Entries in the 'Education' Category

“COVID-19 Buried Capitalism” (Newsmax)

My article in Newsmax: “COVID-19 Buried Capitalism

On March 20, historian Yuval Noah Harari wrote in the Financial Times that the nature of emergencies is to fast-forward historical processes. True, everything that we have known, our entire civilization, is rapidly falling apart. Most people still hope that once the virus is gone their lives will pick up where they left off. They will not. Coronavirus will have changed everything.

It is not merely a transformation of attitude, but a change of our entire paradigm of life. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown touched on it when he wrote that to fight the coronavirus, “instead of dog-eat-dog bidding wars that encourage profiteering, the G20 should back the World Health Organization and the Global Fund’s efforts to coordinate and increase production and procurement of medical supplies.”

Shedding the dog-eat-dog paradigm is imperative, but the virus isn’t likely to disappear in the near future. There are already no less than 40 known strains of the virus. Second, even if we do manage to miraculously abolish all aggressive variants, by the time we can resume normalcy, we will discover that we ourselves have changed dramatically, and the frantic consumerism will no longer seem appealing.

It has stopped tourism, transportation, sports, entertainment, COVID-19 isn’t only changing our economy or even our way of life; it is changing our very thinking about life.culture, industry, education, socializing and even our ability to congregate for prayer. When we restart civilization, we will be different. Or, rather, we had better be different if we don’t want a sequel for the Novel Coronavirus episode.

A Novel Economy

When a superbug imposes a quarantine on the entire world, its ramifications are unfathomable. Sooner rather than later, countries will have to see to their citizens most basic needs. Food, housing, healthcare and education will all have to be administered by governments since the majority of people will simply not have any income to purchase any of the above, not to mention luxuries or gadgets.

The quarantine, or “stay at home” policy, is not just an emergency measure; it is the end of capitalism. We may not realize it but along with the coffins of our loved ones, we buried the way of life and way of thinking about life we all grew up on. Capitalism is dead.

The new economy that will emerge from the ashes will have to be based on different values. Since jobs will be virtually obsolete, wealth and power will become irrelevant gauges of success. But since human nature always strives for prominence, new standards will take over where the old ones left a void.

Instead of power by control, leadership by example will take the fore. Those who contribute the most to lifting the spirit of society, guaranteeing people’s well-being, and increasing social solidarity will become the prominent people in society.

Until now, we competed like children playing King of the Hill. Gradually, the virus will teach us to value and pay tribute to those who exert to push everyone uphill, to lift society rather than themselves.

The new economy that will emerge from the ruins of the old one will not be a new form of socialism. It will be an economy of mutual responsibility. Mutual responsibility is not an economic paradigm, but a social one, entailing both economic and educational aspects. It does not require material equality, but mutual concern that guarantees that people a) have what they need, and b) want everyone else to have what they need.

In an economy based on mutual responsibility, personal attributes are cherished and nurtured as long as one uses one’s skills to improve everyone’s lives. This approach allows for endless ways for people to express themselves, and society will reward them for doing so. Respect, admiration, and love for the people who contribute will more than compensate for the pursuit of wealth and possessions.

For this reason, introduction of mutual responsibility should occur on the physical level as well as on the intellectual level. On the former, as said above, governments will have to tend to people’s basic needs. On the latter level, we must establish an online education system where scientists and other pundits introduce the notion of mutual responsibility and explain why today’s reality requires it.

The idea behind these educational programs is not merely to help humanity overcome the virus. The goal is to change the paradigm that governs our lives from focusing on the “me” to focusing on the “we,” thereby creating a flourishing and sustainable society. The dog-eat-dog paradigm that Brown talked about is why the coronavirus has arrested our civilization. If we want to win, we should now build one that relies on mutual responsibility, and any moment’s delay is one moment too late.

After The Pandemic

The world seems to be on a narrow bridge, and the main thing now is not to be afraid of parting with the past. We have another concern: how to meet the future not by colliding with its back, but to competently face the inevitable tomorrow.

“If only everything does not collapse, then it will be restored,” they tell us. And they add, “Someday.” I say “It will not recover.” But collapse is not necessary at all. Each of us has the task of surviving the current period with minimal losses. To do this, we need to save nerves and resources, support others, be able to relax, but not “disconnect.” And most importantly, we need to understand what is happening so that the consequences of the crisis will not take us too much by surprise.

