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Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “What Do We Do When There Is No Work?”
ChatGPT and now Bard are the two latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines that have made a buzz in the world. However, they are neither the first, nor the last of their kind; AI is taking the world by storm. From writing assistants through autonomous cars to replacing surgeons, AI and robots are taking our place, and the process is accelerating exponentially.
IBM, for example, has recently announced that it will pause hiring of 7,800 employees and replace them with AI. Likewise, British telecom major, BT, is planning to cut nearly 55,000 jobs by 2030 and replace some of them with artificial intelligence tools. No doubt, this is only the beginning.
If, until recently, most people believed that AI and automation would replace only manual laborers and simple, repetitive tasks, now the picture seems very different. AI can draft legal documents and perform research; it can code like a programmer, and operate with precision that no human surgeon can. At the moment, it is used mainly to assist human professionals, but it is improving so rapidly that the day when humans are no longer needed for almost any job seems to come much sooner than we thought.
We have been brought up to build our self-esteem based on our job, our profession. We may think that a workless world is paradise, but because we value ourselves and others by our professions or our careers, a world where people have nothing to do, and nowhere to find anything to do, is a world of life without meaning. This is a very sad and bad world to live in.
The reality today, even though most of us still do not feel it, is that in terms of jobs, half, if not three quarters of the world population is redundant. There is simply no need for that many workers in the world.
The problem is that until approximately two centuries ago, we were like all other animals, and natural enemies kept human population in check. While other animals had predators, we had plagues and wars, but the result was the same: human population did not explode.
However, once we found a way to overcome disease and reduce child mortality, there was nothing to prevent human population from exploding. The constraints have been lifted and the balance has been broken.
Yet, even with the eight billion people in the world, and even with more than that, we can still avoid depleting and polluting the earth. The question is not one of culling human population, but of educating ourselves to behave in a sustainable way.
Here, too, we need to understand what education for living in a sustainable way means. It will not help us to terrify people by telling them that if they burn fossil fuels it will kill the planet. We need a deeper, more comprehensive form of education—one that helps people find meaning in life, and shows them what to do, not what to avoid.
The education that people need is one that lifts them above our inherent self-centered nature. Education means teaching ourselves to truly care for one another, not because it is a nicer way to live, but because this is how all of nature exists. Once we know this and understand that we, too, should live like that, we will be able to establish a different paradigm of living, and as a result, we will lead a more peaceful life, harmonious with nature and with each other.
Although we will have much better lives than the current rat-race we define as life, better lives will not be the goal, but the outcome of a deeper understanding of the nature around us, of our own nature, and how we can entwine the two in a way that elevates us to a new level of existence. Today, an educational process of this kind is not an option; it is mandatory if we want to avoid a social, economic, and eventually existential collapse.
“Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us? Should we risk loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders. Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable” (“Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter“).
These are the questions they are asking.
My Response: We have finally reached the point of discussing the rise of machines.
Question: Yes, we have seen it before. We used to destroy machines, and now we want to destroy artificial intelligence.
How do you feel about this? In general, is this fantasy so real that they could surpass us?
Answer: These people have stakes in this, Elon Musk and others. Therefore, I do not know about what they write. But, in general, of course, there will be competition.
Any computer is a competitor of a thousand people it frees from work. So, there is nothing you can do about it. But we will not fight it as they did in England several hundred years ago by destroying machinery.
Question: You believe we should not destroy them?
Answer: No, we should not. You will achieve nothing. Progress must take place.
Question: But tell us, why are we given these opportunities to create such machines, such artificial intelligence?
Answer: To begin working on ourselves! By ourselves! So that we put these artificial machines in our place. Let them do all the work.
And we would work on ourselves, on changing our nature from egoistic to altruistic.
Question: So you believe all this progress, which is significant progress, artificial intelligence, and all progress in general, all the simplification of human labor and transitioning it to the machines, is happening so we can reflect on ourselves and start working on ourselves?
Answer: Yes, so we can stop working on the machines and can start working on ourselves.
Question: But was it not egoism that created this artificial intelligence?
Answer: Egoism created everything. Everything around us is egoism.
