Entries in the 'Quora' Category

“Are Coronavirus Masks REALLY Effective?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Are coronavirus masks REALLY effective?

Masks are a very interesting phenomenon in this pandemic. Common health guidelines consistent worldwide include keeping our distance from each other, maintaining personal hygiene and wearing masks, and masks in particular serve mostly in order to stop our spreading the virus to others.

Why are masks so interesting?

It is because many people wear masks as a protective measure to not catch the virus from others, but masks work mostly in the opposite direction: they prevent the virus’ spread from the person wearing the mask to others.

If we view the coronavirus pandemic as nature sending us a lesson in human relations, then the long-term mask wearing conditions worldwide can be seen as a lesson for humanity in mutual responsibility and consideration. It is similar to how we raise children by telling them to behave fairly and kindly because it is ultimately good for them to do so, but in a broader context, they learn how to relate positively to each other.

Humanity has yet to become aware of how nature is operating behind the scenes: that it is raising us to become increasingly connected, and that it ultimately wants us to realize our connection harmoniously. For the time being, we feel this tightening connection as intensifying pressure and stress, and we suffer a lot from it. If we, however, enable a fundamental shift in our attitude to our increasing connection—from intending to benefit ourselves alone to intending to benefit others—then we will literally experience a new world. We will feel how our tightening connection is an opportunity for us to undergo this fateful egoistic-to-altruistic attitude shift, and by doing so, we will feel ourselves exit our narrow self-serving individual corners, and enter into a great new harmonious world of peace, love, unity and perfect connection among us all.

Mask wearing can also illustrate a filtered-down example in our current lives of four stages of attitude shift that the wisdom of Kabbalah describes; stages we traverse in order to discover our perfect connection to each other.

Receiving in order to receive: I wear a mask solely with the thought of protecting my own health. This is the most egoistic of the four stages.

Bestowing in order to receive: I wear a mask with the understanding that I protect others from myself—for instance, if I am an asymptomatic carrier—but by doing so, I also hold the intention that I will ultimately protect myself by doing so. In other words, I care about others because I care about myself. This is still egoistic, but it has an element of altruism laced within.

Bestowing in order to bestow: I wear a mask purely with the thought that I do not want to infect others with the virus. In other words, “bestowing in order to bestow” is an intention to not want to do any kind of harm to others.

Receiving in order to bestow: In addition to wearing a mask in order to not harm others, I think about what I can do in order to bring goodness and benefit to others.

In the wisdom of Kabbalah, these four stages describe much higher states of spiritual attainment than the filtered-down examples presented here. However, they offer a small taste of a path toward positive connection that lies ahead of us. We can thus relate to mask wearing as an exercise in our positive attitudes to each other, and by doing so, improve our connections and the world we live in.

Photo by Pille-Riin Priske on Unsplash.

“Why Did Anti-Semitism ‘Switch Sides’ Politically In The US?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Why did anti-Semitism ‘switch sides’ politically in the US?

In the U.S., anti-Semitism was commonly considered as emanating from the far-right, yet today, it is tilted more to the left. However, the phenomenon of anti-Semitism itself is beyond political affiliation, and in the future, I expect both sides to unify around their common hatred of Jews.

Today, American Jews are a lot more aware about the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S. However, the thought of an impending Holocaust is still mostly elusive. They still do not see that anti-Semitism could reach such levels where it can all overturn on them very severely. Indeed, leading up to the Holocaust in Europe, most Jews also disagreed that it could happen, denouncing and mocking those who, in advance of the Holocaust, warned of Jewish genocide.

The past decade served to normalize anti-Semitism in the U.S. as well as in other parts of the world, with regular accounts of anti-Semtitic vandalism, distribution of anti-Semitic flyers and posters, anti-Semitism entering various musicians’ songs and social media posts as well as artists’ artworks, anti-Semitic attractions at carnivals, as well as an increasing amount of people questioning the Holocaust’s occurrence and not knowing about the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. In addition, last year (2019) marked the previous decade’s yearly peak in the amount of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S.

