Entries in the 'Free Will' Category

“Is Any Human Really Free?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is any human really free?

We have no free choice at our current level of existence. Decisions are made, either consciously or subconsciously, somewhere in our subconscious based on certain instincts, habits and social influences. And even if we accidentally choose something, it is also not freedom since we choose by chance instead of deciding by ourselves.

If we are given the opportunity to make a free choice at our current level of existence, we would not know what to base it on, where to lead it, and why we would choose one thing over another.

Our current understanding of freedom is to seek minimal pressure from undesirable extraneous sources. It is thus not freedom as a category.

Freedom is when we are positioned between two natures, two universes, corporeal and spiritual, i.e. when we can act based on the practice of receiving for our own sake (the corporeal nature), or bestowal and love for the sake of others (the spiritual nature).

Between these two natures, we have the opportunity for freedom. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this is a specific inner place called Klipat Noga (the Noga shell). It is a very special and subtle point-like state that is located between two universes. In between them, we have a choice of where we can go, but the moment we have made the choice, we then have no freedom neither here nor there.

Based on KabTV’s “Close- Up, Dissenting Opinion” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on August 29, 2010. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

A Person Is An Imprint Of The Surrounding Society

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Find yourself and be yourself: Remember, there is no one else like you on Earth like you (Dale Carnegie).

Comment: But we spend our whole life fulfilling desires imposed on us from the outside. For the most part, we are not ourselves.

My Response: We, like little children, are constantly learning from others. Look at a little child. He constantly learns from adults and imitates them. You can call, let’s say, a cup by some other word, and he will repeat it after you and get used to this name.

If you teach him an action, he will try to repeat it. Then this habit will enter into his nature. He will instinctively prefer this action to others, even ones that are more reasonable and useful, because habit becomes second nature and by fulfilling its desires, he will enjoy it.

Therefore, we are all an imprint of the surrounding society and none of us is ourselves

Question: Isn’t it time for us to be ourselves? When can this happen?

Answer: Today there is already such a desire, but still in a small number of people who are beginning to ask themselves about the purpose of existence, about the seeming purposelessness of this world. Millions of people in the world are asking this question, but millions are not billions.
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From KabTV’s “Close Up. Theater of the Absurd”

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How Can We Justify The Injustice Of Fate?

541Question: Kevin Strickland was 18 years old when he was convicted for shooting and killing and given a life sentence. He served 42 years and only now was it revealed that the charges were false. A witness who survived the shooting had pointed him out as one of the shooters. She had doubts, but hesitated in telling the truth because she was afraid of accusations in her direction. She later admitted that she was pressured by the police.

How does a person who has wrongly imprisoned another for 42 years feel?

Answer: It’s hard to imagine.

Question: Why is such a thing given to a person?

Answer: We don’t know what kind of punishments these are and what kind of corrections they are. Unfortunately, we don’t know what it is at all.

Question: So it was directed from above?

Answer: Of course, it is all from above. There is a purpose to this.

Question: Can an innocent man who has been in prison for so many years justify society and people?

Answer: I think he no longer has the strength to be against anything. He has already cried everything out, his hands have dropped, and he continues to simply live.

Question: How can we accept that there is such a punishment from the Creator? It’s not your fault, but you’ve been locked up for years. You talk about the Creator all the time. How can this be accepted?

Answer: I think that here we still need to figure out what is really happening above oneself and above this circumstance. After all, in order to understand the decision of fate, you need to be above what it did to you within the place where these questions are being decided.

Therefore, I don’t think that a person who has served so many years will just live with this organic hatred. He will still have to mature over all these years and reach the point that it’s not about people and not who decided, but it’s about some kind of upper management and a plan that needs to be understood.

Question: So it will sweeten his feeling?

Answer: No, not only sweeten, if I want to engage in scrutinizing such questions, I have to put it on the level of fate. It’s not just someone who wanted something or someone who did something.

Question: Is this already a correct step when a person begins to think: “Why is this done to me? What did the Creator do to me?” And so on?

Answer: Yes, he wants to penetrate into the plan of actions and this is already higher than a person and really the level of the Creator.

Question: I wonder if it would be justified for a person to suffer for so many years in order to come to such a thought?

Answer: Of course. Undoubtedly.

What is 40 years and in general what is human life? If he had lived it as some kind of locksmith or technologist, or no matter who and what, he would have had children or would have been imprisoned for petty theft and so on. But he would not have been able to scrutinize such questions that he may be thinking about in prison if he had his freedom.

And in freedom his life would have been like in prison, where he would live only inside himself and his egoistic thoughts. When he is in prison, then he will be free from his egoistic thoughts and maybe he will think within the framework of real freedom.

