Entries in the 'Arts' Category

Theater As A Means Of Education

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why does a person find empathy with actors on stage and identify with particular characters?

Answer: Initially a play is directed towards a specific audience and a particular time. Today we aren’t watching a performance that was staged in ancient Greece. There were isolated classical productions that remained on the stage for hundreds of years.

A play must arouse a sensation of empathy in a person. This is not soccer, where we are be a fan of only one team. A theater performance must hold us in our entirety. From the start there are positive and negative characters in a play, and there are viewers who identify more with male actors and there are those who identify more with women. But ultimately, the entire play must arouse viewer sympathy for a particular character and hatred for his antagonist.

The viewer identifies with the protagonist, for that is how he assesses the validity of what happens in a play, the degree of its success. It is as if he is living in that time, participating in everything that is happening, and suffering along with the protagonist.

The main thing about the theater is its educational value. The play must be written and staged to educate the viewer, giving him good examples, attracting him towards a worthy goal, showing him his own appearance, and representing the character of a true hero. The viewer learns from the characters in a play, just as a son learns from his father. In this case, the theater is used for an educational purpose.

If the play is designed for entertainment and pleasure, it doesn’t give anything. Specifically in classical plays like those of Chekhov and Shakespeare, I don’t see any high educational potential. For some time they have become a presentation for the central protagonist who is trying to become famous thanks to his uniqueness.

An educational play must be written in particular to elevate a person to a higher level. It is designed to grant the viewer a strong, deep, obliging and correct psychological lesson. When he leaves the theater, the person shouldn’t require any explanation. If an explanation is required, this says that the play didn’t fulfill its function.

Suppose that the viewer doesn’t even understand everything that is happening on the stage. This is not important. The main thing is that the viewer will be impressed and get excited by the example and that he will receive an educational lesson: a proper sense of good and evil must be presented, positive qualities that should be emulated, and negative ones that one should distance himself from.

The power of the theater is in the influence of the environment on a person. Even within two hours, it is possible to influence all the senses of the audience from the stage. And even more so, the viewers are impressed by each other.

It is said that theater begins even before the viewer enters the hall and sits down. The person is influenced by the theatrical environment, its uniqueness and the music that is heard before the performance. Not long ago I visited the famous La Scala opera house in Milan and noticed that the building was very simple. In other words, the main focus of this world-famous theater was the performance itself.

But I have seen other theaters in which the actors in theatrical costumes meet the audience in the entrance hall and invite them to enter the world of the performance. The goal of this reception is to prepare the person and impress him so that he will already be involved with the play from the first moment.

It is not for nothing that the musical symphony begins the introduction, the opening, since this awakens emotion in a person. After all, the final goal of the playwright and the director is to influence people and awaken the kind of experiences that they desire for him, so that an audience will laugh and cry, clap their hands and freeze in absolute silence in the right places.

The audience comes to the theater specifically to experience all of this, including making an unofficial covenant with the director. If we were to use the entire system correctly, we could influence a person in a good way.
From the program “A New Life” 5/22/14

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The Greater Purpose Of A Play

Dr. Michael LaitmanEach one of us has seen a small child watching a cartoon for the hundredth time, open-mouthed from great excitement. Why does he watch something he previously saw yesterday and the day before with such enthusiasm?

An adult watch a film that he has seen before, while a child watches the same thing as if bewitched. The idea is that a child is changing, he is new every day! And the adult is already determined.

The child is renewed from day to day so that a film that he sees ten times is new for him every time. The child is growing all the time, and his intellect and emotion are developing such that what he saw yesterday is different from what he sees today. After all, he is seeing the same film with different eyes.

And an adult does not become renewed like a child. Until the age of 17-18 he is growing, but later reaches saturation and absorbs new impressions with difficulty. He becomes renewed less and less until his life is over.

But when we watch a show that leaves a strong impression in us, we absorb impressions like children. A good film, a play, or an opera carry us away, stimulates all of our senses and penetrates into us. If it is truly a good show, that is how it influences a person.

Question: Can this help me in life?

Answer: It depends upon the message lies within the play, what it impresses us with, and its subject matter. Therefore, the theater can be a very powerful means of education, but we aren’t using it properly.

Question: Let’s say that for two hours I am impressed by a show with an educational message. After that I go out to the street and return to the routine of life. So what is left in me?

Answer: You no longer go back as the same person. If the show was constructed correctly, you are changed. You are not just watching a play by Shakespeare about something that happened hundreds of years ago.

The play touches your hear, and you relate to it as a part of your current life. So it remains inside you permanently and directs your life. Everything is constructed intentionally to direct your life. It is not a story about a prince and princess; rather, it is truly about life that is close to a person. So you can identify with the hero and see yourself in his place.

You aren’t just watching someone’s life from the side and thinking about what you would do in his place; rather, you are living this role. So you enter a theater as one particular person and leave as another person. You acquire wisdom about life and begin to look at life differently. We need plays like this.

Question: Is it possible to acquire wisdom about life that is not from actual life?

Answer: In many cases and even in real life, we learn not from our personal experience but from that of others. Why should we suffer and learn everything from our mistakes if it is possible to learn from the example of others and not make those mistakes?