To start, let’s sit down and take a breath. The human being was not created to fuss. He was created in order to think and act. So let’s think: What have we actually lost? What motivated us in that life? What did we live for? What sensible and useful things have we done? What have we prepared for the future of our children?

Quite frankly, we just served each other for money. With zeal or without it, we fulfilled the principle, clearly formulated by our sages thousands of years ago: “Go and profit from each other.” It seemed to us that we were serving ourselves. But what kind of a disservice we rendered to ourselves by exhausting ourselves in a hamster wheel of consumerism, not thinking about anything else?

Imagine for a second if we flew from another developed planet and looked down on ourselves a few months ago, it would not have been a very pretty sight. No, not in the technological sense, but in the very essence of our commotion and bustle. The “benefit” from it, like smog above the Earth, is already starting to disperse. And so, the virus came. “Stop, people,” it tells us. “Look at what you did to the planet and to yourselves. Look beyond the brink of tomorrow.”

If we really look into it without brushing it off, we will see that we were moving not only toward ecological collapse, but before that we would have come to war. In fact, we drove ourselves into the arms of war, into a state of hopeless globalization, into a dead end of contradictions. This is human nature: When a slaughter is brewing, we force it out of our consciousness and at the same time put up with it, even invoke it.

We have not yet reached such an advanced stage, but an avalanche of unbridled consumerism has drawn humanity into the abyss. And, paradoxically, the virus is saving us from it. We are being saved from egoism in need of “absolution,” in resetting consumption markets.

So is it worth going back? What did we forget there? Is there life after the virus?

Now we are getting to know our family, our world, and ourselves again.

Previously, many of us just slept at home, now we live there. We used to browse the Internet for fun, now we connect with each other.

There are several ways. Of course, we want to go back to that hamster wheel with its array of constantly new and different pleasures to look forward to, and are even willing to endure its pains that prod us from behind. But one cannot help but remember the threat of a collapse with rampant crime, the suppression of unrest, interruptions in supply, and the search for the guilty. And finally, we can use this period for reflection.

Of course, not everything is smooth, not everyone can “sustain the blow,”  but the experience itself, the very change of pace, foreshortening, does not bring only a respite? In the cleared weekdays, in an unusual afternoon lull, we hear an echo of something new. We are seated at home, like children at their desks in order to learn something so that this “breaking” would not pass in vain.

In any case, we will be unable to exit the crisis as quickly as we entered it. And what is happening now is not a pause, not a vacation, not a lockdown, it is an awakening. The virus did not knock us out, but shook us well, returned us to reality, gives us an opportunity to carefully take the helm.

Today we are confronted with the need to redefine our values in the dawn of a new era, which requires a different attitude to each other and finding a meaning that we avoided. The wind of change swept away the illusions and is showing us the true picture. So are we really going to let the mind again be clouded by its mirages? Will we reconcile ourselves with the past, with eternal vanity, with external abundance, and with internal devastation?

The world seems to be on a narrow bridge, and the main thing now is not to be afraid of parting with the past. We have another concern: how to meet the future not by colliding with its back, but competently face the inevitable tomorrow.

We, ourselves, have created a rat race, and now we can get out of it without excessive external shocks. After all, the main thing is what is inside: our connections, our relations, our participation, reciprocity. It is enough to realize this, and all mechanisms—social, financial, commercial—will start to restructure according to the new paradigm.

Let’s think about it: Why are we living? How can we build our lives differently, on different principles? The way out of boundless egoism was opened, let’s use it while our egoism is shocked and muted.

Airplanes are on the ground, ships are in ports, we should be at school desks. There is nothing derogatory in this. On the contrary, we have the opportunity to really do something for ourselves.

All our life we were only engaged in running away from the question about it. Worried before death, justifying ourselves to the best of our ability. The virus, however, hints at something else. We cannot run away from death this way. To overcome its line, it is necessary to rise above the egoism that kills us. Our ego limits, gives a flawed and wretched sensation of the world through the demands of our body. Let us feel the world through our internal common structure, through the soul. Then we will see it completely differently, endless, eternal, and perfect.