If last decade represented anti-Semitism increasingly seeping into the mainstream, then I expect anti-Semitism to become an all-out trend this decade. At the moment, both political sides still use the mainstream condemnation of anti-Semitism as a tool to blame each other for the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S., but the more their conflict intensifies together with more acceptance of the idea that Jews stand behind their polarization, then they could indeed reach a point of agreement to unite against the Jews.

This is also why American Jews can expect to see dropping support from the government, because if they can be scapegoated as the cause of the country’s problems, then it serves to shift half of the American population’s negative focus away from the government and onto the Jews. In such a state, since the Jews are vastly outnumbered in America, the idea of their ostracization would also become increasingly popular, until one morning it could very well become the reality of the day. History is rich with examples of leaders who capitalized on growing anti-Semitic sentiment in the public at times of various crises to direct the public’s negativity onto the Jews.

Also, while the horrid past experience of the Holocaust spurs many Jews today to combat anti-Semitism in many different ways like no other time in history, we can already clearly see how the increased efforts to counter anti-Semitism fall short of stopping the forceful anti-Semitic tide, which rapidly outpaces the numerous efforts to fight it.

In short, we need to see that a grave disaster lies ahead for American Jews. However, we also need to see that it can be stopped and even inverted into a positive, supportive and even loving attitude toward Jews, on one condition.

What is that condition?

It is that a dramatic shift in attitude toward Jews should be sought in no place other than the unification of the Jewish people. In other words, the disaster is laid out on a path that we walk without making any strides to change to a different and more unifying path. If we unite above our differences and divisions, then we will be a conduit for unity to spread to others. Then, when the public feels the increased happiness and other benefits that stem from Jewish unity, they will herald the Jews as those who initiated the process. If we fail to take any step toward our unification, then hatred will continue rising against us, and we can experience that hatred to erupt in a terrible way.

Photo by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash.

“For Whom Are We Responsible?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: For whom are we responsible?

There is a saying that “the whole world was created for the person” (Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”). It means that we are ultimately responsible for the whole world, i.e., for all humanity.

The question then becomes, why do we lack feeling responsible for the whole world?

It is because our nature acts through a self-serving “maximum fulfillment for minimum effort” filter, which blocks us from feeling such an immense responsibility.

Feeling responsibility for the whole world would add an unbearable weight on our shoulders, so in order to spare ourselves from such a constant burden, our self-serving nature seeks a more comfortable worldview. It eliminates the feeling of responsibility for countless other people, and preoccupies us with our own personal needs, desires and concerns.

We perceive the world as a projection of our inner qualities. Therefore, if we make no motions to rise above our narrow personal interests in order to benefit others, then we perceive the world accordingly: as a world overflowing with individuals who prioritize their own interests, often at the expense of others and nature.

However, the more we can rise above our narrow personal interests and aim to benefit others, then the more we will develop feelings of responsibility and consideration toward them. By applying ourselves to benefit others, we will sense each other as closer and more dear. In other words, the more we develop new altruistic attitudes above our inborn egoistic ones, then the more we will feel responsible for wider and wider circles of human society, until we eventually feel responsible for the entire world.

Moreover, today’s world appears more interlinked and interdependent than ever before. We live in times when our global interconnectedness becomes increasingly obvious through global economies and technologies. The coronavirus is also a key example of our global interdependence, showing how a minuscule particle that emerged in one city became a global pandemic. Therefore, responsibility and concern only for an individual, a select group or a nation will fall short of securing our lasting happiness, peace and safety. Today, we are in a major transitional era where we will need to start taking responsibility for humanity’s well-being, because our benefit or harm depends on the extent of benefit or harm that humanity experiences.

Video: The Matter of Our Responsibility for Others | Q&A with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“How Has Covid19 Changed The Future Of Humanity?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: How has covid19 changed the future of humanity?” The longer we endure the coronavirus pandemic, the more we undergo changes that have a major impact on our future.

