A Series of Talks between Michael Laitman and Psychologist Anatoly Ulianov
Talk No. 2
December 12, 2012
A New Paradigm of the Universe
Today’s development of humanity brings us to a very interesting conclusion: If previously we dedicated at least ten hours a day to work, today our attitude towards that must change at its very root. We shouldn’t look for work. Each person has to work only to the extent required to secure a normal and dignified quality of life.
That isn’t some bare minimum, but precisely a standard accepted as necessary. We don’t strive to procure above this level, understanding that this is the only way to enter into equilibrium with the surrounding nature. A balance between the force of reception and the force of bestowal—the amount each receives from society is the amount he gives back to it—balances us, our entire human community, in relation to nature.
As a consequence, a large amount of a person’s time will get freed up. The resulting void has to be filled through achievement of this very harmony. A person has to develop by interacting and uniting with other people. And the fact that seven-to-eight hours of people’s time a day will become freed up and remain unfilled is something that’s been set in motion in advance by nature’s program. It’s not accidental that we have developed our technology, communications, and international trades and services to such an extent that we can, while working literally two hours a day, supply ourselves with all that is necessary.
This is set by nature, and we have to view it as objective reality. The freed time is specifically intended for us to bring ourselves into the necessary balance. Then we will reveal an entirely new level of existence in nature: the level of its plan, the upper governance. We will start feeling the mechanics that governs the entire universe, including us.
We must explain this to people and for some amount of time to lead them towards the new outlook on life. This is the modern paradigm that people need to understand and get used to. They need to change absolutely all of their thoughts, plans, and attitude towards life, the world, and everything else. In other words, the most important ideal, the most supreme value should be “we”—the achievement of unity between us and balance with nature.
Back to School!
Question: In our methodology of children’s integral upbringing, there are a few basic fundamental principles: single sex education for boys and girls; younger kids are taught by their older peers; children learn “in a circle” and through discussions. Particular attention is paid to practical, lifelike upbringing as opposed to its abstract part. Are these principles different in any way for adults?
Answer: Practically no, because in this regard we are entirely like children who are about to master something new. We are now starting to reveal a new world, a new life, and a new attitude towards it. We have to change and to reveal a new world for ourselves. We are like children who have to understand this new integral world that is approaching us.
In order to avoid experiencing its approach as the modern crisis, all of our actions should be directed towards entering into a state of harmony with this integral world.
Today, nature is starting to treat us as an integral, interconnected, and reciprocally balanced system in which all parts exist in equilibrium, support, and in mutual concessions. We are the most important element in this system! And for that we need to work on ourselves quite hard and to understand that all of this is not someone’s whims, inventions, or philosophical speculations, but truly a law of nature.
This law gradually and inevitably realizes itself within human society, except we don’t correspond to it. Let’s say that someone is trying to insert us into a circular frame, yet we are a square shape and cannot possibly function within a round framework—therein lies the crisis. Therefore, all grownups will have to sit at school desks again and learn to live in a new world, prepare themselves for it.
Question: You spoke about the fact that based on your experience in children’s upbringing in your center, lessons need to be held in a circle and be videotaped so that kids could later see how they look from the side. This is a very effective methodology. Can you also apply it to adults?
Answer: You can apply absolutely the same methods because age does not matter. The only thing that matters is our status relative to that new world, the new social system that we need to enter. Relative to that we are all children, and we have to study it and gradually transform, shape ourselves to match it.
Co-Ed or Single Sex Education
Question: What should be the class composition in integralupbringing courses? Should men and women study together, or is it better to study separately, as with children?
Answer: I think that we need to eliminate as many obstacles as we can. And when men and women sit together, as a rule, this leads to additional obstacles. After all, we are all people, and we have normal instincts, but it’s best to eliminate them while we study.
To this day there are many educational institutions in the world that practice single sex education. And practice shows that it is more effective than co-ed. Therefore, it is best to separate men and women.
However, after a certain period of preparation of male and female groups, they need to be combined with the aim of discussing and clarifying common issues together. Then we’ll be able to see how, on the basis of the covered material and having changed and received an objective integral view of the world, they use discussions or disputes to begin establishing a new system of relationships. By controlling one another, they begin to create something common: not a male or female part, but common to all—the prototype of the future integral society.
But here we need to discuss our attitude to children and parents, including several generations, and to clarify, debate, and actualize these things accordingly.
A Person’s Age Is Not an Obstacle in Studying
Question: There are different stages in educating children according to age: until the age of three, from the age of three to six, from six to nine. Are there such stages in educating adults?
Answer: There are stages, but they are independent of age. When a person reaches adulthood at the age of 18-20, the rest of his development is independent of age; it only depends on internalizing the material both theoretically and practically.
We see this in our courses in which 20-25 year old men, women, and people who are old enough to be not only their parents but their grandparents take part. They have such lively discussions that the generation gap among them becomes absolutely irrelevant because they discuss totally new and even unexpected to them personal, family, and social relationships.
It’s very interesting to see how irrelevant age is from the questions people ask during the lessons or in lectures, and by the way they take part in the discussion. But seniority does matter because experience is acquired gradually over years.
During that time a person should be led. More and more new people come to the groups. Then these groups connect. The separate groups of men and women will also connect, and as a unified group, they’ll connect with the children’s groups and then split up again.
We have to “mix” the students’ society so that they’ll be ready to understand the different states in life correctly and how to deal with them: the mutual relations at work, with managers, with subordinates, with neighbors, with people whom you may find unpleasant or whom you like, as well as with relatives to whom you are somewhat obliged. Thus, a certain transformation will begin in the relationships between people.
We have to talk about all of this and to discuss these matters. A person should experience it, live it, as if “dress” in other people, comparing himself to them, and as a result, connect with them into a single whole.
Thus many scenes will be played inside a person. And video films and discussions are very helpful in this process.
Equality in the Group
Question: Suppose one person has been studying in the system ofintegral upbringing for six months or a year, and someone else is just starting. Should these people study together, in the same space? Or should this work by a principle whereby the more experienced person educates the beginner?
Answer: An experienced person and a beginner cannot be equal in the same group. In our world we bring up children up to the age of twenty years or slightly less, and then set them free into the world. Until we prepare them for life, we treat them as children. We cultivate our level in them, the level of security, support, gradual inclusion into the world, and the feeling of responsibility for their actions, deeds, and behavior.
We should relate to beginners the same way: support them, treat them as children, and not expect correct behavior immediately. In practice, all people on earth will be classified according to the results they will display in integral upbringing.
A Game as an Opportunity for Self-Expression
Question: In the integral upbringing system for children, groups should not be large, only about ten people, two of whom are instructors. Does this principle hold for adults too?
Answer: It’s a lot easier with adults since adults are more responsible people after all. They gladly focus on the instructor and engage in discussions with him. One instructor is quite sufficient for 30-40 people, or perhaps two for 50 people. You don’t need to hold adults together, motivate them, or be playful with them, but just to educate them in form of a game. That’s the first thing.
Second, we do need to understand that people must undergo a very serious inner transformation. It is a tremendous psychological work of a person on his own self; it is his introduction to himself: Who am I? That’s why it is necessary to film him in this game so he could see himself from the side.
After all, we are playing all the time. I represent a certain image that I saw many years ago, adopted it, and am recreating it today. This is how we conduct ourselves. That is clear from psychology. That’s why the most important task in these practical courses is to provide a person with maximally correct assortments of these images that he can copy afterwards.
Based on the fact that one will recreate and control them, he will understand who he actually is because his inner faculties and attributes will constantly reveal themselves relative to the image he is enacting in play. This distance, the delta between who I am and what I am enacting, will help a person to finally attain and know himself. And that is the most important thing. Then he will truly be able to express himself, his innate internal qualities, properties, and talents. And that’s when the world will truly become integral because each person will have an opportunity to express himself.
In addition, we must prepare instructors for the new integral society from each and every one of our students, even the most lagging ones. A person has no right to be merely a passive student and to study only for himself: He must study in order to educate others. He has to feel that to the extent that he acquires that new form of connection among people, he himself becomes an active part of this connection and must necessarily carry it further.
So the students who studied with us for half a year to a year must necessarily lead groups of beginners. At first, of course, they should cover only very limited topics and work along with senior instructors. For them this is absolutely necessary. This is precisely where they develop their skills! This is precisely how the others learn from them!
We don’t need to hide the fact that we are preparing our students to become teachers, and we must place them into an appropriate teaching framework immediately. First of all, this would force them to study the material more carefully and to understand it better. Second, this will develop a tighter connection between them and the others. The most important thing in this entire study is precisely practical activities.
Reaching Agreement Above All Contradictions
Question: When we plan the studies in the courses of integral upbringing, do we need to determine the topics in advance? Should we cover these topics in specific courses?
Answer: No. We need to play with all kinds of study topics in the process of discussions. The majority of them will be in the form of a “courthouse” with a jury, a judge, defense counsels, witnesses, accused, and victims. Actually, this collection of characters is suitable in any situation. Even in our regular life, these situations often arise between couples or neighbors, when each person takes a certain position. Two sides stand one against the other: a group on one side and a group on the other, an independent judge, his assistants, and so on. Also a few instructors would participate to help approach the problem correctly and to be as objective as possible.
In the process of clarifying various situations in life, the questions should be directed at achieving maximum integrity by exposing absolutely all oppositions. One must understand that each person is different, and each one may stay with his opinion, but by rising above this, he must reach agreement with the others. Specifically this general agreement is the result of the trial, and not the punishment that we choose for the person.
The trial continues until all the participants, including the independent judge, reach a full agreement between them. That is, they understand that inside, they may still have conflicting views (all of this is clarified during the trial), but the agreement is above all contradictions.
Learning To Understand the Language of Nature
Question: There is no punishment in the system of integral upbringing of children. We unite with the child and speak to his “human” part: “Let’s see what egoism has done with you, with us.” In other words, we accentuate the division between man and egoism. Can this also be done with adults?
Answer: I would say that it needs to be done in a more intense form. Intense is the keyword here that stresses the importance of it.
We play with a child because we need to be gentle with him since he is not yet developed and is unable to see himself from the side. For now, he only perceive his “I” and nothing else. He does not notice the rest.
At a certain age, he becomes able to distinguish the categories of the “internal I” and the “external I,” other people and our relationships. There are leaps, transitional periods, such as at two years, three years, five to six years, nine years, twelve years, and so forth. Processes accumulate in the person, and his view of the world changes at the next stage. He begins to see and understand the world in a somewhat different way.
With adults, this happens as they adapt to the perception of the new system. This includes integral knowledge, understanding that everything around them is interconnected, and the inclusion into this system, the group, when you must gradually begin to perceive yourself and others as one common whole, a team from which you cannot run away. It is as if you were in a small boat in a rough sea, and your safety depends on your interaction. If you worry, the sea will surge; if you stay calm, the sea will be calm.
It turns out that nature plays with us this way. When it wishes to move us toward the next state, it causes a storm. Then, we gradually change against our will. We will not save ourselves any other way.
We need to learn to understand this language of nature, to begin to perceive it, and to speak with it, in other words, to see it. Then, we really will be able to control it.
Once we become able to control the degree of the integral connection between us, we will see how it influences nature: the number of hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, different natural conditions, revolutions and uprisings, and anything that could ever happen between us and in our private lives. There will be a direct and immediate interaction between all of it, a direct connection with the quality of our relationships. It is very important for man to find and feel this interaction. Then, he will begin to see how he speaks with and influences nature.
Today, we already have ideas about this. There are many theories (and just theories) about interconnection, nature’s influence on man, and, to a lesser extent, man’s influence on nature.
The result of our integral system of upbringing has to be groups of people who really feel nature’s corresponding reaction as a consequence of their more or less correct behavior. This two-sided flirtation with nature, “you for me, I for you,” when you are “we” in relation to it, raises man to the next level of perception of the world, where one actually exists. He begins to perceive the inner forces of nature, the engine of evolution, where it is leading us, and what nature wants.
We suddenly reveal things inside it that we never suspected. It is not an expression of special abilities like those of Wolf Messing, Baba Vanga, or other prophets. This really is a level of inner contemplation when man begins to attain the plan of nature and understand that nothing was created and evolves without a reason. Everything has a specific and very precise program. We develop according to this program and are able to actively participate in it.
This lifts us to the next level of existence where we are no longer blind and helpless parts of nature that realize their inner instincts. We become rational and all-powerful beings.
If we manage to influence nature in a variety of ways with our mutual interaction to a greater or lesser connection between us, we will be able to do anything! With a greater interaction between us, we can rise higher than the speed of light. There are no limits. We can go practically beyond the boundaries of the laws of nature that we now observe and rise to the level of nature itself.
Ascending above One’s Fate
Question: As a psychiatrist I clearly picture people studying in the program of integral upbringing for three to five years. Do you think there are any time constraints, or will people be studying it all their lives?
Answer: Until the entire humanity reaches the highest level of integration with Nature, when we are all connected to it internally, almost instinctively, working with it in unison, I don’t see any way we could walk away from or refuse this. Nature will nonetheless immediately push us toward equilibrium with it with all kinds of blows.
As to what will happen after we’ve reached this state, that I do not know. However, at least for now, observing this developmental trend, meaning nature’s behavior with respect to us, one could say that it will certainly bring us to a state of total harmony.
Comment: So there is some kind of a higher goal in this method that we will all eventually reach?
Answer: I think that in so doing a person will attain the informational depths of his being that exist as though outside his body. In our body we exist for a certain time, while information and its circulation in its various incarnations are eternal. Presently the circulation of information is manifested through the body, though it can manifest through some other images.
Practically speaking, here we rise to a fantastic degree. It may appear that we’re talking about life after death or something like that. However, we’re rising to levels that many people, such as Wolf Messing, already feel in this world.
I think that all people in the world can attain this. In other words, a person ascends above the will of chance, above his own fate.
Love Conquers All
Question: During group dynamics and the interaction of people, apart from a kind atmosphere, various forms of emotional tension also arise: hatred and different sorts of conflicts…
Answer: I think that all this will be revealed more and more since in order to bring us to agreement and balance with nature and each other, we will need a continuously increasing egoism—to the extent that we will penetrate into deeper layers of our interconnection with nature. By rising above it and uniting above such great resistance, we can achieve greater pressure, greater emission of energy, and greater revelation of the inner parts of nature.
In our interaction with each other, egoism plays a part of a resistor, electric resistance that stands between us. And the greater this resistance, the more energy is produced there.
Therefore, the revelation of egoism should become greater every time, and the opposition should become higher and more vivid. As we rise above them, we will penetrate into greater depths of nature. This is our instrument with the help of which we will feel the underlying nature due to the emergence of continuously greater hatred, incongruence, and misunderstanding between us, which tear us apart on all the levels and at every occasion.
If we unite in spite of this, our unification above the resistance will become that very instrument through which we will be in harmony with nature. That is, our harmony will be built on our integral connection with nature, whereas the depth of our unification with it, our penetration into it, will depend on the force of resistance that we overcome between us.
The Truth Is in the Connection between Us
Question: When hatred arises between two people, should they figure out the reasons for it with each other, or should the whole group participate?
Answer: It is much easier to figure it out between two people. There are many additional factors inside the group which force us to act in a particular way. Usually it’s better to perform these clarifications among yourselves or in the presence of a few people with whom you can be completely honest because it is not our goal to prove who is right.
None of us can be right—the truth exists in the unification between us. Therefore, the most important thing is to clarify the greatest differences and rise above each of them. We should tune into each other to such a degree that I would perceive all your negative qualities, which you perceive as given to you, as positive ones.
It is the same with our children. We love everything about our child because love outweighs all the negative things. We see almost nothing bad with our own children and even if we do, we immediately gloss it over, sweeten it, and forgive them. In regard to a neighbor’s child, it is the opposite: I not only notice the most minor negative qualities in him, but also I exaggerate them or make them up only because he is a stranger to me.
We need to understand that by uniting with each other, we need to reach a state where I will perceive all the negative things in you as positive.
The Particulars of an Integral Reality
Question: Behavioral psychology speaks of a so-called “triangle of mutual understanding.” Two of its angles represent communication and empathy, and the third is a shared reality. In the integral upbringing, communication is conducted in a circle. From the point of view of behavioral psychology, it is assumed that in the process of growing mutual understanding, empathy increases too. Now a question arises: Is a shared reality that very integrality?
Answer: We must exist within it. Not inside ourselves, but outside of the self, within this shared reality that we create because this is precisely what objective reality is. Everything that exists inside of me is subjective, that is to say, pure lies. I lie to myself about building my own self. That world is absolutely unreal, invented by me.
Sometimes I am talking to someone and wonder about how differently we perceive the world. I am speaking about one thing, and he sees a completely different picture and talks about something else. And he is absolutely sincere, just like me, because each of us is coming from our own sensations.
Thus, it is necessary to rise higher, into the common desire, the common mind, the common heart and brain, and to observe the world from within the collective image of man that represents the totality of all of us. Then we will see the world as entirely different: not individualized, not distorted by our intrinsic, inner qualities.
If as many people as possible would gather into the common system of “man” (the joint image of man), then naturally, we will see a completely different picture of the world, universe, and ourselves. And it will be enormously different from what we see today. After all, the picture of the world depends on subjective perception, and psychologists know this very well.
We only need to show that if you take your inner desires and properties and compare them to others, that is, to the emerging collective image of man as a single whole, then from within it you will start to observe a truly different world.
You rise above yourself and distance yourself from your body, from your personal qualities so much that the body is no longer important to you. As we see from experience, it is very likely that it will start to be perceived as something foreign, like an animal that exists near you. When you enter that collective image of man, you see your body existing on an animate level. And the generalized image of man belongs to the human level.
Replacing Physical Connection
Question: There is a person’s inner psychological world, but there is also a more external, social level that includes a family and interactions with loved ones. If a person exists within this integral system, does he perceive everyone as if they are his loved ones?
Answer: The sensation of “animal closeness,” the so-called closeness of blood kinship, completely disappears. All people become equally close. And with that we erase absolutely all boundaries.
I am not talking about parents and their children—those ties are very tight, but even they already manifest differently. We literally observe that in our experience.
We see that in today’s world the basic natural connections are breaking down; they are no longer as tight as they were before. Parents give their children away for other families to raise, abandon them. Children leave their parents too soon, they don’t feel a special connection with them. The connection between generations is disappearing.
It is as if nature itself pushes us toward this state from within so we would perceive everyone the same way. Naturally, our upbringing elevates a person above the animal connection.
By “animal connection” I mean a physical one. After all, by birth we belong to the animate degree. And the human level is a collective, generalized level in which we unite in a single desire and mutual ascent above our innate qualities.
How to Spend Your Free Time
Question: Many families dedicate their free time to doing things like shopping together. What should people do if they get a lot of free time in the future?
Answer: Of course there will be a big difference between that and what is happening today.
Today a person works five to six days a week. He is so busy that he has no time left to dedicate to his home. He spends weekends doing work around the house and shopping. Where else is he to spend his time but malls and supermarkets? This is how a modern person spends his leisure time instead of engaging in cultural activities.
However, all these elements of behavior will wither away; we are already seeing this in practice. All of it will be overtaken with completely different activities. A person’s inner states will prevail because they will determine a person’s external activities.
We see how people in our groups strive to communicate: reading, discussions, with various games, music, and theater. In other words, all the groups that are in different places suddenly begin to create amongst ourselves a great cultural environment. They want to do theater, write songs and music; there is a big creative process going on. And we can see that this appears naturally in them, based on an inner need.
I think that what will occupy people most is their aspiration to express themselves as much as possible in every way of human expression, to show their new, inner harmony, the connection between them. As the person rises above himself, the transformation he is experiencing will find its expression, and the solution is specifically in this new culture in its various forms.
I even see this in the example of young children, who grab a toy guitar and wish to express themselves this way. Of course the guitar attracts them because they imitate the adults, but they also want to express themselves. And they try.
The Integral Upbringing of Spouses
Question: Seven to eight hours a day we will spend in a group for integral upbringing. Can I come there alone or with my wife?
Answer: I don’t know whether you can do this and decide this for yourself.
The problem is that we first need to prepare spouses, regardless of their habitual connection with each other, to ensure that they are able to exit that connection. We need to treat them like children, and to make sure that these grownup children are not dependent on their habits.
Let’s say you come to a group. You don’t go there together with your wife. At first you both need to be prepared separately, to make a grown man out of you, and of her a grown woman. You must master the integral skills, understand the system of mutual connection: within a society, in a family, the connection with children, both theoretically and in practice, enacting this with other people.
Only after that should people do the real practical work, that is—with their own spouses, only after they have already accumulated some negative and positive potential. Rising above this isn’t that simple because spouses grow habituated towards some elements of each other’s behavior or they have long-established reactions to certain actions of the other.
We have to rise above all this gradually. That is why we first need to bring a person out of his previous state, present him with a new system of mutual relationships, and after that gradually bring him inside this new system.
But we do not disconnect a person from his family. That is, while the spouses continue to function normally as husband and wife within the family, at the same time, we need to be elevating each of them above their selves, but without touching upon their personal relationship.
Where Are You Real Men?
Question: You said that during the preparation period, a man becomes a man and a woman—a woman. What does it mean to be a grown man? What does it look like?
Answer: I see very few real men in our society. Women are more natural and close to nature, but not to integral nature.
And they both do not have enough understanding of psychology, the technique of decision making in integral society, rising above oneself, self-control. I do not mean the kind of self-control when you suppress yourself, but self control when in the name of unity, in the name of the ultimate goal, you attach yourself to others.
These are very important practical lessons. I think they will take a long time. These theoretical lessons are simple, although the basic theory is also studied together with practice.
We will talk about how to divide our courses, into what form, what parts, how long to teach classes, what their process is, their curriculum, and where one course ends and the other begins or if they will be concurrent.
In principle, we have been working on this system for a long time, and naturally, will elaborate more as wide circles of society will be joining it. But here, we must give a person a very broad education.
The Philosophy Of My “I”
Question: When you talk about the integral society, you always emphasize that a person rejects his own opinion for the sake of the common idea. Could you focus on this in more detail?
Answer: I will say a few words about this. You can say that this is a whole philosophical system.
First of all, a person must understand that he did not create himself. He was born this way. Nature created him the way he is. Partly, he received some qualities from his parents, partly from his environment in the process of growing up, and partly from who knows where, why, and how.
Everything there is in him is not his own, but has passed down to him from some internal genes, which have been realized by the uncountable generations of his ancestors. Specifically, in the creation of a person, the ancestral genes and stem cells of his parents are at work. As it is said in the Bible, “father and mother, and the Creator between them.” The three of them are at work in this process.
Afterwards, a person develops under the influence of the surrounding society, which instills its values onto him. Meaning, that in a person there is nothing of his own.
But where is his personal “I”? It is unclear at all as to what it is. Where does it come from inside of me? Even if we take a small baby, we see that it is simply an automatic machine, a small animal, where the personal “I” is gradually beginning to emerge from somewhere, something independent, structured, personal. However, we do not know what it is.
So then a person separates everything that is not his from this “I,” then he begins to actually feel that it is not a problem to separate from his qualities, which he received from the environment, from education, from his parents, or from who knows where, from the darkness of the centuries.
The most important thing is my “I.” If I only think about how to elevate and realize it, then I don’t care about all of the characteristics and qualities that exist inside of me. Meaning, that they are not mine. If a person positions himself correctly, then he understands that it is not difficult at all to rise above all of this.
It is these “I”s of ours that we have to unite with each other. But leave everything else—because these are only random parameters accompanying us.
Question: So it turns out that the development of this “I” is the objective of the integral education course?
Answer: From the whole of this superficial covering, shell, we must retrieve and develop this nucleus, the original stem cell of each one of us. It can only be developed by means of connecting all of the stem cells together. When we unite them together into one common organism, it will truly be equal and perfect, like nature itself.