Comment: Yes, but it creates something that can destroy itself. That is what is interesting!
Answer: Nothing will destroy it. It only allows us to use our opportunities well, correctly.
Question: Are you talking about the correct use of egoism now?
Answer: Yes, so I do not see anything bad about it thus far. Later, we will realize egoism is an evil force of nature the Creator purposely created to show us its opposite side. And we will come to the realization of transformation, of correcting the ego to its next form—the quality of love and bestowal.
Question: Ultimately, you say you favor all this development that will lead us to this state?
Answer: Yes, I’m in favor of the robot uprising.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/20/23
Question: Imagine that science and technology have reached such a level that a single specialist can independently carry out changes in the genome. Is it possible to trust such a weapon to a specialist doctor, no matter how good he may be?
Answer: I think we certainly cannot trust, and I think we will not reach such a state because nature is intelligent and its upper intelligence will not allow us to do this. So we will have to change ourselves.
Question: Do you believe that there will be such a specialist or specialists who will be like that, just turn a knob…?
Answer: No, they can spin as much as they want. They can think whatever they want about their great capabilities, but they will not succeed.
Question: Do you think they can succeed thanks to genetic engineering? What can be achieved with its help?
Answer: Of course, they will achieve some improvement.
Question: For people to be sick less, suffer less?
Answer: Yes, but to change a person, no way. Because whatever we say about good, evil, love, or hate, it is impossible. This can only be done if a person himself wishes to change. Moreover, he will wish for it finally and irrevocably and will ask for it. And the corresponding forces of nature will produce such a change in him.
Question: So no one interferes except the person who asks to be changed. Does he need to be brought to a state where he asks to be changed?
Answer: Yes, he must conclude that he, himself cannot, but that there is such a possibility in nature.
Question: Why does the conclusion that I cannot take millennia?
Answer: A person wants to do everything himself.
Question: Yes. Look, it is the same with genetic engineering and so on.
We want to do everything by ourselves. By ourselves! Millennia go by while man is trying to change everything itself. Today man is changing nature, destroying ecology as a result, and so on, just to come to this little thought?
Answer: Little?! This is a cardinal revolution within a person when he realizes that he cannot do anything with himself, but he needs to make changes precisely in himself. Then he turns to nature.
Comment: Yes, millions of books have been written, crazy wars have been going on for millennia, confiscations, and so on, just to come to this idea?!
Answer: It is the main, fundamental, basic in all of nature—that we are created egoists and must come to a state where we define ourselves as absolute egoists, that we harm the whole of nature, and if we want to change something, we must change ourselves. That is when there will be a change in the species, genus, humanity, and so on.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/20/23
Question: What is equality?
Answer: Equality is an equivalence of properties. If you and I are equal, then our properties match.
There is no other equality. Despite the fact that internally we are different and we realize these properties in different ways, we still have equivalence. Only in this way can equality be achieved.
It turns out that everyone is absolutely different; no one is similar to another, yet all are equal because everyone realizes himself within bestowal and connection with others to the full degree of his abilities.
Question: Does it mean that the material equality is not connected to the inner equality in any way?
Answer: If you obtain spiritual equality, then there will be material equality as well. Otherwise you will not be able to make the material equality in the correct way.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call, What Is equality?” 2/27/11
Answer: No, we won’t take another step. People will stop getting carried away with it. Look at how all kinds of space programs are being curtailed. So what if we reach the moon? Are we going to bring moonstones here from there? Why?!
There is no intelligent life anywhere else anyway. What are you looking for in the universe?! Inanimate nature? You’ll find it. You will find some fragment, like a diamond on Earth, and then what do you do with it?
That is why people turn away from these programs. The hype with space is over. We’ve circled around the earth and that’s enough.
Space flights will continue for the time being, but only as trips for the general public. As we fly back and forth on vacation on airplanes, so we will fly on spaceships. The shuttle will be set up, and we’ll be around there all the time. You’ll jump into orbit for a weekend, spin around for two days, and go back down to earth. There will be such a trend. And then, that’s it.
