Entries in the 'Coronavirus' Category

“Vaccination For A Social Epidemic” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Vaccination for a Social Epidemic

There is no stronger trigger to anxiety than the unknown. And we are currently going through a challenging time heading toward the unknown. This terrifies us. Confusion, isolation, and agitation are some of the threats to the American state of mind due to the repercussions from COVID-19. Experts believe the situation is close to a social epidemic. The only way to stay afloat in these turbulent waters is through a support network, to build an immune system against anxiety through human connection.

Far from nature and disintegrated as a society, we have declined into perpetual uncertainty.

There are so many unpredictable and uncontrollable elements in reality, which themselves depend on myriad hidden causes, that we have lost trust in multiple aspects of our society. This makes people apprehensive.

Fifty years ago, we were not so fearful about the future. We thought we would progress and things would get better. Now we do not know what tomorrow will bring and if things improve for our children. It is no longer a speculation; we see that the world is declining. We are already facing a very real fear of approaching hardships.

A person naturally wants to know the probabilities for the future; otherwise he would not be certain about how to act in the present. In the past, most people could largely expect what would be the course of their lives. Life was simple, close to the earth, guided by the seasons and close to nature.

As we internalize this premise and begin to work on our connections, we bring about warmth and affection, supportive thoughts, and concern for others.

Over the years, we moved away from the perception of nature as the root of life, as the supreme system in which we exist. We distanced ourselves from each other, glorified individual achievements, and encouraged heartless competition between us to the point that the growing egoism caused us to feel that others and nature were created only to serve us.

We do not know what will happen next. We do not understand what is affecting us or how to respond correctly. Far from nature and disintegrated as a society, we have declined into perpetual uncertainty.

Slowly, we are getting used to the shocks that impact the world, while we still wonder what force acts in reality and brings all these events upon us. It takes the element of uncertainty for us to try to find the source of everything around us and to realize that it is nature. It is the same force that is compelling us to become similar to it, interdependent and synergic.

Through tremendous pains and troubles we are gradually coming to terms with the importance of building a fortress of strong and meaningful human relations. As we internalize this premise and begin to work on our connections, we bring about warmth and affection, supportive thoughts, and concern for others.

These actions will foster our confidence in the future and navigate us safely through our current state of uncertainty.

The future society must be one where people live in order to attain connection among them because in the connection, they will discover joy and wholeness.

People are social beings. We are so dependent upon society that it should be our safe haven when we feel scarcity and fear. We need to create an environment that provides a sense of confidence, of mutual guarantee. This is all it takes to heal the social epidemic.

“Coronavirus Reprogramming Us” (Israel Hayom)

My new article on Israel Hayom “Coronavirus reprogramming us

We may not notice it because it’s who we are, but the way we think about life, the things we want, value, prefer, our aspirations, manners, fears, reactions, all those are “programmed” into our psyche through the social environment we live in. When COVID-19 forced itself into our lives and locked them down, it affected all of us.

To some, its impact was physical, but to everyone, it is emotional. The social and behavioral implications that the coronavirus has wrought are just beginning, but they will be far-reaching and enduring. We have entered a new era. The sooner we adapt, the better for all of us.

Even if we want to return to our previous way of life, the presence of the virus will make it very difficult. Wherever we go, there is a chance we might catch the virus or transmit it to another person, even if we wear a mask and keep our distance. Gradually, the virus is forcing us to reconsider things we used to take for granted, such as going out to bars and restaurants, hopping a plane to go on vacation, buying new gadgets just because they’re new or because our friends have them, etc.

By forcing us to behave differently, the virus is actually “reprograming us.” Who would have thought just a few months ago that we could envision a life that’s not an endless pursuit of immediate (yet dissatisfying) pleasures? But now, if we only had our basic sustenance guaranteed, many would gladly opt-out of the bandwagon and say, “Stop the world, I want to get off it,” to paraphrase on Leslie Bricusse’s musical.

The coronavirus is not “just” another epidemic. Just like a computer virus, it is reprogramming our operating system and changes our very essence. But not in a bad way; on the contrary, it is slowing down our lives so we may discover hidden pleasures that we’d missed before. By forcing us to rely on one another for our health, the virus is teaching us that we can trust one another, that we can build supportive communities, and that we can find pleasure in people more than in stuff.

The coronavirus will not let us return to unbridled consumerism, to unchecked exploitation of the planet and each other. It will teach us how to build a good, sustainable life for ourselves and for our children. If we follow its directives willingly, we will complete the transition quickly and easily.

