Entries in the 'Economy' Category

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.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 6/27/22

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The Collapse of an Economic Model

231.01Comment: Until recently the Black-Scholes-Merton model was used to mitigate the risk in fluctuating markets. The economists who developed it (Scholes and Merton) were awarded a Nobel Prize for it. Today it has reached a dead end.

My Response: Just imagine, the world’s leading economists received a Nobel Prize, and ten years later a crisis broke out that overturned absolutely everything! To what extent humanity is like blind kittens!

The economy is the imprint of our inner egoistic state. If I am connected with you by some kind of ties, then all this can be calculated according to economic formulas: how much I owe you, how much you owe me, and the same between everyone. That is, the connection of people with each other is displayed in the clearest, rigidly formulated way in the economic ratio.

Therefore, we have reached a dead end: there they cheat, here they inflate some kind of bubbles, there the economy is more rigid, and here it is more social or naturally socialist, and so on. All this reflects the inner world of a man.

Today we are not only in an economic crisis, as it seems to us, but also in other crises. This shows us that we have reached the biggest general crisis that human society can experience.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. The Future of Humanity” 7/17/11

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The Fish Is Looking for Where It’s Deeper

962.1

Accountability is coming for those who liquidate our future.

Last week, I announced five actions to speed up the shift to renewable energy.

As graduates, you hold the cards.

Your talent is in demand from multinational companies and big financial institutions.

You will have plenty of opportunities to choose from.

My message to you is simple:

Don’t work for climate-wreckers.

Use your talents to drive us towards a renewable future.
..
Throughout history, humanity has shown that we are capable of great things.

But only when we work together.

Only when we overcome differences and work in the same direction, with the same aim — to lift all people up, not only those born to wealth and advantage.

Only when we look to all people as fellow global citizens — with goodwill, tolerance and respect.

So to all graduates, I urge you —

Be useful. Be mindful. Be kind. Be bold (UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Commencement Address Seton Hall 2022).

Question: At the same time, it is clear that he was not just addressing students. Every 30 hours, a billionaire appears in the world. You need to have enough time to go earn your billion.

What should one do to prevent students from joining these companies?

Answer: Nothing will help. Wherever there is money is where everyone goes. There is nothing we can do about it.

Question: What should be introduced in universities then, what kind of teaching?

Answer: Nothing. Everyone tries to get into IT and other such faculties that lead them to good earnings. It doesn’t matter what I make my money from. If I earn a million dollars a month for producing some kind of machine, and I can produce a bomb for 10 million dollars a month, then I will produce a bomb. The calculation is very simple: wherever they pay me more.

Question: And this is a stalemate. But how can a person make a correct calculation?

Answer: You can’t do it in any way; this is the correction of a person! And this should be dealt with by the UN in the first place! But not in such a way that he says: “Guys, don’t go where they give you a lot of money. Go to a place where they will give you a little money, but you will respect yourself.” Who will respect you?!

Question: You say that the UN is not engaged in correction. And what kind of mindset does a corrected person have?

Answer: He’ll be ashamed. He will be reproached for choosing a company that develops, say, poisons. He will be embarrassed to talk about it.

And today there is no such thing in the world. A person works in some secret laboratory, develops poisons or something else, and is proud of it, if it is not secret.

Comment: Because the first question is: “How much do you earn?” He says: “It’s decent.” Everyone says: “Well settled.” And then they don’t ask what you make good money on.

My Response: Yes. And if he says on what, they will respect him even more.

Question: You mean that shame should come first in a corrected person?

Answer: The censure of society, the approval of society, this should be the main thing. And society in our eyes is educated in a way that it respects only money and power.

Question: It turns out that we need to rearrange society?

Answer: Of course.

Question: So are you saying that it is necessary to educate precisely society so that it will look at a person, at his good deeds?

Answer: And a person will be ashamed. A person depends on society. He exists in it; it affects him.

Question: Is it necessary to educate the whole planet so that it wants to be in good business?

Answer: Yes, it is only possible on a global scale. After all, we are talking about people who are engaged in programming and so forth.

Soon there will be programmers who will be able to run a person on absolutely anything. People will not know whether it’s good or bad, where they are going or what they are doing. All this will be programmed.

Question: You say that a corrected person will be ashamed of how society treats him and will not go to such a job. What will change in him, in the corrected person?