This has nothing to do with religions. The science of Kabbalah does not advocate any beliefs. It simply develops the soul of a person, and that makes us happy. Now, when we all feel in a common boat, we must put our oars together and head for a world without borders between hearts. Then the remaining barriers that divide people will disappear. Tomorrow’s world is forming now.
This article is written by my student Oleg Itzeksen

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Hatred Of Children Toward Their Parents

laitman_583.03Question: One of the problems of modern times is that children hate their parents. There are many such cases. Children leave their parents, neglect them. These poor parents die alone despite the fact that they have many children. This is happening all over the world. Why did this happen?

Answer: We are rising from the level of beastly egoism to the level of spiritual or human egoism. But being human already means a spiritual level that does not exist in our world.

Therefore, we are losing the beastly connection that we had between us when parents lived together with their children, they would bring a bride, bring a groom or go to the groom, etc. And everything was one household.

Question: Could they live in the same house?

Answer: Yes. Even in the same room. Everything was so simple. Now all of this is changing because egoism is changing in our world.

Question: In other words, egoism enabled us to do this?

Answer: Yes. This is beastly egoism. And now, it begins to grow. It begins to push us to the next level of development. And therefore, we no longer understand the beastly kind of existence. Our children certainly do not understand it.

They are in such a state that they do not understand why they need to be attached to their parents. Or, I think that parents should spend their whole life with me. Why did they give birth to me? As long as they live, they must think of me. Or, if they are not concerned about me, so be it. I just leave them.

Question: How can a child feel this way toward his parents?

Answer: But he does not feel.

Question: He does not feel any pain, anything at all?

Answer: He does not. Because he has outgrown his beastly egoism and does not feel any connection with his parents, does not feel that he must help them, support them, think about them, and so on. Do not imagine something that does not exist. You cannot bring this back.

Lately, this is all dying out and it does not exist any more. That is, if you help your children, then they need you. You can be close to them. If you stop helping them, they do not need you. This is how it happens.

Comment: The only thing that bothers me is that you are generalizing. There are also normal relationships.

My Response: I am talking about the tendency of nature. This is why I am generalizing.

Question: So, what is next?

Answer: In our generation, parents are still able to give something, to direct, to leave children their possessions, and so on. In the next generation, however, there will be a breaking.

There will be such a relationship between parents and children that if they have the same spiritual goals, they will be somehow connected through them. If not, people will forget about their parents altogether. And frankly, parents will also not think about their children.

Question: What will parents think about?

Answer: How to spend time quietly with their elderly friends.

Question: With dogs and cats?

Answer: Yes. All kinds of game clubs will open; say, clubs for playing dominos or something else.

Question: What is good about this?

Answer: Nothing. A person must simply understand how he should be connected with others today. This is a completely different system, not a system of beastly corporeal connections.

Question: Is this not a parent-child system?

Answer: This is a system when parents and children, each individually, reveal the common goal. Then this goal connects them together.

Question: What is this goal?

Answer: This goal is to attain the meaning of life. For parents, children, and grandchildren. It is always one. If they reveal it and attach themselves to it, then they feel the need to be connected with each other and to help each other in this.

Question: What common purpose of life are you talking about? If parents have one goal with the children?

Answer: Parents will then be able to push their children toward the correct goal. Then the connection between them will be both corporeal and spiritual—for the revelation of the Creator between them.

Question: What is the revelation of the Creator?

Answer: The revelation of the Creator is the revelation of mutual connection and love.

Question: Only between them?

Answer: To begin with.

Question: You mean in this cell: children and parents?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Don’t they want to reveal this now?

Answer: They do not want to. Has anyone told them about this? Has anyone directed them toward this?

Question: Doesn’t their natural relationship suggest that someone has told them?

Answer: Of course not.

Comment: You are tough today.

My Response: I am not harsh. This is what is unfolding in the world. Am I harsh? You made the world this way.

Comment: But this truth you are now saying, I can imagine how many comments there will be.

My Response: I am for not hiding this truth. On the contrary, I suggest revealing it so that people can see what a low state they are in and what it leads to.

Question: What conclusion should a person draw after your harsh words: that there will be a breaking between parents and grandchildren and children, and that this is natural?

