Entries in the 'Egoism' Category

Modern Types Of Obstacles

laitman_547.04Question: What is an obstacle?

Answer: In general, there are no obstacles. What we call an obstacle is help “against oneself,” when a person is given help but in a way that is very unpleasant to one’s egoism.

The purpose of an obstacle is to teach us to overcome it, to put spiritual elevation above any earthly achievement, meaning to place the Creator above everything else.

Question: What types of obstacles are there?

Answer: There are all sorts. But usually, it is food, sex, family, pride, fame, and knowledge.

Question: Until recently, hunger was a really big obstacle. The family of our teacher, a high-level Kabbalist, was starving. What does the Creator want to tell us by this?

Answer: He tests people. Will you be eager to earn as much as possible by any means or will you be content only with the fact that you exist and somehow subsist from day to day. These are very serious problems.

Comment: But today virtually nobody is starving. That is all in the past.

My Response: Yes, these problems have been resolved by previous generations.

Question: What obstacles does an ordinary person face today?

Answer: Today we have domestic problems with sex, family.

The family is disintegrating because a person with today’s egoism cannot exist in the same shell called family for a long time. This is why both psychologists and sociologists are saying that a person will have two or three families in the course of their lifetime.

Question: People used to live in a family for 20 years while today it is unlikely that a person will stand it for 50 to 60 years. That is, today the Creator sends great obstacles through a family, doesn’t He?

Answer: Yes, but not only. I think people will draw closer to spirituality through the obstacles of a different level: wealth, fame, and knowledge.

Fame drives a person forward. Look at what happens with the government before elections. And knowledge? Look at what transpires between scientists. Although they also have aspiration toward fame, it prevails over their aspiration toward knowledge.

Regarding the general mass of people, they are primarily interested in sex, family, and money.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 3/25/19

Development Of Egoism And The Method Of Connection, Part 2

Laitman_115.05Babylonian Period of Development of Egoism

In ancient Babylon, people lived in harmony with each other, worked, and enjoyed life. Suddenly their egoism began to work so that they started to envy, steal from, kill, subjugate, and compete with each other. As a result of the growth of egoism, they began to hate each other so much that they did not even know what to do next.

Abraham, as the spiritual teacher of the Babylonians, investigated this phenomenon and discovered what was wrong. He believed that it was necessary to transform people, to change them because his role as a priest was to educate them.

He propagated this method in his speeches and spread it among the inhabitants of Babylon. However, people disagreed with him because no one wanted to change themselves, everyone wanted to get what they wanted. No one wanted to do what they disliked. Abraham began to feel that not only the population of Babylon was against him, but also king Nimrod himself, the Babylonian monarch.

In principle, Nimrod was not a harsh king. At that time, the system of communal dormitories flourished. However, when there was an outburst of egoism in Babylon, it required a different force, a tougher hand. Nimrod became the first king in whom a desire to rule completely was awakened.

Comment: In addition, in Ancient Babylon, people had one language; they understood each other and were like one family. However, after the surge of egoism, a strong separation began to appear between them.

My Response: In principle, egoism had been developing since the time of Adam. However, back then it was on an individual level, and in Babylon it became public.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 7/1/19

Development Of Egoism And The Method Of Connection, Part 1

115.06Egoism as a Destroyer of Society

Question: The great Kabbalist of the Middle Ages Ramchal (Rav Moshe Chaim Lozzatto) wrote, “There is no other creation that can do harm like man. He can sin and rebel, and the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth, which is not so with any other creature.” (Daat Tevunot, 154, 165)

This speaks about the growth of egoism. What is this quality that was revealed even in those times?

Answer: Usually a desire to enjoy, to be filled, to provide for oneself is manifested in people. It is the same as in animals, only in a more expanded form.

But if animals have mutual rejection to ensure security and safety, and  the desire to provide themselves with necessities, this is their instinctive urge; a person has no limit to his huge egoistic desire to absorb everything, to capture, and to subjugate.

Even if a person does not need this, the quality of envy does not release any person in the course of their development from the desire to absorb everything, to pick up everything and add it to oneself. This is earthly egoism. There are higher manifestations, but this earthly egoism exists in everyone.

Therefore, human egoism is not as instinctive as that in animals which moves them so that they would maintain themselves in a normal, natural state. The person’s egoism pushes him to do everything, and wants to suppress and subdue everything.

