Entries in the 'Education' Category

“How do you explain war to a child?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: How do you explain war to a child?

Children can understand war because they also fight with each other. The human ego, which makes us want to primarily enjoy ourselves without considering anyone else, operates from a very young age. So we need not hide anything about war from children.

Indeed, if we fail to raise children correctly, teaching them how to rise above the human ego and positively connect with others, then just as children play—wanting to take things away from each other in order to please themselves, and sometimes resorting to bullying each other—then this is how they continue into their adult years, which is why we end up with wars. Grownups no longer have sand shovels, sticks and toy guns in their hands, but weapons capable of doing serious harm.

Therefore, we should explain to children that they need to become accustomed to communicating, making peace and learning how to compromise. By doing so, they will not end up with terrible problems like those big people who go to war.

They should not be told about the enemy and the hatred in the conflict, and who is right or wrong, as they have no concept or basis for it. Rather, they understand words like giving and taking, wanting and taking, not wanting to give what they have to others, etc. and it is possible to explain war to children in such terms. Nevertheless, give-and-take relations are at the basis of war and all kinds of international relations. War is a dangerous and terrible outcome when these grownups could not reach any peaceful compromise in time.

Therefore, we should teach children from as early as possible that disputes should not be resolved by force, otherwise we will destroy each other. Disputes can be resolved by discussing how to reach peace together, with mutual concessions, rather than with an approach of “I am right and you are wrong, and now you will understand it.”

The most important aspect in education is learning how to compromise. Otherwise, what is all this education for? To teach how to hit first, harder and to inflict as much damage as possible? No, we need to learn how to stop and compromise. It is extremely difficult to do, especially for children, because they have a very direct and straightforward egoistic approach to life, shamelessly wanting things for themselves without any concern for others. Therefore, education should consist of explaining such concepts, learning them together with the children, and seating children in circles to engage in practical engagement on such topics. That is, if a dispute arises among children, then it is time to sit down and sort it out. They should develop such templates from their youth on how to not resort to fighting, but to resolve disputes through conversation and compromise. It is a very long process, but if it is not implemented at these early stages, then it will only get worse later.

Such education is not only necessary for children, but for teachers too, the adults. It is the same human ego in both children and adults, and it requires the same kinds of explanations and training in order to rise above it and realize that conceding for the sake of peace is much more worthwhile than going to war.

Based on the video “How to Explain War to a Child” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Semion Vinokur. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

I Want to Learn to Love

632.3Comment: Psychologists say that each of us often wants to force other people to change their behavior or point of view. We know this very well. The boss wants to change employees so that they work more. Employees want to change the boss to have him or her be more flexible. We change husbands, wives, friends, and so on. And all attempts, most of the time, fail.

Some psychologists also propose that within four steps you can change almost anyone, and the first step is to change yourself. The first step is: to turn from a critic into an ally.

How can we turn from a critic into an ally? Can this advice be put into practice or is it a utopian fantasy? What do you think?

My Response: Why on earth would I agree with someone? Never! Then everyone will be taking advantage of me?! I do not agree to this in advance.

Comment: The second step is determine the result you want to get together. Can it be? I am against someone, but together we are building what we want to come to.

My Response: I agree with that. The vision of the future must be mutual. Despite the fact that I am against the other and I want to bend him and change him; nevertheless, we need to determine the future and then through gradual movement toward this future, we can already get closer.

Comment: The third step: to discuss together how to solve the problem.

My Response: This is correct. This is unrealistic, but correct.

Comment: The fourth: together build a step-by-step plan for achieving results.

My Response: This is very hard.

Comment: Hard? If we are in such a relationship, then as they say, everyone has their own plan.

My Response: Yes. And then, as this plan unfolds, you will see that you absolutely do not agree.

Question: Does it mean that the other one twists the plan for himself all the time and I twist it for myself?

Answer: Naturally.