Answer: Values, the significance of a particular quality in a person.

Question: Before that it was money?

Answer: That’s if for the word “money” we will start asking: “And for what? What kind of money do you get? From whom do you get it? What are they paying you for?” Then the person will start thinking about what to do. At least this way.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 5/26/22

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What Will Replace Money?

547.05Comment: They write to you: “How can we change our attitude toward each other if the whole world is squeezing one another for money? Perhaps money, the cause of all selfishness, should be eliminated?”

My Response: No! in no way! Money is the universal equivalence for our efforts. Not just our efforts but our personal exertions that show how much we have succeeded in using the special talents given to us from above.

Suppose you are smarter than me, you are more successful and I succeed less, or you are even stronger and luckier in something. Something happened to someone by chance. It can also be measured by money. Therefore, having a universal equivalent is essential. It is necessary to measure our efforts.

Question: As it is written in this letter usually those who have a lot of money earned their wealth dishonestly. Is it still possible to derive this equivalent?

Answer: Impossible! Money is Kesef in Hebrew, from the word “Kisuf—covering.” When you cover your efforts correctly, the measure of covering your efforts is called Kesef. Here we imply spiritual efforts and spiritual results.

Question: So, money cannot be withdrawn from the world because then there would be no equivalent?

Answer: Only if we want to replace it with the next equivalent, what can money be exchanged for, for relationships.

It is when we understand our relationships between one another and share them among each other and the Creator. When the Creator becomes our common equivalent, then all other dimensions will disappear except for real, internal relationships between us. This is called Masach (screen) and Ohr Hozer (reflected light).

This is what we call a coin, “ringing coin,” as they say.

Question: And what will it mean when we say: “I am rich” or “he is rich”?

Answer: It will mean that I have the power to resist my egoism and place others above myself. That is all. This is the measure of our rapprochement, unification, and the measure of our bestowal.

Question: Is this what we call wealth?

Answer: Yes. Wealth is about how much of myself I can give to others.

Comment: And that is the root, right? That is where it all started and degraded to simple cash?

Answer: Actually, we must go down to the very bottom and clearly see the entire truth of our relationships, only then will they change.

Question: So, as you always say, we must go to the very bottom before we can go up?

Answer: The Creator will lift you up! You have to understand and ask.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/28/22

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Experts Are Predicting Famine

219.01Comment: Experts are actively predicting an impending global famine. 2021 was a terrible year because the pandemic caused the number of hungry people in the world to grow by 25%. The year 2022 promises to be even worse as a consequence of war. A triple crisis is therefore expected: food, energy, and finances. As a result, they say 2023 will be the most terrible. Experts write about it, but somehow we do not hear it. It is almost as if we do not care.

My Response: What can we do?

Comment: Be scared at least. Stock up, fill the barns with food.

My Response: I think that is pointless. A famine is not happening for us to fill our store rooms, barns, drawers in the kitchen, etc. But we need to understand how we can realistically ensure abundance in the world.

Question: So all these messages come to us specifically to reach this conclusion?

Answer: Of course. How will we handle this? If we are talking about the world, then we need to try to understand the world economy, the state of the world.

Comment: I can barely understand what is happening in my home, my home economics.

My Response: You cannot escape this! They are talking about years and not that you will be short of some beverages over the next month.

Question: You say “to understand the world economy.” Who are you calling out to, the big economists or every person?

Answer: To the people, absolutely, definitively, straight to the people.

Question: So what should I understand when I constantly see reports of an impending famine?

Answer: They are right; the world is in danger of famine. A prolonged period of famine! Lingering famine!

Up to a point that the Bible tells us that mothers will eat their babies, their children. That is how severe it will be, it will reduce us to the level of animals.

Question: When I hear this, what should I do? Why do I need all this? Why am I told all this?

Answer: For you to seriously concern yourself with how to avoid this famine and what is causing it. Then you will see that its only cause is our terrible human imbalance and the fact that we are not doing what we should.

We must reach a mutual understanding among us. We need to establish ties among us that would help reach balance. But we are NOT doing it. On the contrary, we are regressing—we want to rock the boat we are all in. So, the world is naturally heading toward periods of famine, destruction, and so on.

Question: Is it in one’s power to hear this and change the trajectory, to suddenly stop it?