I don’t need a theatrical drama to take place in my own life. I want to learn from the examples of others. This is what we are missing in kindergartens, schools, and in the family. They should teach us to differentiate between good and evil according to good and bad examples so that we will play our role in the theater of this life.

Question: What is the greatest thing about the theater? What is it prepared to give to a person in his life?

Answer: Theater must educate a person!
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 5/22/14

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A Dog That Chases Its Tail

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Professional activity attracts a person by the opportunity to create and get renewed. How much comes from me towards this renewal and how much comes from the supporting environment that appreciates me? I want to be proud of myself, to be respected, etc. Can creativity become a trap, like a mousetrap?

Answer: I feel some renewal every time I work creatively. There is another painting, a film, a performance, and a song. I sort of die while working at it, as usually occurs among creative people. I write, make films, compose music, and there’s a certain niche, where a person is like the Creator. One creates and feels renewed with each creative piece. It is a trap.

This is the life for some people involved in creative work. At the same time, they don’t feel pleasure in anything else; they neglect everything else and are ready to write with their own blood. The most important thing for them is to create a new picture or make a new discovery, because this action fulfills their needs. Creation is inside them, and that’s why nothing else worries them.

For a person absorbed in creative works, there’s no enjoyment in food, sex, family, wealth, or power. If a person thinks about that, then he doesn’t produce creatively; he becomes no different than the others. Today people like this are harder to come by. Today creativity is being used for profit and success, becoming a kind of business.

Question: King Solomon concludes at the end of a reflection on labor and work, “And I started to hate all the work which I’ve done under the sun.” You call it a trap. Why?

Answer: Because it doesn’t lead to the goal! The artist, too, like a dog, chases its tail, only feeling pleasure sometimes during the cycles of one’s work. We do the same by changing jobs, family, even our country, and still feel the void, though at a different level.

Question: Solomon, in “Ecclesiastes,” says with a shiver that the next area is personal and family relations. Ultimately, there is no happiness there, and the modern statistics confirms this. What can be more natural than family ties? A person feels happy at one’s wedding and during a child’s birth.

Answer: This is the way nature has it so we continue the human race. The general objective of the development of mankind in the process of evolution is to have each person ask: Why do I live?

This question and its correct implementation separate us from the animals. Otherwise we are animals. I just live, work, save money for a vacation, house, and other things, take care of life’s chores, and it has no beginning and no logical end. For what?
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 5/23/13

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The Simplicity Of Greatness

Dr. Michael LaitmanComment: “The Melodies of the Spiritual Worlds” (the upper worlds) is the kind of art that should now be revealed to everyone. I would call it a level that is a bit higher than classical music since the sixth sense (the point in the heart) is involved here. At first glance, the melodies seem rather simple and not so sophisticated, but…

Answer: The tune “A Concealed God” sounds very simple and may even be incomplete, like a minor composition, but it is an expression of the harmony of upper attainment or the harmony of revelation.

There are very sublime words to this tune about the one unique, eternal, and whole upper force that surrounds us and leads us to a perfect and ideal state.

The tune praises and glorifies the ten streams of abundance that descend unto us, the leadership of our world that, unfortunately, because of our egoistic attributes that are revealed on the level of this world, become the complete opposite.

Instead of opening ourselves to receive the spiritual abundance and to resemble it in perfect harmony among us, we distort all that and eventually receive a tiny bit of spiritual energy that keeps our world alive.
From KabTV’s “Conversations with Michael Laitman” 2/09/14

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Under The Authority Of Money

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: At this time, the entire healthcare system in many countries is being transferred to government rails and pretty much reminds one of a conveyor belt. Physicians strive to see as many patients as possible and spend as little time with them as they can. In order to get additional attention from their doctors, patients have to pay extra money.

Throughout the entire era of medical field development, doctors have never been rich. They were famous, knowledgeable, but never wealthy. In accordance with the advancement of desires, the aspiration to be rich comes first. After that, there comes a desire to be respected and famous, whereas an aspiration to become knowledgeable follows all of them. In medicine, it works the other way around. Why has our medical system fallen so low? Why does it value money before respect, knowledge, and even before the desire to help others?

Answer: This phenomenon is going on not only in the field of medicine, but in all spheres of human activities. People (as opposed to inanimate, animate, and vegetative matter) constantly grow due to their egoism, the basis of human nature. Our desires become more egoistic; they increasingly control us, thus detaching us from each other.

At some point, we lived in big families, but now we reject having even a small family. Everybody wants to live separately nowadays; the number of divorces increases, people don’t want to marry, have children, etc. Our egoism has grown to a level where it separates us much more strongly than before and instead of elevating our desire to obtain knowledge, attain, and achieve, it brings money forward and makes our lives very pragmatic. The entire world depends on money; everything is subject to money. Money is power.

Previously, respect, glory, and power were not contingent upon money. Honor was above everything. During the last one hundred years, our egoism grew to the extent that we can see nothing except dollar signs. All spheres of human activity such as science, arts, or any kind of creativity that continue to attract many people previously were considered noble; things like poetry or scientific research made many artists and scientists sacrifice their lives. Nobody considers them worthy any more.