Question: Then the question is: how can one build a relationship so as not to seek to change the other person? Psychologists say it can be done in four steps. What do you say? My natural state is to change the other for myself. How can I not do this, this is the guarantee of all wars, all quarrels, everything?

Answer: Just love the other. That’s all.

Again, we return to the first question. If we understand that the most important thing in our life is to be close to someone who understands you, helps you, loves you, and appreciates you, then we must really appreciate this and sacrifice everything for this.

Comment: That is, I practically really sacrifice my entire “I,” which requires conditions for itself. And say that, “I want to learn to love.”

My Response: Yes. I want to learn to love this person because I want to be with him. That’s all. It is good if he also thinks this way. Then it is a really really great, mutual, and very unusual feeling.

Question: Are you, in fact, addressing not only couples, but also potentially an employee, a boss, and even countries?

Answer: Practically, yes. This state of “learn to love” should shine above everything.

It needs to be taught. But, unfortunately, there is no such education. When we get old and understand, we no longer have the strength to do it. It does not work to approach the younger generation and try to pass something on to them. They ignore us and we try, but we cannot get closer. As Freud said, “If youth knew, if age could.”

Question: Do you think that everyone needs to receive blows? Are we simply unable to avoid them?

Answer: We need to demonstrate this intensively in all books and at schools. In general, we need to teach this to people. Moreover, to people at all ages. Then the entire society will be filled with this approach. We need to make sure that all this is up in the air, then it will become possible to love.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 6/27/22

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We Are All Somewhat Autistic

962.8Comment: I read about some research about the impact on the neurotypical students of placing children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with neurotypical students. A researcher found that the neurotypical students picked up some of the behaviors of the ASD students.

My Response: The fact is that autistic people do not have awareness of their environment or the world around them. They interact only in a specific, limited way where they feel they are in control of the situation. Their contact with the world occurs within a very narrow range. Even their speech and actions are very restricted and inflexible.

We need to understand them. This is a borderline property of souls characteristic of our time.

If we look at humanity with different eyes, we would see a huge number of people who are mentally and psychologically not quite well.

After all, apart from twenty to thirty percent of autistic people and all others who are in various institutions, most of the people you see on the street also do not feel quite well, comfortable, or adequate in our world. They perceive themselves to be strangers in this world or the world as alien relative to themselves.

This is not a problem because in this world we all are truly strangers, like some kind of aliens. Our soul has descended from the upper world, and we must raise it back there during this lifetime in the material world.

At the same time, the body of both a healthy person and an autistic person, should we call him sick in this sense, remains animalistic. But the process of the soul ascending from our world to the upper world really gives a person such a sense of transformation that he sometimes feels mentally, emotionally, and psychologically unwell, that is, not as a normal animal but as existing between two worlds.

He feels that he belongs somewhere else, does not understand what is happening in this world and does not feels it as someone firmly rooted in this world does.

Today we are in a process when, in some ways, we are all a bit autistic and will only be more and more like them.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Special Territory” 5/17/11

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“The One Thing AI Cannot Give” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The One Thing AI Cannot Give

A new pilot at a school in Tel-Aviv aims to overcome one of Israel’s biggest challenges in the education system: the shortage of teachers. Instead of human teachers, the pilot uses a virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI) system that replaces some of the teachers. I have no doubt that AI systems, computers, and the internet can teach children anything humans can teach them, if not more. Providing information is not a problem today, and schools in general are not needed for this. The problem is not teaching, but educating, meaning raising children to be social human beings who can interact with their environment in a healthy, positive manner, and form a solid and safe society. AI cannot teach that.

Today, people’s main problem is not that they need to know more. It is easy to learn anything you want through online platforms or traditional ones. Yet people feel unhappy or insecure not for lack of knowledge, but for lack of positive, warm relationships with other people. If people have no one to trust, no one to love, and who would love them back, they will not be happy, they will not be positive elements in society, and they will not succeed in life.