Answer: They can hear it, but they cannot alter it. They cannot change it because to hear it and to accept such an eventuality is one thing. Let atomic bombs and everything else fall from the sky. So what? “If we die, it is in an instant.”

Question: If you say, “I can hear it, but I cannot stop it,” then what is all this for? Why?

Answer: To really frighten us so that we still change ourselves and thereby change the world. That is the only reason for it.

Question: How does this change occur? What is the catalyst? Is it some leader that will appear? Is it humanity that starts screaming?

Answer: There should be a leader. It is hard to make it work in our world without one. It should be someone the world would accept as their leader and follow, someone who would talk about unification and how we can overcome this period of famine. Naturally, this only works if people listen to him. The hunger will likely force them to.

Question: You still believe the famine will happen and force them to listen?

Answer: Undoubtedly! It will, but it will pass.

He will lead humanity to the fact that after this induced hunger people will be different. They will have a different attitude to life, to its values. They will understand that the most important thing is to survive and will understand what to survive for! This is the most important question.

Question: Even in the Torah, it is written: “Hunger forced us to descend into Egypt.” And there was famine. Later, there were many famines, forced hunger strikes, wars, and so on and on. It has led humanity to nothing; humanity has not learned anything.

Why do you think that now we come to some understanding and hear something, then something will change? What kind of times are we living in?

Answer: It is the period of preparation for the recognition of evil. We are preparing to attain evil.

Question: Couldn’t we do this before?

Answer: No! Even now, we are not there yet, but we are gradually approaching it. It takes enormous suffering to sense evil, to define it, to attain it, and draw conclusions from it.

Question: And you feel this is the time?

Answer: Not yet, but it is getting closer.

Question: So what conclusions do you draw about us being at such crossroads? We were not there before, but now you tell us we are here. What are the signs?

Answer: Well, we are speaking in the right way. We no longer hide behind all sorts of slogans, we no longer believe in abstract values. We have already thrown it all away. We are only interested in one thing—is there a meaning to life or not? If not, let’s assume there is not, then how can we live this life on the animal level the right way.

Question: Do you feel we have come to this today?

Answer: We have, yes.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 5/12/22

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Empathy Alone Is Not Enough

600.04Comment: In an experiment, participants were allocated a virtual budget and asked to decide how much money they were willing to donate to charity. They were told they could keep any leftover amount not donated. Participants with strong empathy and sympathy traits were naturally more altruistic, so they gave more.

Afterward, the participants were subjected to stress. And right after, they were asked to decide once again how much money they were willing to give to charity. Interestingly, people with low empathy and low sympathy did not change, whatever sum they gave before stayed the same. But those who could empathize significantly reduced the amount.

My Response: Yes. If I have experienced stress, I know what it is like, so I have to protect myself against the stress I have been through.

Question: And the result is to think less about others?

Answer: Yes, it is a natural reaction of the body.

Question: So, if under stress we will not be able to help others anymore? Let’s say I am stressed, but I try not to think about myself and to keep thinking about others.

Answer: If it is real stress, then no.

Question: But you always call for a state where I can come out of myself and think of others. Is this the transition to a different state of being?

Answer: To do this, you need to feel the meaning of life. For what sake we do this. Not just to help another. To help someone else is a very weak motivation.

Question: If I have an inclination to be such a corporeal altruist, to help others, then in an extremely stressful situation will I fail the test?

Answer: Of course! We are human. What do you want from people?

Question: So I won’t help Africa, the poor, or the unfortunate; I will not help anyone. Will I hold tight to my money?

Answer: Yes.

Question: So humanity is not going to advance with all these things?

Answer: No, not on its own.

Question: But how can I rise above it so that I can remain a man with a capital “M” even in a stressful situation?

Answer: To do this, we need to educate people. To do this, we must show the possibility of achieving something thanks to the fact that one neglects his personal interests, his personal wealth, his peace of mind, and can consciously reduce them.

Question: And give the rest to others?

Answer: Yes.

Question: And this must permeate into one’s understanding of the purpose of life?

Answer: This is not the goal of life, but the means.

Question: And what should the purpose of life be in this case for one to become such a person?

Answer: You must put your life on the scale of me or everyone else. Something has to outweigh. That is what the scale is there for.

Question: I have this scale: for my own sake or for others. Will this decision bring me closer to the goal?

Answer: Yes, one small step. And then another and another.