We do not call the desires of animals “egoism” because they kill and eat their own kind only when they are hungry. In a person, however, this manifests beyond all of his animalistic needs.

From one generation to the next, human egoism grows unlike that of the animals. Therefore, it comes to a state where it is no longer possible to do anything with the ego, which begins to destroy the connections between people in society, and even in families. Egoism becomes vicious, not an engine that moves us forward, but a destroyer, as it initially was in ancient Babylon.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 7/1/19

We Wear Clothes To Cover The Shame Of Being Egoists

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 2/10/20

Over the generations, clothes have been a definitive mark of a person’s economic and social status. However, recent times show a striking change. All around the world, wealthy and publicly respected people no longer follow the old standard dress code.

Today, a plain t-shirt, jeans and sports shoes can be the attire of the rich and poor alike. Society has undergone emancipation from noticeable expressions of wealth and rank in dress with a recent move toward a “simpler is better” approach.

In the first decades of the 20th century, men still flaunted well-tailored suits, dress shirts with cufflinks, and elegant hats on their heads. Women, already exempt from corsets, wore colorful long dresses with matching accessories head to toe. Designers still offer new fashions four times a year, but our search for personal expression has turned elsewhere.

Time passed and desires changed.

Although largely unaware of where our loss of interest in clothing comes from, today’s younger generation emphasizes personal character and their inner world over the rags that cover it.

This is the call of the time: We have reached the point where the person must precede the clothing.

There is an old saying, “Don’t let your clothes wear you,” i.e., the outer covering should never be more important than the inner person. The time has come to uncover exactly what we have been hiding underneath the stylish outer wrappings.

What have we been trying to cover up? What are we longing to find? Could it be that we have been covering some kind of shame?

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, which explains phenomena in our reality as branches of spiritual roots, there is a connection between physical clothing and shame.

We instinctively wear clothes in order to cover the shame of our egoistic nature.

We hide the fact that we host a human nature that wants only to enjoy itself at the expense of everyone and everything else. Essentially, we use clothing in order to conceal our selfishness.

As the Torah teaches, after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, the Creator told Adam that he needed to be clothed. This means that the person’s egoistic desire undergoes a correction, becoming covered with an opposite intention of love and bestowal.

When we put on this “spiritual apparel” of a common intention to love, bestow and positively connect with each other above the naked and divisive ego, and create a supportive social environment that promotes altruistic spiritual values to us, we then attain the spiritual state called “love will cover all transgressions.”

Then, we dress up in the image of the Creator.

What Is The Ego?

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 12/30/19

Human nature is a desire to enjoy, and the ego is the intention to enjoy at others’ expense.

Read my full article

The Method Of Correction, Part 2

laitman_570Kabbalah—The Key to the Laws of Nature

Question: Why did nature create us as egoists and opposite to it? What is the purpose?

Answer: So that precisely because of our egoism, we become aware of how terrible we are as creatures.

The question arises: if we see that our egoism is the only obstacle toward achieving an eternal, perfect life, how can we correct it? How, with the help of the ego, can we change ourselves, society, the environment, everything?

At this point, a need emerges to actually change ourselves. There are many different methods, theories, and ideas on this topic, including religious and non-religious, mystical, Eastern, etc.

One of these methods is Kabbalah. It stands quite apart from everything else because it emerged long before their inception, 6,000 years ago. According to Kabbalah, there was a man named Adam. He was the first to comprehend the whole matrix, the whole system of nature, and he unraveled its plan, its beginning, its course, and the end.

Adam laid the foundation for the science of Kabbalah. His students were Sim, Ham, Yaphet, and others who were allegorically described in the Torah. They continued to develop this science up until Abraham in ancient Babylon.

Kabbalah speaks of how to unite above oneself, over one’s egoism. In this case, we will begin to feel the general power of nature, its overall picture. It will become clear to us that nature is eternal, perfect, infinite, and most importantly, integral and whole.

If we treat it like that, then we begin to unravel its true laws, its true form. After all, today we do not feel it. We do not really know it, and we do not really see it.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 2/7/19

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The Method Of Correction, Part 1

laitman_738Human Nature

Question: What is the meaning of spiritual correction from the Kabbalistic point of view, not from the point of view of all kinds of myths that have existed around it for thousands of years?

