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The Pursuit of Happiness

If, according to the Declaration of Independence, we are all entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” why does it so often seem like we are pursuing the unattainable?

 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
-- Thomas Jefferson, The United States Declaration of Independence.

For nearly two and half centuries, the idea that the "American Way" could grant freedom, dignity, and happiness has been the basis of the Americans society. The "American Dream" was defined by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America: "a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement."

Yet, it seems like this dream is fading. Clearly, Western society, which we also call "the free world," and which (in many ways) shares the American Dream, doesn't know what to do with its liberties. Many, especially young, in the West, are giving up on the pursuit of happiness since no happiness awaits at its end. By consequence, many a youth are giving up on life itself.

Following the definition, Adams' explains the essence of the American Dream: "It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."

While this is truly an admirable aspiration, according to the wisdom of Kabbalah, this statement contains an inherent flaw that will never allow it to come true: it ignores human nature. In his article "Peace in the World" Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, the greatest Kabbalist of the twentieth century writes that "the nature of each and every individual is to exploit the lives of all other people in the world for his own benefit." And moreover: "man ... feels that all the people in the world should be under his own government and for his own private use."

Thus, by necessary consequence, the more people demand to "be recognized by others for what they are," the more they deny that same freedom from others. In the end, we all achieve neither freedom nor happiness, but, as Adams' puts it, "too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it [the American Dream]."

But all is not lost. Quite the contrary, only now are we beginning to see things for what they are, and that gives us hope that we can finally make a durable change for the better. According to the Kabbalah, and as advanced hard sciences now support, humanity, and in fact the whole universe, is actually a single entity, or as Kabbalists put it -- one soul. They call this soul Adam ha Rishon, or just "Adam."

There are many details to how this soul evolved, but to stay within the word-count limit, we should just say that this soul is now broken. In other words, its parts feel that they are separate, independent, and even alien elements. In truth, however, they're all interdependent and interconnected particles of a single entity. Thus, the more harm people inflict on others in their aspiration to "attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable," the greater the harm they inflict on themselves.

The whole point of the global crisis we are now experiencing is to show us that we are dependent on each other, and that all of humanity must work together, if we are to succeed in resolving it. However, resolving the global crisis merely for the sake of securing our physical existence will solve nothing. If that had been our goal in life, we would not be created so different. We would all be created with the same desires, same thoughts, and same ideas. Thus, we would all naturally be united.

The goal of uniting humanity despite our differences and alienation is to discover a new level of bonding, beyond the different traits and characters. At that level, every person uses his or her unique capabilities to contribute to the whole, and thus enhance the connection of each individual with the whole of humanity and the whole universe. In doing so, we will create a network of desires, thoughts, and aspirations, all leading to the same goal -- unity, love.

When we achieve this new level, we will discover that beyond love lies another force, the primordial power that created and sustains all that exists. When we bond with love, we will become like that force, and discover it.

Kabbalists explain it in the following way: The Creator is a force of love, giving. Without love, it wouldn't be motivated to create anything. Thus, our desire to bond with love makes us equal to that force, and by equalizing with it, we unite not only among ourselves, but first and foremost with the Creator.

At the end of the process, humanity will be connected to each other and to the Creator in an unbreakable bond of love. This will grant each person eternal perception, bonding with the infinite flow of life and with the power that sustains it. In this state we will finally find true life, true liberty, and our pursuit of happiness will have finally achieved its goal.

 

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