Question: So you are saying this scale is there all the way to the goal?

Answer: All the way to the goal and all the time, every time it becomes more difficult to decide what I can give. It is getting harder to walk on the right side.

Question: So, all the way to the goal one is on this scale—every step?

Answer: That is why it is an ascent.

Question: What is this goal?

Answer: The goal is complete bestowal and love, the quality of the Creator in which you merge with Him.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 3/21/22

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“No Point in Having Economists without Accountability” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “No Point in Having Economists without Accountability

An economist shared with me that there is a saying about economists, that they tell you tomorrow what happened yesterday.

With the world drowning in a whirlpool of financial and economic crises, we need economists who can tell us not only what happened, but what will happen down the line, and most importantly, what to do about it. Economists who show off their fancy charts spread across multiple displays, who talk about models without telling us what specifically we should do to stop the global economic avalanche, are worthless. We do not need them.

Economists get a lot of prime time exposure, which they use in order to tell us what is happening. But we don’t need them to tell us what is happening because it is happening to us. We need them to tell us what to do, and this is where they all grow silent.

It is like having an expert in microeconomics telling me how to run my house. I trust that economist, but I suddenly find that I cannot buy this food or that appliance, or I cannot pay for my kids’ afterschool classes. How would I relate to such an “economist”?

This is what is happening to us at the macro level. Instead of looking for a hole deep enough to hide in, economists condescendingly lecture us mere mortals about why there is no baby formula on supermarket shelves, why inflation is skyrocketing, and why gasoline costs more than $5 a gallon. (In Israel, by the way, it is twice as expensive as in the US.)

The purpose of economics is to anticipate what might happen and, equally important, how to prepare for it. Clearly, there are unpredictable events. However, these pundits should include preparations for the unpredictable in their models and advise policymakers how to prepare for them. That way, when a downturn comes, we will not be left helpless and hapless as we are now.

Economists must draw the line, set the boundaries, and warn which moves humanity cannot afford to take because of their consequences. When economists prove that they can create models that guarantee the stability of humanity, or at least the stability of a country, they should step off the counselor seat and join the ranks of policymakers.

As such, they will be very powerful because they will be able to influence us through our most sensitive spot: our stomach. If a reliable economist warns that tomorrow we will run out of grain or water, everyone will listen. If all they do is print thick reports on glossy paper, they are not worth the price of the paper their reports are written on.

I can count my money in the bank, assuming I have any; I don’t need economists for that. I do, however, need them to tell me where the world is going out of balance and what to do about it because this will influence my bank account in the future.

If economists felt responsible for what is happening and regretted not warning us in time, they could be excused. But if they remain in the commentator’s seat and do not feel responsible for the well-being of the world, then there is no point in having them at all.
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“The Wealth of a Nation” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The Wealth of a Nation

The full name of Adam Smith’s celebrated composition, The Wealth of Nations, is An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. A few years ago, Israel found a wellspring that is bound to cause great wealth: natural gas, and plenty of it. To capitalize on the bonanza wisely, the state founded the Israeli Citizens’ Fund, a sovereign wealth fund that will see that sudden windfalls do not tilt the economy off balance. This month, the fund started releasing money into the market, and the race for the cash for grabs has started. To me, this is a sign that we are misusing it before we even started.

The wealth of a nation is not measured by its capital, and it is not increased by “invisible hands,” as Smith referred to the power of self-interest to benefit society. On the contrary, self-interest is so powerful today that it has become humanity’s chief destructive force.

Today, true, sustainable wealth is measured by the level of a society’s cohesion. If we are starting off by fighting over the spoils, then we are turning the boon into a bust. If wealth only increases our division, then it will also weaken us on every level, economic and otherwise.

Our valuable resources, especially in the State of Israel, are human resources, not financial or monetary resources. Instead of focusing on wealth, we should focus on social vitality, on what will make the people of our country thrive, and it is certainly not more money.

Connection will make us prosperous, create jobs, and cut unnecessary expenses (of which there are a great many). The “revenue” from these operations will bring in far more than any sovereign wealth fund can ever yield.

All of the problems we are facing, from soaring inflation through delayed shipments to food and semiconductor shortages, are symptoms of our social division and pervasive enmity between people. When we mend these, we will not only solve our social problems, but we will also heal our economy, and heal our relations with our neighbors, who are mocking our shows of dissension and despise us for our social disunity.

