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Michael Laitman, PhD

Four Factors (Layers) of Our Makeup

Kabbalah states that four factors determine a person’s state at each and every moment:

1. Source. This is the starting point, the spiritual gene-pool. But it is not a blank canvas. Think of it more as a wall that has been painted and repainted many times. The layers of previous coats of paint are there beneath the surface. Perhaps they cannot be seen or distinguished, but they are a part of the composition of that wall, always the starting point for the next layer of transformation, as a wall’s current paint is always the undercoat for the next coat.

2. Unchanging paths of development that stem from one’s nature. This factor deals with the way we evolve as a result of our genes. These paths may refer to things we tend to like or dislike, our talents and other hereditary traits.

3. Paths of development that change under the influence of external factors. This is our attitude toward the external environment. Say you get a bad performance review from your boss at work. You may be upset and angry, and feel that the feedback is unfair, or you may decide your boss has your best interest at heart and told you what you need to do in order to succeed. Either way, the external event of your boss’ criticism will inevitably affect you and change you.

4. Paths of development of the external factors themselves. The fourth factor is the external environment and its continued evolution. To continue the previous example, if you chose to change your boss (perhaps by changing your job), this would expose you to a new set of influences, but these would be influences you have chosen to be under.

As the four factors show, the confluence of a person’s origin, inner nature, unchangeable and changeable outside forces all contribute to our inner makeup. However, of all four elements, the only element we can modify is the fourth, our environment. But because the elements affect each other, by changing our environment, we can ultimately shape all other elements within us.


On Course

Why does your attitude, whatever it is, change the environment? The answer is that you are not separate from but another part of the environment. Given this, an important question to ask would be “What attitude should I adopt so as to make my environment better?”


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