If we remain obstinate, we will complete it painfully and slowly. Either way, COVID-19 will win. It will force us to lock up what’s not essential for life, and open up what’s essential for happiness.
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“Not A Virus But Sophisticated Software” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Not a Virus But Sophisticated Software

Like sophisticated software, COVID-19 operates us and changes us from within. The virus is driving forward our development as human beings and we will continue experiencing on-going waves of the pandemic until we fix our selfish human relationships. Until we harmonize with nature’s program, the situation around us will not change.

The virus is driving forward our development as human beings and we will continue experiencing on-going waves of the pandemic until we fix our selfish human relationships.

Through the coronavirus, nature is pushing us from behind to redefine human connection. However, we have not yet responded correctly to the outbreaks by improving human relations toward mutual consideration, support, and responsibility. We have not reduced frictions between the sectors within society. Thus the virus strikes us over and over. Therefore, we must force ourselves to arrange our interactions in an integral, complementary way.

Just as nature is one system within which all its parts are linked, the human race must develop an integral network of connections between all its members. But unlike animals, which behave instinctively, we need to move toward connection consciously until we feel as equally vital parts of a single humanity.

How does the virus perceive and respond to our behavior? We and the virus are in the same system of nature, one vast system that encompasses all of reality and responds to our reactions and everything that happens within it. If our behavior continues to rub against the grain of the system, persisting in being egotistical and narrow, the forces of nature will require the system to respond more strongly to force us back in line. If we do not change our behavior, no place in the world will find a lasting cure for the pandemic because the virus will mutate and create new versions of itself time and time again.

First and foremost, the problem is the hostile attitude of people toward one another. Consequently, the virus is applying pressure precisely on this point of mutual consideration. It does not allow us even to approach one another or return to normal unless we reconstruct our attitude from the ground up. We need to understand that nature views us as part of its single integral system, without regard to our feeling that we are separate, independent units.

Conversely, if we maintain proper connections between us, we can shape the world in a completely different way. We will feel a significant new perception, mindset, and attitude toward one another that will lead to new behaviors and expressions between us. Whether we notice the process or not, our entire inner world will change for the better through the influence of the environment.

Even if the time comes that the virus finally passes, we will discover that we are different people than before, that we have changed. We will no longer have the urge to run from one corner of the globe to the other or storm the malls every time a new phone model comes out on the market. Life will be simpler, more natural, and our satisfaction will mainly come from higher quality relationships between people.

The closer we get to each other and finely tune our relationships to integrate with nature, the sooner and more painlessly we can be rid of all the troubles that now plague us.

We will understand the need to relate to everything around us in a more responsible way, the need to halt the pursuit of vain materialistic goals that are destroying our earth. Until now, the idea of acquiring and accumulating has controlled us: man has wanted to take the best of everything for himself, to advance in wealth and control at any cost. As we become more developed, we will discover that our best life as a human species will be when we harmonize our relationships with the integrality that exists in the rest of nature.

Integrality is the next step in human evolution. The absorption and internalization of this idea, and its realization among human beings will lead us to the discovery of the most potent inner power of nature, the one power that connects all levels of nature and its forces into one integral system.

Our inability to cope with the crises of our time — all the mess, the schisms and corruption that fill our world in every field and every level — help us discover how opposite we are to the balanced system that rules the rest of reality. Learning can occur in one of two ways: the unpleasant way, in which more global catastrophes like the coronavirus will hit us to illustrate how much we are part of one system, that are interdependent and affect each other’s fate; or, we can learn an easier way, in which we immerse ourselves in the concept of a single holistic system and start taking proactive actions to develop new qualitative relationships between us that are based on care, reciprocity, and completion.

Our future fate is in the hands of the integral power of nature. So the closer we get to each other and finely tune our relationships to integrate with nature, the sooner and more painlessly we can be rid of all the troubles that now plague us. We can succeed to rise to a whole new level of human development by upgrading our human connection to harmonize with the deepest and most meaningful software of all.
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“A Bailout Plan For A Country In Pain” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “A Bailout Plan for a Country in Pain

Look around, we need a bailout plan, and we need it fast. COVID-19 is winning on all fronts, the economy is crashing, anxiety is rising, and aggression is winning. But there are things we can do, if we have the guts, gumption, and grit.

If people stay home idly for more than a few months, they will begin to lose their ability to commit. Once they are in that state, it will be virtually impossible to train them and make them productive for society, and they will remain a weight on the back of society.