What else? They will develop, for example, miniature mobile phones that will stick right out of your tooth, and everything you need will be typed by voice. Such power fields will be anywhere in the world, that you will be able to create a screen on which you can work by moving your hand in the air. Power lines will pass in such a way that you can make this screen at any angle and see and hear everything on it.
And what’s next?! A man remains a man! A toy is a toy, even if it is more cool, more comfortable—and what’s the point of it?! What fulfillment will it bring?
Question: Why did they develop these toys then?
Answer: This is how our egoism develops so that we understand that all this is a useless move leading to nowhere, into emptiness.
What is the technology given for? What should I fill it with?! Why am I given the opportunity to communicate with all the people in the world?! What am I going to do with them? Watch pictures in 3D, in 5D, about some kind of alien beasts or ghouls? How much can you build up?! A person will run out of egoism. He will just turn away from it.
This is where the problem arises: how should a firm earn money? Therefore they rage. They don’t know where to turn.
There is only one way out: up, into a higher space in the next dimension. The alternative is war.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. What Is Science?” 3/6/11
Answer: Where was this pacifism developing? In the First World War, in the Second World War?! The arms race, all these seizures, in Indochina, and wherever else they happened! Revolutions in Cuba, I can list many such things!
Question: But pacifism tried to prevent a Third World War. There were hippie movements, the Beatles, and Angela Davis. Carnations were inserted into weapons and machine guns. Today no one will write A Farewell to Arms like Hemingway, they will not paint The Apotheosis of War.
Answer: I think we have reached a point where the world has realized that everything is over. Enough talking, what is really needed is, if not to disarm, then to thoroughly rein in all the military and politicians.
Through their games, the rattling of weapons, and the desire to show which of them is stronger, like the boys playing in the yard, they bring us to such a state that it is impossible to live with them anymore.
Question: Does it mean that if earlier it used to be just in words, but today it is in deeds so we seem not to hear the pacifists?
Answer: Today there is no such thing because people realized that this should be much more serious. Carnations, flowers, are not enough.
Comment: This is the first time you have had such an optimistic view of the world. The world can think.
My Response: Recognition of evil.
Question: Is this the recognition of evil?
Answer: Of course.
Question: What will we get to? My question is about the future.
Answer: That it is impossible to live like this. What will happen to us in the end?
Question: Will we get to why this is happening? Why is it developing like this?
Answer: People can hear about it already today, but only hear and not make decisions to eradicate the source of this evil.
Question: Is egoism the source of evil, one way or another?
Answer: Of course, this is our egoism. There is no way to escape this fact. Therefore, there is nothing we can do.
Question: Are you saying that people will be able to hear that the source of evil is egoism, but they will not be able to do anything about it yet?
Answer: The fact is that they will not hear that the source of evil is egoism. But they will hear that these are better, those are worse, these are this way, and those are that way, and still all these clashes will lead somehow to war. But we need something completely different.
We need to tell them that there is no need to say that someone is less intelligent or more intelligent, less developed or more developed, someone descended from some cave dwellers 200,000 years ago, and someone else 2,000 years ago lived in a cave.
We do not need this. This will give nothing but anger and a new arms race.
Question: Then what should I, a person, do?
Answer: See what the future might be like. Kabbalah does not consider people, who is worse, who is better, who is in this way, who is in that way. It says it is clear who all of you are—complete egoists.
We all need to rise above our egoism, everyone above his own. Then everyone will be fine. There is no other solution!
Comment: So when you say everyone should rise above their egoism, you somehow say that I must change.
My Response: Me and everyone else. We all must help each other mutually with how to rise above our nature. We all have the same nature. It does not matter who is developed more and who is developed less.
A person will come to this. Here we need to understand that there is a method, there is such a party, and we need to listen to it. Then the world will slowly begin to change.
Comment: There is a big load on us! The whole world.
My Response: There is such a party, friends!
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 2/3/23
Comment: I heard a story about a famous actor who was an alcoholic. One day he was sitting in a bar with another man. This man started telling the actor about his own success, plans, and great project that would make him rich and famous, and further related that only he knew what truth was. Then the man got up, ran out of the bar, brakes screeched, and this guy was gone.
