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"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 11: Free Will, Part 2 The Four Factors


Baal HaSulam, in his article The Freedom, described the structure of our ״I״ as embedded within four factors that determine our characteristics and behavior from within our genes and from our environment.


Kabbalah Revealed #11
Free Will, Part 2: “The Four Factors”

Lecture presented for the American television channel, Shalom TV
Anthony Kosinec

•    Bold and indented: Original text of Baal HaSulam
•    Regular: Commentaries of Tony Kosinec
•    lowercase italics: emphasized words
•    Capitalized Italics: titles and transliteration from Hebrew

Hello again and welcome to Kabbalah Revealed. I’m Tony Kosinec.

We’re continuing our look at free will. In our last lesson, we viewed it from the point of view of a person’s experience in this world and try to find the point where we actually had some freedom of choice, and we found that we actually exist in a predetermined system, and that our sensation of free will really consists of our lack of knowledge about the forces that determine and guide things in our life.

While in a human court it is possible to appeal to the judge and claim that you don’t know the law and maybe the judge will give you compensation; when it comes to the laws of nature, there are no loop holes. The laws of nature function whether or not we know them.

Since that’s the case, then we better find out what these laws actually are, how they function, how things are guided, what is predetermined in this system. Once we know that, then we can search for that point of choice, and see if there is a way that it’s possible to influence the system, to guide it towards what we would call “freedom,” something that would be real choice. So let’s look at the laws.

Baal HaSulam wrote an article called The Freedom. He wrote it in the early part of the twentieth century. This article explains how every form that we see in our reality takes its origin from the instant of creation. From that point forward, it develops by means of four components, and those components have brought it to the form that we see it in now and will bring it eventually to its perfection. It explains the laws and the forces that work on everything in creation and where the point of freedom exists.

Let’s look at the article.

He starts the article with a quote from Midrash Shemot Raba, 41

“Carved (Harut) on the stones.” Do not pronounce it “carved” (Harut), but rather “freedom” (Herut). To show that they are freed from the angel of death.

This is a curious statement. Why does he start this whole article out on “freedom” speaking about the defeat of the angel of death? It’s because he is examining the force of development and the laws of nature not just from the physical level, but as they apply to all levels, that is, all of our reality. He is showing in this article, that the same principles that work on the lower levels of nature also work on the higher levels of nature. And when we are connected to those and understand them from their source level, that we can begin to see what life and what death actually is. In order to appreciate the full scope of what Baal HaSulam is speaking about in this article, we need to know something about the nature of forms in the higher level of existence.

The Kabbalists tell us that all the generations that have existed in this world are really the same generation, that is, they are the same soul—and this progression that we call “life and death,” is merely a change of the dressing on the essential self of the soul, which is a collective soul. That is, that the body may come and go, but that has no effect whatsoever on what it’s dressing, that essence of the soul—and that we have progressed over a lifetime, which consists of thousands of years.

[Tony drawing]

In other words, the collective soul of Adam ha Rishon was created as a collective, descended to this world in time and space, and then began its development, experiencing its search for freedom and its search for satisfaction through the pursuit of desires, and it experienced itself as a bunch of individuals not related to each other. Then, since it didn’t reach its goal of freedom, it moved onto another stage and came back as another generation of apparent individuals working to find freedom through the pursuit of this desire; [Tony drawing] wealth, and so on and so forth, passing through what we call history; passing to the point of the destruction of the second temple where Kabbalah was hidden, and where they pursued power and honor. Then moving onto the point where we are now, which is the point of 1995, after Kabbalah has ceased to be hidden, and we enter a period of collective correction. That is, for the first time, we are capable of sensing ourselves as that collective, as what we really our, as our source. 

From this point forward, our development needs to be along the lines of our actual essence: to reach this desire, not for knowledge, but for the spiritual.

This is what Baal HaSulam explains to us by taking a look at a particular example in nature. He uses the example of the seed of a stock of wheat. He tells us that what our “me,” that is, what the human consists of in general is four factors:

A)  The bed
B) The conduct of cause and effect, related to the bed’s own attribute, which remains unchanged.
C)  The internal cause and effect that change as a result of contact with alien forces.
D) The cause and effect of alien forces action on it completely from the outside.

