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Michael Laitman, PhD

Kabbalah as a Science

Q: Why is Kabbalah considered a science?

A: Science examines the world with the tools that we have made. The way these tools work is based on our five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. We cannot invent something new that is unlike what we feel in our senses.

All the information that arrives through these tools and through our senses is analyzed in our brains, creating within us what we think is the image of the world around us. If we could raise the frequency of one of our senses, we would see, for instance, x-rays, or hear sounds that are beyond our current hearing threshold.

In that case, the world around us would appear very different. We would still consider it “our world,” but it would change in respect to the world we perceive today.

It’s quite possible that there are other parallel worlds to our own, other beings that go “through” us, but we don’t feel them because we don’t have the appropriate tools for that. How is it possible to study the objective reality around us, when we can only perceive such a small part of it?

All the fields of science deal with what we perceive through our senses, but Kabbalah deals with acquiring knowledge that exceeds their limitations.

For example, when information in the form of sound approaches us, how do we know it is sound? There are waves around us and some of them press our eardrums, which in turn flex an inner mechanism to bring it back to balance. The brain measures the force and the frequency of the return of the eardrum to its original position, and translates that pressure to information about sound. We perceive this data as a combination of sounds - a tune, a rustle and other such noises.

In other words, our reaction is only a side-effect of pressure that was first activated on us by our surroundings. We don’t know the sounds around us, only those that we feel.

All of our senses are built that way. We never know what’s beyond us, andonly react to what our senses perceive. The outer world can be infinite in color and sound, but all we can perceive is what goes through our senses.

All sciences are limited by our five senses, whereas the Kabbalah speaks of what can be acquired with the extra sense called “the sixth sense.” Through it we can feel the reality beyond our senses. If we compare man to a closed box that gets all its information from the outside, and only within the boundaries of our senses, then Kabbalah speaks of what can be taught, seen and heard outside us, beyond the five senses that limit us.

If we have gone through an ordeal, we can empathize with a person who has gone through a similar experience because we have acquired knowledge of this experience and felt emotions from the same experience. As a matter of fact, we have everything it takes to feel the emotions of our fellow human beings.

A person who has not gone through similar experiences cannot empathize with other people and might be indifferent to a friend’s pain. The difference between people and all other parts of nature is only in the ability to sense certain effects from the unfamiliar world outside us.

Our examination ofthe outer world, which we normally do not attain, is based on the equalization of our inner traits with exterior phenomena. If we develop certain spiritual senses that did not exist in us at birth, we can use them to grasp a higher world - a spiritual, eternal and spacious world that is absent from the conception of ordinary people.

The Kabbalah is a system that develops additional senses through which we begin to feel the spiritual world, as well as our world as we feel it today. In addition to the small portion that we ordinarily perceive, we can move into a completely different field of information. We are born; we feel ourselves in the biological, “protein” body for some time, and then we vanish.

In this world, in such a state, when we feel phenomena, situations and other incidents, we are completely unaware of where they come from. We are often mentally unprepared for the effects they have on us, which are sometimes unpleasant or even tragic.

These all come to us from outside, but because we can only see a fraction of the world, we think it’s sudden or accidental; something unexpected that suddenly comes on stage, but it is only so because we do not see behind the scenes.

How, then, can we properly respond to the incidents that befall us if we cannot see the whole picture? We don’t know what the consequences of our actions are, and we cannot see exactly what our actions are causing. Therefore, we cannot grasp the consequences to everything around us.

We are called “the thinking beings” - people think and are “smart,” the highest degree of creation. But at the same time, we are completely detached from reality and from the truth. When we take pride in being smart, it only proves that the level of our development is very poor and that we are not even aware of our true state.

The more we get a feel of the spiritual world and a deeper sense of the world of truth, the more we can see the order of cause and consequence. We see what happens with us, understand how we should react to it and begin to be a positive and active part of the universe. That is why the Torah says: “Be a man.” We can achieve this by opening our eyes instead of remaining blind.

Of course, if one were “a man,” education would not be needed, because education is only needed to complete what we cannot see for ourselves. If we could clearly see the consequences of our actions, we could commit evil, but it would be clear to us what was right and what was wrong. There would be no room for theories and philosophies. Everything would be so obvious that deception would cease to exist because of the full development of our desires and intentions.

Kabbalah describes the way we can acquire that extra sense which enables us to go out to the objective reality instead of the false one. It describes how that sense evolves. Through it, we receive information about how to begin to act correctly, in light of this newly acquired information.

Kabbalists say that this way, we reach beyond the limitations of time and space and life and death. We see our whole lives, even before birth, as well as our future state after leaving this world.

Thus, we can feel the objective reality while being in a physical body, and can rise to a level where past, present and future merge. The whole mechanism of Providence is clear, and we can begin to take an active part in it. By doing so, we are included in the universe and can judge our actions correctly, where before we had failed to do so.

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