Entries in the 'Meaning Of Life' Category

“A Systemic Problem Of Depression Requires A Systemic Solution” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “A Systemic Problem of Depression Requires a Systemic Solution

Depression has been a growing problem throughout the industrialized world for several decades, but it has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. Death rates from substance abuse, suicide, and gun violence have skyrocketed, anxiety has become a major problem, and professional help is either too expensive or unavailable for lack of professional staff nearby, or both. In such a state, a systemic, concerted effort is required. By using mass media to broadcast both calming messages and advice to people in need, we can save many lives and improve the lives of countless others.

All over the world, people are asking critical questions about the purpose of their lives. Their inability to answer these questions leaves them with a sense of purposelessness, and one who has no purpose in life feels that life itself is purposeless. This is the cause behind the growing escapism expressed in myriad ways, from extreme sports through religious fundamentalism to drug abuse and suicide.

For humans, eating, drinking, sleeping and mating do not count as living. Living means living out the reason we are put here on this planet. If we do not know why we were put here, we do not feel that we are alive or that our lives have value, and this can lead to horrendous consequences.

If only a few people feel this way, you can refer them to professionals who can help ease their pain until they find their purpose in life. But when so many people suffer from these distresses, it overwhelms the system and you need a new approach. Instead of stuffing our brains with messages that send us shopping and emptying our pockets and, more importantly, our hearts, the media, in all its forms, must spread messages that help resolve our situation.

It is not impossible; it is a question of the government’s resolve, and the media’s understanding that the situation will soon get out of hand. In a state of emergency, we must act accordingly, and we are certainly approaching one.

There are many ways the media can alleviate the growing misery of people, but the most effective one among them is to reverse its tendency to pitch people against each other and encourage them to reach out to each other. Countless studies have shown that solidarity and cohesion in society help mitigate or even solve most social, economic, and medical problems. Therefore, if the media offers a “collective treatment” for everyone by broadcasting content that encourages people to come closer, they will resolve most existing problems.

It is said, “A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.” This is very true. Sharing and connecting with others is a sure way to unite our hearts and heal our ills. This is why the more we work on our solidarity, the sooner we will resolve our social and emotional challenges.

The Program Of Life

962.4Question: Some biologists claim that the purpose of research is to understand the program of life. What is the real program of life according to the wisdom of Kabbalah?

Answer: The program of life is to enable every level of nature to gradually develop from one level to another and to reach the highest level on the evolutionary ladder until the human level, the level of Adam (Man), who resembles the upper force. The animate level in him doesn’t change in its essence, but the human level in him develops so that he becomes like the upper force. He only resembles (Domeh) the upper force, which is why he is called Adam.

This means that a person doesn’t become the upper force, the Creator, but only becomes similar to the upper force, becomes a partner in his attitude, including the levels of nature inanimate, vegetative, and animate. A person cannot ascend above the human level. He can only acquire the attribute of bestowal from the upper force, which means that he develops this quality in his intention but not in his actual nature.
From KabTV’s “Conversation with Journalists” 12/2/21

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“A Purposeless Life Is No Life At All” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “A Purposeless Life Is No Life At All

John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson, nominated for an Oscar for Best documentary short subject for “Life Overtakes Me,” pose at a reception at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., February 4, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuon

A student of mine watched the film Life Overtakes Me, which tells the story of refugee children in Sweden who withdraw into a coma-like illness called “resignation syndrome” because of the uncertainties of their legal status. The student wondered how come children seem to “choose” death over life, although fear of death is purportedly the deepest, most primordial feeling.

This is where I think my student got it wrong: The fear of death is not the most fundamental fear, but rather the fear of life, or more correctly, the fear of life without a purpose!

The minute we live without a reason to live that is higher than life itself, we descend into a state that is below life. Animals have no such questions; they simply exist because they follow their instincts. Therefore, for them, existence is life.

Humans, on the other hand, need to know why they do what they do. Otherwise, they have no motivation to act, and all kinds of regressive phenomena occur, from substance abuse to depression, to resignation syndrome, and to suicide. The reason why suicide and other self-injurious behaviors are so common among humans and so rare among animals is that humans need a goal, a purpose in life, while animals do not. An aimless life is worse than death, so people prefer death to aimlessness.