He explains it this way:
A) The “bed,” meaning the first matter, related to that being. For “there is nothing new under the sun,” and any event that will occur in our world, is not existence from absence, but rather existence from existence. It is an entity that has stripped off its former shape, and taken on another, different from the first, and that entity is regarded the “bed.” In it lies the strength destined to be revealed and determined at the end of the formation of that emergence. Therefore it is certainly regarded as its primary cause. 

This first factor is called “the basis.” It is called “Matza.” It is the essential, basic material that we are created from. This was given to us by the Creator, it’s installed in us, and it defines our entire essence. It is something that the Creator made from nothing; it is existence from non-existence, something from nothing.

This is our first material and it was made before what we feel as ourselves. Baal HaSulam uses the analogy of a seed because we can only really understand a process if we can view it using our mind and senses from Above. We know that we can take a seed and we can cause its “death” so to speak, its decomposition, by placing it into the soul, in which case it will completely decompose, it will become dust, it will lose its life and its shape, the form that it had. But, at the end of its decomposition, it then becomes another form of life. That essence, that Matza or basis, which is pure information, is transferred from that seed into the new form, and the new form will be a stock of wheat.
So we see that the essence is not controlled in any way by the dressing. It’s something that can dress or undress into new forms of life. Now, if we can begin to see that same system working in regards to our level then we can begin to see what is occurring and to be able to direct what is occurring, we may be able to find a point by which we actually have some kind of choice in the process.

This basis, this Matza, consists of the origin and the mentality of all of our ancestors. That is, their mental qualities plus all of their accumulated knowledge. These will be felt in us in our new form of life as unconscious tendencies; they start out that way. They can be expressed either positively or negatively—depending on the necessary development of that next stage of life—and these consists of our own mental, emotion qualities, plus physical qualities. This basis cannot be affected by us in any way. This is created before us and we have no influence on it.

Baal HaSulam continues the second factor:
A) It is a conduct of cause and effect that is related to the bed's own attribute, which does not change. Take, for example, a stalk of wheat that rots in the ground, as a result of which many stalks of wheat grow. Thus, that rotten phase is deemed the “bed.” Meaning that the essence of the wheat has stripped off its former shape, which is the shape of wheat, and has taken on the shape of rotten wheat, which is the seed, that we call—“bed,” which is now stripped of any shape. Now, after rotting in the ground it has become worthy of dressing in another shape, that is the shape of many stalks of wheat, destined to grow from that bed, which is the seed.

And it is known to all, that this bed is destined to become neither cereal, nor oats, but it can only be compared to its former shape, which has now been stripped off it, being the single stalk of wheat. And although it changes to a certain degree, both in quality and quantity, for in the former shape there was just one stalk, and now there are ten or twenty stalks, and in taste and appearance too, but the essence of the shape of the wheat remains unchanged. Thus there is a conduct of cause and effect, ascribed to the bed's own attribute, which never changes, that cereal will never emerge from wheat, as we’ve said. That is called the second factor.
How can we understand this?

[Tony drawing]

Here we have the first factor, the Matza, the essence of the creation or of the form. Inside of the Matza we have those qualities that make up its essence—the ones that will continue to be incorporated into new forms of life. This is the first factor, the basis; this is number one.

Around that is what he calls “the second factor” or the “conduct of cause and effect that is related to the bed’s own attribute.” What that means is that there exists a program that is related only to the qualities within the essence of the basis. It’s like a computer program and it’s aimed directly at those qualities within the essence, and the program is a program of development so that this is actually part of the pre-determined aspect of a form. This is also something that cannot be affected whatsoever. It is a fixed system and it is designed to work precisely on the development of those qualities within the essence. This is the second factor. As the first one, we cannot influence these things. These are determined by the Creator. There is complete and total creation and management of these two levels. And this essence, through the effect of this program will be brought through its full development—through time, space and everything that it has to develop—to its final perfection.
The next two factors, the third and the fourth, are external to what we’ve just seen there, external to the soul. They pressure us by developing us in a way that we feel is against our will.
Baal HaSulam continues.

The Third Factor: the Inner Cause and Effect
C. It is the conduct of the inner cause and effect of the bed that change upon encountering the alien forces of its environment. Meaning, that we find that from one stalk of wheat, which rots in the ground, emerge many stalks, sometimes larger and better than it was prior to sowing.