Question: If he rises to the Creator in his thoughts, will he be in dialog with Him? And do you think that even these sufferings for many years are justified?

Answer: Of course! These are all small things and are considered egoistic whining.

Question: Only to come to these thoughts?

Answer: Of course!

Question: So if he comes to these thoughts, then his whole life is justified?

Answer: Of course. Not only life, but precisely the kind of life that would have otherwise seemed to him that death is better than such imprisonment. He begins to understand that this is not imprisonment, but is in fact freedom. And where he would have felt freedom before he now feels the captivity.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 12/6/22

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Is There Freedom In Our World?

744Question: According to Kabbalah, a person is totally programmed. Does he have some kind of free program at the level of our world?

Answer: Not on the corporeal level. Why should he have it? In what way should I be free? Find me some point of application of freedom and tell me what it means to be free. Based on what I should act? What does “I am free to do as I want” mean? What do I want?

Comment: It is one thing today, something else tomorrow.

My response: No, this still is not freedom. Everything is decided somewhere in my subconscious, whether consciously or unconsciously, based on some instincts, habits, and the opinion of society.

Even if I accidentally choose something with my eyes closed, this is also not freedom since I choose by chance instead of deciding by myself.

In our behavior, in our world, there is no such concept as freedom at all. No! It cannot be! Give me the opportunity to apply a free decision, and I will not know what to base it on, for what, and where. No!

By freedom, we mean minimal pressure from unwanted extraneous sources. This is all. This is our entire freedom.

Thus, this is not freedom as a category. Freedom is when we are between two natures, between two universes, spiritual and ours, when I can act based on the practice of receiving for my own sake or bestowal and love for the others sake.

Between them, there is the opportunity for freedom, what is called Klipat Noga. There is such a special, very subtle, point-like state located between two universes. Only between them, is there  a choice of where to go—there or here. However, once you have chosen, there is no freedom either here or there.

Question: But still, is it me who is choosing?

Answer: Yes! Everyone who is at this crossing chooses. Therefore, a person should stand with one foot here, the other foot there, and inside, within himself, feel the conflict between the two universes, the spiritual and ours, and choose.

He should be in this state all his life, at all stages of his development to the very final one. It is in this state that he feels free.
This state is not simple at all. It is not like feeling free in our world! Free from what? Do whatever you want. This is not freedom.

Here, however, is the freedom of choice, which implies that you have two equivalent theories, methods, practices, and you are in between them.

How will you choose if they are equivalent?! If one is more and the other is less, then there is no freedom of choice. If they are equal, then you, like Buridan’s ass, do not know where to turn, you stay in the middle and die of hunger because you are unable to choose between the two.

Everything is decided by the third one from above. You must come to contact with the upper force and with its help, without preferring one state to another, connect them together. Then, in the connection between them, you will feel freedom.

This is a very difficult decision. Not many people come to it; they are Kabbalists who are seriously working on themselves. But in the end, all of humanity must go through this and come to the feeling of complete freedom.
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From KabTV’s “Close- Up, Dissenting Opinion” 8/29/10

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In The System Of Interconnection Of Souls

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There are situations in a person’s life when life itself seems to tell him that there is a certain program that determines everything and that he has no control over it.

Each of us can remember such perceived incidents. Sometimes we even know in advance what will happen and suddenly a greater vision opens up to us. It is natural. We are all a little bit like Wolf Messing in some way.

The question is: Where does this lead us? As a rule, this leads nowhere. A person simply continues to live; he was only shown some small fragment of the future and he does not know what to do with it.

In principle, for a person it does not fundamentally solve anything. It is just that a fragment of the future is revealed from the general system of our corporeality, but concealed from us are the spiritual relationships by which we are rigidly connected with each other.

We are in a network of connection that functions in an absolutely rigid and constant manner. Each of us has absolutely no freedom to do anything within it. In this network, everyone goes through all sorts of sensations of himself, which are perceived as in this world, or that world, and so on. But nevertheless, we are always in the same system of interconnection of souls, of our “I”s.

If this system opens up a little, then we can perhaps see the relationship between the two layers, between the layer that should happen and the level at which we each are today. It seems to be an accidental phenomenon, since the person did not see anything in advance.

Of course there is nothing accidental in our life. Everything is absolutely determined.

But what did this lead to? Perhaps one began to behave differently or more correctly, more sensitively, and became warmer toward people. Or in one’s profession he made some changes for good. But in principle, he did not change anything fundamentally.

