable Russia to conquer more territory and control it? After all, it has vast superfluous territories stretching from the Volga River to the Far East where there are hardly any inhabitants. It follows that the Russians’ move is based not on practical thinking but on a private compulsion, on the need to conquer and feel, “This is ours!” Russia enjoys showing the world that it is a strong country. This Russian pride is well-known, a familiar characteristic that can spur it to go barefoot, eat gravel, as long as it wins respect and sympathy.
Moreover, Ukrainians are strong, full of resentment against Russians, which gives them the strength to oppose them. If this is so, where do the winds of war come from? First of all, from the media which profit from the heating up. Second, from people whose job is to fuel war. Opinion makers and political analysts know that conflict is their art, and they know how to recruit the minority dissatisfied with the existing state into their ranks, thus igniting an uproar at any hour. Third, it is the politicians who, in the event of an escalation or a real war, count on raising their prestige in the eyes of the population. The possibility of war is on everyone’s lips while U.S. President Joe Biden’s approval rating continues to drop, according to recent polls. 72% of Americans believe their country is moving in the “wrong direction,” revealed a NBC poll a few days ago.
Despite the fierce winds, I do not think Europe is on the brink of war. Even if a few missiles fall here and there, the current crisis will ultimately be resolved diplomatically, not militarily. A good agreement will be signed for all countries involved: Russia, Ukraine and, of course, the U.S., which always emerges stronger and more successful.
It is good that Israel is out of the Russia-Ukraine mess. Countries that do not enter into conflicts will form a solid and correct foundation for a better existence, especially Israel, whose role is to be the pioneer force for a new, more balanced and stable world.
We Jews who are watching from a distance what is happening there, must engage in resolving the wars between us, repairing the relationship within our people so that we can set an example of a true and qualitative cordial connection out of a great desire to play the drums of peace. That is the essence and mandate for the people of Israel to implement, to become the “light unto the nations” for the benefit of all the peoples in the world.
Question: Is envy toward friends a correct indicator of annulment?
Answer: Envy toward friends is not an indicator of annulment, but it is a good start.
I envy them. This means that I already see something in them that is not in me, and therefore I envy them. So I already put them above me in some way.
And then perhaps I will make a decision to get closer to them. If they are smarter and above me spiritually, then why shouldn’t I be with them, together with them. It’s a good feeling.
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/8/22, “Deriving the Greatness of the Goal from the Friends” Lesson 4
We must realize that without achieving mutual guarantee, we cannot be bound together. And the connection between us is necessary in order to create a spiritual Kli in which we will feel the light, the Creator.
Therefore, once we have set ourselves up as if we live in faith above reason, we must think about how we can act in order to really be in bestowal above receiving, as if we are already in the spiritual world, in spiritual relationships, in the properties of bestowal, in support of each other.
This is not possible without achieving mutual support between us. This is Arvut, the property of mutual guarantee.
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/9/22, “Working in Mutual Responsibility” Lesson 6
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Does time exist?“
Time is nonexistent in and of itself. We exist in a single state, and we feel the flow of time in relation to the process of our development toward discovering more and more of the single, integral and perfect state we exist in.
We can think of ourselves as a person who became unconscious and who, from an unconscious state, is gradually regaining consciousness. At certain points, he starts seeing and understanding that he is in a hospital room, with people entering and exiting, nurses and doctors, and he starts hearing various sounds.
It appears to such a person that everything he sees was previously nonexistent, but it was in fact always there. He thus perceives the process of the emergence of something new relative to himself as the passage of time.
Moreover, this process of waking up to the single state we are in is a matter of growth of desires within us. When our desires increase and start wanting to perceiving wider and wider circles, then this inner change expands our capacity to perceive, and the changes we experience in perception give us the sensation of time.
Based on KabTV’s “Close-Up. Anamnesis” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on February 19, 2010. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash
Question: There is a feeling that we are always talking about the external expression of annulment, about the game of annulment. But the whole trick is that I have to want to annul. And how can I want to if I have no control over my desires? Am I controlled from above?
Answer: If you feel that you have no control over your desires, this is already a great achievement. The fact that you understand that you need to annul yourself in order to reveal the upper world, the Creator, and the true state in which we exist, also brings joy.
And then how to proceed? You must do what we are currently studying. It just needs to be implemented.
You must constantly attend classes, get closer to the group, and strive to be closer to them all the time. And in this way you will succeed. So go ahead!
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/7/22, “Annulling before the Friends” Lesson 2
Question: How do we come to the point where everyone in the group is drawn to connection and unity? And how do we strengthen this aspiration for all mankind?
Answer: First you need to unite at least within your group, then in the world group, and then in the whole of humanity, gradually, step by step.
At least within the group you should constantly talk about this and realize that without achieving connection, you will not have a tool for attaining the Creator. Where will He reveal Himself?
You have to be in front of Him as one person with one heart. And if you do not achieve this, then the Creator will not reveal Himself. This is a physical law.
The Creator created one common Kli (vessel), which then broke. And now you want to reveal what was in it, and you have to assemble it on a minimal scale. Meaning you need to assemble one whole from your group, a small vessel, a small cup. And to the extent of your connection, you will reveal the Creator. The more you then enlarge this vessel, you will be able to reveal the Creator as greater with all kinds of great properties.
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/9/22, “Asking the Creator to Fill the Place Between Us” Lesson 7