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Michael Laitman, PhD

Lecture in Arosa

January 22-25, 2006


Obviousness of Crisis

The general global crisis of humanity is obvious – depression, drugs, collapse of the family, terror, uncontrollable social systems, the threat of the use of nuclear weaponry, ecological catastrophes, and more. For example, according to the data that was published by the European Council in “Gruenbuch”, Europeans suffer from serious depressions that lead to 58,000 suicides a year, while 30% of all citizens of EuropeanCommonwealth suffer mental disorders.

The imminent threat to the existence of humanity is steadily growing as a result of the use of nuclear weapons. In the leading scientists’ opinion, humanity does not have that much time to prevent this crisis from development in an undesirable direction – toward a world thermonuclear war or a global ecological catastrophe.

Correct diagnosis means half of treatment

The signs of a crisis are evident, but as a rule, due to the seeming impossibility of getting out of it, its existence and aggravation are concealed by governments, social organizations, scientists, sociologists, and psychologists. The reason for this deliberate concealment of the global crisis lies in the fact that they see no means of correction of the present state. As a result, this ostrich policy merely aggravates the problem and accelerates the approaching catastrophe.

As medical doctors say, the correct diagnosis is a half of the treatment. The concealment of a disease and underestimation of its seriousness constitutes a direct threat to life.

Although the main problem of civilization is overcoming the global crisis, in order to start solving it, first a solution to a problem of no lesser complexity should be found: the problem of explaining the crisis situation to society. A great number of people are still looking for a solution in scientific, technological, cultural, and social progress, while forgetting that relying on this progress has brought us to the state of crisis.

How can we prevent the deepening of the crisis?

To overcome further deepening of a crisis we have to:

  1. Acknowledge the existence of a crisis.

  2. Revealitscauses.

  3. Realize the existence of an alternative and the possibilities of getting out of it.

  4. Create a plan for getting out of the crisis.

  5. Realizetheplan. 

Sources and Nature of the Crisis 

What is the cause of the crisis? Indeed, not only man, his health, and the forms of his relationships in society are in a critical state. The entire nature is advancing towards catastrophe together with man. Hence, in order to understand the sources of the crisis, we have to analyze the foundations of nature itself.    

Egoism is the world’s matter

All of matter constitutes different measures of desire to be filled with power, life, and delight. The magnitude of desire to be fulfilled creates various levels of nature: inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human as well as determines all processes that occur in them. Every higher level is a manifestation of a bigger desire, and it includes all the previous levels. The phenomenon of man `and his place in the world becomes clear from the realization of unity of nature’s material.

Peculiarities of Human Egoism

The peculiarity of man as compared with rest of nature lies not only in the power and character of his desires, but also in the fact that man’s desires are constantly changing and evolving, causing the development of civilization.

With the exception of man, all of nature consumes only what it needs for its existence. Man desires more than he needs in food, sex, physical comfort, and especially in desires that are inherent only in him: for wealth, power, honor, fame, and knowledge.

Therefore, the desires for things that are necessary for man’s existence are not regarded as egoistical. Only man’s egoism is egoistical. Human egoism is growing continuously, hyperbolically. Its growth stimulates and determines the progress of humanity, but at the same time, it leads to a dead-end, to a global crisis.

Man’s excessive and developing egoism testifies to its incompleteness. By egoism dominating over man, it deprives him of instincts that ensure his survival.


All of nature’s forces except for human ego are in balance. All of them form a single system of nature’s forces and only man disturbs their harmony. Everything in nature is interconnected and aspires to equilibrium within itself and with the surrounding reality. The violation of similarity leads to the violation of equilibrium, beyond the limits of which, the organism starts disintegrating. The possibility of restoring equilibrium is the condition of life.  

Emergence of a Conflict 

No creature in nature but man relates to others with the intention to harm, use, and exploit them. No other creature derives pleasure from the suppression of others or enjoys their grief. Only man can enjoy the grief of another.

The egoistical (i.e., with the intention of self-elevation at the expense of a fellow man) use of human desires leads to a dangerous imbalance with the surrounding world. Our egoism is the only destructive force in the world. This is why the world will not be able to exist unless man changes his egoistical attitude towards society. 

Altruism is Life’s Principle

On the other hand, altruism exists in nature, which is care for the welfare of one’s fellow man.

An object that receives from its environment and gives to it is called a living object. Every living organism consists of a combination of cells and organs that work together while complementing each other. In this process, they are obliged to concede, influence, and help one another. The law of integration of cells and organs according to the altruistic principle “one for all” is effective in every living organism.

Egoism of a Part Leads to the Death of the Whole

If the cell of a living organism starts acting egoistically with regard to other cells, it becomes cancerous, kills the entire body, and, as a result, itself. A cancerous cell is continuously dividing. It devours all around it, having no obligations to them and no reactions to the organism’s commands. The same applies to egoism in nature; while developing by itself, it leads everything, including itself, to death.

