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My new article on Linkedin “Is Hunger Possible in Today’s World?”
When we hear about hunger crises, they usually refer to poorer and war-torn countries in Africa or Asia. We rarely think of hunger crises when we think of Europe or the United States. But recently, more and more voices are warning that there could be hunger, and even starvation in the West, as well.
These are not merely fears; they are based on steps that countries are already taking to protect their population, often at the expense of other countries. The war-related devastation of the wheat crop and vegetable oil in Ukraine was only the beginning. Now, India has also banned exports of wheat due to the heat wave that devastated much of its crops, and countries around the world are suffering food shortages and a price spike.
Growing up in Russia in the 1950s, I lived in a neighborhood where everyone kept a few chickens and grew vegetables and fruit trees in their backyards. In today’s backyards, if one is lucky enough to have one, you can hardly find any open ground to plant anything.
Also, back then, there were far fewer people than there are today. In 1950, there were only 2.5 billion people. Today, there are nearly eight. Without sufficient food, billions will not only starve, but wars will break out and destroy everything. Hungry people have no restraints.
To prevent such a cataclysm, we need to stop the endless drive for hegemony and begin to relate to all of humanity as one, interdependent society. To relate to society in this way, we need to understand why we, humanity, are here in the first place. Without understanding what we are living for, we will not be able to plan our future or how to relate to one another. In such a scenario, we will undoubtedly end up in terrible states.
If we think about why we are here, we will realize that we are not here to oppress other people or take pride in our power. On the contrary, we are here to establish a harmonious society of our own making. Just as nature has built the universe as a harmonious system where all the parts complement each other, we should build a human society in which all people complement each other. The difference between nature and humankind is that nature does this through instincts, through a built-in program, while we have to do it through consciousness and of our own volition.
That is, we work the opposite of nature. When animals are well fed, they rest and do not bother anyone. We, however, are never satiated. We want more of everything we have, more than everyone else has, and in the end, we want everything for ourselves and nothing for others. On top of this voracious nature, we must develop a human society based on reciprocity and balance as does all of nature. Since we are completely opposite to it, we can achieve this only through a conscious and collective effort.
In doing so, we will discover a far deeper and broader reality than we could ever imagine with our current, egocentric perception. We will discover that the purpose of our lives is not to wallow in selfishness, but to leap into the perception of the whole of reality, where everything is interconnected and interdependent, and where life is an endless stream.
The wars and disasters that pummel our world are the “whip” that nature uses to make us grow out of our innate self-centeredness and into the expansive perception of reality. The sooner we begin to follow this path of our own accord, the sooner nature’s whip will vanish, and problems such as hunger, war, and disease will be a thing of the past.
From My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 5/16/22
This Saturday, a man went into a Tops Friendly supermarket in Buffalo, NY, and shot ten people dead in what appears to be a racially motivated crime. This massacre, the latest in an endless stream of violence, is a reflection of our world. Brutality is engulfing not only the United States, but the entire world. There is senseless killing in Europe, senseless killing all over the Middle East, and in Africa. Even where there isn’t senseless killing, there is abundant, systemic abuse of people, from modern slavery through human trafficking to abuse of power. At the end of the day, it is only people who make other people miserable. If we could only change our ill-will toward each other, we would change the world.
How many times have our parents told us to be nice to others, to play nice, to be kind? And how many times were we actually good because they told us to? Just as children often hold on to their toys and do not share them with anyone, we are becoming increasingly child-like egoists in our behavior.
We were not always that selfish. Previously, people from the same family, and even from the same village, truly felt that they belonged to one another. There may have been struggles over social statuses, but there was no desire to humiliate for the sake of degrading others. Today, even siblings often take pleasure in humiliating one another.
The human race is constantly evolving. The more it develops, the more people are learning that they are governed by egoism, and that it is driving us all into a chasm. On the one hand, everyone wants to live in a nice neighborhood with nice and quiet people around. On the other hand, our own nature is creating an environment where we cannot trust our co-workers, our friends, or even our families.