AI cannot teach human relationships. It cannot be a role model that children want to follow. This task—raising children to be confident and happy adults—is the sole domain of human educators.

Although English often overlooks this nuance, the difference between education and teaching is that teaching means imparting people with information, while educating means turning individuals into confident people who realize their potential and contribute to society.

Education, therefore, is the single most important trade. Good education, in the sense I just described, is the basis of any stable and sustainable society. If we want a future where our children are happy and lead a good life, they need educators who guide them into being caring and connected human beings. No AI system can teach that, only educators who teach by personal example that children want to emulate can shape today’s children into tomorrow’s thriving society.

It Is not for Us to Decide Who Should Live

204Question: In the 1970s and 1980s in the Soviet Union, children born with autism and mental retardation were often not given to their parents. They were told that the child had died during childbirth.

How does Kabbalah view this issue? Should these children be left behind? What is the attitude of Kabbalah to everything living?

Answer: As a divine creation. We have no right to destroy anything.

We have the right to take food from nature—what we are supposed to in normal quantities without causing harm. For this, there are special laws of slaughter, cooking, and so on.

Just as animals eat animals, so we must eat them within reasonable limits, and this is not considered a violation of the balance of nature. Everything is created this way.

We must strive to do no harm or unnecessary pain to anyone. Any creature, no matter how it was born, has the right to exist. It is not for us to decide who should live and who should not.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Special Territory” 5/17/11

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“Which Education Promotes Peace”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 7/29/22

It is said that educated people do not fight. Because of it, Israel invests a great deal in the education of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. In recent years, the number of Palestinians studying under the Israeli curriculum has increased significantly. According to a story published in Haaretz, “In the past five years the number of such students in the … Israeli program has climbed 160 percent.” There is no question that Israeli schools and universities offer better education and more opportunities to develop academic and professional careers. However, this will not make Palestinians more moderate toward Israelis. If anything, they will use their knowledge to kill us more efficiently.

First of all, not only Palestinians, but all of us are motivated by ill-will, as it is written, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). Therefore, the more knowledge we have, the more power we have, and the more power we have, the more ruin we can bring upon others. In the case of the Palestinians, their knowledge will go toward building firearms and devising tactics to use against Israel and Israelis. If we expect gratitude, we should forget about it.

Second, the hatred that Palestinians feel toward Israel and Israelis cannot be mitigated through knowledge. Mitigating hatred requires a completely different kind of learning. To mitigate hatred, we need to learn specifically how to do that. We need to learn that we are all irreversibly connected, that everything we do affects everyone else and returns to us in an unbreakable cycle. In other words, we need to learn that the only way to improve our situation in the world is to improve the situation of everyone else.

Third, we need to learn that the irreversible connection among people also applies to nations and to all of reality. Therefore, we must recognize that whatever harm we inflict on the world will invariably return to us.

Finally, we must learn that all our conflicts, on every level—from the most personal to the international—happen for one and only purpose: to strengthen our connections. Every time we rise above a disagreement with someone, on any level, we strengthen our connection with that someone. Just as every couple that has been together for many years knows that the secret to a lasting relationship lies in the crises they have overcome together, relationships between countries and nations also strengthen through the trials and tribulations they endure.

Crises force us to increase the importance of our connection, which helps us overcome the dispute. When the dispute is over, we have a stronger connection than before because we have increased its importance in our eyes.

That said, no Palestinian will be willing to learn any of that unless we, Israelis, implement it among ourselves and set an example of the very thing we strive to teach. Unless we bridge the divisions in the Israeli society by increasing the importance of unity among ourselves, no one will believe in our sincerity, hatred toward us will grow, and all our efforts at making peace will fail.

Peace begins at home. Once we make peace among ourselves, others will want to learn from us and will therefore make peace with us. They will learn from us even if we do not teach, since our example will show the way. However, the opposite is also true: If we fight against each other, everyone will fight against us, as is the case today.

