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Michael Laitman, PhD

I. The Seeds of the Crisis. Chapter 5: Insatiable Humanity

Our imperiled world is indeed a sad result of man’s lack of recognition of the desire to give. In contrast, the rest of nature is a magnificent display of balance between the two desires. In the diverse ecosystem that is Planet Earth, each creature has its unique role. The system is incomplete if even a single element in it is missing or deficient, be it a mineral, a plant, or an animal.

An eye-opening report submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in October, 2003 by Irene Sanders and Judith McCabe, PhD, clearly demonstrates what happens when we breach nature’s balance. “In 1991, an orca—a killer whale—was seen eating a sea otter. Orcas and otters usually coexist peacefully. So, what happened? Ecologists found that ocean perch and herring were also declining. Orcas don’t eat those fish, but seals and sea lions do. And seals and sea lions are what orcas usually eat, and their population had also declined. So deprived of their seals and sea lions, orcas started turning to the playful sea otters for dinner.

So otters have vanished because the fish, which they never ate in the first place, have vanished. Now, the ripple spreads, otters are no longer there to eat sea urchins, so the sea urchin population has exploded. But sea urchins live off seafloor kelp forests, so they’re killing off the kelp. Kelp has been home to fish that feed seagulls and eagles. Like orcas, seagulls can find other food, but bald eagles can’t and they’re in trouble.

All this began with the decline of ocean perch and herring. Why? Well, Japanese whalers have been killing off the variety of whales that eat the same microscopic organisms that feed pollock [a type of carnivorous fish]. With more fish to eat, pollock flourish. They in turn attack the perch and herring that were food for the seals and sea lions. With the decline in the population of sea lions and seals, the orcas must turn to otters.”

Thus, true health and well being are achieved only when there is harmony and balance among all the parts that make up an organism or a system. Yet, we are so unaware of the other force in life, the giving force, that we cannot achieve this balance, or even positively define what being “healthy” means.

The definition of health in the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia truly captures our sense of bafflement: “Good health is harder to define than bad health (which can be equated with presence of disease) because it must convey a more positive concept than mere absence of disease.” But because we have no perception of the positive force in life, we cannot define a positive state of existence.

We all have dreams, and we all wish for them to come true. But the sad truth is that we never feel that we have realized all our dreams because even if we fulfill them, new ones step in to replace those we have fulfilled. As a result, we never feel satisfied. And the more we strive for wealth, power, fame, and everything else we deem pleasurable, the more dissatisfied we become, and the more disillusioned.

Thus, the more we have, the more frustrated and disillusioned we are because we will have tried harder to find happiness and will have failed more often, and possibly more bitterly. This explains why richer countries generally suffer from higher depression rates.

Ironically, there is a positive aspect to depression. It is an indication that we have given up on Nimrod’s way of focusing solely on our desire to receive. People who are depressed are those who see no prospect of joy or happiness in the future. They are too experienced in life’s failures to be lured into yet another failed attempt at happiness. But all they need to cure their depression is to realize that there is another half of reality, the “giving half.” If we can help these people see that they have been trying to suck joy out of a vacuum—a desire to receive—a force that knows only how to receive and not how to give, it will bring back all the hope and energy that they lost to depression.

Indeed, reality is a two-legged creature, and we have been using only one of them. Why, then, are we surprised that it reality is lame?

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