As a result, we see that throughout the history of humanity all prophetic dreams, insights, slanders, and predictions of clairvoyants do not lead us to anything. There were always a lot of them and they exist now and they will in the future.

Only if we reveal to a person a clear methodology for attaining the entire system of the universe, our connection with each other, the course of life, and the future goal, when this is revealed to us and we are given the opportunity to explore, to confirm, and most importantly, to control our destiny, then we can already say that a person has really been given some kind of tool to control it.

Otherwise, the future should not be revealed. That is why Kabbalists never talk about it. They believe that it is harmful to humanity.

There is a rule: do not place obstacles before a blind man. That is, only to the extent that a person can correctly understand the future, that it can be brought closer to himself to work correctly on its implementation, then it can be revealed to a person, and he will begin to correct it.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Dissenting Opinion” 8/29/10

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The Arbiter I Summon

742.03Question: Today we are in a state where a person is given to understand that he does not decide anything, he is nobody and nothing, and it is useless to try to change something within the framework of this world.

What is the program for the realization of freedom in equivalence with the Creator?

Answer: The realization of freedom in the likeness with the Creator is when I do not want to, but I must call upon the Creator as an arbiter because I am between two states and do not know what to prefer.

I decide what He decides because this is the only upper force from which two opposite states derive. They converge in me, but I cannot solve my conflict, i.e., combine the plus with the minus so that this system, these two universes, spiritual and corporeal, start working for me.

Therefore, I must call upon a third force that connects them correctly and creates a certain resistance between them. Then it will be like a motor that runs on two wires connected to it.

In this case, I will start working and will find myself in the same state as the Creator. From Him, two forces descend and unite in me.

By invoking Him, I give birth to the same quality as His, the same state as His, and at the same time, I become a man, Adam, from the word “Domeh,” similar to the Creator.

Therefore, I really call upon Him; I do not transfer freedom to Him, but I summon Him, I include His quality in myself. The Creator is a quality of bestowal, love, and the attraction of everything for common bestowal, a common system, and I become just like Him.

This is the freedom to become like the Creator, like this integral nature, to rise above all that He has done, just as He is, above all that has been created. This is prepared for all of us. This is the purpose of man.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up, Dissenting Opinion” 8/29/10

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The Illusion Of Independence

198Question: Today it seems to us that it is me who decides and me who thinks. Does a person really decide anything?

Answer: No, a person doesn’t decide anything, one only executes.

But there is an illusion that I decide, I do things, and I act a certain way. Such ideas about one’s independence are characteristic of people,  but only because the whole universal system is concealed from us.

So who decides for me? Who is acting in my place? Why am I led to believe that it is supposedly me who thinks, I decide, I make? That is the problem.

This is needed for us to come out of our current state, rise above it and above the fact that we do not make decisions, we do not implement them ourselves.

Question: So in our current state, can we say that we don’t exist?

Answer: In our current state, we exist relative to ourselves. We exist, we must take this as a given, but only within the confines of our time-bound sensations. Therefore, the real mind has nothing to do with it.

Our mind is a vast system of general interconnection of the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human natures of our world and all worlds, all other levels. All this is absolutely interconnected and obeys one single program, one thought, called the Creator or nature.

Question: What are the other worlds?

Answer: Other worlds are the possibilities of existence that we gradually come to as a result of our internal evolution when we finally begin to realize that our world, our existence is finite, faulty, and limited.
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From KabTV’s “Close up. Dissenting Opinion” 8/29/10

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Ruled By Egoism

115.06Question: Psychologists say that people who are endowed with power have pronounced tyranny, stubbornness, and mental imbalance. Scientists have found that power changes the structure of the individual and even his brain. Do you agree with this?

Answer: Absolutely agree. The fact is that we are all arranged in such a way that we are between two forces of nature (reception and bestowal, pressure and release), which must constantly be in balance.

All nature consists of two opposite forces, and in whatever way they are revealed, they must be balanced. Only in this state can we achieve correct results. We need both forces. There is no darkness without light and no light without darkness.

We must choose the golden mean in everything. If a person loses the opportunity to hold on to it and he is given permissiveness: do what you want without a limit, then we will disfigure him. He will not grow up to be what he needs to be. He must necessarily be within a framework and feel that he is given the opportunity to act in a narrow range, in the balance of two forces.

An animal has no problems in this regard. It understands what it needs and does not overeat, overdrink, or oversleep. It does whatever its body requires. The organism in the animalistic state always requires the most normal and rational things.

This is not how it is in a person. The problem is that a person is always ruled by his egoism.

Question: How does this fit with what Baal HaSulam writes: It is necessary to give freedom to the individual?