Nevertheless, the feeling that we have no purpose in life is a powerful engine. It makes us question everything. Humanity’s greatest discoveries were made when people sought answers to life.

Today, people seem to have everything they need to lead a great life, but they have no reason to live. Therefore, they wonder what life is for.
This question is the most essential question one can ask, since the answer is not within us, but between us. The reason for our existence is our value in the network that comprises humanity. Each of us is a unique part in this network, and no one can fill the cavity created when one of us is missing. The greater our contribution to the strength of the net, the greater our value as individuals.

This is why today, sociologists and psychologists are discovering that the key to happiness is the quality of our social ties. Only when we have positive social ties, when each of us realizes his or her potential for the benefit of the entire human ecosystem, only then are we truly happy and at the same time contribute to our communities, our countries, and the world.

We can establish a balanced society, whose members are content and happy, yet do not exploit other people or the environment, only when each of us cares for others and we find our happiness in our connection with others, where we can realize our personal potential for the benefit of society and the entire world.
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I Do Not Want To Be A Herd Animal!

962.6Comment: You claim that today’s misunderstanding between parents and children stems from the fact that children have more developed souls and their desires come from a more developed stage.

My Response: Of course. Today’s children demand answers to more serious questions than their parents posed. Their parents were satisfied with ordinary life and religion, but this is not enough for children. They are interested in the meaning of life.

They cannot simply follow society; they cannot appreciate society that tells them: “This is how it should be done, this is the framework, the social relations; this is how one should act; this is what is acceptable.” As the saying goes: “Die but keep up appearances.”

“But I do not want to exist for this! It does not give me any satisfaction. What should I do? Live only for the sake of being like others or not worse than them, to be guided by them, to take an example from them?! To be a herd animal?! I cannot!” So many people feel this way today.

As a result, the new generation suffers from problems of depression and drug use. Therefore, those who are unable to bend under the values of bourgeois society come to Kabbalah. A new desire pulls them precisely toward spiritual development.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up—Mystery of the Sphinx” 2/5/10

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Life’s A Game, But Can We Win?

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 1/6/22

When you look at people immersed in computer games, you get the feeling that they would readily jump into the computer and become the avatars that represent them in the game. Indeed, computer games answer all our questions. Some people even believe that in the future, we will live in a computer network and communicate with one another in a world that is completely virtual. But games have a purpose: to make us ask about reality and our place in it.

From a broader perspective, we can see that our “reality” is a game, as well. We buy, sell, win, and lose. If you tell a child what you do all day, he will tell you that you, too, play games.

For most people, today’s games are different from the ones their parents played. They no longer play ball or ride their bikes through the park. They play on their phones, alone or with other people online, or they watch others play.

There is a reason for this. We build reality according to our desires. As our desires have changed, our games have changed accordingly. As we have become more self-absorbed and narcissistic, our games have changed to reflect our self-centeredness.

Also, in many ways, children in today’s games feel like they are building their own world. This is far more satisfying than playing basketball, for example. If we, adults, felt like we were building an entire world to live in, much like kids do in Minecraft, for example, we would never come out of the game.

On the computer, on the playing field, or in life, we play to win. But thousands of years ago, the authors of the Midrash said (Kohelet Rabbah), “One does not leave the world with half one’s wishes in one’s hand, for one who has one hundred wants two
hundred; one who has two hundred wants four hundred.”

The only way to win the game is to ask about its purpose. When we ask, it is as if we stop the game and demand to know why we’re playing in the first place. In life, too, we should stop and ask why we do what we do, why there are stars, air, Earth, people, why everything exists and why we live. When we ask these questions, it is like going back to our childhood when we asked ourselves these questions. When we ask, the questions themselves bring us answers, and answers are the only victory we need.

When Will Life Have Value?

79.01Question: According to Kabbalah, a human is a soul. This is how all Kabbalists relate, both to the events that are taking place and to the human. Why then was this knowledge not given to us from the very beginning? Why is it that only a small number of people have a question about the meaning of life, about spiritual development?

Answer: We must develop from our very starting point, from the point of light that exploded into the volume of the universe and developed it for fifteen billion years. Five billion years ago, the earth began to form from a gaseous cloud, then the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human nature.