Altruism Is Nature’s program 

Only by interacting as a single whole can cells exist, develop, and multiply. Otherwise, the general law of nature (as a general system) will influence themin an oppressive way.The law of altruistic interaction functions in every created being except in man.Man is given freedom of will to realize the need for altruism and to observe this general law of nature.

Nature’s Purpose

Program of Control

While researching the surrounding world, we discover the connection among all of its parts, their cause-and-effect development and purpose of actions.

The development of human society and globalization compelled us to see the world as a single who consisting of opposites. The world’s perfection lies in the unity of its elements. This is achieved only by the co-existence of all of nature’s parts, when every part works for the sake of the entire system’s life. Since except for man, all of nature strictly fulfills its predestination, the obvious goal of nature is to lead man to perfection, to the property of bestowal. This is what the program of nature’s governance is all about.

Natural Development of Desires 

Since man’s development occurs in accordance with the program of nature’s governance, more and more people feel unhappy, empty, and depressed. They aspire to do away with this sensation with the help of drugs and terror. Crisis of the family, education, sciences, arts, and the threat of destruction as a result of an ecological or nuclear catastrophe are also the consequences of this state.

As long as man egoistically develops and uses his desires, Nature itself creates a threatening atmosphere around him. As a result, man is obliged to realize his place in nature’s system and perceive his egoism as the only evil. By subjecting us to suffering, egoism pushes us to search for the method of its correction and the correct unity with Nature.

The Long Path and the Short Path

How does humanity realize the need to become similar to nature? How can egoists arrive at the realization of evil? They will come to it from hopelessness and from the realization of egoism as evil!

One can advance towards the realization of evil by choosing the path of suffering or the short path of correction. However, the path of suffering is not a path; this is just an amount of time that is needed for the realization of all the horrible consequences of one’s stubbornness and egoism. Yet, as soon as a sufficient amount of suffering has been accumulated, a person makes a calculation and decides that there is a greater profit in correction than in suffering, and makes an effort to become similar to nature.

Nevertheless, one can choose a short and easy path of correction: if a person receives knowledge about the world’s structure, causality, and purpose, he accelerates his realization of evil (his opposition to the world) and does not need to realize egoism as evil under the influence of sufferings.  

Therefore, we have to accelerate the process of realization of egoism as evil in the whole world by disseminating knowledge about the crisis and its cause – our opposition to nature.

Cause and Purpose

Thus, the reason for man’s greater opposition to nature lies in the fact that he should understand nature’s plan and program. Through this understanding, man acquires a mind of a level that is higher than that with which he originally came to this world – the Mind of Absolute Altruism, like Nature itself. It is exactly from the opposite, egoistical property that man attains nature’s entire plan. 


Alternative to Crisis

Freedom of Will

Since all of nature except man fulfills its predestination, and only man is created opposite to nature, man is given freedom of will in just one thing – in everyone’s free self-expression by means of making altruistic acts.

Condition of Freedom 

Although it seems to a person that he is free and that he acts of his own will, he submits to the command of genes and fulfills the desires of his environment that imposes its values and standards on him, showing him how profitable it is to be strong, powerful, and prosperous. Man works hard during his whole life only to make the society see how successfully he follows the society’s rules. It turns out that he does not live for himself at all; he forces himself to look well in the eyes of the society. Therefore, the path to freedom begins with freeing oneself from the dictatorship of artificial societal standards. Subsequently, a person freely chooses the path towards equilibrium with Nature and thereby attains eternity and perfection. Hence, the creation of conditions for freedom of will can only be achieved by establishing a new society and new social standards.

Altruists and Egoists in Society

Altruists Do not Disappear

From scientists’ research, it follows that altruists make up 10% of humanity. This percentage of altruists in society is constant. It is genetically conditioned and does not depend on such external conditions as the influence of family, education, and society. Altruists do not disappear. The altruistic gene is concealed within a person, and it cannot be destroyed. Regardless of education and society’s influence, humanity always has up to 10% of its population as natural altruists.

Altruism is Beneficial

Although 90% of people in any society are egoists, culture, science, art, religion, morality, law, and education is completely based on the concept of 10% of altruists. This is because altruistic behavior is good for all. Altruism rules in education; schools teach altruism: be honest, hard-working, respect, defend, make friends, love thy neighbor, because altruism brings benefit to society.

While born altruists naturally perceive altruistic actions, acts of bestowal for the sake of society seem impossible to egoists. Yet, from the laws of functioning of a living organism, we see that its realization of the fact that its existence depends on the combined work of all of its cells leads to an altruistic co-existence of cells in it, every one of which is egoistical in itself.

The sensation of altruistic behavior’s benefit is present in an egoistical human society as well. Even now no one in the world actively opposes altruistic acts. To the contrary, all organizations and individual personalities advertise their involvement in altruistic actions and take pride in this. No one openly defies the dissemination of altruistic ideals in the world. Therefore, if the unification of altruistic organizations can circulate the knowledge about nature’s plan, program, and purpose, this will change the course of humanity’s advancement towards the goal from the path of suffering to the path of knowledge.  

