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Michael Laitman, PhD

Understanding Nature

As is now quite evident, our world is on the brink of a catastrophe of gargantuan proportions. To understand the origin of the crisis, let’s analyze the rudiments of nature itself. We start with the nature of human nature, as viewed from the perspective of Kabbalah.

To Give or Not to Give

Of all nature, only human beings relate to others with malicious intentions. No other creature harms, degrades, or exploits other creatures, derives pleasure from the oppression of others, or enjoys another’s affliction.

The egoistic use of human desires, with the intention to elevate oneself at the expense of others, leads to a precarious imbalance with the surrounding world. Human egoism is the only destructive force with the ability to destroy nature itself. The danger to the world will persist until we change our egoistic approach to society.

Egoism of a part leads to the death of the whole. Look at it from a biological point of view. If a cell in a living organism begins to relate egoistically to other cells, it becomes cancerous. Such a cell begins to consume surrounding cells, oblivious to them and to the needs of the whole organism. The cell divides and multiplies unrestrainedly and eventually extinguishes the entire body, including itself.

The same applies to human egoism with respect to nature. While developing for itself, detached from the rest of nature and not as an integral part of nature, human egoism leads everything to extinction, including itself.

Cells can exist, develop, and multiply only by interacting as a single whole. This altruistic interaction functions in every being, even in human bodies, save for the human mind. The Creator gave us the freedom of will to fully perceive the need for altruism and to keep this comprehensive law of nature voluntarily—or not to.

As is well recognized in the media, globalization has compelled us to see the world as an interdependent whole. It may sound trite to say we’re all connected, but trite or not, it’s true. It’s also true that many of the world’s ills have developed because of the interconnectedness of societies. So will the solutions. They will come about only through the coexistence of all parts of nature and while each part works to sustain the entire system.

It is evident that humankind’s problem is to balance each person’s excessive desires with nature, to become an integral part of it and to act as a single organism. In Kabbalistic terms, humankind’s task is to become altruistic.

Nature’s Bedrock

Altruism is defined as care for the wellbeing of one’s fellow person. Research of altruism reveals that not only does it exist in nature, it is the very basis for the existence of every living thing. A living organism is one that receives from its environment and gives to it.

Every organism comprises a combination of cells and organs that work together and complement each other in perfect harmony. In this process, the cells are obliged to concede, influence, and help one another. The law of cell and organ integration according to the altruistic principle, “one for all” operates in every living organism.



Succinctly speaking, Kabbalistic altruism means working to increase the connectedness, the ties among the parts of the world.


Conversely, different natural elements, such as plants and animals, consist of different measures of a desire to be filled with power, vitality, and delight. The intensity of this desire creates nature’s various levels: inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human.

Don’t forget that each of the four levels—inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human—exists within each element in nature. Even a rock has a human part to it, as do plants and animals. What determines their outward appearance is the dominant level in them. In humans, the dominant level should be the human level, and because it’s the highest, it controls all other levels. So you can see what happens when this level is malfunctioning. In Kabbalah, the human level is that part in us that has free choice. If we can develop a part within us that is totally untouched by calculation of self-gratification, we will truly be free—from our egos.



At the risk of oversimplifying matters we can say this: To correct the world we need only follow Kennedy’s advice, but make it more inclusive—Ask not what nature can do for you; ask what you can do for nature.


By attaining nature’s unity under the principle of “one for all,” we begin to perceive the uniqueness of humanity and its place in the world. The peculiarity of humans, compared to the rest of nature, lies in the power and nature of human desires and in their continuous evolution.

Altruism is connectedness for a higher purpose than the individual element in the collective. Human desires are the motivating force that propels and develops civilization. The trick is to use Kabbalah as a way to turn the developing egoistic desires into altruistic desires.

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