Today, things like arts and science are fully controlled and completely suppressed by money. Artists and scientists simply have to comply with this level. Sometimes they still experience self-sacrificing tendencies, but they have to suppress them right away. Artists and scientists are kept in narrow frames because they understand that their success directly depends on their sponsors’ support and on the size of their bank account.

Nowadays, spheres of life that are extremely dear to us directly depend on money because prevailing financial systems buy them out, thus taking them under their direct governance. All of the above also applies to mass media that completely depends on those who pay them.

Even education in schools doesn’t get due attention because its goal is to promote a herd instinct in students and suppress their individuality so that they don’t cultivate a benevolent, non-financial, unselfish attitude. By doing so, it makes it very easy to determine how much one is worth, how much one can buy, and who is in control.

The last half-century demonstrates the same tendency in the healthcare system all over the world. The principal reason for it is the fact that this field is extremely sought after. Almost everybody uses it: We are born into this system; we continue our development in it, we have to constantly use it, and we end our lives within the same system too. So, the field of medicine is extremely “fertile” and brings enormous remunerations, thus making doctors rich and allowing them to take advantage of the system.

Moreover, our reliance on numerous medications (most of the time not even needed) prescribed by doctors no matter whether they are really necessary, obligates us to take them; it translates into enormous profits. Even if medications don’t cost much, their sales still turn the healthcare system into a monopoly that constantly drains resources from the population. That’s why numerous rumors are being spread about “terrible diseases,” various threats, etc.

This explains why there is great competition among drug manufacturers. Moreover, a lot of unnecessary “diagnostic” equipment is produced. The circles that financially take advantage of this state of affairs pressure their governments to include medical-related expenses into a basket of “free” and “mandatory” health care. In other words, we are tied up with a system that exploits us at our own expense; we all are completely defenseless here.

Alongside the mandatory, state healthcare system, there is also a private sector that is much more expensive and even more unexplainable. Of course, it justifies itself to a certain point, since private doctors simply have to cure their patients; otherwise, they won’t have clientele. On the other hand, people have to pay very high costs to receive proper treatments. So, humanity has already received all sorts of proofs that egoism is the main cause of the devastation of our health and that it prevents us from the correct way of life.

These doctrines apply not only to healthcare, since health starts with pure air, balanced food, good ecology, and a caring attitude toward each other. That’s why all of life requires correction in order to build a good basis for maintaining human health.

The big question is if today this task coincides with doctors, pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers health care interests. One thing is very obvious: common people suffer from the way it’s currently arranged.
From KabTV’s “Medicine of the Future” 4/7/13

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How Many Jews Are There In The World?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: In your opinion, how many Jews are there in the world?

Answer: According to some scientific estimates, there were about 100 million people in the world during the exodus from Egypt. Jews comprised 3% of the population, which means that now there should be 6.9 billion x 3% = 200 million. The number of Jews in the world, left of the two tribes is 14 million. One tribe is 7 million. As of today, all the tribes amount to 7 million x 12 tribes = 84 million.

Many were killed during the persecution of the Jews in the Middle Ages. But let’s take only the 6 million who where murdered in the Holocaust. Since 1940 the world population has grown three times, and so 6 million x 3 = 18 million. This means that there could have been 18 +14 = 32 million Jews, together with those murdered in the Holocaust. And one tribe is 16 million.

16 million x 12 = 192 million Jews in 12 tribes as of today. This means that the number of Jews is about 200 million: 3% of the world’s population.

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The Language Of A New Culture

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: We hope that the method of integral upbringing will be disseminated all over the world. How do you see the interaction of the Moscow group with the groups of South America, for example? Does it make sense for them to maintain a relationship with each other?

Answer: If we get rid of the language barrier through simultaneous translation, people will understand each other perfectly. They will understand the feelings, the songs, the dancing, and various expressions. You will see that suddenly they have the same body movements.

When we talk about integration, people begin to express themselves the same way, regardless of who they are. National, ethnic, and racial differences melt away.

For example, natives of South America and Africa, who have completely different dance moves, begin to move synchronously, trying to feel each other. Their dancing no longer resembles modern dancing, where everyone is six feet away from each other and no one sees anyone else while twisting and hopping on their own. On the contrary, they try to stay together, to come into contact, to be closer, maybe even to stop moving, but to feel each other physically, and most importantly, on the inside.

They acquire a completely new body language and, I would say, a new culture, communication, and behavior. But it’s not just a culture; it is a new form of art, the art of dance and expression that comes precisely from the integral sensation.

I hope that this culture emerges and is revealed, and maybe through it humanity will adapt itself to the integral world. This is shocking, and it shows us that we truly are coming closer to a single image of “Adam.”

This is a language that did not exist during the separation of people who lived in ancient Babylon, during their dispersal all over the world (if we accept the legend of the Bible as a fact). It is a language instilled in the foundation of our root even before human beings emerged, and it comes from our spiritual foundation before it materialized.

If we take all the songs, dances, any kind of music, or any other forms of expression of various groups from different continents, we will discover one common denominator in them all. And the differences between them will be very minor.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” #11, 12/16/11

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