The good news in all this negativity is that now that it is out in the open, we are realizing who we really are, and this is the first step toward correction. We have come to a state that people cannot stand the existence of people they dislike, for whatever reason, so they pick up arms and shoot them.
And what is true of people, is also true of nations—between nations and within nations. They want to control each other, oppress each other, and dominate each other.
But we are in a different time now. What worked before will not work now on any level—individual, social, national, or international. Today, only those who want to help and support others will succeed. Nations and people who oppress, bully, and violate others will fail and fall.
These days, those who want to succeed must learn that our mutual dependence requires that we become considerate of others. Even if we do not like others, the simple realization that if I am inconsiderate, it will hurt me, should be enough to change our behavior toward others. Following our actions, our hearts will change, as well, but we should not expect this from the very beginning. If not today, then tomorrow we will all learn that we need not be considerate or caring because we actually feel this way, but because we want to survive.
Once we adopt a considerate behavior, we will realize that its benefits far outweigh its flaws. When people are considerate, they create an atmosphere of consideration which reflects back on those who embed it in the society. Just as inconsideration hurts the inconsiderate, consideration rewards the considerate.
Interdependence means that whatever you inject in the system, this is what the system gives you in return, but many times over. If you inject negativity, it will destroy you because the society will “throw” your own negativity back at you, but many times stronger. If you inject positivity in the form of consideration, care, support, and mutual responsibility, these positive impacts will reflect back on you, but again, many times stronger than you injected into the society. This is how every closed system works: the feedback amplifies the input many times over.
Therefore, if we want an end to such hate-filled violence as the Buffalo massacre, if we want to end senseless wars raging around the world, we must learn to act as one, interdependent society. It may not be easy to convince ourselves, but reality has its painful ways of persuasion. I think we would all prefer a more peaceful, mindful way of changing.
A man is detained following a mass shooting in the parking lot of TOPS supermarket, in a still image from a social media video in Buffalo, New York, U.S. May 14, 2022. Courtesy of BigDawg/ via REUTERS
Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Germany Has Changed, Antisemitism Hasn’t”
A recent survey of Germans and Muslims living in Germany conducted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) found that 60% of both populations consider antisemitism to be a widespread phenomenon in Germany that has increased over the past 10 years. But the study also brought to light the wide gap between the two populations in terms of the reasons for this hatred and showed how deeply rooted antisemitism is in all sectors of society.
According to the survey, 34% of the general German population and 54% of Muslims living in Germany agree with the statement, “Jews today use their status as victims of genocide during the Second World War in their favor.” The survey also revealed that 18% of Germans and 46% of Muslims agree with the statement, “Jews have too much power in the media,” and similar percentages think, “Jews have too much power in politics.”
This AJC poll has been released at a time when German authorities report record high levels of antisemitism. In 2021, there were 3,028 hate crimes targeting Jews. That is the highest number ever registered since police began tracking reported antisemitic incidents in 2001.
I am not surprised by these statistics that show how bad the situation is for Jews in Germany. I do not relate to them in terms of right or wrong; I evaluate them as a factual reality that does not seem to improve over time. I have not seen any decisive action by Jewish organizations to eliminate this phenomenon because what is done to address antisemitism amounts to merely formal measures: antisemitic incidents are widely reported, funds are received to address the problem, an ineffective campaign is carried out, and then the cycle begins again.
The current situation is just like before the Holocaust when a spike in antisemitism was reported but nothing was really done to eradicate it. On the contrary, the Holocaust unfolded. Just endlessly talking about the constant threat to Jews without thoroughly solving the problem is an empty effort. It prevents nothing now, just as it never prevented anything in the past.
German Jews should also take into account the fact that German demographics and mentality have changed. The current population is no longer a generation highly conscious of the Holocaust and the Third Reich involvement, so what do they care now? While Germans may still express support for the Jews and Israel because it remains a national pressure on them to do so, deep down, the sorrow or sense of guilt has disappeared. They are already fed up with the issue and do not understand what we want from them. Such attitudes are eating away at the status of Jews in Germany who stay there despite antisemitism because they still feel that they are doing well, but one might ask, for how much longer?
