Life Should Be Lived in an “Old Robe”

962.3I was the absolute master of my old robe. I have become the slave of my new one (“Regrets for my Old Dressing Gown, or A warning to those who have more taste than fortune,” Denis Diderot).

Question: The philosopher Diderot spent almost his entire life in poverty and did not care much about material wealth, but he suddenly received a red robe as a gift. It was a beautiful red, satin robe! Soon after, he noticed that his chair was old and made of straw; therefore, he changed it to a beautiful, leather chair. Suddenly, he also spotted that his desk was shabby. So naturally, he replaced it with a large, gorgeous table. Not long after Diderot fell into debt.

Do we really have to live our lives in old robes to understand it?

Answer: Generally speaking, yes. And what is wrong with living your life as is, not investing all your energy into external things? Why would you care for them?

If we are talking about children or other living creatures, even kittens or other animals, that is a very different story. But if it is furniture or something material…

Comment: But man wants to dress well. It is in his nature.

My Response: If external circumstances do not force him, then he can by the virtue of his internal circumstances continue living as he were.

Question: In an old robe?

Answer: Of course.

Comment: Then there is no progress. Look, everything around us is about buying a new house, dressing well, keeping up with styles.

My Response: You need everything to comfortably pursue your goals while making sure you do not become a slave to your possessions or to the times we live in—a slave to your environment.

And all our free time should be devoted to “our beloved selves.”

Question: So, is this how we should live?

Answer: Yes. Why should I work for a robe, or a desk, or anything like that?

Comment: You are saying: do not waste your life, stay in your old robe, and take care of yourself.

My Response: Yes.

Question: What do you mean when you say: “Take care of yourself?”

Answer: Do what you want. Do what you deem important. Meaning, what you think is important and not what your peers think.

Question: So, your advice is to stop?

Answer: Instead of stopping, never even get into such traps. Do not fall for it.

Question: No matter how much I crave these things internally, right?

Answer: It should be a goal of the basic human developmental stage, that is, the animate level in a person not to follow any other goals, habits, and so on. Live for yourself! Although it appears to be egoistic. And so you will live for others: for a woodworker, for a carpenter, for a fashion designer, and so on.

Question: You just gave a very egoistic formula: live for yourself and not for others.

Answer: Choose a goal! And live for it. People must validate their path, direct and shape it in a way not to harm anyone, including themselves. That is about it.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 6/27/22

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