First, we need to free the world from the illusion that the coronavirus is a passing phase. It is here to stay. It may not remain the coronavirus that we know today, but its quelling impact on the capitalistic world we’ve known for generations will remain. So whether we like it or not, capitalism as we know it is over, and the sooner we get over the withdrawal phase, the better.

Next, the majority of the job market that we know today will not survive the transition. Anything that is not essential for regular human sustenance will fade, though perhaps not immediately, and the remaining occupations will shrink in size and volume to a fraction of what they are today. Alongside the demise of the old job market, a new scope of jobs will emerge. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman referred to them as jobs that “create more value with hearts and between hearts.”

These jobs will be occupations that deal exclusively with bringing people together, increasing mutual responsibility within communities, mutual care and concern, and a sense of accountability and affinity even among strangers. To engage residents in the process, another aspect of this new social work will deal with providing knowledge about the shift that the world is going through. The information will be given via courses that will explain the nature of the change we’re going through, why all of a sudden the economy came crashing down, why we must be responsible for one another like never before, the benefits of such a change of mind and change of heart, and what would happen had we kept going the way we did until the outbreak of COVID-19. The two kinds of training — for enhancing solidarity and providing knowledge — will run side by side and will keep people busy at least as many hours as they would be occupied had they kept working as before, perhaps minus transit time.

Third, the transition period between the capitalist era and the new era must be as short as possible. Human nature loves rest and becomes accustomed to it almost instantaneously. As a result, if people stay home idly for more than a few months, they will begin to lose their ability to commit. Once they are in that state, it will be virtually impossible to train them and make them productive for society, and they will remain a weight on the back of society.

Fourth, alongside the shift in the job market, society will transform its values from admiration of the powerful and narcissistic to esteem for the empowering and altruistic. This will not be a society that worships superheroes, but one that honors those who bring it together in solidarity.

Fifth, preparing the next generation for life in the new world will require changes in the approach to learning, teaching, communication between teachers and students, and between students and students. As in society, so at school, the most commended students will be those who excel in helping their peers work together. The idea isn’t a novel one; it’s been around for more than a decade. Perhaps the best expression of the practicality of collaborative learning is a quote that patent lawyer Lawrence Ebert J.D. found in an essay about high-school cheating: “In no industry is collaboration considered cheating. Only in school is this a problem. What are we teaching our kids?”

We have very little time to make the change. COVID-19 is pressing and old certainties are crumbling. Fringe groups have become mainstream and extremities the norm. If the bailout plan begins without delay, it can take us across the water to the other bank in relative calm and safety. If we let the current carry us where it is going, we will drown.
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“Where Have All The Chain Stores Gone?” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Where Have All the Chain Stores Gone?

From high-end venues such as Neiman Marcus through discount retailers such as Tuesday Morning, to car rental giant Hertz, veteran businesses all over are filing for bankruptcy faster than anyone can update the list. Here are just some of the big names that COVID-19 either crushed or handed them the final blow: J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Stage Stores, Brooks Brothers, J.C. Penney, Tuesday Morning, GNC Holdings, Lucky Brand Dungarees, Gold’s Gym, Pier 1 Imports, Hertz, CEC Entertainment, and this is hardly the beginning of the list.

The heroes of tomorrow will not be movie stars or Instagram icons; they will be people who bring people together, who promote solidarity and mutual responsibility.

It’s not as if the coronavirus started the trend. Just last year, Gymboree, Payless Shoesource, Forever 21, Diesel, and many other big, medium, and small retailers filed for Chapter 11. While it is true that these stores fell prey to the online commerce revolution, it is still a sign that we are seeing the end of an era.

Accelerated by the virus, a process of abandoning the brands and embracing the basic is happening the world over, with America as the trailblazer. It is not only that people’s need to show off their high end tech-gadgets and trappings is diminishing; they also need less of them. The coronavirus-induced lockdown landed a big blow on sales everywhere, and some recovery is to be expected, but the general trend is downward.

People are changing; they are losing interest in buying gadgets that are here today, gone tomorrow, and leave nothing but emptiness in their wake. Instead of stuff, people are beginning to look for meaning in more lasting engagements, and mainly in human connections. It is simply that life has become so cold behind the text messages, and so limited behind the cellphone screen, that people need some real connection—connection of the hearts.

The heroes of tomorrow will not be movie stars or Instagram icons; they will be people who bring people together, who promote solidarity and mutual responsibility. The most admired individuals of the emerging era will be those who quietly make others feel that heart to heart connection is what makes them happy, what gives them confidence, and what they would like to feel from now on.

