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Michael Laitman, PhD

Is Man’s Origin from the Ape?

Q: At what stage in creation did the ape evolve to become a man?

A: The Kabbalah calls the phenomenon you are referring to “Malchut of the upper becomes the Keter of the lower.” This is a passage from one level of creation to the next, but not from one nature to the next. It is a mistake to think that it is possible to switch between levels of the screen in the same manner, or between the four parts of the will to receive in creation: still, vegetative, animate and speaking.

Such passages are impossible! The spiritual genes are eternal! That is why there cannot be a development from a rock to a plant, and from an ape to man. But it is certainly possible for a person to develop spiritually, meaning rise spiritually from a level of “still” to the level of “vegetative,” to the level of “animate” and to the level of “speaking,” called “man.”

This only refers to the manners and the abilities to use the desire, and the implementation of the coarseness, referring to a change in quantity, but not in quality. The Creator created the collective desire in a strict formation, and man utilizes it gradually, according to the level of his adaptation to the screen.

Q: How is that metamorphosis done? If possible, please explain the feeling it creates in the heart, rather than how it is done technically.

A: A new situation cannot materialize before we begin to find the previous insufferable, and want wholeheartedly to replace it with a new one. In fact, there is a detachment between man’s present and future situations. That detachment stems from the fact that an act “above reason,” meaning against the mind, is needed to cross over. Just as a seed must rot completely in the ground before a new bud grows, so must our desires. The present desire must “rot” entirely and then we must reject it. Only then can we even contemplate the possibility of something new materializing.

Q: Is it true that our responses and character belong to our world and do not change when we become Kabbalists?

A: It’s true. The Zohar says that the character is a collection of natural habits that relate to the “animate body,” or corporeal desires that do not change, precisely because they belong to our world, and everything in our world is considered dead and unchanging compared to the spiritual world.

That is why in Kabbalah, birth is the reception of the first, minimal, screen, immediately after we cross the barrier from the sensation of this world only to the sensation of the spiritual world. This is called “the crossing of the Red Sea.” That concludes the first phase of our development, after which we enter the spiritual world.

Q: Can a person become a Kabbalist and an altruist in spirituality, and yet remain an egoist in our world?

A: You contradict the definition of the term, “spirituality.” Spirituality can be attained only by attributes that are adapted for spirituality. Such attributes as bestowal and giving are called “for the Creator.” All other intentions, such as “for other people,” “for mankind,” etc. are actually “for myself.” These aims come from the desire to be rewarded indirectly, or they stem from desires for control, power, respect, and so on.

Only if we attain complete detachment from our own nature, and that is possible only if our intentions are “for the Creator,” do we become liberated from our desires. Then, we see that through the intent “for the Creator” we begin to love all mankind and actually wish it well.

We come to that precisely because we attain the attribute of the Creator. We begin to love people as much as the Creator does, but only from the attributes of the Creator, and not from within our own attributes.

Perhaps you have a different definition of egoism and spirituality. Perhaps spirituality is, for example, something fragile, noble, lyric and pleasant, detached from the world, and so on.

But all these definitions of spirituality are completely different from ours because they are felt and surface in another substance, different from our own nature. That is why they are sensed completely differently from the way we are accustomed to sensing them. Here is precisely where Kabbalah becomes the wisdom of the hidden.

Regrettably, only those who attain spirituality can understand Kabbalists. But that is precisely the source of the dispute between Kabbalists and other people, between the Creator and the corrupted creatures, and between those who object to Kabbalah and those who attain it. A Kabbalist’s spirituality is different – while we value everything in our world as good or bad based on whether it favors us or not, to a Kabbalist the world seems completely different, because they are above it.

A Kabbalist sees everything that extends to our world, including the source of agony and the reasons for everything that happens in the world. He sees what disrupts the happiness and completeness of the world. You can read by yourself and see how sharply great Kabbalists write about the cause of humanity’s suffering, which can be traced, in fact, to the lack of the desire to study Kabbalah. Only the study of the Kabbalah extends the Light that brings happiness and bliss to our world!

I recommend that you read the "Introduction to The Book of Zohar" by Baal HaSulam.

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