At the beginning of the outbreak, many thought that COVID-19 was going to be over in a matter of weeks. Weeks soon became months, and today, it has become a lot clearer that it is not going anywhere anytime soon.

The pandemic’s relentless perseverance to continue its worldwide spread is tiring and upsetting many people. Our pre-coronavirus lives, which we ran on a competitive consumerist treadmill, came to a halt, and more and more people have found themselves with no future worth striving for.

In such a slumber-like state, some react explosively in riots and protests, and others become quietly depressed, but a general fatigue has expanded throughout humanity. Indeed, there are also risks that people will rise from the pandemic in wars, both within and between countries.

If people have no clear perspective and purpose in their lives, not knowing how to navigate their lives into the future, then the lack of a hopeful vision gives rise to sensations of powerlessness and helplessness.

However, with regard to our future, our lives were quite similar in pre-coronavirus times. That is, we were playing an egoistic-consumerist game, and our main preoccupation was to simply keep playing it. Most of us were not very focused on where our lives were ultimately headed. Now, it is as if nature confiscated our game, and we feel that we cannot earn and spend ad nauseam as we once did.

How, then, can we advance from here?

Since the coronavirus has made it all the more taxing to take care of ourselves, then perhaps this despair will urge us to arrive at a decision where we will need to take more care of each other.

Our powerlessness, helplessness and dissatisfaction in our personal lives might just be what we need in order to change society’s modus operandi, where instead of looking out for number one all the time—me, myself and mine—which gives rise to an array of negative sensations, we will instead be able to find true fulfillment, strength, happiness, and a reason to live, if we support one another.

Then, when we start living our lives not for our own sake, but in mutual support and consideration of each other, we will see life differently.

We will discover a fresh new purpose to our lives, as we will come closer to aligning our relations with the global and perfect interconnectedness existing in nature. Such a calibration between us and nature would resuscitate us with completely new sensations of livelihood, high spirits and energy, which we currently cannot even imagine. We would then replace the egoistic-consumerist child’s game that we played leading up to the coronavirus with a new game for adults: our active participation to upgrade human relations in order to reach balance with nature.

Photo by Tom Ritson on Unsplash.

“What Is The Purpose Of Life?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is the purpose of life?

The purpose of life is to attain the highest and most exalted state that nature prepared for us: to ascend above our inborn egoistic selves and gain a clear understanding, perception and sensation of why we—and nature on all of its levels, inanimate, vegetative, animate and human—exist.

Moreover, the purpose of life cannot be forced upon or shown to anyone, similarly to how we cannot prove mathematical laws to cats. Instead, every person needs to discover the purpose of life for themselves: to elevate themselves in perception and sensation until they gain a complete vision and feeling of reality.

The ascension above our inborn egoistic nature to the discovery of nature’s wholeness is the fullest meaning of becoming a human being. In Hebrew, the word for “human” is “Adam,” which stems from the phrase, “Adameh le Elyon” (“similar to the most high”), which means that if we rise above our narrow egoistic perception and attain a whole perception of reality, we fulfill our role of becoming “human” in the fullest sense of the term.

In principle, there are two forces in nature: reception (egoism, negative) and bestowal (altruism, positive). We are born and raised solely on the force of reception, which is expressed in us as egoism: the desire to enjoy at the expense of anything or anyone outside of oneself.

Our egoism develops and grows over many generations, from a small desire to enjoy that demands nothing more than its basic survival needs—food, sex, family and shelter—to a bigger ego that requires fulfillment from myriad social connections—money, wealth, honor, respect, fame, control, power and knowledge. In our era, we have reached a uniquely significant transition point where we bear witness to our egoistic development reaching a dead end, i.e., feeling it increasingly hard to feel fulfilled from egoistic pursuits, which also gives rise to a plethora of negative attitudes in society—people taking out their dissatisfaction on each other more and more, leading to increasing polarization and hatred throughout society.

Today’s overblown egoism thus points the way to the need for us to draw an opposite, positive and altruistic force in order for us create balanced relations among each other and with nature.