Coronavirus—A Push To Internal Rapprochement

laitman_962.1Question: Today, nature separates us through the coronavirus. In theory, considering our inner nature, it seems that we are supposed to enjoy it because everyone wants to be one of a kind, to show their individuality.

On the other hand, we are striving for communication, we want to get out of quarantine and begin life as before. What is the essence of this conflict?

Answer: Firstly, I don’t believe that our period is already post-coronavirus. We haven’t passed it yet and it isn’t known when we will pass it.

The coronavirus mutates, as all viruses breed and multiply, appear and disappear. People will seem to be getting ill again, but in fact, slightly different variations of this virus will manifest themselves in this way. Not soon yet we will part with the virus.

On the other hand, the virus separates us a lot. It gradually weaned us from being physically close to each other. I see how the queue is in public places now: at the post office, at groceries, at the box office, etc. Nobody crowds each other. On the contrary, everyone is trying to stay at a distance, not leaning against one another.

In general, this is commendable, since our past willingness to go literally over each other’s heads is bad, ill-mannered, and did not give anything except a false idea that we are close to each other.

The current state is more polite, helpful. Against this background, you can develop a real rapprochement between each other and feel that we can really be closer, but internally, more helpful, sociable, but on a different wave—more sensitive, coming from the heart, and not from the external movements of the body.

Therefore, I see a lot of positive, healthy manifestations from the coronavirus communications. Ultimately, the virus must show that we need to get closer internally, and then we will find the cure from it that we are looking for.

This is a new evolutionary stage in the development of our desires.
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From KabTV’s “The Post-Coronavirus Era,” 4/23/20

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Understanding The True Value Of Life

laitman_294.2Question: On one hand, the coronavirus showed how high the value of human life is, and on the other hand, how easy it is to inflict a blow on it. How do these two opposites fit together?

Answer: This is what always happens in life. On one hand, it is priceless; on the other hand, it is worthless. We cannot solve this paradox because we do not understand the true value of life.

It exists not on the animate level, but rather on the spiritual level, which is higher than the corporeal one because it is eternal, perfect. Only there can we compare, correlate, and weigh our lives and yearnings.

We do not really know anything about our earthly life. We do not know the meaning of our actions or the meaning of our behavior. We do not know what is really happening to us. It seems like we live, get up, go to work, go home, have hobbies, and raise children. What do we do in this life? Nothing.

Only if we seriously want to know the meaning of life and start to build our lives based on it and in accordance with it, then we can really say that we exist.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 5/17/20

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Nature Demands We Surrender

laitman_738Question: During the coronavirus epidemic, our planet has calmed down. It became less seismically active. The isolation of people in their homes and the fact that they do not work in plants and offices has allowed us to listen to the Earth and what is happening inside it.

Now scientists can finally make correct measurements. It turns out that human activity has caused all the unrest, anxiety, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and so on.

Among other things, we know how nature reacts to everything. All of a sudden, in Santiago, Chile, a puma was seen walking around the city and a deer walking in the suburbs of London. Wild animals practically approach cities.

We wanted to invest billions, trillions of dollars in gradually restoring nature, planting trees, cleaning the oceans, etc. So, maybe these trillions should be invested in keeping people at home and nature will restore itself as a result? That is, to allocate funds for educational programs, to educate people all the time, for a lifetime. And nature will recover by itself.

Answer: Great idea. I totally agree with you. The main thing is not to put your hands in it. And everything will be well.

Let nature recover. Do not interfere and it will recover. You cannot imagine what it will do! The globe will rotate in a different way, the sun will shine in a different way, birds, anything you want, everything will change. We will measure the main parameters after a while, I am not talking about the atmosphere, and we will be surprised, it will be as if we are on another planet!

Everything that we decide, we decide through our egoism. Nature cannot handle it. We can do nothing good, nothing until we correct our egoism! And only after correcting our egoism can we act, to the extent of our correction, in the right way.

Most importantly, correct yourself and not nature. By correcting himself, man will step a bit aside from nature, and he will understand that he does not need to interfere in anything! Only to fit in beautifully into this integral picture of nature.

We do not understand its integrality, its perfection. We just need to turn off our brains, put away our hands, and stop using them until we correct our egoism.

Question: In what would you invest this fortune of money, donations that were spent on restoring nature?

