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Michael Laitman, PhD

I. The Seeds of the Crisis. Chapter 7: Stepping Off the Mount

Had Josh and I parted on Mount Rainier, I might not have been writing these words today. Lucky for me, our friendship endured. (Also helpful was the fact that we only had one compass and one map, so it wasn’t as if we had other options). But from the moment we decided to pull out of our plight together, we sensed such a great relief that it was as if we had already found the trail.

Admittedly, the descent from the ridge was not easy. It took my knees months to recover from the effort, and my back was never quite the same again. But I will always treasure our sense of togetherness as we carefully slid down the treacherous mountainside, checking constantly to be sure that the other was all right.

A few minutes into the descent, we found ourselves surrounded by a thick forest that swallowed up the sunlight. Behind us was the mountain, and far ahead and far below us was the bottom of the ravine. And we, together, were climbing down a slope more precipitous than I could ever imagine. Occasionally, I would stop to rest my knees on a rock that bulged above the needles, and I would gaze in awe at the trees, thinking, “They must be fastened to the ground with nails. There is no other way to explain how they remain standing.”

As we were literally hanging by our nails to the ground to keep from falling, the power of our bond supported us. Today, I know that this is what got us through.

An old song that I used to like as a child says that only in the mountains do you know who your true friends are. Now I know exactly what that song meant.

But the crisis we’re all facing today requires a unity that goes beyond friendship between individuals. Uniting all parts of humanity has far deeper implications than saving the lives of a few adventurers. We need to unite not because it is more fun (although it is), but because we need to discover the desire to give, the part of nature we have been oblivious to for millennia, and the only way to discover it is to emulate it. When we emulate it, we will suddenly discover that it actually exists in every aspect of our lives, from our cells to our minds.

As sentient beings, we can only perceive the existence of something when we feel it. We live in an “ocean” composed of the desire to give, but we can only feel this desire when it is “dressed” in some palpable form of pleasure. We naturally focus on the pleasure we derive from objects or incidents that cross our path through life, but it is never only the desire to receive there. Instead, it is a combination of the two: the desire to give creates a new sense of possible pleasure, and the desire to receive shapes that pleasure in the form of, say, a delicious piece of cake, a new friend, making love, or making money.

But the new emergence of the desire to give that we are sensing today is no ordinary emergence. This desire is not for sex, money, power, or fame. This time, it is a desire for connectedness. This is the underlying motive behind the massive growth of social networks on the Internet. People need to connect because they already feel connected; now, they just need to know how to do so in a way that truly fills their needs. However, the only way to feel completely connected is to study the force that binds all individuals into one: the desire to give.

So without further ado, let us see how we can bring the desire to give into our lives.

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