Therefore, there must be additional factors involved here, that have collaborated with the concealed force from the environment, meaning the “bed.” And because of that, the additions in quality and quantity, that were absent from the previous form of wheat, have now become apparent. Those are the minerals and the materials in the ground, the rain and the sun. All these operate on it by allocating from their forces and joining in with the force in the bed itself, that through cause and effect, have produced the multiplication of quantity and quality in that emergence.

We must understand that this third factor joins in with the internality of the bed, because the hidden force in the bed controls them.

That means that its effect is only felt because it touches something in the inner program and the quality itself. That is, if you did the same thing of say water and wind on a stone, as opposed to a plant, it would produce nothing. It has to be related, cause and effect according to the inner qualities. So, there are still extreme specifics in the effects external to the soul, that are related directly to it.

That at long last these changes all belong to the wheat and to no other plant. Therefore we determine them as internal factors. However, they differ from the unchanging second factor in every aspect, whereas the third factor changes in both quality and quantity. 

This third factor, the externals, can effect the development in a partial way. It doesn’t affect the essence. It just affects the quality; whether it will develop in a good or a bad way according to things that surround it, that influence the program of development.

In other words, you could create an experiment in which you put two seeds in the ground; one in an area where there was no sun and not enough water, and one that had prime circumstances—where there was plenty of sun, water, the right temperatures, good soil—and what you will see, you will still see the same plant growing, it will still be wheat, but it will either be good wheat or bad wheat, or it will be many or few stocks. This is the third factor.

[Tony drawing]

The external forces, or the alien forces that combine with the essence and its program. [The internal cause and effect that change as a result of contact with alien forces]. So, we can have these forces of weather and sun and minerals, and so on. And these again are directed at the program. So, it effects how well the program will work on the basis. This is three.

This is external to the soul. It is felt as an alien force, something against our will, but, we can’t determine what are the forces that are going to work on this program. Certain forces enhance the program; others have no effect on it. In other words, we don’t have any direct control on this third factor either.

The Fourth Factor:
It is a conduct of cause and effect through alien factors that act upon it from outside. Meaning that they do not have a direct relation to the wheat, such as minerals, or rain or the sun, but factors that are alien to it, such as nearby plants, or external events such as hail, wind etc.

And you find that four factors combine to the wheat throughout its growth. And each particular situation the wheat is subject to during that time, becomes conditioned by the four of them. That the quality and quantity of each state is determined by them. And as we’ve portrayed in the wheat, so is the rule in every emergence in the world, even in thoughts and ideas.

The entire chain of transformation of the reaching of freedom is intended to occur by the thought of creation within one lifetime, and this is called “the end of correction.” And until that occurs, we find ourselves continuing our development, returning to what we call a physical experience.

This is all predetermined for us. There is only one thing that we can change in this entire system and that is the speed of development, so that it can be achieved in one lifetime.

[Tony drawing]

This fourth factor is the one thing in which we have influence. That is, the entire system of predetermined [The cause and effect of alien forces, acting on it from outside.] development is effected by the place, the environment in which it occurs. So a person can have very negative or weak first and second factors, and still by placing these factors, and this system of development and its essence in the proper environment, the quality of development can be enhanced and its speed can be accelerated enormously.
This is our one small area of freedom. It’s tiny but its effect is enormous.

So what is it that is under development by these four factors on the human level? It’s only intention, it’s thought. How can we be responsible for things for which we have no control? Our initial thoughts and deeds are not under our control; only our ability to choose an environment.

When does this become important? At the point at which the point in the heart appears within the soul of a person. Then, the Creator takes that person and places them in an environment that will allow all of these factors within the soul to develop to perfection. And this environment must be an environment of the human level. That is, it must be made up of thought and intention. Therefore, the correct environment, the one thing that a person has to do in choosing that, is to choose the right thoughts, that is, the correct map of reality and the course towards its fulfillment. That is, the correct books.

A person needs the correct group of friends; ones that have exactly the same desire to fulfill their development within one lifetime, according to the correct thoughts, and a guide that will give them the correct method to take them through that.
When the point in the heart appears, the Creator brings a person into that environment, made of those forces and factors that allow the soul to complete its transformation within one lifetime.
Join us again when we go further into the correct books and the correct method. See you then.


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