If You Don’t Want Children, Return the Money

543.02In the News (“Grandchild or $650,000: Indian parents take son to court“): “An Indian couple is taking their son to court, demanding that he and his wife either produce a grandchild within a year or cough up almost $650,000. …

“they exhausted their savings by raising and educating their pilot son and paying for a lavish wedding.

“Now they want payback.

“‘My son has been married for six years but they are still not planning a baby. At least if we have a grandchild to spend time with, our pain will become bearable,’ the couple said in their petition filed with a court in the north Indian town of Haridwar last week.

Question: Do you think this request of the parents is legitimate?

Answer: This is a problem. On the one hand they are selfish. No one can oblige a couple to have children. I understand them. But in principle, there is no such law that a couple is obliged to give birth to children, and as if, by their parents’ request.

Comment: “Then return the money that was invested in you,” the parents say.

My Response: “Did you want me to get married in order to make you grandchildren?” It turns out that it is so. “I didn’t sign up for this.”

I’m just putting myself in the position of a victim. “I didn’t sign up for this.” But, on the other hand, the parents can also be understood.

I think there is a need for a society that should affect young people—to influence them in a way, so that they eventually have children for themselves. For themselves and for their parents. Especially in India.

Comment: You’ve been to India; you’ve seen it. There are a huge number of children and people, and still they give birth. One and a half billion!

My Response: It depends on the kind of society. If they are rich people with a good marital status, they give birth to two or three children, no more.

Question: So do you think that the parents’ request is egoistic, and their children are egoistic too?

Answer: The parents are not egoists. They really want grandchildren and they can be understood. But the children, of course, are egoists. They don’t want to do anything nice to their parents, they don’t want to burden themselves, and I also understand them in this, to burden themselves with raising children. But it is necessary to somehow come to an agreement after all. The case went to court. So it’s not easy. They need to come up with something.

Question: This is what is happening in the world right now. Many people don’t particularly want to give birth.

Answer: At least one or two children. Without this, a person is not considered a person. If he has no children, and he does not care about procreation, then this is an inferior person. It is considered so.

Question: But this does not apply if health does not allow and so on, right?

Answer: This is understandable.

Question: So a husband and wife who do not have children are not a family?

Answer: Firstly, such a family is not a family. There should definitely be both a boy and a girl in the family. Preferably both. But there are cases when having both doesn’t work out.

It is necessary to help raise the status of having children. We also have a problem with this, both in the state and in people; today people do not want to have children.

The Torah says, “Be fruitful and multiply.” But in fact, why breed, much less multiply?

Question: Why is all this happening right now? Why is there such a sudden desire not to give birth?

Answer: People want to take care of themselves. That’s all. On the other hand, children are also very egoistic. You invest in them for 20 or 30 years, and then they leave. Well, why then did I invest my capital, my labor, my funds, my nerves, and my strength? And where did it all go? It is an unprofitable business.

Question: And what to do in such cases?

Answer: Do nothing. Learn from mistakes. It all depends on the upbringing.

And the upbringing should be like this: “You must!”
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 5/26/22

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What Does a Child Need for Happiness?

627.1Question: Some psychologists list basic conditions needed for the happiness and health of a child. The first condition is that the parent should be a source of information for the child, and not a tablet or a laptop.

I cannot imagine how it is possible today for a parent to become a source of information. Do you think this is possible today, in our era?!

Answer: Today I am 75 years old. If I do remember something, it is not from school, but from what I heard from my parents. Some pieces, fragments of words, sentences, some of their comments. For some reason, this pops up in my mind.

Moreover, I already was not a little kid. Starting somewhere from the age of six or seven and up to 16-17 years old.

Question: Do you think that even today, the information that comes from parents is much higher than any computer information?

Answer: Yes.

Comment: The next condition: Teach the child to express emotions. Does he not know how to express emotions? What does it mean to teach him?

My Response: It is necessary to show him how he can unite with other people, connect with them, influence them, and perceive them, and so on.

Question: With other children?