The same goes for the status of bilateral relations between Germany and Israel. Germany has been considered by Israel as a strong ally in Europe. Former Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, said in 2008 that Israel’s security was part of Germany’s national interest. She felt obliged to speak about it and expressed her sympathy for the Jewish people because of Germany’s past. She belonged to the generation when that was common, a kind of polite commitment that is quickly becoming no longer relevant. A new government is in power, and the mentality of the people has also changed regarding Israel.
In other words: In the volatile world we live in today, there are no guarantees of unbreakable partnerships. We Jews need to reach a point where we become partners to one another among ourselves so that our future no longer depends on external support. We can trust no one but ourselves. Our nation was founded in order to realize the principle, “love your friend as yourself,” and by doing so, to become a conduit of such connection toward humanity–the meaning of us becoming “a light unto the nations”. In the final analysis, the more divided we are, the more antisemitism rises; and the closer we are to each other, then likewise, the more the world will relate positively to us.
The true nature of human being encloses us in our world, and we do not see anything beyond what we sense with our five corporeal senses. Whereas the exit from this into wider, higher, expanded feelings requires us to expand the sensations and consciousness.
For that we are given the manual called “Torah” (from the word “Ohr—light“), which explains how to trigger the upper force upon ourselves, the force of the light, that would lift us to the next level of sensing the universe.
The Torah is written in detail and includes all aspects of our existence, of our life. However, this manual is not simple, and therefore it is not easy to perceive and implement.
But this manual does exist. We have been battling for centuries over it in order to exit from the sensation of our world, expand the borders of attainment, and come into existence in a global universe that is not limited by the perception of our egoism.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/14/22
Question: The Torah describes three signs that gave Moses the opportunity to manifest the power of the Creator. The first sign is the transformation of the staff into a serpent. The second sign is the covering of Moses’ hand with leprosy as proof of the Creator’s power. And the third sign is the transformation of the waters of the Nile into blood. What is this within a person?
Answer: Within a person, the realization begins that everything harmful can be turned into useful, and all evil, distance, and rejection can be turned into its opposite: rapprochement, a corrected state.
All this is in the power of man, and there is nothing bad that cannot be turned into good. Everything depends only on one’s view of the world, on himself.
There are no opposing forces in nature at all. A person who looks at nature, with his attitude, with his qualities, sees either positive or negative in it.
The first sign is a staff that turns into a serpent, and vice versa, a serpent into a staff. The “staff” in Hebrew is “mate,” that is, “below reason.” If the quality of bestowal, the quality of attaining the Creator, is not important for a person, he is at the bottom. And when he raises the staff, he seems to raise the importance of the quality of bestowal above all. And this is the most important thing.
If he throws the staff on the ground, it turns into a serpent, into our egoistic intention. But by raising it correctly, he turns it into an altruistic intention, and thus corrects the whole nature.
And if he would not raise it, he remains with the serpent, which is within us and eats us from inside.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/19/22
Question: It is said in the Torah that Moses kills an Egyptian. What does this mean in spiritual work?
Answer: Moses kills the desire in himself that keeps him in a state of complete egoism, called “Egypt.” By getting rid of this desire, Moses becomes free.
Question: Your teacher Rabash writes that “Egyptians” means material pleasures. What are these pleasures?
Answer: Everything you do for yourself and enjoy. This is the basis of your existence. But gradually such an intention is killed in you because you think and strive only to rise above self-gratification in order to remain in a state of bestowal and love for everyone else.
Question: Is self-gratification bad? After all, it is natural, it is our nature.
Answer: This is natural, but wrong because it closes us within ourselves, and we are not able to feel the full universe.
If the pleasures do not close me within my limits so that I think only about them, if my life consists of rising above earthly pleasures into the pleasures of bestowal and love, which are called spiritual pleasures, when I enjoy filling others, then my work, my efforts only bring me closer to the Creator.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/19/22
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Is there anything which is more important than love?“
Love is simultaneously life’s most elusive and most important quality.