“Every Boom Has Its Bust” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Every Boom Has Its Bust

“US Bonds Flag Recession Risk,” says today’s headline on Bloomberg.com. “Futures Put S&P 500 on Course to Enter Bear Market,” reads today’s headline of The Wall Street Journal. Other newspapers, too, devote their business sections to the worsening economic outlook, and everyone seems alarmed, and mainly surprised, as if they did not expect the rise in commodity prices, the war in Ukraine, the semiconductor shortage, the shipment delays, and the (very) generous Covid relief packages to have a negative impact on the economy.

In fact, even without so many good reasons for a slowdown, nothing in reality evolves in straight lines; things evolve in sinusoids, in waves, and so does the economy. A straight line means death, and the economy reflects the relationships between people. As such, it is always changing, and after every boom there is a bust. Therefore, I do not think that the downturn is such a disaster; it is actually a sign of vitality.

When I was in high school, many years ago, we learned something called “politiconomy.” Even back then, they taught me that the economy always moves in waves, that there is a constant up and down motion, and the line of its progress is not straight but sinusoidal.

This is why every time I hear about bear markets and crises and busts after booms, I am reminded that it cannot be otherwise. We will always advance in sinusoidal waves, there is simply no other option because this is how all the laws of nature work, including in commerce and economics.

The only time you see a straight line in regard to something that is supposed to be alive and changing is when that something has died. This is why it should not alarm or surprise us when someone lost billions of dollars, since it is simply a part of the wave.

Recently, it has become clear that the economy is over-inflated and a bust is imminent. Corporations and wealthy investors have accumulated enough surplus to ride out the slump, and there is no major breakdown on the horizon.

On another note, I personally would not recommend my children to get into the high-tech industry where these waves are felt the most. People burn themselves out and end up with no real benefit. If anything, it makes them condescending, as if they are superior, but it is completely unwarranted.

If I were to recommend a good career for my children, it would be a career in teaching people how to connect positively to other people. This skill will be in high demand in the years to come, and people who work in it will reap rewards that no other career can give.

“A Big Mess Coming” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “A Big Mess Coming

The rising inflation seems to have caught everyone off guard. The US inflation rate of 8.3% in April, while representing a slowdown compared to previous months, is still far too high for comfort. The situation is not much better in the Eurozone, where inflation has risen to 8.1%. Prices are rising all over the world, and no one knows how to stop them. In all likelihood, the chain reaction of price hikes will drive prices up in several rounds, and shortages of gas, wheat, oil, semiconductors and other products will only make the situation worse. Indeed, a big mess is coming.‎

The problem is that some of the products whose supply has been hampered, such as semiconductors, wheat, and gas, are the basis of the world’s industry and food production. We need wheat for most everything we eat, and we need gas and computer chips for most everything we produce. Therefore, their absence hampers that entire global economy and food production.

The first to suffer will be Africa, and possibly much of East Asia. Billions of people will go hungry, billions!

But hunger is only the beginning. Hungry people will stop at nothing. When entire nations go hungry, wars break out and conflicts turn violent. The cataclysm that has just begun to develop could be worse than our worst nightmares, something we cannot even imagine. Besides manmade disasters, we can also expect natural disasters such as floods and fires to wreak havoc around the world.

One thing that people might do is begin to stock up on staple foods. However, I do not think it will help much since we are in for a prolonged crisis, not something that will be over in weeks.

If anything can help at all, it is the realization that we are all in the same boat. Currently, the boat is riddled with holes and sinking fast. We can make those holes disappear if we join hands and work together at all levels, from the most personal to the international.

However, collaboration requires acknowledgement of our interdependence and, above all, trust. Without these two, we will continue to try to help only ourselves, and in consequence, we will all sink.

Moreover, if we begin to collaborate and think about the common good rather than only our own, we will find that there is really no lack of anything. Before the Russia-Ukraine war broke out, we were already throwing away at least a third of the food we produced. In other words, there is plenty of food but no willingness to share, and that is the real reason for the ‎hunger, and for all the other problems we are experiencing.

This crisis will teach us that we can succeed only if we work together for the common good. However, for every lesson there is a fee. The sooner we learn the lesson, the lower will be the fee. The longer we stall, the higher the fee will be and the more painful the lesson.
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