Plan for Getting Out of Crisis


The goal of altruistic forces is to form new altruistic social and human values.

The Only Means

To change his behavior from egoistical to altruistic, man has to change his priorities and hierarchy of values. He should make sure that bestowal to society is much more important and beneficial than reception from it. In other words, a person has to feel a much greater fulfillment from giving to society than from any egoistical acquisitions. 

We have only one means for the attainment of this goal – public opinion. There is nothing more important for man than the opinion of his environment. Life’sgoalistodeservethe recognitionbysociety.

A person usually denies that he is motivated by the desire to win recognition for his actions. The question of motivation for this or that action catches him unprepared. A person points at curiosity, even at money, but he would not admit that his real incentive is the recognition by society, because this is the most important thing for him!

Nature created man in such a way that his environment determines all of his tastes and values. He is entirely controlled by the public opinion against his will. This is why society can impose any (even utterly abstract) value and any style of behavior on an individual. A person is ready to do everything to win recognition, fame, respect, and honor.

Also, a society forms the assessment criteria of man’s self-esteem and self-respect. Hence, a person can do everything for the sake of a positive self-appraisal, even if he knows that no one will ever know about his deed.

Such is the power of the sole instrument in our disposal – public opinion.

What Is to Be Done? 

To prepare and enable the formation of new social and human values, altruists who make up 10% of humanity should unite and through various state and social organizations exert a decisive influence on mass media and educational institutions.

Society has to receive knowledge about:

The danger of a critical situation requires from humanity (out of fear of self-destruction) to extol the ultimate value of altruistic actions by all possible means: radio, television, conferring awards, movies, educational programs, cultural events, celebrations, news casts, and announcements.

A constant, purposeful formation of public opinion will provide every person with an environment that will compel him to bestow to his society. As a result, the property of bestowal will be gradually formed within a person under social pressure.

The modification of society’s tasks will require changing the educational systems and plans, starting from a very early age. It will require cardinal transformations in all fields of education and culture: literary works, movies, television, and newspapers will have to describe events while praising and evaluating them according to the scale of their benefit to society. 

One Criterion, One Issue 

While using all of mass media, the means of advertisement, persuasion, and education, a new public opinion should:

1. Openly and mercilessly denounce egoistical actions; and

2. Extol man’s altruistic actions as the ultimate value.

The issue of “Bestowal to society” should sound as the only and ultimate value. 

Desirable Result 

As a result of society’s purposeful influence, everyone will aspire to receive only what is necessary for his existence from the society and spare no effort in his work for the society’s welfare.

Although at first, everyone will work for the benefit of society under the compulsion and influence of his environment, the support and recognition of his actions by society will fill him with such complete satisfaction that a person will begin to perceive bestowal to society as the ultimate, special value even without receiving a moral reward from his environment in concrete cases. 

Natural Support

Since the activity of the world’s altruistic forces will be leading the world towards equilibrium with nature, it will receive natural support in the form of reduction of all manifestations of the crisis. Nature sensitively reacts to altruistic changes within man, because they make man increasingly similar to it. This increasing similarity to nature will lead to the transformation of the surrounding nature and society.

Realization of the Plan

Humanity’s transition from the egoistical civilization to altruistic occurs in two stages:

Unification of Altruistic Forces

A center for the unification of the world’s altruistic forces (organizations and individuals) should be established.

            We have to create a permanent center that will develop and produce explanatory information in all possible forms: printed matter (brochures, booklets, articles, and books), audio materials (songs, discussions, radio, CDs), video (scientific and popular films), and Internet. All of the above means should be turned into an instrument for the integration and promotion of altruistic ideas.

Altruists make up 10% of society. Out of that number, 10% of these people have very strong desires and are prepared for immediate altruistic actions, while 90% have weaker altruistic desires, and therefore are not ready to act independently, but merely engage in discussing the crisis and the ways of getting out of it. We, who belong to this 1% of humanity, have to set up a plan of action and start actively implementing it. This obliges us to refrain from engaging in discussions, but to accept the plan to begin realizing it. It is exactly this small group of 1% of altruists that is capable of developing and circulating the method of correction. Historical practice demonstrates that progressive ideas always originate in small groups. Naturally, ourcentershouldconsistofthis 1%.

Out of this 1% of the world’s altruists, we should also establish functioning coordination centers that will develop and produce explanatory information directed to the unification of 10% of the world’s altruistic forces. The circulation of the idea of "new humanity" should be started in the midst of the 10% part of altruists, because they are naturally ready for it; they care about humanity’s welfare by nature. To that end, we have to enter into all altruistic societies in the world and facilitate their unification on the basis of this plan’s realization. We should:

Inclusion of Humanity

We should establish a permanently functioning center that will work with mass media, social and state egoistical organizations and 90% of the world’s population.

To the extent of unification and consolidation of altruistic forces, we should approach mass media, social and state organizations with the purpose of forming a powerful public opinion that will approve of altruistic actions.

In the process of unification of altruistic forces into a single social force, it will be possible to:

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