It is the source of life.
Without love, there is no life. Without connection, there is no creation.
But we should be careful to understand what love truly means: Love means love of the other, without involving oneself in the relationship.
But how can we love anyone or anything regardless of ourselves? What does it give us? What does love project onto us? Why would we love?
We accumulate countless positive and negative experiences in our lives with their numerous insights, so it sounds strange that love is all that remains.
But it is truly so because there is nothing stronger than love.
Based on the video “Why Is Love Most Important in Life?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Oren Levi. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Question: Sometimes it is said that Pharaoh is smart and cunning, and sometimes it is written that he is stupid. What is he really like?
Answer: Pharaoh is the nature of the whole world, and not only ours but all the worlds. It is a desire that needs to be corrected and will then be in a state of complete adhesion with the Creator.
Question: Why is it said that he is stupid and old?
Answer: This is said in relation to the attainments of man. He is stupid because he does not have his own knowledge, his own fulfillment, and his own power. And everything that comes to him comes from the quality of bestowal.
But teaching the desire to receive, which the Creator created, the qualities of bestowal and the qualities of receiving is the Pharaoh’s mission, his work. Everything we have comes from Pharaoh. The light of the Creator passes through Pharaoh, builds the entire universe, performs all actions. But it is by passing through the system called Pharaoh.
So, do not neglect Pharaoh. Scientifically speaking, Pharaoh is the matter of the whole egoistic world.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/14/22
Comment: Passover is a great celebration of getting out of Egyptian slavery. It is celebrated by almost the whole country and all the Jews in the world.
This, of course, is also a family holiday; everyone gathers for a festive meal and everyone looks forward to it.
For those who are engaged in Kabbalah, Passover means that a person understands that he is in slavery, in his egoism, and he escapes from it.
My Response: Running from it is also not exactly running, because in Egypt—there was everything!
Everything that you can imagine that communism is in this world—it was there. Basically, they had everything arranged, the best lands, and just everything you want. And ahead, a dead desert, a dead sea, everything dead, everything is full of uncertainty. Nothing good! So, where is the Egyptian captivity and where are we going? That is the question.
All the work in Egypt is in order to depict that the whole desert is paradise. And everything in Egypt—everything good, you have absolutely everything you want—is really hell. Egypt is an egoistic fulfillment, and even more, everything you want.
It is about each of us. This is our Egypt. Everything is good in it, there is everything. All the pleasures of this world in all their details, in all their variations, please, take it.
No one wants to get out of there. Everyone, in general, is enjoying it. The only one who feels bad is the one who is not like them and who wants to get people out of there.
And who wants to pull them out? Moses. So, what good did he do? Because centuries after that, we only feel bad. There is nothing better than Egypt!
Comment: But it is said that we were slaves in Egypt.
My Response: Slaves, meaning that we were in our egoism, but we completely got everything we wanted.
Question: So why does a person suddenly want to get out of this fairy tale?
Answer: That is how he is built—man.
Question: Why does he suddenly hear Moses? Instead of listening, for example, to Pharaoh, who says: “Stay, I will provide you with everything, everything will be fine.” And Moses says: “We will go into the unknown, into the desert. Follow me.” Why did they follow him?
Answer: Apparently, Moses told the Creator that something should be done with them so that they would want to leave. Moses agreed with Pharaoh and with the Creator that there would be Egyptian plagues that would sweep through the Jews and from which they would want to escape. But if they had not been there, these plagues, they would not have run anywhere. And if they did not want to run, there would be no plagues.
Question: So, after all, the egg was first? At first they wanted to escape in some way?
Answer: I think it was Moses who agreed with the Creator: “Let’s arrange it so that they would want to follow me after all.”
Question: But still, you said that it was bad for Jews there because of these ten plagues. It was not easy for the Egyptians there either. It is written that the Egyptians suffered the most.
How is there to understand that the Egyptians suffered from ten Egyptian plagues?