Answer: If they do not find a common goal, there will be nothing that connects them. Nothing at all.

Question: Are you calling on them to seek this common goal?

Answer: Yes.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman,” 1/6/2020

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“Human Development: Nature Or Nurture?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Human Development: Nature or Nurture?

Human Development: Nature or Nurture? Every person has a “preset” of unchangeable inner properties, which are congenial qualities that nature inserted into us.

We receive these qualities from our parents, who received them from their parents, and so on all the way back through each one’s ancestral lineage.

These qualities include our character, emotions, initial attitude to the surrounding world, and they heavily influence our actions and reactions.

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the person’s unchangeable qualities stem from spiritual roots, and every one of us is a part of a common collective soul, which in Kabbalah is called “the soul of Adam HaRishon.”

We receive our inborn properties and conditions according to our place within this common soul.

The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that the meaning of our lives is to regain consciousness of our place in this common soul by attaining the upper force of love and bestowal, called “the Creator.”

We humans have a completely opposite nature to the Creator’s: our nature is a desire to receive pleasure, while the Creator’s nature is to give pleasure, an attitude of pure love and bestowal.

Therefore, on one hand, we are egoistic beings who think solely out of personal benefit, while on the other hand, nature develops us to increasingly connect.

Thus, besides our inner qualities, we are given an external environment, a society that teaches us how to use these properties in a particular way, directing us to the attainment of the Creator, whether we realize it or not.

This is how nature nurtures us: by placing us inside the various environments that “sculpt” us, bringing us closer to understanding the purpose of our existence.

As we initially exist in a fixed interdependent system of nature, we are subjects to its laws. We can change neither the purpose of creation nor our inner qualities.

What, then, can we change?

What we can change is our environment.

Human development directly depends on the society that we build, on the positive attitude toward others that every one of us can show to our peers and children, and on each and every person’s personal example toward others, as well as the information we distribute through media channels.

The more that we can add awareness of who we are and what goal we pursue through society, the more we can benefit our lives, guiding ourselves to increasingly connect, and by doing so, reach balance and harmony with nature.

The Fashion Of The Future

laitman_294.2Remark: We know that the age of mass consumption has passed.

My Comment: Yes, humanity has already realized that endless purchases do not satisfy them.

Remark: The time of clothing rentals is coming. Both designers and fashion houses are now developing a tendency to rent designer items. Instead of paying a few hundred pounds for owning a thing, you can pay 50-60 pounds and rent it. Thus, you can consider your wardrobe as a source of income.

My Comment: Then no one will buy anything at all. Nobody needs anything. How many rags do you need? People will go and buy something for themselves “on the go” and that is it. And they will not make a big deal out of it. It all goes away.

Humanity is changing from the inside. Once upon a time, a king would wear something, and he was considered a king. We judged a person by his clothes.

Today, this is no longer the case. That time has passed.

Question: You say that humanity is now striving to change from within. What is inner beauty?

Answer: It is our desire. It gradually transforms by various external conditions.

Strength—see how all kinds of active programs for physical education and other things are developing today. This is still not something we are doing; it is all being done to us in order to somehow sell something.

So it is everywhere. But it will not help. Another 10, another 20 years. All the same, humanity is moving to new states, to new, more internal desires. And they will not pay attention to appearance. They will pay attention to beauty; it will disappear last. But in the end, it does not determine anything.

Question: And what is this inner desire that you are talking about?

Answer: It is to embellish yourself—an inner desire to embellish oneself externally. After all, inner beauty is invisible. So, I will embellish myself externally, and everyone will think: “Look at how smart he is! Look at the special glasses he has on!” We want to pass off the external as internal, so we mock ourselves and others in this way.

We need to reach the point where we value the inner beauty in a person: kindness, participation, sympathy, and separation from oneself toward others. We neither feel nor value this, but it is what we need. It would be a completely different matter if we had the fashion for this.

Question: And how can we make that inner beauty you talk about noticeable and popular?

Answer: Education. There is no other way. It is so that I would look at a girl in class and evaluate her according to her correct attitude to everyone. A man should choose his wife similarly and not according to the length of her legs.

Remark: You say that beauty will be the last to depart.