Answer: Yes. But I am not thinking about children, but rather about teenagers.

Comment: Next, Do not buy off the child with new sneakers, tablets, and toys. How should you buy a child?

My Response: By showing him that you are his friend and that you are supposedly on his level. How much you have to remake yourself for this, and to change yourself…

Question: Yes. It is me who has to change. What do you mean by the word “friend”?

Answer: You understand him, you are ready to help him, to approve of him. The main thing is to understand.

Comment: Another is not to overdo with the developmental courses, sections, and groups. Let the child live his childhood organically.

What does it mean to live childhood organically?

My Response: Basically, yes. The child should do what he wants.

Question: To that extent?

Answer: After all, he receives a desire, an opinion from his friends. So, it is not his personal opinion. But we still need to encourage him.

Comment: But you said that you were surrounded by composers, music.

My Response: It did not give me anything special.

Question: It gave you an ear for music. You have a musical ear, of course. So, do you think a child should be given freedom of choice?

Answer: Yes.

Comment: Next is to keep your word. Say it the first time, do it the second time. Maybe it is better not to promise anything to the child at all so as not to deceive him?

My Response: No. But if you want to demonstrate education, then you must both promise and fulfill.

Comment: Another principle is to allow the child to make mistakes. Some scientists go as far as to say that a mistake is wonderful. And if a child makes a mistake we can even say to him: “Well done. You made a mistake.” Is it even possible to use such a move?

My Response: Not to say, “Well done,” but, “Find this mistake and correct it. You have a mistake here.” But this is not a claim and not an accusation of him.

Comment: The next condition is to not be afraid to love your child too much.

My Response: There is a problem here. In general, all these questions are very difficult.

Question: What does it mean to love too much?

Answer: Not to show excessive love, especially where it can cause harm.

Question: Can it cause harm?

Answer: Of course, everything should be dosed and in balance.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 6/9/22

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There Is Still Time to Stop the Explosion

293While the embryo is in the mother’s womb, it is completely dependent on her and receives nutrition from her. But after birth, the umbilical cord connecting him with his mother is cut off, and he is forced to become independent. This is a sign that the child is moving to a new state, to a new degree, and can communicate not only with the mother, but also with forces alien to him.

Our whole world is based on interdependence, and the baby will still have to learn that he depends on someone. First, from his mother, then from his father, other relatives, a teacher at school, etc. , we become more and more aware of how dependent we are on the people around us.

When we become adults, we go into the army, work, meaning, we go out into life and begin to explore the world. And then we find out that there are strangers who can harm us, and we learn how to behave.

The correct upbringing consists of making sure that in any place, wherever I find myself, I feel as comfortable and safe as in my mother’s womb, so that there is always an environment around me that takes care of me, and I try to take care of everyone in the same way. I have to learn how to build a proper, kind connection with the environment.

Nature always teaches us how to be an independent individual, but at the same time actively work to unite the whole society.

During its thousand-year history, man has already developed to a state where it is necessary to begin to unite into one community, so that everyone feels that he belongs to all of humanity, and a good future is impossible without a proper connection with everyone else. Any person in the world is obliged to realize this and thus connect with others.

This is not easy to do in the modern world that seems very hostile and frightening to us, that threatens us with a nuclear world war. We need to understand that the state of the world is critical and can suddenly explode so that not even a memory of us will remain on this planet.

And at the same time, as we reveal the vital need to live in peace, we are seized with mortal fear of what may happen as a result of our antagonism. The situation is very dangerous, but at the same time significant because it clarifies to us where we have come to and that there is no other way out but to ensure global security for everyone around the globe. Otherwise, we will simply wipe ourselves off the face of the earth.

We live in a special time when everyone is obliged to understand this and start talking openly in order to find out what needs to be done to achieve common security and mutual guarantee around the globe.
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From KabTV’s “World” 7/12/22

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Slaughter in America

183.01Question: There was another tragic school shooting in America; an 18-year-old resident of Texas opened fire at an elementary school, killed 19 students, two teachers, and seriously wounded his grandmother before that.