The story sobered up the alcoholic who stopped drinking and adopted the principle became: “Be calm, never hurry. Do not make the Lord laugh with your plans; do not fight with foam at the mouth, hammering your truth into the heads of others. Remember, your joy and death will come to you in due time, at the right time. You can’t do a damn thing about it.”
Can you comment on this principle of life.
My Response: I agree with him!
Comment: There are a lot of things here. For example, the starting point: “Be calm, never rush.”
My Response: Yes, because you won’t speed up time anyway. To do this you need to move to other coordinates, and you can’t do that.
Comment: So take your time to do some work; don’t rush to earn.
My Response: No. All the same, everything is planned and it should be so.
Comment: The second: “Don’t make the Lord laugh at your plans.”
My Response: Yes, because you will be fulfilling His plans anyway! And His only.
Question: But how can we not make plans? How is this possible?
Answer: In faith above reason. Calmly do everything that comes to you.
Question: Do you think all our plans that we conceive, twist, and run with are useless?
Answer: It is all absolutely useless.
Comment: And “Don’t fight with foam at the mouth, hammering your truth into the heads of others.”
My Response: That is for sure. First of all, what are you trying to prove? That you are more right than they are?
Comment: Yes, usually so.
My Response: But after all, everyone has their own view, their own egoism; so don’t.
Question: And if you have a deep conviction and you know that this is how people will be better off?
Answer: Buy yourself a big mirror and perform in front of it as much as you want.
Comment: Further: “Remember, your joy and death will come to you at the right time. You can’t do a damn thing about it.”
My Response: Exactly. Even if you want to end your life, it will also not work out according to your desire except when it is necessary.
Comment: But we are developing medicine, lengthening our life.
My Response: This is us making our efforts in order to get out of this world in time.
Comment: So you think that even if we didn’t develop medicine, didn’t develop drugs…
My Response: Absolutely everything would be the same.
Comment: It’s very hard for a person to imagine. He invests so much in being healthy and in having a long life.
My Response: You have to sit in the lotus posture like these ancient Indian elders, and look into the distance, into the horizon, and at the rolling waves of this world. And you don’t have to do anything else.
Question: Then can you generalize all this and give a principle by which one should live?
Answer: The principle is very simple; don’t twitch. That’s all.
Comment: So all these career ladders are worthless.
My Response: We see it all collapsing before our eyes.
Question: And the search for the meaning of life?
Answer: The search for the meaning of life is to find a point of balance with the Creator where you understand that everything should go according to His plan. And you humble yourself before His plan, in the end, and swim calmly.
Question: Basically, this whole life path, everything should come down to what you just said? The search for this point of contact with the Creator?
Answer: Yes. Find this current and join it and swim along it.
Question: And when does the calmness that you now radiate come? After running, searching, or after touching something, some truth? When?
Answer: I think that after 20 years of practicing Kabbalah it may already come. And if one is in the right environment, then even before. Because you will hear this from everyone and so on.
Question: And then we return to all these principles: be calm, take your time, don’t make God laugh at your plans; do they become real?
Answer: You don’t interfere with any of your plans and actions. You just live and try to capture more deeply the flow of life.
Question: What do I capture after all?
Answer: You capture what comes from the Creator and takes you away.
This is time, the flow of time. The river of life. And you feel like you agree with it, are ready to lie down on this current, and that it carries you.
Question: And is this the right principle, a properly lived life?
Answer: Yes. You can’t do anything else anyway. On the contrary, the wisdom is to obey.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 12/15/22
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Do our thoughts influence nature?“
Indeed, our thoughts influence nature.
We live in a single global-integral system of nature, we influence it with our thoughts, and we receive feedback accordingly.
Similar to laws that operate on mechanical, electronic, electromagnetic and other material and biological scales, when we press, push or constrain something, we receive a response. Likewise, when we think positively or negatively about others, we accordingly receive a response.
The global-integral reality in which we live is a closed system, and we receive responses from it according to our attitudes to it.
Based on the video “Do Our Thoughts Influence Nature?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Preparation to the Lesson
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1st part of the Lesson — Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee)”
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2nd part of the Lesson — Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Item 59
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