Answer: If we consider this question purely from the point of view of the development of the person, humanity, and nature, then we can see that everything develops from simple to complex.

On one hand, a more complex picture of nature constantly manifests itself. On the other hand, although this picture is becoming different all the time, it is also integrating, manifesting itself as an absolutely interconnected unified system. That is first.

Secondly, if we are not talking about the cosmic scale, but about the volume of our Earth, then the system of nature is setup so that its inanimate, plant, and animal levels are in a state of mutual complementarity, mutual equilibrium. If the person had not intervened, then nature would exist in a kind of dynamic equilibrium and dialectical development.

In the last 150 to 200 years, when humans began to actively intervene in nature, it began changing greatly, going through a lot of problematic disturbances and blows. We see how badly this intervention reflects on it and on all its other levels. The extermination of the animal world takes place, huge distortions are observed in the plant world, and even the inanimate level is changing, it suffers.

In general, the intervention of the human in nature, with his egoism, with his greed, is to extract everything for momentary benefit, even if it is not for good, is only to pull out more minerals from the Earth and burn them, is to cut down more plants for personal use, without understanding how much he violates the ecological balance of all parts of nature and how all this leaves a very serious imprint on it. That is how human egoism destroys the world.

However, most importantly, a person in this world is an unhappy creature. Indeed, on one hand, huge powers are concentrated in his hands to accomplish great things. He was given great opportunities, a mind with which he can really turn the whole globe around, as Archimedes once dreamed.

On the other hand, he cannot use the power of his mind correctly. All his actions make everyone miserable, without happiness. We see how much humanity is depressed nowadays, drawn to drugs, and people do not know what to do with themselves. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, do not want to do anything other than momentary maximum consumption, more and more all the time. This is our nature.
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From the KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 2/7/19

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Path To Achieve The Upper Purpose, Part 3

laitman_423.01Causes of Population Change in the World

The wisdom of Kabbalah studies the order of the cascading of the upper forces from the quality that is first revealed in Malchut of the world of infinity in four phases of direct light and then descends to us through Tzimtzum Aleph (first restriction).

Then Partzufim Galgalta, AB, SAG, MA, and BON are formed, then the worlds Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya, and then the special structure is created called Adam, or the common soul, and the shattering of this soul occurs. We are the pieces of this shattering.

As egoism manifests more and more in order to create the possibility of some kind of an ascent and work with it, the general egoistic mass breaks into more and more parts. Therefore, in our world we feel that we are multiplying—the population of the planet grows.

Conversely, if we enter into any negative relationship with each other, then destruction and wars begin, that is, a certain amount of the population is removed.

It is not because war kills people as we think it does, but because in this case humanity needs no large number of people, it therefore can be reduced. If there is suffering, fewer souls can also fulfill their purpose. This is the way to look at an increase or decrease in the population on Earth.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 8/18/19

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“Media Thriving On Increasingly Egoistic Society” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Media Thriving on Increasingly Egoistic Society.”

Take a step back to view human society worldwide as a human body for a moment, and what would you see? You would see its immune system hardly functioning, and the organs that should be forming a unified and healthy body disintegrating.

Problems on personal, social and global scales are on the rise, from depression, stress, loneliness, emptiness, anxiety, xenophobia, drug abuse and suicide, through to income equality, poverty, climate change and natural disasters, and despite countless efforts to deal with these problems, there is an enveloping deeper layer to them all that demands attention.

What is that deeper layer? It is none other than the human ego, i.e., self-love and self-concern overblown in every organ, bringing about the degeneration of the entire organism.

The human ego has undergone a recent growth spurt, reaching record levels: it has detached itself from all previously accepted norms, broken free from law and order, and it cruelly runs over established frameworks.

Who can resist the ego when it proudly inflates its chest? What law will block it? What factor can deter it?

The Media in an Egoistic Society

The ego has a strong backing: the media.

Today, the media, and social media in particular, enjoys widespread influence and power that it never had before. At any given moment, public opinion can be swerved one way or another. With a bag full of cash, you can buy advertising spaces, sponsored posts, and other media slots, slapping whatever you like in front of people’s faces.

Money can buy fame, and fame can overwhelm everything. Day after day, one washes the other, until all are gradually weakened and surrender, and the awareness of all the organs — the police and the lawyers, the educators and the judges, the leaders and the citizens — all fall before the media. Day in and day out, the illness of the body increases; the care for other people lessens, hatred for other people becomes greater, and the cancer eating away at the body of human society proliferates toward the body’s death.

A Positive Direction for the Media Heading into the Future

The media around the world needs to be informative and objective, not captive in the hands of people and groups with wealth and power interests. It should know its limits. The media has a role to bring us together and serve as an instrument designed to connect all organs in a single healthy body.

How good would it be if all different parts of society would sit together — the left and the right, the religious and the secular, representative of all different interest groups and those at the margins of society — and all work together for one boss: the benefit of the public. All their decisions would answer to it and it alone. Every opinion would have its own space, no opinion would be subjugated, and no voice would be silenced. They would sit and discuss in a wide forum, discuss positions with experts, delve into the data, quarrel and make up until they would reach a common decision and a common message to be disseminated.

A new rule would guide their work: publishing news and content that contributes to the public’s well-being, which strives to unite human society. No one would have the right to debilitate another opinion, but only to balance it with other positions and guide the varying points toward mutual complementarity. If the media would reach no agreement, then no public announcement would be made. On the other hand, only when the information benefits all would it come out. Such media pluralism would begin the process of healing the illness of a fractured society.

A Positive Direction for Leadership Heading into the Future

However, not only should the media act in unison, but also leadership. If all views seek to complement each other, they would pave a golden path. Representatives of all different sectors of the public would sit around a round table, and aim to become a unifying model for today’s society. Such a leadership would be considered a true democracy: the rule of the people, the rule of the majority, the rule of the elected representation.

The essential and decisive stage would be to lead participants to feel unified and to create synergy upon the differing opinions. Precisely when opposites reach mutual acceptance, society reaches a new stage of development. Such leadership is what our global and interconnected world needs today.

The introduction of a just and equal rule can make decisions for all based on the knowledge that they would benefit the entire body. In such a society, there would be no need for a star who would rise today and fall tomorrow, but it would suffice to have a circle of as many diverse opinions as possible. It would be the brain of the body of society, and all would follow it willingly.

With such leadership no one would be asked to give up his or her private opinion. It would remain and be enriched by other diverse and even opposing ideas. The new situation, which would include every possible contradiction, would give birth to a new development, giving everyone an equal place in society. Everyone’s unique contribution would be there for all to see. This is the wonder of mutual creation.

Just as every cell, organ or system in the human body wisely acts together to insure the sustenance and health of the entire body, all opinions would weave together to ultimately benefit the whole body of human society.

While it seems like a utopian fantasy to envision the media and society’s leadership working in such unification, it is only due to the fact that we haven’t yet implemented any method to connect in such a way. The method that can make such positive connection possible rests in the method that Abraham brought to the world some 3,800 years ago: the wisdom of Kabbalah. Just a little effort to look into this wisdom with a fresh mind, and it will soon become evident that there is a method capable of positively connecting human society, both diagnosing the root cause of all modern-day problems, and offering a method to solve them, thereby bringing about a harmonious existence for all.
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Male And Female, Part 5

Laitman_407.01Development of Relations Between Men and Women

Question: How can Kabbalah help establish a relationship between a man and a woman?

Answer: We see that as humanity evolves it becomes more and more difficult. Once relationships between a man and a woman were regulated by society: a village, a small town, religions, established customs, and so on.

For example, men had rights, women did not, and everything was arranged in this way. Everything was very simple. A woman knew what her purpose was. A man knew what his purpose was.

In principle, they both understood what they existed for and how they should live. There was no opportunity on their part to invent a new type of family, new types of cooperation, such as “quid pro quo” or something else. Everything was calm and clear.

The girl was brought up in her family, the young man in his. From the relationship of their parents, they saw what it meant to live a family life. They grew up for this, married, and this is how they existed.

All this continued until humanity began to go beyond its framework.

There are degrees in the development of egoism: basic desires, such as food, sex, and family, and social desires of wealth, honor, power, and knowledge. As long as the development of desires does not go beyond the basic ones, everything is calm; such societies can exist normally. They do not have any lofty impulses.

Once society enters the degree where it begins to be interested in wealth, power, and knowledge problems arise because these desires in people are much stronger than desires for food, sex, and family.

Therefore, a person leaves the family to achieve more elevated goals. In general, here we have the confusion that we see in our time.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 12/31/18

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