“President Biden on Tuesday evening urged Congress to end the ‘carnage’ of gun violence after more than a dozen elementary schoolchildren were killed by an 18-year-old in Texas.

“’As a nation we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?’ Biden said in an address to the nation. ‘ … How many scores of little children, who witnessed what happened, see their friends die as if they’re in a battlefield, for God’s sake?’” (Washington Post)

If you were given all the powers, that is, if they told you: “Dear Michael Laitman, here is the money, here is the power, here is the law, here is the police, here is the army, whatever you want, just change this situation,” what would you do?

Answer: I think it is unrealistic to confiscate weapons from hundreds of millions of people. (And each gun has a couple of barrels.) I remember, I went into a basement in New York—there is a gun! And everything else as well—please, in bulk, take it away.

“A gun? Please, take it.”

And what can you do? It cannot be changed in a split second. For this it is necessary to educate people; it is not easy.

Comment: That is, for example, if you were given all the authority to forcibly take the weapons, pull it out…

My Response: It would not help. They can buy them in any alley.

Comment: Close all stores, close the alleys.

My Response: There is no way to do that. Anyone who wants—specifically wants to buy a weapon in order to kill someone—can do so anywhere in the world.

Question: This problem of America is well-known. What is the solution?

Answer: There is no solution except for gradual education of society.

Question: What should society come to?

Answer: Society must come to the conclusion that it is not good to kill another.

Question: This is the basis of all religions, all spiritual practices. What you said is repeated: killing is not good, only peace. But humanity is not improving in any way, and it is getting worse and worse. You see what is going on, right?

Answer: Naturally. Egoism is growing, people around me are getting worse, so I take a gun and start “correcting” society.

Comment: The “correctors” of society are a terrible thing.

My Response: Nothing can be done. I do not see anything else except what Kabbalah says: education, serious education, universal, from a young age and throughout life.

Question: What should it lead to?

Answer: To the fact that there is no place for violence. He who raises his hand against another must receive punishment.

A person must understand that he has no right to rule over the life of another. Only good, kind things can he do to another. Just set a good example. And he has no right to show violence; this is not his authority. To act against the wishes of another is not in his authority.

Question: Why have all the practitioners that talk about the same thing not succeeded and Kabbalah will succeed if you conduct education according to Kabbalah?

Answer: It is true that no practices have succeeded in this, and many are talking about it. But they talk, and they do it differently.

And Kabbalah will succeed because it uses the upper force. It causes the influence of the upper positive force on a person, and then a person changes.

I do not see any other way out. It says what needs to be done. It is necessary to be accustomed to “love your neighbor as yourself” from a young age. Literally each and everyone. If it happens on a daily basis and on the scale of, say, a country, then it will have an impact. This together with the media and everything else.

Question: So you say the whole task is to summon this positive force upon yourself. To do this, I have to understand that there is nothing positive in me or around me? Is that what I need to understand as a student?

Answer: Of course. This requires very serious explanatory work. Very serious! Who we are, what we are, and what is happening around us, with us, and where we are going. Everyone suffers from this.

Question: How can we invoke this positive force? What should I say, think, do?

Answer: It is invoked by constant patient explanation. Movies, clips, anything else, television, the Internet, all this should be filled only by what educates a person for good. Otherwise, we are going nowhere. It is nature. Go against it?

It is necessary to direct a person’s thinking only to the positive, and people will gradually get used to how to speak, how to address, how to think. At least, such excesses will not occur, and people will not be able to realize them because they will not exist.

They will not want and will not be able to do it because there will be nowhere to get firearms and so on.

Comment: You are talking now as if you are taking the supreme law and connecting it with the practice of this world. A simple law that you cannot get weapons and so on.

Answer: One by one. It is necessary to limit people from this. According to their own desires.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 5/26/22

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