Answer: The freedom of the individual lies precisely in the fact that we do not force him, but teach him. To the extent of this learning, he gains freedom, knows how to restrict himself correctly, how to limit himself, and how make a man out of himself.

That is, freedom is a conscious restriction of one’s egoism, when a person understands how he should educate himself, meaning to be “above himself” and from “above himself” to control his animalistic nature.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 3/22/22

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Ahead Of The Stick

276.04When one corrects himself consciously and automatically puts his spiritual life above the level of the body, he does not require blows or physical suffering. He runs toward the goal, ahead of the rod that drives him to happiness. But if he does not work on correction, then he moves under the blows of this stick. This is the only way.

If necessary, this life is taken away from him. Next time the soul will dress in a body and will exist again. We are given chance after chance because nature is obliged to bring all its parts into harmony. This is its general law, the law of universal balance.

Question: Is a person asked whether he wants it or not?

Answer: A person is not asked anything! What does one understand in this life?

Comment: Then it is not so clear. On one hand, a person has the freedom to choose how to develop in relation to nature, toward the goal or against it. On the other hand, he is not asked anything.

My Response: We exist in a system of still, vegetative, and animate nature. We are shown the imbalance between us so that upon reaching the balance we come to a higher level—being similar to the Creator.

How incongruent we are with the general global nature and the harmony we lack between us is gradually revealed. If we overcome this with the help of Kabbalah, we rise to the next degree. If we do not overcome, nature still pushes us forward with suffering and forces us to reveal the method of correction.

We cannot correct ourselves except by the method of Kabbalah because this is the only way to attract the upper light to ourselves, the only way to reach contact with the Creator, with the upper force that corrects our egoism.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Partnership Agreement” 4/7/10

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“Being Free And Interdependent” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Being Free and Interdependent

“Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains,” said Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his time. Who puts the chains on us that deny us freedom? That is the question. Is it the environment or ourselves? Or is it just the nature of life? The answer depends on the depth of our contemplation.

From infancy, people are obliged to do all kinds of things. Babies are born, fed, and nurtured along certain paths as part of their development. Even if they do not want to receive medicine, for example, it is given to them. Then they are sent to kindergarten, to school. They have to get up early, get organized in a hurry, follow a rigid schedule all day, listen to things that do not necessarily interest them, and do homework. As we raise our children and prepare them for life, they have no freedom of choice.

Because a habit becomes second nature, we do not feel like we are handcuffed. We have become accustomed to the boundaries and conditions that have been set, and we feel free within those boundaries. We unconsciously just let life drive us: studies, career, family, status, successes.

There are those for whom the question of freedom and independence does arise. What am I actually living for? What is the essence and meaning of my life? Just buying a house, a car, going on vacation once in a while cannot be all there is to life. Even if there were to be a new discovery of how to prolong life in good health, would that give me a sense of freedom and make me happier? These are the ultimate big questions that each of us will eventually face.

Misery, at its core, stems from the realization that our life is limited and lacking, without a big and clear goal that we can achieve. Exactly this is the feeling of slavery, literally. If in the past people still managed to turn off the internal questioning by burying themselves in all kinds of mysticisms and religions, today this works less and less. It is no longer purposeful.

There are those who believe that being free means being independent and without any reliance on others. Is such a thing even possible? Because whether I am an employee or self-employed, an entrepreneur, a junior employee, or an executive, I am still dependent on many factors that limit me.

And if I could escape from all the limitations and dependencies on others to a desert island, sitting on a beach that belongs only to me, all alone, would I be defined as free? After all, at every moment new desires would arise in me forcing me to pursue and fulfill them at all costs.

So as we delve deeper into the question of freedom, we discover how vague the notion is. Life, however, has its own dynamic and we evolve from year to year. Sooner or later, even if all our material needs were already fulfilled and there was abundance of everything in the world, the question, “what are we living for?” would come to hound us.

Eventually, each one of us will discover that personal freedom can only be achieved by building a new kind of relationship between us: good, unlimited reciprocal relations. Evolution is moving us, the human race, forward toward such an integral connection, and within this connection that we will discover a completely new kind of life for ourselves.

Like children who run around the house in joyful abandon next to their mother who they know will take care of them and prepare everything that is good for them, a sense of freedom will grow within us as we develop love and closeness in the relationships between us. An assurance will grow that I will not have to defend myself against you and you against me; my heart will be open to you and yours to me.

The genuine human connection of mutual care and consideration will free us from worrying about ourselves and rid us of stress, problems, and struggles. The power of love and giving will fill all of creation, and this is the integral force that connects all parts of nature into a wonderful seamless fabric for an ultimately fulfilling existence.
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