My Comment: That is, it will leave our attention. When we stop giving it attention, it will be the last to leave. I will appreciate a person for a different reason. I will not see this ugliness; I will see inner beauty.

This, of course, is not easy and not yet within this world, which constantly attunes us to external evaluations. But I am sure that at the pace we are moving, with all these operations to remake faces, figures, and everything else, it is all a matter of the very near future.

The fashion of the future will be directed only toward a beautiful manifestation of the inner world. And there is no need to create any enterprises that exchange rags among themselves.

Question: And what will this beautiful society be like?

Answer: A beautiful society thinks only about the inner content of a person and lives by it. Everyone in it understands and feels the warmth of one toward the other. This is what people will be valued for. It will happen soon.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 12/10/19

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“Syrian Father Who Went Viral Teaching His Daughter To Laugh At Falling Rockets” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “Syrian Father Who Went Viral Teaching His Daughter to Laugh at Falling Rockets

Boom! Peels of belly laughter roll from a little girl in her father’s arms. Boom!

Now zoom out on the scene to place the radiant moment of joy in its heartbreaking context:

Abdullah Al-Mohammad teaches his 3-year-old daughter Salwa to laugh at the sound of every shell that falls and explodes nearby.

As a Syrian trying to survive war and with no place to run, what is left for him to do? In order to reduce or eliminate the trauma of rockets falling, he teaches little Salwa that the sound of falling rockets is funny and that the noise of the shelling is merely a game. Life is beautiful (almost).

Abdullah’s poignant video went viral on social media and made him an instant Internet hero, earning him more than two million likes and positive comments, including proposals to adopt the method to help the children in Gaza.

In the chaotic reality of war-torn Syria, this father’s desperate tactics are an understandable attempt to provide his child with psychological protection against the onslaughts of traumatizing bombardment. He hasn’t the time or luxury to research the optimal educational intervention to take when shells fall in the yard. Clearly, there is no good solution or best practice model to calm the terror, only first aid.

What form of teaching would be most helpful for such tragic situations?

The education needs to be directed toward every member of society, parents and children alike, and must be designed to target the root cause of problems in order to provide a lasting cure.

Every member of society needs to understand, according to their level of maturity, that if we want to stop the wars once and for all, we need to try and connect to each other according to the unifying laws of nature.

While teaching children to laugh at threats and danger might help them get through immediate frightening situations more comfortably, it holds no long-term benefit because such learning can cause psychoneurotic maladjustments and misperceptions of reality. Such an out-of-place connection between peril and reaction sets up an incorrect relationship in the brain between threat and response. Thus, at times when vigilance is warranted, the amount of concern and caution is inappropriately reduced leaving them vulnerable to harm.

Medically and scientifically, crying and laughing cause the same shock response in the nervous system. So, while the emotion associated with laughter might feel more pleasant, the effect on the body is no healthier than that of crying.

Both crying and laughing are a reaction of excitement that exceeds the extent of a person’s ability to absorb at a given moment. Therefore, we do need to calm reactions to fears, and only afterward clearly explain the situation and why it is happening.

Step by step over time, children need to understand that wars and destruction take place because society has received no education to develop positive relations, and that there is no concern in society to learn how to positively connect above each person’s innate divisive drives.

They need to know that in order to stop the wars once and for all, we need to try and connect to each other correctly, and in accordance with the unifying laws of nature.

If children understood this principle, they would not laugh, and not even smirk. On the contrary, they would tell us straight to our faces, in their naïve style: Parents, fix your thoughts and behaviors, and improve your relationships with each other!

New Life #243 – Happiness And Social Ties, Part 2

New Life #243 – Happiness and Social Ties, Part 2
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Tal Mandelbaum ben Moshe

True love and lasting happiness occur when I bestow to others without aiming to get something back in return. Humanity is the only part of nature with the evil intention to exploit. If we are to be happy, we have to change our attitude toward others through work in a group of like-minded people. Proper social connections happen when we connect to others with the intent of benefiting them. Real happiness is achieved in the center of the connection between people, in the center of the circle.
From KabTV’s “New Life #243 – Happiness and Social Ties, Part 2,” 10/17/13

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“From Generation Screen To Generation Connection” (KabNet)

KabNet published my new article: “From Generation Screen to Generation Connection

A lot of criticism has been raised about the younger generation trapped in virtual space day and night behind computer screens and mobile devices. Various detractors say that this is a lifeless generation lacking proper brain development, communication skills, imagination, and that they have sunk into themselves, buried between rows of words and myriad images. “Generation Screen,” however, is more adept than any previous generation at discerning the deadly disease of persistent self-centeredness festering within our world.