Both our inborn egoism as well as the positive altruistic force stem from nature, and the purpose of life is that we apply ourselves to attract nature’s positive altruistic force above our egoistic one, in order that we live in balance and harmony with nature.

“What Does ‘I Think; Therefore I Am’ Mean?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What does ‘I think; therefore I am’ mean?

Our universe is a thought. Our world is a thought. We live in thought.

Our perception constantly develops, and the more it transforms, the more changes we observe in the world.

It is very significant to note that we can control our thinking. Why is that so significant? It is because by controlling our thoughts, we can create a certain kind of world to live in.

On the surface, our thoughts seem involuntary. However, if we pay closer attention, we will see how they appear as a result of our environmental influences.

We imagine to ourselves all kinds of visions, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings; thinking thoughts and ideas inputted from our environment.

What the environment projects, we think about in one way or another.

Therefore, we would be wise to take caution with what and whom we surround ourselves, since our positive or negative thoughts—and thus, world—will be influenced by the kinds of inputs we receive from our environment.

Positive influences would portray examples of unifying communication and values of mutual responsibility and consideration:

People discussing problems and reaching resolutions that unity is more important than their conflicting opinions, even though they each feel adhered to their differing opinions.

Art, entertainment, media and events that promote values of mutual responsibility and consideration.
Today’s divisive messaging filling mass media spreads swathes of divisive thoughts in society, and these negative influences and thoughts give us a picture of our world where we see hatred abounding more in more in society. Also, those delivering divisive messages throughout the media believe that it serves them to do so, but on the contrary, it acts to both theirs and society’s detriment.

We have reached a major transitional point in history where we experience crisis on one hand—polarizing attitudes tearing society apart—while on the other hand, we increasingly feel the negative effects of living divided.

In addition, today we have the means to unite above division: to implement a method of connection that has the capability to secure our livelihood for generations, as well as raise us to a completely new kind of perception and sensation of our world. In other words, in order to feel that we live in a perfect world, we need only figure out how to unite above our divisive drives, and there is a method available that can unlock this revolution in human attitude and perception.

A central aspect of this method is environmental influence. By taking charge of our environment—choosing the kinds of social, media and educational influences that we absorb—we can guide our thoughts to think about creating a perfectly unified society, which “clicks” into balance with nature’s interconnectedness, and by doing so, experience total harmony.

Photo by Andy Li on Unsplash

“What Is The Definition Of Altruism?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is the definition of altruism?

Altruism is egoism’s opposite, and egoism is self-centeredness, or a desire to enjoy at the expense of others.

Altruism is thus giving from oneself to others, to what is outside of us—humanity and nature.

Egoism is an inward direction—a desire to receive—and altruism is an outward direction—a desire to give.

After the definition of altruism arises the question: How can human beings become genuinely altruistic?

Becoming altruistic requires participating in a supportive social and learning environment where we can learn how nature operates altruistically, and practice how to think and act similarly to nature, together with others.

Genuine implementation of altruistic attitudes in a certain environment awakens forces dwelling in nature that can instill in us an altruistic perception and sensation of reality. That is, by regularly influencing one another in a certain social setup with the greatness and importance of altruism—how it is a nature-based quality, and how our becoming altruistic can solve all of our problems and lead us to much happier and more secure lives—we can then invert ourselves from being naturally egoistic, to acquiring a second altruistic nature.

We would then become beings with outwardly-aimed thoughts, desires, actions, intentions and goals—opposite to our current inwardly-aimed egoistic operating system.

Preceding participation in an egoistic-to-altruistic transformation process is a conclusion that more and more of humanity is reaching: the understanding of our egoistic nature leading to no positive outcomes, and the realization of the need for a shift to altruism, that altruistic forces that could grant us secure our survival, and even more so, invigorate, energize and enhance our lives.

“What Are Top Jewish Values?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What are top Jewish values?

Top Jewish values are those that originally united us as a Jewish people. They are values initially established by Abraham and his group, who became known as “the people of Israel,” around 3,800 years ago.