Answer: In restoring human nature. That is, for training, for correction of human egoism. Nothing else! This is our biggest enemy, and it will not supply us with anything good in the future. And in the near future. Nature will smash us heavier than this virus.

How many billions, how much money, have we invested in our development, and you will see how now, in the near future, we will have to get rid of all this and leave only the most basic and necessary for our existence. And nothing more!

Question: Who can draw up such a program to correct man, correct his egoism?

Answer: It does not need to be made; it exists. We must now apply it seriously to all living creatures on Earth.

From now on, we must not do anything to another person if he does not want it. As Hillel said: “That which you hate, do not do to your friend.”

Imagine what the Earth will be like when we achieve at least this! This is only the first part of the program when you do no harm to another person. And the second part of the program is when you do only good to others.

Nature requires this from us. It will lead us to this. Today we are for the first time in the history of mankind at a level of development that has never existed!

The program itself does everything. Everything is resolved at different stages. It is being implemented, and everyone agrees. What can we do?

And now we do not need to ask what we can do but how we can help this program. How to approve of it and make it desirable. And then in every family, in every community, in the city, in the state, on the whole Earth, there will be a friendly atmosphere.

That is all. We just need to try and let nature work on us. We must understand and support it with our inner strength and aspirations so that all this happens.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman,” 4/6/20

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The Virus Will Continue Working On Us

laitman_283.01Question: If we analyze the evolution of our desires, almost all scientific discoveries were made in the middle of the last century, and recently we have not revealed anything new. From the mid-20th century until the crisis in 2008, the desire for wealth began to develop again. The cycle repeated.

Does this mean that the next development of desires will not lead to wealth, but to power? And then back to knowledge? Or is it not a cyclical process?

Answer: I don’t think it will happen again. I want to believe that this will not happen.

I hope that we will begin to develop at the next level of the cycle, striving to understand what is driving us forward. We will want to understand the common universal law of nature, which leads us to embrace all of nature in the volume in which we can feel it today and in the volume in which it actually exists—hidden from us.

I believe that the actions of nature over us, such as the coronavirus and other problems that it will bring to us, are precisely global problems: droughts, hurricanes, swarms of locusts, etc. They will work over the entire globe, and humanity will have no time to engage in power or anything else. It will look for how to survive! This is the most important thing.

We see a small coronavirus has arrived, and what has it done? Nothing wrong. A small number of people died, less than the number of people who usually die when we were not sitting at home, but were working, walking the streets, and running to different places.

Therefore, we cannot say that the coronavirus threatens the extermination of humanity and that something totally terrible and threatening is happening.

But look at how it changed the world, the nature of society; how people calmed down, the air and water cleared, and the climate became a little different. We see how much nature needs us to stop using our dirty, crass hands to get into its structure
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From KabTV’s “The Post-Coronavirus Era,” 4/23/20

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Why Is The Value Of Family Declining?

laitman_627.1Question: In the last 20 years, the family unit began to disintegrate. Today, especially in developed European countries, a huge number of people live alone.

And now nature has put us in quarantine through the coronavirus where we are confined in the family circle, if we have one. Does this mean that nature is trying to bring us back to a natural cell?

Answer: Nature is forcing us to unite. We must come to it in the right, positive way, voluntarily realizing this necessity and also that the whole of human society, all 8 billion people, are one common organism called Adam.

Either we will consciously unite to complement each other into the system of Adam or we will be forced to do this under the pressure applied by nature, like the coronavirus.

Question: Can a family naturally learn the right attitude toward each other and then treat others the same way?

Answer: Yes. But family is a purely natural interaction. It exists in animals to a certain extent. But in human society, this unit is very special, interesting, enduring , and rich in nuances. This is the unit from which society should develop.

But since society is currently not developing in the right direction to reach the level of the Creator toward the next stage of human existence, the human level is getting destroyed. And so, the family unit is disintegrating.

Remark: Looking at the statistical data, I noticed an overwhelming amount of conflict in families. Therefore, it is unlikely that a person can learn anything by looking at the relationships that exist in the family.

My Comment: Indeed, this is so. But only because there is no goal to unite the family.

It turns out that the family exists for the husband and wife to work somewhere from morning till night. In the evening, they come home, devote a few minutes to the children, have dinner, most often with prepared foods, and go to bed. This does not unite the family, does not form a unit. Children are a burden to them. They send them to kindergarten, then to school, and rarely see them.

Life is arranged in such a way that only separates us. Thus, the very structure of life, work, and society destroys the family.
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From KabTV’s “The Post-Coronavirus Era,” 4/23/20

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