This is an ongoing developmental process and we must participate in it. We have no idea how all these stages of development should eventually come together.

Today when we study the history of mankind and its development from generation to generation, we cannot do anything. We are obliged to follow the gradual, step-by-step way in our development. We can only speed it up.

Now Kabbalah is being revealed in the world since we are asking ourselves the question about the meaning of life. Past generations did not ask about this. They were satisfied with religions. After death, there will be paradise; there will be something good, or I am living for the sake of the children so that they feel good. Such answers were enough for us and we somehow calmed down.

The current generation does not calm down. But it is just beginning to develop, and, of course, is not yet able to demand an urgent answer to the eternal question about the meaning of life. But there are already millions. Therefore, Kabbalah is revealed.

If we now explain to people the meaning of existence and how to achieve it during this life, then it will acquire value.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Mystery of the Sphinx” 2/5/10

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The Peak Of Life And Its Fading

760.4Question: Baal HaSulam writes in his articles that a person comes to a sense of inner emptiness at the end of life and leaves this world in despair and inner hopelessness: “What was all this about, what for?”

And what happens to this realization after his body dies?

Answer: Nothing. He just gets desperate. In addition to the usual animal existence, the question appears in him: “What for, why?” This feeling of the end is connected to the point in the heart, to the micro-desire we have, and by developing it, we can feel the next, higher world, the general universe.

Question: Is it having this desire that gives a person the fear of death?

Answer: No, animals also fear death. They also try to avoid it, they fight with all their might to survive. After all, animals, just like humans, gradually weaken and pass away. When they feel death nearing, they deliberately distance themselves from others, leave, and die. In the wilderness, we practically do not see such scenes, but this is how it happens.

It is the same with man. He wants to get away from the whole world because in his old age he no longer perceives it, he wants to live quietly in his corner until he completely fades away.

This happens because he is gradually losing touch with this world. His sensory organs no longer work the way they used to.

Question: Why is everything arranged this way? Why is the course of life going downhill?

Answer: After forty years, life begins to fade. Its peak is in the period between thirty and forty years. Until the age of thirty, we try to somehow identify ourselves, and from thirty to forty we realize ourselves.

I am not talking about scientists, composers, or creative personalities who continue to realize themselves. There are even people among them who through their special qualities reach highest development by the age of sixty. Scientists, for example, accumulate a huge mass of information and knowledge for sixty years of their life. Where would they go? There is no retirement for them.

But an ordinary person engaged only in servicing his body, his ordinary life, he feels after forty years that there is practically nothing to strive for, he has to think about how to continue to exist calmly, simply exist and gradually fade away.
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From KabTV’s “Close-up. Mystery of the Sphinx” 2/5/10

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The Signs Of The Zodiac And The Thought Of Creation

740.02Question: In the ancient book The Great Commentary (Midrash Rabbah), it is written that Abraham went out at night to look at the stars and asked himself the question: “Am I ruled by them or is there a higher power that is higher than them? If I am ruled by their power, I need to worship them, and if there is a power that is higher than the stars, I need to reveal it. ”

Are we under the rule of the stars, or is there a power that rules everything?

Answer: The stars are signs. They are called the signs of the zodiac. And signs, as a rule, accompany certain events.

Initially people understood this, but since these signs really accompany various events, then people gradually started to treat them as something that existed independently, that were determining and controlling. Just like in our life there are a huge number of various sources of influence around me, but all of them are controlled from the outside by some higher forces.

If I direct myself correctly in this world, then I pay attention not to how the world treats me, but to the attitude of that higher source, the upper force behind this whole picture through which I receive positive and negative influences. But, in principle, this is the only force that selectively affects me in accordance with a certain plan known only to it.

Therefore, I should not deal with confrontations with people, events, various incidents, natural disasters, or events that constantly arise in life and pass over us. Instead of engaging in these confrontations with society, with the world, and even with myself (meaning with desires and thoughts that arise in me), I must turn everything to the higher force that causes all kinds of processes in me and in my environment and ask the question: “What is it doing all this for? What does it want from me?”

Basically, I ask about the meaning of life: “Is there any goal? Is there a reasonable beginning and a process that is predetermined that leads me to a goal? Is this process controlled from above? Do I need to know this? And what will it give me?”

