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Michael Laitman, PhD


Open slightly your heart to me, and I will reveal the world to you.

The Book of Zohar

From generation to generation, people try to find answers to these painfully insistent questions. The fact that they continue from generation to generation indicates that we still have not received satisfactory answers to them.

While studying nature and the universe, we discover that all that surrounds us exists and functions according to precise and purposeful laws. Yet, when we examine ourselves, the zenith of Creation, we find that humanity seemingly exists outside of this system of rational laws.

For example, when we observe how wisely nature created our bodies and how precisely and purposefully every cell in our bodies functions, we are unable to answer the question: “Why does the entire organism exist?”

All that surrounds us is permeated with cause-and-effect connections. Nothing is created without a purpose; the physical world is governed by precise laws of motion, transformation, and circulation. However, the main question – “Why does it all exist (not only us, but the entire universe)?” – remains unanswered. Is there anyone in this world who has not been touched by this question at least once?

The existing scientific theories assert that the world is governed by invariable physical laws that we are unable to influence. Our only task is to live well by using them wisely and to prepare the ground for the future generations. But good living does not resolve the question concerning why these future generations will, or should, exist.

The question of humanity’s origins – whether from a primitive species through evolution, or through extraterrestrial visitations and settlement – does not change the essential questions. There are two primary dates in every person’s life: birth and death. What happens between them can be unique and therefore priceless. It can also be meaningless if at the end of it is darkness and chasm.

Where is our wise, omniscient, coherent nature that does nothing without purpose? Every atom, every cell in the human organism has its cause and purpose; yet, what is the purpose of the entire organism? Perhaps there exist some laws and goals that we have not yet discovered.

We can research something at a lower evolutionary level than our own. We perceive and comprehend the meaning of inanimate, vegetative, and animate existence. But we cannot comprehend the meaning of human existence. Evidently, this understanding can be attained only from a higher existential level.

Our research of the world boils down to the study of how it reacts to our influence on it. We can only research at our own level and not above it. Even when we research at our own level, we study it by applying some impact on the world and measuring the reaction to the impact. We perceive our influence on the world with our five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Otherwise, we may use instruments that expand the sensitivity range of our limited senses.

Unfortunately, we cannot recognize anything beyond what our senses can perceive and research. It is as though nothing exists but what we perceive. Whatever does seem to exist, lives only in what we sense, and a creature with different senses would experience the same things in a totally different way.

At the same time, we do not feel a lack of sensory organs, such as a sixth finger on our hands. Just as it is impossible to explain the meaning of eyesight to one blind from birth, so, too, will we fail to discover the concealed forms of nature with the research methods we are applying today.

According to Kabbalah, there exists a spiritual world that is imperceptible to our sense organs. At its center is one tiny part – our universe and our planet – the heart of this universe. This sphere of information, thoughts, and emotions affects us through the laws of the material nature and its incidents. It also places us under certain conditions upon which we must act.

We do not choose where, when, with whom, and with what traits and inclinations we will be born. We do not choose whom to meet and in what environment to grow. These things determine all of our actions and reactions, as well as all of their consequences. So where is our freedom of will?

According to Kabbalah, there are four mandatory kinds of knowledge to attain:

Creation: The study of Creation and the evolution of the worlds, namely:

Functioning: The study of the human essence – its interconnection and interaction with the spiritual world. Functioning deals with one’s arrival to – and departure from – this world. It also includes the Upper Worlds’ reactions to our world and towards other human beings, caused by man’s actions. It researches everyone’s individual path, from the creation of worlds to the attainment of the ultimate goal.

Incarnations of the Soul: The study of every soul's essence and its incarnations, as well as our actions in this life and their consequences for subsequent lives. The research of incarnations examines how and why a soul descends to a body, and what determines the acceptance of a certain soul within a certain body.

Incarnations of the Soul also deals with the mystery of chance, and researches human history as a result of a certain order and cycles of souls. It also follows this path over 6,000 years and studies the connection of the soul with the general governance of the system of worlds and its cycles of life and death. It also states upon what factors our path in this world depends.

Governance: The study of our world: inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels of nature, their essence, role, and how they are governed by the spiritual world. It studies the Upper Governance and our perception of nature, time, and space. It researches the Upper Forces that move material bodies, and the way one’s inner force pushes all things, animate and inanimate, to the preordained goal.

Can one solve this fundamental puzzle of human life without touching upon the question of its source? Every human being encounters this question. The search for the goal and the meaning of existence is the key question around humankind’s spiritual life. Hence, starting with the second half of the 20th century, we are observing a revival of mankind’s spiritual aspirations.

The technical progress and global catastrophes that gave rise to a variety of philosophies have not brought spiritual fulfillment to humanity. As Kabbalah explains, out of all existing pleasures, our world received only a tiny spark – its presence in corporeal objects is what provides all our worldly pleasures.

In other words, all our pleasant sensations, from whatever source, are caused only by the presence of this spark within them. Throughout our lives, we are placed in a forced quest of new objects of delight, hoping to receive greater and greater pleasures; we do not suspect that they might not be anything but shells.

To receive absolute fulfillment, we must acknowledge the need for spiritual elevation above matter. There are two paths in our world to reach that goal: the path of the spiritual ascent (Kabbalah), and the path of suffering.

The path of Kabbalah is a path of independent and voluntary realization of the need to gradually terminate egoism, when the Upper Light is used to perceive egoism as evil.

Sometimes people come to this realization quite unexpectedly. A secular, well-established, calm person suddenly begins to feel acute discontent; any spark of excitement, joy, taste for living, and pleasure disappears from that person’s everyday life.

This is the state of our generation, where material abundance gives rise to a sensation of spiritual hunger. We start searching for other sources of fulfillment, often choosing a long and prickly path. Freedom of will exists between the paths of spiritual ascent and the path of suffering. One can only wish that people will “choose life” instead of embarking on the path of suffering, the same path upon which we so often treaded in the past.

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