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Freedom of Choice

Description

What is this force that obligates us to constantly progress into an uncertain future? This documentary raises questions that the great minds of humanity struggled to find an answer to.

 

Transcript

Freedom:

Freedom. This single sweet word has stirred up rebellions and turned palaces into rubble. It has driven people mad, untied the hands of yesterday's slaves who drunk with this dream of freedom, stopped at nothing to throw off their shackles to release themselves from oppression, overcoming everything, only because they held but one aspiration-freedom.

What is this freedom they were seeking? What does it mean, and is it really possible to achieve?

Freedom of Choice

Anyone can achieve freedom provided one can restrict and discover himself.
-Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Everyone understands freedom in his own way. Some want financial freedom; others perceive it as power-the opportunity to make independent decisions, influence the destinies of people and states.

There are those who value celebrity most of all-the freedom of creativity and self-expression. For many, having the time to watch TV and sip beer is the ultimate attribute of freedom, provided, of course, that the program is interesting and the beer plentiful.

When society meets our needs, we feel free. Otherwise, we try to change it so that it will satisfy our desires more efficiently. This is the cause of rebellions, revolutions, and wars, tears, destitution, and suffering.

Socio-political structures change. New people take power, money flows into other hands, new idols appear, and with them new TV programs and new brands of beer.

Only those who can fight for freedom deserve it.
- Charles Baudelaire

We are moving forward. Our goal is freedom: the ideal conditions for the realization of our desires. This is how we understand it.

Why did we work so hard for this? Why did we suffer and pour so much energy into the effort? In order to enjoy life really. How can an eternal, never-ceasing delight exist in our world? No. Sooner or later we become satiated.

We have money. We've bought everything in store, but now we need more and more stores where we can go on acquiring. We have power, but its only power over a million people. There are so many more people, and we want to dominate them all. We have great knowledge, and yet, we have a craving to know everything. We have a TV set, but our neighbor has a bigger one. All we want is to have more and more; we just want to receive and enjoy.

And what if we don't receive, then what? Then we suffer, and at the first opportunity we flee from this pain in search of new pleasure. Our entire life is spent running back and forth between pleasure and pain. When we receive pleasure, we're happy; when we begin to feel suffering, we seek new enjoyment.

To be free means to be able to do what you enjoy.
-Voltaire

What is this force constantly compelling us to want more and more? The answer is simple: it is the generator of unlimited desires-egoism. It dictates our behavior, pushes us forward.

All our actions are based on an inner program installed and activated when we enter this world. It forces us to act in this particular way that we define as "egoism."

The goal is freedom; the driving force is egoism.

Under the influence of egoism, primitive societies became a slave-owning system, then feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism. Man has struggled for freedom, enjoyed it, and then when egoism grew he again demanded change, which led society to a new state.

Every achievement enslaves. It obligates one to achieve more.
-Albert Camus

Throughout history, freedom has had an acceptable cost. The pleasure was worth the suffering.

The twentieth century has changed the balance: two world wars and a failed attempt at global change for the better by political revolution has all occurred in the life experience of just one generation.

The First World War claimed the lives of 10 million people; the Russian Revolution and its aftermath killed 44 million more; the Second World War destroyed 62 million. The so-called period of peaceful co-existence brought humanity wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East.

The number of victims of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, of genocide in Cambodia, of socialist reforms in the USSR and Eastern Europe has not even been counted.

In the twentieth Century, egoism reached a level where it was no longer constructive. Yes, egoism helped defeat plague, cholera and create bacteriological weaponry. Yes, thanks to egoism we won democratic freedom and the highest crime rate in human history.

Yes, with its help we've discovered thousands of uses for natural resources and are slowly but surely destroying the planet's ecology.

Yes, we have delved deeply into the secrets of matter and armed ourselves with weapons that threaten our very existence.

The problem of our time is whether man will be able to outlive his own inventions.
-Louis de Broille

Today, egoism has brought humanity to a state in which it can not feel free. It manifests as unprecedented fear of this swiftly accelerating pace of life that very few people can endure.

Fear of incurable diseases that appear from nowhere and instantly spread around the globe; anxiety about crime and violence; dread of terrorism that threatens everyone, regardless of state borders and national differences.

This fear and despair give rise to stress and depression, increasing alcohol and drug addiction-more patients for therapists; more customers for drug dealers. A wave of horror and disaster films sweeps TV and theatre screens.

Why is this? Is it just another manifestation of fear reflecting our current circumstances, or is it a collective premonition?

We have changed our environment so radically, that now we have to change ourselves to be able to live in it.
-Norbert Wiener

Egoism continues to push us toward some new reality. But what is it? This time humanity has absolutely no idea.

There is a conspicuous feeling that an endless sequence of new, awful calamities awaits us; that we've exhausted all our options and reached a deadlock.

Calamities and great fear shall befall man. He shall wish to die, but he shall not be allowed to. He shall live in horrible anguish. And the nations shall seek the truth and find it.
-The Book of Zohar, the principal book of Kabbalah, 3rd Century AD.

We should recognize that egoism is the only objective evil, and its influence must be neutralized. We have to begin living in accordance with the laws of nature, of which we are an integral part.

Modern science asserts that nature is permeated with one thought and develops according to one law-the law of bestowal, which states, "Take according to your need and give according to your ability."

The impasse we have reached is Nature's gift. In the present circumstances humanity is ready to admit what it has been denying during its entire history.
-Kabbalist Michael Laitman, PhD.

If we live by the law of bestowal, and if all of our actions are aimed not at changing our environment, but at changing ourselves, if we aspire to the spiritual and establish contact with the Upper World, then we will be able to get out of this dead end.

The goal is freedom, the driving force is altruism. All of the greatest minds, in all time, have come to the same conclusion. Conventional science understands this too. More and more, the views of leading modern scientists resemble what the ancient Kabbalistic books describe.

Baal HaSulam, the greatest Kabbalist of the twentieth century, has revealed the inner meaning of The Book of Zohar to our generation. Baal HaSulam writes: If you wish to change, there are four factors from which you cannot escape.

The first is called "basis," or "essence. It means that you possess unique characteristics that are inherent only in you and no one else. They are passed from one generation to another and cannot be altered. Armed with them, you move toward the Purpose of Creation.

The second factor is a program. Yes, there is a pre-ordained plan of development, the essence of which we receive at birth. It determines everything from birth till death.

The third factor is an environment. You live in a society, which forces you to observe its laws, norms, and traditions. It imposes its values on you. You can resist this influence, but there is no getting away from it.

I do something not because I want to do it, but because some influence compels me to act this way.
-Baal HaSulam

But what then is freedom of choice all about? What can you do? You are capable of doing only one thing. Baal HaSulam writes, "you are free to make only one thing. You place yourself under the influence of an environment, which aspires for the spiritual just as you do. This environment is the books, a group, and a teacher."

The books, written by Kabbalists who have already traveled this path, act as a navigation map that helps us avoid all shoals, reefs, and undercurrents. They enable the traveler to reach his destination on time and in safety.

The teacher is an experienced navigator, who can read the map and knows how to sail. The group is the crew that joins forces and acts with a single heart for the sake of the goal.

You are standing before the entrance to a treasury. You have received an invitation to enter eternity and perfection
-Baal HaSulam

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