Answer: It is the egoism of a person who wants to be freed. That is, to be subordinate without knowing to whom and how. But the main thing is to break out of this communism that has everything. Absolutely everything is in excess.
Question: And the Egyptians, it is this communism that exists inside us—precisely this egoism? They want to keep us and ask: “Why are you running from here? You feel so good here.” Something like this?
Question: What is this Passover holiday for the world? The Jews celebrate it corporeally, Israel celebrates it. But what is this holiday for the world?
Answer: It means liberation from Egyptian captivity, it is liberation from egoism, it is liberation of man from himself. I want to be controlled not by an egoistic quality that wants to acquire everything, to be filled with everything and only thinks about that—but to be controlled by an altruistic quality, when I want to connect with others, to fill others and not myself. That is the desire that arises. That is Moses in us.
And we become Jews when we hear Moses, when Moses is in us. And if not, then we are those same Egyptians.
Question: So we can say that there are only two nations in the world. In the spiritual world, there are two nations?
Answer: Yes. Either you are an Egyptian or you are Israeli. And there is nothing in the middle.
The Israelite is directed to the Creator, Yashar–El, straight to the Creator. And the Egyptian is directed toward himself.
Question: When you say that this celebration is for the world, the world must decide who it is today?
Comment: And today, it is such a critical moment that this really should be resolved.
My Response: We do not even realize it yet. And the world does not realize where it is being led. It does not realize it at all!
Question: But can we say that Egyptian plagues are taking place around the world now?
Answer: Yes! Absolutely. There is such a wave all over the world.
Question: But maybe the world will still understand that it is necessary to escape?
Answer: It all depends on us how we show the world this path, the path of development, the path of connection, what lies ahead, what to strive for. Can we do it?
Comment: Do we have to present it so that it is pleasant, sweet, joyful for a person?
Answer: Sweet, pleasant, and necessary! It should not attract him because it is sweet. In Egypt as well, no one sees that it is sweet there.
But there is sweetness in freedom from egoism; that is, the feeling of slavery in Egypt is opposed to freedom from egoism outside Egypt. And a person must grow internally so much that this difference between the two states simply pulls him forward.
Question: So, today more than ever the world should hear that it is necessary to get out of egoism, out of Egypt?
Answer: Yes. We are stuck!
Question: It turns out that we got delayed a little bit in Egypt. And such things are happening now that push us out. Don’t we feel that we need to get out of it?
Answer: But we must set a course, we must understand, we must strive, we must pull everyone with us.
Question: When you say “we,” who do you mean?
Answer: I mean first of all those people who can understand and realize this, people who are striving forward, Yashar-El, Israel. And everyone else will follow them.
Question: It isn’t necessarily the Jews that are straight to the Creator?
Answer: The main mass, the initial mass are Jews, those who have already experienced, in the past, in their roots, a state of escaping egoism. And the rest will join Israel. There is absolutely no question about it. The whole point is to raise the Jews.
Question: What is your prayer today?
Answer: My prayer today is to fulfill the role of Moses. To pull out this head-part of all mankind called Israel, aspiring to the Creator, which in potential can aspire to the Creator. To pull it out of such a somnambulistic state and begin to excite them so that they themselves at least somehow make an effort, are concerned, and rise forward to the exit.
Question: In order for at least a thought to arise that it is necessary to get out of egoism? But first of all, you always say that egoism is bad. Or not?
Answer: Egoism is bad depending on how you measure it, weigh it, look at it, feel it, smell it, and taste it. But in fact, egoism is all that gives you taste, life.
And altruism, freedom, what is it? You go out into the field, and you do not know what, what for, why.
Moses, in principle, is not one person but a whole group of people who understand that the future lies in this—in getting out of egoism. How do we get out of it? We need to study this and start applying it among us. And every time we take every step, it is done again out of the darkness when we do not seem to feel any draw in egoism, we start trying to get out of it and find that it holds us by all the feelings, by everything! And you cannot escape from it anywhere.
And then just stick together and cry out.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/7/22