As the accurate diagnosis of a disease in its early stages gives us a great advantage to heal it, so “Generation Screen” brings forth the gift of “the recognition of evil,” i.e., the awareness of the destructive nature of the human ego — the desire to enjoy at the expense of others — residing within each of us as being the source of all our problems. Without such a realization, we cannot expect any positive forward progress, any healing of our disease.

“In an atmosphere of friendliness, warmth, sympathy and support for one another, we can build positive connections above our egoistic impulses in a spirit of open discussion.”

However, where our screen generation can reach a significant recognition of evil, the solution to the problem cannot be done through the same screens magnifying the problem. Books, too, although known to work more positively on brain development, improving linguistic, writing, imagination, listening and learning abilities, originally emerged as a disruption that spoiled a more natural word-of-mouth conveyance of wisdom from teacher to student.

In the distant past, teachers of wisdom sat on hills and under trees, surrounded by circles of students, and would deliver words of wisdom, teaching through conversation and interaction. We can thus learn from past conversational learning formats in order to approach a solution to our current problems.

In an atmosphere of friendliness, warmth, sympathy and support for one another, we can build positive connections above our egoistic impulses in a spirit of open discussion. In other words, when we acknowledge how our technological, scientific and cultural progress has been paralleled with a decline in the quality of our connections, then we can pair the desperate need for healing our connections with the method of connection, which was perfected in the educational methods of our sages, in order to find the cure to our current state.

When wisdom needed to be conveyed by word of mouth, our learning required attentive listening in order to understand what was being discussed, and in order to internalize and add the material to our memory reserve. Students would listen, ask questions and converse in order to gain knowledge and wisdom. In their circles, they would absorb the spirit of the material being taught. Through a conversational and social approach, students would connect among each other and with their teachers face to face.

Therefore, our challenge to correct the evil inherent in human nature today is to learn how to positively connect above our divisive drives. At the center of our discourse should be the understanding of such a need, and the impetus to balance ourselves with the law of nature that moves everyone and everything toward more and more unified states.

Our conversations would then gradually advance us in understanding and feeling a more powerful desire to positively connect with much greater mental and emotional aptitude. Our brains would then develop alongside our more developed hearts, as we would gain access to the ultimate unifying device for dealing with any problem and form of division that would appear between us.

How To Free The Planet Of The Garbage Trap

Whether you know it or not, in the Pacific Ocean, there is a new continent almost the size of the United States. No, it’s not the old-new Atlantis, it’s the island of garbage.

Billions of dollars are put into solving the problem of trash in the Pacific Ocean. However, while on one side, someone utilizes garbage, on the other side, someone litters even more than before.

What can be a real and practical solution in this situation? This might sound very profound, but it is all about human relationships. They are broken. If a person cares just for himself, he is most likely to harm others. If each person cares only for self-benefit, it definitely harms the entire planet.

Therefore, in order to free the Earth from the garbage trap, we have to correct our relationships, so they fit the natural laws, and start thinking of what we do, and take responsibility for each and every action that we take. We need to learn how to build positive connections above our personal selfish attitudes. By doing so, we will free the planet from garbage and bring about a positive future for humanity.

Changing Your Attitude Toward The World

laitman_293.1Question: Some people, feeling the lack of something, automatically feel unhappy. That is, there is a widespread model in society that happiness is continuous joy and pleasure. There should be no suffering in my life. Where does such a model come from?

Answer: This is the wrong formulation of happiness, the wrong formulation of the question, and the wrong upbringing. We do not know our nature, and therefore, unfortunately, we are unhappy.

If we understood who we are and what we are, we would be able to form ourselves so that our structure and attitude to any state would be perfect.

This is what Kabbalah does. It does not change the world, it does not say that you have to change something around you. You must change your attitude toward the world. Then you will be happy. And you will be in an absolute state.
From KabTv’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 12/15/19

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