Abraham set the foundation for Jewish values of unification and mutual responsibility to spread among his group. Guided by such values, Abraham’s group learned how to live harmoniously as a single unified nation.

Today, such values have become less relevant in the eyes of many Jews, to a point where we are more like a cluster of separate groups—left vs. right, religious vs. secular, Ashkenazi vs. Sephardi, to name a few—in a constant struggle against one another.

To return to our united roots and reinstate ourselves as a unified Jewish people, we thus need to elevate our original values of unification and mutual responsibility to the center of our common discourse.

Then the question becomes: What would make us want to reunite as a single nation once again? Why is that even important?

Similar to how anti-Semitism once goaded many of us to establish what we now know as the State of Israel, today, as we bear witness to a sharp rise of anti-Semitic sentiment, both directly against Jews and also indirectly disguised as delegitimization of Israel, in many countries—and notably in the United States—we increasingly find ourselves cornered into a situation where we will have to elevate unification and mutual responsibility to top priority for the sake of our very survival.

Understanding unification and mutual responsibility as our leading values—based on laws of nature that we once discovered under Abraham—prepares us for our current and future challenges. With such an understanding, we can strengthen bonds that span across people, groups, factions, ages and genders, and aim to unite everyone, without exception, above all of our differences. And when we’re united above our differences, we will supply a special unifying strength to all people to unite above their differences. This is the meaning of our being called “a light unto the nations.”

By engaging in this venture to build a new harmonious society based on unification and mutual responsibility, we will be able to take big steps toward realizing our destiny that our forefathers dreamed of: to become Jewish in the fullest sense of the term (the Hebrew word for “Jew” [Yehudi] comes from the word for “united” [yihudi] [Yaarot Devash, Part 2, Drush no. 2]). Moreover, by realizing such a vision, we will serve as a model for a perfect society of happy and successful individuals who share life’s most important values of love and connection. As a result, the world will absorb the unifying atmosphere that we project, and anti-Semitism in all of its forms will subside.

Today, the means are available and becoming all the more needed in order to rise above the intensifying social division and realize a whole new positive and harmonious direction for society. In essence, the positive transformation starts with elevating the values of unification and mutual responsibility to the center of our common discourse.

“What Is The Human Brain?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is the human brain?

The human brain is a computer-like memory device.

It is situated not in our head, but in the field surrounding us, which we connect to.

The human brain functions as an instrument that connects with the greater field of collective consciousness encircling us.

This collective field of consciousness—nature—controls the human brain, and its calculations are outcomes of nature’s control.

“Is Elon Musk’s Plan To Put A Million People On Mars By 2050 Even Remotely Feasible, Or Has He Gone Totally Bonkers?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is Elon Musk’s plan to put a million people on Mars by 2050 even remotely feasible, or has he gone totally bonkers?

There is no need to colonize Mars.

I recently posted that the Earth can supply for many more billions of people than we currently inhabit, and that the difference between experiencing life on Earth as unpleasant versus feeling it as bliss is only in how we adjust our attitudes to each other.

In other words, we need only focus on creating life on Earth so that we positively connect, and then we will feel completely fulfilled—and the experience of complete fulfillment will dissolve any thoughts about inhabiting other planets.

I was also once very interested in space conquest, but after finding a method that gains us access to expanding our perception of reality and improving human connection, I see that we would better expend the energy that goes into all of our space programs by instead upgrading human relations.

It is natural that some of us have ambitions to transcend boundaries and ascend above our planet. These ambitions can also become fulfilled by rising in our will, our perception and our sensation of reality. Even if we fly to other planets and live there, if we fail to upgrade our attitude to others, then we will remain in our same sensations, and will have achieved little compared to the immense inner transformation that we can undergo.

Therefore, I recommend that we instead apply ourselves to improving human connections—rising above our egoistic boundaries and discovering new altruistic relations—and by doing so, we will discover completely new perceptions, sensations and fulfillments. Even traveling to the farthest planet in our galaxy would fall short of the fulfillment we would get from engaging in such an inner transformation.

Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash.