A Series of Talks between Michael Laitman and Psychologist Anatoly Ulianov
Talk No. 6
December 14, 2012
Contact on an Emotional Level
Question: The aim of the psychological portion of the integral upbringing course is to teach people to communicate with each other, to hear one another, and to develop a meaningful and deep contact between themselves. How can this be done?
Answer: We need to understand what interpersonal contacts are.
They say that it’s not a family if there are no children. What do people live for? Suppose today a couple likes each other physically, they are satisfied with each other physiologically, they are comfortable together. Comfortable for now…. A child is somewhat of a middle ground, something common that binds them together.
When a person tries to establish contact with someone else, he or she should clearly see what they have in common with each other, what mutually ties them together. It isn’t just some junction, but a common emotional, physiological, physical, social, and cultural realm where they don’t simply touch but as if overlay over one another.
Each individual represents a “circle,” and the extent to which he or she can overlap with the “circle” of another person defines their ability to establish a deep and multidimensional contact.
First and foremost, we need to understand that in our time, contact between two people is such that their individual circles don’t touch each other because their egoism has grown to its ultimate state, and whatever my circle encompasses doesn’t fit into any other circles. I feel so exceptional—a personality, an egoist—that I cannot perceive another as an individual who has their own interests and needs. To me, another person is just an object of consumption. If that interests me, I enter into contact with him, but I don’t treat him like a person, an individual with his own inner world and circle of interests, but interact with him as a consumer with a source of pleasure, and nothing more.
And this is how we communicate with each other. It’s convenient this way: Everyone has their cell phone, computer, and email. We hide behind them and thereby mask our absolute separation from each other.
We see how different communities gradually disappear, and we are hiding behind our monitors, seemingly socializing, while in the meantime inventing new standards of rules and behavior for ourselves. But all of this happens virtually, without adjoining emotionally with any other circles. We invent a new language, hiding behind some other forms, other shells, present ourselves online completely differently from the way we actually are, use emoticons instead of our own face, or sign in with different names. In other words, people are playing without revealing themselves under any circumstances. And egoism goes along with this, it feels good and comfortable.
Our main task is to reveal whether people have something in common, and not just two people, but everyone. It’s because we’re talking about an integral society towards which nature is pushing us, either through suffering or by our voluntary realization and drive towards this bright state of humanity. That is why having revealed what all of us share in common, we will then be able to make contact on an emotional level; we will not conceal ourselves from each other but on the contrary, will try to open ourselves up.
Each will reveal their inner “I” and place it above the external one, above this image, above their first and last name, above their occupation and all kinds of external habits, customs, language, and everything else. One’s emotional world will rise above their usual physical state given to them by nature. This is what we need to develop in a person.
For that we need to show people that by unifying between ourselves, by superimposing our individual circles on one another, by bonding with each other into a single mechanism, we will not turn into robots or become vulnerable, like in the famous Russian saying, “Open your soul so that someone could spit into it.” We are doing it so that in our unified integral movement, when we are like a single unified analog mechanism, we will reach a special goal and give birth to something new, just like a couple that unites in order to bear offspring.
Except here we are all giving birth together, creating a completely new state in humanity, where we won’t have to hide, fear, or strive to snatch away from each other so as to raise ourselves. On the contrary, our ascent will be mutual, precisely through this common “offspring” of ours that we will nurse and cherish, constantly raise and develop.
The Birth of the State of “Adam”
The state of an integral society is not characterized by everyone’s individuality, but precisely by whatever appears between us, above us, as if outside of us. At the same time we ascend above our beastly level to the next one called “Man” or “Adam” in Hebrew.
It is not for nothing that Adam is described in ancient sources as a single collective image from which we allegedly arose, having divided internally after his fall from virtue (the origin of egoism) that tore this image into a multitude of parts. Every particle is each one of us.
And now, in spite of this egoism that exists between us as a dividing, repelling force, we need to rise above it. We do so not by destroying it but on the contrary, by using it for an ascent because without a mutual repelling force between us, we won’t have a stimulus to overcome it precisely through an ascent above it. And by ascending above this force we unite.
In other words, even though the force of our egoistic separation seems to cause harm, in reality it is to our benefit. It involuntarily elevates us above ourselves, above our beastly level—the egoistic path of development that in our time is coming to an end. We call it beastly because it develops in us instinctively, just like all the previous stages of development, which we underwent in the process of evolution.
Now a next phase of humanity’s development is emerging, a conscious one where we reveal in ourselves the collective image of “Adam,” which we need to assemble, rising above egoism, connecting among ourselves, overlaying upon one another into one single mechanism, and completing each other. Egoism will help us in that, and we must have a correct attitude towards it.
We can observe this picture from an example of a correct family, where two serious grownup people with a high level of awareness understand both the differences between them and the possibility of creating a common field of mutual overlay with each other. The overlay of one circle over the other, their common intersection, the shared segment between them, is what we call a family. The ideal scenario is when both circles overlay on one another completely.
However, we don’t simply overlay each other on an animate level, but rise spiritually to a state of “Adam,” towards an emergence of a certain third element between us, the result of our efforts. The overlay of one circle on another doesn’t mean that one suppresses the other or that both disappear. A certain third, middle, element arises, composed of the two others, from their aspiration to be together in spite of egoism, which is against that.
This is a complex state. We need to outline and describe it, and to attempt to bring a person into it emotionally.
The integral upbringing means the creation of this third state within a person. It is buried deep inside us in its embryonic form, but we need to consciously extract it from ourselves and to rise to that level.
In the course of our evolution we developed from inanimate nature towards the vegetative and animate levels of nature. In our day, a human is no different from an animal with the exception that we developed science, technology, and culture.
But here we are talking about a completely different level of attainment, sensation, and penetration of nature: the birthing of a state of “Adam,” which never existed in us before. Each of us carries only a fragment of the common state towards which we need to arrive by gathering all these fragments into one.
Lend Me the Quality of Love
Question: The beautiful model of integral unification is more or less clear. Yet what should a person do in order for that to happen in practice?
Answer: Let’s remove ourselves a little from our reality and imagine an ideal, maybe even utopian society—it doesn’t matter how we call it. What would it be like taking into account our most magnanimous motives? And after we imagine it, let’s think: “Is it even possible to achieve it given our nature? Why did nature create us precisely opposite to this perfect and sublime state?”
We will see that mutual pressure and competition in the good sense of the word do not bring us to a state of absolute comfort; rather, we reach it through our voluntary, desired, and intentional mutual help. There is no doubt that if humanity was arranged this way, we would be a truly great society.
Why did nature create us to be different? Isn’t it that very same nature that represents a perfect system in which everything is interconnected and exists in mutual guarantee and homeostasis? Why do we actually need this destructive egoism?
Everyone recognizes egoism as evil, as an inevitable reality. Sociologists, political scientists, and psychologists, all the people who deal with a human being and with society are forced to take our nature into consideration and based on it, to somehow compensate the destructive influence of egoism.
Except here we shouldn’t keep trying to compensate for it as it is customary on the earthly level. Rather, we need to turn egoism into our helper, that is, to recognize its nature.
We desire to be fulfilled at the expense of others, the way a mother receives pleasure by means of her child. A child to her is an object of pleasure. She is an egoist, she cannot part with him for a second, and this isn’t a manifestation of her concern for the child as much as it is of her concern for herself—she simply cannot tear herself away from him. If you disconnect her pleasure center, then undoubtedly that very minute she will switch to a new object of pleasure because her treasured child, who after birth meant everything to her, will suddenly fall out of her field of vision and she will become indifferent towards him, like towards any other child.
From this simple example it can be seen that a person’s egoism, in this case a mother’s, receives tremendous fulfillment precisely from the fact that it’s looking after another, giving to another, and caring for another.
Why can’t we relate this way to everyone else and thereby experience endless fulfillment? After all, if I tune into other people’s desires, thoughts, and feelings, attach them to myself and relate to them with love and involvement, then I begin to sense an enormous and endless possibility of pleasure, unrestricted by anything or anyone. I give, care, and participate and thus become fulfilled.
The most important thing for us is fulfillment. This is why we exist. The sensation of life is a sensation of fulfillment, each time by means of different objects, but generally it’s fulfillment. Inside of us it amounts to a certain purely physical, moral, or spiritual substance.
It can be thought of as stimulation of some inner streams of information, currents, or chemical reactions—it doesn’t matter what exactly. But the important thing is that we perceive it as fulfillment. In this case the only thing that’s missing is a correct attitude towards each other, the same kind of love as a mother’s love for her child.
Where can we find this quality? If I could come to, say, some gas station and say: “I want to exchange my egoism. Instead of it give me ten percent of love.” They fill me up there with this quality of love instead of the qualities of envy, hatred, and jealousy, and therefore I can now relate to everyone differently. At least up to these 10% I will be fulfilled and happy.
Moreover, others aren’t even important to me. What matters to me is that I attain comfort and stop seeing competitors in everyone, stop experiencing hatred, fears, and worries. Conversely, everything gradually begins to change into something kind, pleasant, and tranquil.
We cannot even imagine this state except maybe in relation to our own children. Though even with that in our egoistic world we have to constantly remain near the child, fighting with the entire world in order to protect our offspring from all kinds of problems and dangers.
Therefore the problem of changing our attitude towards people around us is a purely psychological problem that can be resolved with the help of psychological training.
After all, a human being is a product of his environment. If we actually raised people in this artificial environment (since our natural environment is egoistic) and would constantly set before them proper goals (while in the meantime their egoism would be continuously growing since it is programmed by nature and there is no escaping that), then we would be forced to constantly develop our field of love, of mutuality. Then we would begin to understand that “love thy friend as thyself” actually is the goal of humanity.
Coercion or Realization?
The Biblical rule of “love thy friend as thyself” is not talking either about the present or the past. Even religions have abandoned this goal long ago as something unattainable and turned their attention to everyday problems: helping people in some things, protecting them from others, offering psychological support, and no more than that.
However today, we can see that nature is forcing us into that. That means that we need to explain to ourselves and to everyone that under the influence of mass media and society we can begin to change a human being, provided it will not be lies like during the Soviet regime.
The right words were said there, the correct goals were set, but they weren’t accompanied by people’s upbringing. There was only much talk about upbringing and creating a new Soviet identity. “A new individual,” “there was never anything like this in the world before,” and so on, these wonderful words corresponded perfectly to the integral methodology. But in reality all that didn’t exist. The only thing that existed was coercion, which cannot be under any circumstances! There cannot be either fear, or blows, or destruction, or horrible pressure, or anything else that was carried out by the Soviet regime.
The transformation should occur not through coercion, but through realization. The realization will come from the crisis, and there is no other way out of it.
It turns out that while during the Soviet regime this was necessary for a certain few but not everyone else, today it’s the opposite: It is essential for everyone because there is no other way to get out of our state. Otherwise, we will face world wars and mutual destruction. Where else could our egoism lead us? We all understand that it can only lead towards that.
Therefore our next social formation is either Nazism, fascism, and mutual destruction or it is a conscious movement forward, where we on our own create ourselves on a new level, that is, work on our own upbringing.
Create Your Own Self
Today we need to prepare people for the new world the same way that we prepare kids for our world. We should realize that we have to play against our egoism in the same way a little child plays. We are required to artificially evoke this new world in our imagination.
Obviously, we’re deceiving ourselves in this way. Yes, I lie to myself because my egoistic nature forces me to snatch for myself anything I can lay my hands on. But I must be different because otherwise I will not rise to the next level, the level of an integral human being, Adam. I can only rise to it with the help of my environment, which I myself need to create.
So it follows that ultimately I have to examine: “What exactly is this new type of humanity? What can bring me to it? What sort of environment, influence, can shape me into anything? How can I create this environment for myself so that I will change?”
It turns out that, in a way, I elevate myself. I grow through that. In the process I become aware of all the forces of nature that I need to change and use in order to change myself.
By building this new society, a person reaches the highest level of nature. I begin to attain the entire mechanism of my development and understand the full depth of the engine that works in the evolutionary process. I step onto the level of the creator who alters one’s own self.
Can you only imagine what a superb psychologist a person becomes for himself! This is why I believe that this science is the most necessary one in our current state.
From this it becomes clear that we need to teach people about psychology of an individual human being and of society, about freedom of will, and to tell them about the forces that act on us and through which we can influence ourselves. In other words, we ourselves are building the society that is going to change us.
We should study and examine ourselves very well, our inner qualities, both personal and social, through all kinds of connections based on mentalities, habits, and lifestyles. And accordingly, we have to build an integral external influence on humanity as a whole and on each of its civilizations, nations, cultures, and so on.
This is an enormous undertaking, but it is the work of making a true human out of us, and therefore this is noble work. We will create a human being from an animal.
The task we are facing is enormous. The efforts of a tremendous amount of people are required here, and first and foremost of those who are testing all these processes on themselves, who study them, raise objections, discuss, and simultaneously attempt to do something. All of humanity should participate in this, absolutely everyone, young and old! Every person needs to be engaged in this process for a very long time.
If we desire to rise to the next level of our development, the level of the integral image of “Adam,” we need to give ourselves to this pursuit completely and to tend to our beastly, physical state only to whatever extent is actually necessary so that this animal could exist comfortably and not interfere with our creation of Adam out of ourselves.
This shows us why the current condition of humanity is leading us towards that against our will, as well as the reason for the crisis and the enormous amount of the unemployed.
Before long armies of billions of the unemployed will appear and as a result, only the most necessary enterprises such as manufacturing of foodstuffs, clothes, construction, and so on will remain, and only to the extent and quantity required for a normal existence. Only a certain number of people will work in these enterprises, or perhaps everyone a little bit of time. But all of them, regardless of whether they’re working or free from work, will have to pursue integral education.
With that humanity is freeing tremendous egoistic resources that previously were busy manufacturing unnecessary things. They will all be gradually transitioned precisely towards building the next stage: the creation of an integral society.
We won’t be able to avoid it. We need to progressively make our way towards this because only movement in that direction will smooth out our current threatening state, which leads us toward a world war.
Transitional Process and Fashion
Question: Whenever you say that people will willingly renounce unnecessary production, I have doubts.
Answer: They won’t renounce it. The environment should influence a person in such a way that he or she would simply stop pursuing that. Just like we are no longer interested in children’s games because we are now grownups and have other interests, the same will happen here. We will involuntarily start pursuing something that is more important to us, more fulfilling.
To the extent that I will change, I will demand more and more refined fulfillments, and that’s why I will no longer be interested in acquiring a cutting-edge car or fashionable clothes from a famous couturier. I will suddenly realize that I am forgetting about all of that, like a scientist who becomes absorbed by his or her work, passion, and feels fulfillment from being occupied by formulas or researching mice, and that’s it! It makes no difference to him or her what to eat or what to wear—that’s how a person deeply submerged in something feels.
In our time it’s trendy to demonstrate a deliberatively dismissive attitude towards fashion (“it makes no difference what to eat or how to dress”), when people of the arts and other circles want to show that all of them are a little bit above our world, so to speak.
There is a certain movement in this, a desire to show that one has other concerns, other interests, and doesn’t care about some tuxedo with a bow-tie. This entire fashion: hole-riddled jeans and so on are hints at allegedly inner aspirations towards something and a contempt for externality. The tattoos, rings, and piercings in various places, these aren’t adornments on a person but attempts to express one’s inner state through this external imagery.
It’s a transitional process when it’s important to really acknowledge the full insignificance and foolishness of these attempts.
Nevertheless, this is a good example of the environment’s influence on a person. All these are offerings to fashion. There is nothing to be done. Until it passes, either as a result of the crisis or as a consequence of an ascent, nothing is going to change.
The Future Lies In Integration
Question: Let’s assume that after certain preparation, people in agroup of ten proceed to verbally build some shared ideal image of an integral future. And afterwards they begin to clarify which of their qualities hinder the realization of this image in reality.
Answer: First of all, I would take not just ten people but, say, a hundred. From this hundred I would select completely different individuals, simply a cross-section of society, top to bottom. I would constantly diversify the questions, answers, and discussions between them. I would give a lot of attention to scientists participating in this forum so that they, from their perspective, would constantly fortify us, regular people, with their conclusions that we have no choice and nature obliges us.
First and foremost, we should act on the premise that there is no other way out: We are obliged to arrive at this state! Otherwise we’ll still get there, but it will happen through the blows.
There are two paths towards the same goal: either through force or through our conscious realization. Moreover, the conscious path is short and comfortable.
The path of force means wars and annihilation. In the end, suffering will have to be so great that I will willingly wish to renounce my egoism. But this is a subconscious development, and moreover, egoism will continuously manifest more and more. In other words, I will have to go through unfathomable lifetimes, not just one life—both within myself, in my parents, and in my children—before humanity will realize, as a result of a few generations of tremendous suffering, that it must change its nature and become integral.
This is a path that awaits us if we proceed under the influence of the coercing force of nature. Scientists need to uncover, to illustrate with examples, with experience that this is in fact a law of nature and there is no way to evade this law.
This law is actualized in us with every passing day with greater and greater force. Its movement is accelerating, so we shouldn’t delay and put it off on our children. No way! In the upcoming few years, our state will fall short of tolerable if we ourselves won’t strive towards this.
On the flip side, these same scientists are saying that as soon as we change the vector of our development to a desirable one (which would be an integral society of the future), we will immediately begin to sense nature’s benevolent relationship towards us on all levels. This includes climate, health, family relationships, financial and psychological issues, and so on.
Positive and negative statistics can be collected here, taking two societies for comparison: one which continues to pressurize itself with its egoism and the other that develops integrally.
It certainly isn’t easy, but if we did that, we would make this discovery. Scientists are revealing these laws in practice even without any such experimental group. We need their help. We need psychologists, sociologists. After all, we develop by putting people of science on the front lines, and here it should be the same way.
We absolutely need to rely on scientific data and correspondingly, to invest financial means specifically into this research that is not yet being done today. This is why we don’t have sufficiently precise data and we cannot operate with numbers.
I know many people who think like us, who understand or are capable of understanding at least a part of the overall idea. The vast majority of them are scientists: biologists, physiologists, sociologists, and psychologists.
But we cannot yet translate this idea into numbers, into something explicitly evident, with which we could approach economists, political scientists, and so on. But among them there is a large number of people who understand that the future lies in absolute integration.
Question: A person performs many destructive acts that literally wreck their life. This is a destruction of oneself, of the children, and of those around him. I can converse with people in the group only in the aspect of psychology so that their connection will become kinder and they will be happier. The same thing can be done by, say, an economist or many other specialists. Is this materialistic knowledge sufficient for building an integral field within a group?
Answer: A person will be convinced, will have grounds to believe that it is necessary to ascend. I see a danger ahead of me, and if I continue to act this way, if the surrounding society stays the same, it will be even worse. It is necessary for me to change myself and society.
People move from place to place, change careers, change everything, all only to transition to a better state. While here we are demonstrating that we don’t have any other choice, we need to simply run away from ourselves. That is why I keep saying that the most important thing is to show a person that this is a challenge of nature from which there is no escape.
Is It Possible To Befriend A Mother-In-Law?
Question: Social psychology speaks of the role of “small talk” and states that to have a good relationship with your neighbors, it is sufficient to simply say “hello” during each encounter. If I don’t do this systematically, then in the overall system I become indebted to my neighbors. When this “debt” reaches its maximum, neighbors can simply get rid of me. Can this kind of information help a person build an integral society?
Answer: Of course it can. This information speaks to the fact that we are all integrally connected and therefore need to receive certain signals from each other, at the very least to interact on the level of “hello.” This is a good example.
Question: I can give another example. We spoke about a rather peculiar interaction between relatives. For some reason, a majority of people attempt to build a friendly relationship with, say, their mother-in-law. Obviously, they don’t succeed in that; they are burdened by these ties, which then turn into resentments. In the integral upbringing courses, can we tell people that they shouldn’t try to be friends with their mother-in-law, that this is a different form of interaction?
Answer: People need to be taught a lot in this respect, in particular about what levels of connection one should have. However, I don’t think that we need to operate the way that psychologists do today. If we enter the level of mutual integration, the well-intentioned, simple attitude of people towards each other will involuntarily build the correct connections, where we don’t shun or show off to each other.
It is precisely these sincere mutual interactions that will place us in our corresponding positions relative to each other, akin to connected cogwheels. There are people with whom my connection is tighter, as well as those who are further away from me. I shouldn’t pretend otherwise and insinuate myself into a tight grip with everyone.
Therefore, if I am bound to my spouse through family ties, it doesn’t mean that I have to be similarly connected with her mother and other relatives since all of this is carried out only through him or her and in no other way. If it wasn’t for my spouse, I would possibly have never even known them. It is necessary for us to show these connections directly, to clarify them.
When we draw people towards mutual integrality, they understand that mutual separation or mutual closeness should originate precisely from our state in the overall system. And that is why there shouldn’t be any offense or resentment here.
I greet my neighbors because the fact that living in the same wing of an apartment building or on the same floor obliges me to do so, while I have no obligation to greet the people who live in a neighboring house or even a neighboring wing.
In other words, it is precisely our compatibility with each other and our closeness that determine to what extent I need to expose this mutual connection, this cohesion with others. Thus, if this is recognized by people, they are not obliged to anything. On the contrary, they will naturally, from within, enter any given contact in accordance with the general system, the overall interconnection between everyone.
I do not see a problem in this and I think that all of this will spring from within a person.
Our Friend, Egoism
Question: When young people, a man and a woman, are making their plans for the future, they dream about the way they’re going to live. Could spouses discuss the ideal picture of an integral family in an integral education group so that everyone could contribute their own vision to it?
Answer: This is useful even today. When creating an image of an ideal family, we need to understand our egoistic nature and have a completely objective attitude towards it. If I can objectively open up to my group, to “dissect” myself before it, and in addition, the group could also explain to me from its point of view who I am and otherwise, then by understanding the viewpoints, habits, and motivations of one another, all the things given by nature and instilled in us, then we would attempt to rise above that into a completely new system of mutual relationships.
We wouldn’t try to break each other because we are creating something mutual: that which is comfortable and good for us. And all our negative inner egoistic impulses would conversely automatically transform into unification above them.
We begin to see that if this egoism of ours didn’t exist, then we wouldn’t have been able to enter into contact with each other. But thanks to the fact that we build this common superstructure above it, the egoism is actually our partner, friend, and helper, acting seemingly against us while in reality demonstrating that precisely through resistance to it, by turning it inside-out in our mutual relationships, we create a new family, a new anti-egoistic society.
Egoism plays a crucial role in this society because without it, we wouldn’t be able to achieve anything. It is the very fabric of nature intentionally instilled in us. What differentiates a person from an animal? It is precisely the fact that year after year, generation after generation, egoism grows within man. By using egoism, except in the opposite direction, we create mutuality between us: Instead of repelling us, we come closer; instead of rejection and hatred, there is love. Everything is contained in this.
Don’t Wait Until We Get Old
Question: Let’s say that a man and a woman in a group begin to discuss an integral future, the way they imagine this integral picture…
Answer: In order for them not to fantasize about an ideal picture hinging on material prosperity that they wouldn’t be able to secure for themselves, it is better that they proceed from the principle summarized in a Russian saying, “love makes a cottage a castle”: “Let’s build our own beautiful ‘castle.’”
Question: But “love makes a cottage a castle” is a purely psychological notion.
Answer: Of course! Nothing else is necessary. They will see that they can satisfy themselves with a minimum and at the same time be perfectly happy. They won’t keep destroying themselves in this pursuit of phantom abundance and instead will be able to build their happiness immediately. But for that they need to be very smart. To achieve that, it’s necessary to educate people and seriously pursue their upbringing, to pull them up to a very serious level.
Usually, a lot of the couples get to this point, except that it happens at a very old age. A state of mutual understanding, concessions, and permeation into one another emerges between them. They know each other’s weaknesses and habits; they understand that there are things that we cannot change about another person and thus, it isn’t necessary to try to do that; they begin to love each other’s weaknesses. But all this occurs with age, in other words, though the path of suffering because decades pass before it happens (if they pass without ending in divorce first).
We need to educate people about that.
Question: It is one thing when I’m incidentally telling a person about my system of values while he or she simply listens attentively. It’s an entirely different thing when all of us together are building an ideal picture, like communists who sat around and imagined the ideal future. The problem was that this future proved to be too removed from real life.
Answer: Communists lacked a system for people’s upbringing. And upbringing, especially inRussia during that time, and in today’sRussia too, is an enormous problem because to this day people retained the psychology of slaves. It needs to be slowly restructured to exalt personality.Russia has all the prerequisites for that.
Even though the movement upward towards the human level, toward Adam, assumes a person’s complete dissolution in society, it simultaneously involves his or her growth as a personality. This is the contradiction that they tried to destroy during the Soviet regime because they couldn’t create a system of people’s education and upbringing where a person could be a personality, have their own opinion, and could realize all their potential. They tried to simply make a little screw out of a person: “You don’t have a head, the Party will do your thinking for you; you don’t have anything other than your two hands, so you just work and we will tell you what to do.”
This isn’t the image of Adam towards which we are striving. The attempts to neutralize egoism, to annihilate it, and to artificially implant altruism and self-sacrifice in its place—that is against nature.
Here we are talking about teaching a person to utilize all of his or her egoistic motives and impulses correctly.
A Natural Necessity
Question: In the 1920’s and 30’s, a famous Soviet psychologistVygotsky introduced a concept of a “zone of proximal development,” which, among other things, talks about the difference between an ideal “I” and the real “I.” If this zone becomes too big, then at some point contact between the two systems breaks and a person loses touch with reality. Deception and lies appear, which is what happened inRussia. Do you see any danger in the fact that there is too big of a difference between the ideal picture of an integral society and the real state of people?
Answer: Do you understand what a “natural necessity” is? If at that time all these ideas were simply desirable inRussia, in our current state they are absolutely necessary. If back then it was possible to create a capitalist society, and for those living in the demolished, impoverished, and dejectedRussia a free, flourishing Western world seemed like paradise on earth, today this is no longer the case. Today, just one single picture appears before all of us: either absolute annihilation or constructive work on a new level.
This is why I emphasize that it is necessary to constantly galvanize this point in a person. Another solution just doesn’t exist.
Likewise, there is no other solution to the current European crisis. They are constantly trying to dodge it, to postpone decision making until future meetings, promising that they will think of something then. But, of course, there’s nothing to think of. Everything is heading G-d knows where because nobody can calculate and foresee the negative consequences of this never-ending story and the ensuing forced destruction.
There is no other way. That’s first.
And second, the rift. I think that here we must engage in serious work and, most importantly, to progressively develop society. We only have a single mechanism of influence on a person: the surrounding environment. Only the surrounding environment, no other possibility exists. Psychologists, sociologists, all that is good, but without the influence of a surrounding society on a personality, it won’t change, it won’t receive from them a purpose that will live within.
If some expert tells me about all this, I hear him or her out, become frightened for a moment, surprised, imbued with a concept, and I am ready to carry this out, to act and strive towards something right there and now. I make promises to myself. But afterwards, without the social, without the surrounding and obligating force I will never actually do it.
I require a society that would uphold this idea and a movement that would oblige me to its implementation by relying on my personal qualities such as envy, jealousy, the desire to elevate and realize myself, and the feeling of shame: Who am I compared to them, how do I appear in the eyes of my children and loved ones. Here we need to utilize all the resources available to us (and they are all egoistic since they exist around egoism) in order to compel a person to progressively penetrate into this consciously recognized necessity of an integral unification with others.
Specialists, psychologists should spearhead this, and behind them, a social wall, the mass media.
Question: The difficulty lies in the fact that the collective consciousness is governed entirely by egoism. Twenty years ago, when psychology was just emerging in Russia, it was regarded with disdain, but this attitude gradually changed. I hope that if we continue to promote our methodology of integral upbringing and education, the force of nature will help us implement it soon. At this stage, however, it’s still not evident.
Answer: If we are talking about the first implementation step, then first and foremost we need to assemble a good, serious virtual forum of scientists and experts on various areas, people who understand that the need for integrality is a law of nature and an ascent, an elevation. Man’s ascent towards this state is our mandatory next degree, the next stage of development.
We need to start promoting the general opinion of experts who are talking about this based on their own research, including their research on the crisis, which clearly demonstrates the origins and consequences of the crisis and confirms that only by curing the egoism within us can we transform it from a point of wreckage into a point of ascent. When we will combine all this together and will be able to explain it to everyone, to wide circles of society, then psychologists will receive a green light to begin shaping a desired influence on people, which will be received as such by society itself.
Close Your Eyes To Your Spouse’s Shortcomings
Question: Should I, as a psychologist, paint a realistic picture for people and tell them that it will only get worse in the future, while we offer them a solution?
Answer: If you’re talking about a family conflict and its resolution, here everything is very simple. I would organize courses to educate couples about their mutual psychology and human psychology in general.
Comment: But people can’t tolerate the truth….
Answer: I disagree with that. Truth can in fact be tolerated if I know that I am this way by nature: I love to deceive, steal, cheat others, and use them for my own benefit; I don’t want to acknowledge my shortcomings, but automatically notice the shortcomings of my family members, wife, and so on. And she has the same problems, like any other person. We need to talk all that over, to clarify everything. Perhaps along with that we need to produce films and television programs showing examples of spouses’ sincere revelations, where people open up to each other in absolute objectivity, without any shame or discomfort.
These two biological organisms, two psychological entities live together. They tell each other how each of them perceives and senses their own self and the other person. Such conversation ultimately let them objectively view themselves, their partner, and something common between them. Now everything needs to be brought to the kindest possible state with an understanding that this is nature and there’s nothing to be done about it. And if you’ll keep resisting, there’ll never be an end to this.
I live with my wife for over forty years. Naturally, during this time we repeatedly tried to point out each others’ shortcomings, reproached each other, but in the end each of us held our ground. This “ground” remains within a person, and we need to rise above it since it is impossible to change our nature. We need to educate people about all that.
By rising above it, you begin to see that by “colliding” correctly, all that is negative, all the individual and general shortcomings unite into something good. And it turns out that there is a reason why you are brought together and are completing each other. Above all the disagreements and contradictions you attempt to create a comfortable zone of inner existence for each of you, as well as a comfortable zone for your co-existence, the kind where you cannot even imagine your new suddenly emerging family.
In other words, each of us has something that is our own and this is given by nature. Each spouse accepts what exists in their partner, and together they build a mutual agreement, having risen above themselves. I believe that their agreement—above egoism, which they don’t touch—is entirely achievable. For that it’s not necessary to transform their environment and all the rest. It’s simply regular work with any couple.
Civilized Cohabitation or European “Bazaar”?
Question: Suppose we can all decide that foreigners who came to our country to work cause harm. But how can we agree about something more positive and integral?
Answer: It’s one thing if we’re talking about a family, where people are forced to reach an agreement, that is, they have to either agree or break up. But if we’re talking about the kind of egoism that doesn’t oblige us to be together, like in the example with foreign workers, then this is a different thing entirely. Here we need to come to a sense of necessity for an integral, earthly, and civilized coexistence, which needs to be built on upbringing.
I’m often asked:
– Are you Israeli?
– Do you have a problem with your neighbors?
– Of course! Who doesn’t know that?
– Do you agree with opening up the country’s borders? Can you live with them in peace?
– Of course!
– Then why don’t you do it?
– I agree! But only after we educate each other.
I wouldn’t be able to live in the same apartment with my neighbor until a complete mutual understanding arises between us. But for that to occur we need to go through the process of upbringing, to mutually understand, sense, and come closer to each other. Without that you cannot open up the borders.
InEuropethey opened the borders and now they want to close them again. Why? Well, it’s because during the 20 years of existence of European markets, they didn’t engage in people’s upbringing.
I would even say it was a European “bazaar,” not even a market because they didn’t pursue upbringing or people’s integration. There are an enormous number of cultures, languages, of everything. “We areEurope!” In what, exactly, are youEurope? Today it’s becoming clear that this is simply an assemblage of completely incompatible people. After all this time, has any global European nationality been created, some kind of shared culture? No. On the contrary, the contradictions are beginning to manifest externally more and more.
In other words, upbringing should precede absolutely all actions.