Believers often say: “There is God, He knows what He is doing. Leave it, let Him work.” So I close my eyes and perform my little actions. I was told that He wants me to do this and that, I will do it and let Him do the rest.

Is it enough that we are such small primitive creatures? Is this required of us by the upper force or does it want to develop us?

A need is born in me to find out why I live: “What is happening in general? Where is this control over me and the whole world? Is it the signs of the zodiac or is it the upper force?”

My whole life obliges me to get acquainted with this higher force and makes me reveal it. This force, the Creator, through its especially negative influence on me compels me to pay attention to Him.

Therefore, we need to rise above the signs of the zodiac, above all kinds of signs and events in our life. Everything that I perceive from inside and outside should not be taken seriously but only as a demonstration of the attitude of the higher force toward me. And why, what for—I do not know.

Maybe He does things that are not entirely pleasant to me, like parents who punish their children so that they eventually begin to behave correctly, and good things perhaps He does so that I treat Him differently. Maybe He is deliberately flirting with me in such a way that I refuse to understand Him and only get carried away by being fulfilled by some pleasure, etc.

That is, I need to understand the thought of creation, what does He want from me?

Question: So, even if I know what will happen in my life, I will still not be able to change anything?

Answer: Never. We see this in all the lessons our history gave us.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Fate and The Book of Zohar” 2/5/10

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What Is The Program Of Life

962.4Question: What is the real program of life?

Answer: The program of life is to enable every level to develop and reach a higher level. This is what happens from one state to another on the spiritual ladder until we reach the level of Adam (the human level) that resembles the upper force. The animate level doesn’t change in its essence, it remains the animate level, but it develops a form that is similar to the upper force, which is called Adam.

This means that a person doesn’t become like the upper force, like the Creator, but with regard to the levels of still, vegetative, and animate nature he becomes a partner of the upper force. We cannot reach a level above the level of Adam. What happens with us happens above the still, vegetative, and animate levels, which means a change of intention but not of our actual nature.

Question: Can we say that in our current state we humans are but biological robots?

Answer: We are biological robots. We are not different from other animals at all. We live by our instincts, desires, and thoughts, just like them. Only if we receive the power of bestowal from above and use it, will we become similar to the force of bestowal that is totally external to us and detached from us.

It is like looking at a mirror and seeing something similar to you, which is why we are called Adam, from the Hebrew word “Edomeh” – “to resemble” the upper force. But it is already a totally different nature. This nature can be clothed in us to some degree and can enable us to function like the upper force, above our egoistic desires.

It is only a replica, like a reflection in a mirror, which is why we are called Adam, yet we remain like the animate level in this world with the ability to acquire additional upper force, to bestow, to connect, to be above our nature, above our ego.
From KabTV’s “Conversation with Journalists” 12/2/21

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When Life Becomes Meaningful

627.2Comment: On one hand, nature has given us everything today, in terms of comfort, you can satisfy any desire. On the other hand, along with this, a feeling of inner emptiness grows in a person.

My Response: This is very good because we have nowhere else to develop. We went around the world, bought an apartment, a car, changed spouses several times, gave birth, and lost our children. We have already done everything. What is next?!

This world does not give more. What else can it offer to us? Therefore, some perversions appear. Okay, let us try them a little bit. That is all. Then what to live for?!

Then comes emptiness and disappointment, that is what you have come to. It seems to you that although we used to live primitively, it was nice: family, meadows, children. All this is drawn to you so pastorally, harmoniously. But today, what a horror! A person is obliged. He cannot run away anywhere, and most importantly run away from himself!

He tries to do this by saying, “I live the way I live.” But it does not work because the law of nature is such that we cannot get away from it. We will still have to reach an answer to the question of the meaning of life. Moreover, not achieve it philosophically and not to somehow calm yourself, but to find it, see it, understand it. What does a person live for? This is not just a purely theoretical question, search, and torment through thorns to the stars, and so on. No! We want to see it!

In fact, this question rests on death. A person should know that he continues to live, but not by some kind of faith—by what religion promises him. He should see a clear, beautiful, bright continuation in front of him. Then these tens of years of life make sense.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Centaurs” 1/15/10

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