Kabbalah Worldwide

The Essence of Life

Exploring the boundary between science and spirituality


Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, the scientist from the movie What the Bleep Do We Know!? and author of five books including The Quantum Brain: The Search for Freedom and the Next Generation of Man, met with foremost Kabbalist, teacher and founder of Kabbalah International, Michael Laitman, PhD to discuss science, spirituality, and the boundary between them.

Dr. Satinover, who represents the perspective of quantum physics, opened the discussion by disagreeing with the link made between quantum theory and spirituality in What the Bleep Do We Know!?  He immediately drew a line between the two worlds - physical and spiritual - saying that while modern quantum theory invites one to spiritual questioning, it cannot say anything about the spiritual realm. 

The film encourages people to focus on one of life's fundamental questions: "What is reality?" It also stimulates people to think beyond a commonly accepted scientific worldview; one that treats everything in our world as coming from, in Satinover's words, "a dead, mechanical object."  In other words, it is a worldview that considers every living thing to be unfeelingly machine-driven, as if under the control of some super-computer.

We have depended on this outlook to bring us nearly all of our technological and medical advances. Materially, it has brought us nearly everything we rely on in our modern existence. Spiritually, however, it only allows us to imagine some lifeless material-generating machines. 

Life beyond the mechanistic worldview

Satinover believes that this has contributed to a common human longing to understand the nature of reality differently. Moreover, this longing, mixed with the tenets of science, can demonstrate to us that there is something to life beyond the mechanistic worldview.

Here, Satinover disagrees with the movie's claim that quantum theory is the border-crossing science that unites scientific and spiritual perspectives.

In his viewpoint, quantum theory shows that there is something working beyond mere mechanism, outside the physical world. Furthermore, it is inherent in quantum physics that this "something else," as Satinover emphasized, "cannot be described at all," and it also cannot present us scientifically analyzable characteristics.

This is why Satinover calls quantum physics "a boundary science."  It brings us to a boundary where, on the one hand, the material world reveals that there is something beyond it that is not just some dead machine; and on the other hand, quantum theory says that you cannot use scientific methods to decipher what that "something else" is.

The boundary of our own perception

Satinover's talk embodied a man's quest for freedom. Where we humans have freed ourselves from so many boundaries throughout our history, we now seek to free ourselves from a boundary that is inside us - the boundary of our own perception.

At the end of Satinover's talk, this is all we were left with - our perception. Although quantum theory indicates that there is something beyond the physical world, it objects to a scientific investigation into that "something." Satinover concluded that quantum theory leaves it entirely up to us to make that judgment about what that "something" is.

Therefore, with regard to spiritual conclusions, quantum theory (as Satinover presented it) fails, since it lacks analytical approach to this "something." Quantum theory ends in one's perception, which, as Dr. Laitman went on to clarify, is the place where a Kabbalah student begins.

Dr. Laitman talks about Kabbalah

Dr. Laitman centered his talk on human perception. Put aside our theories, discoveries and technologies, and you are left with a person, an individual, who perceives reality through five senses.

One can only perceive as far as the senses allow. Although we have expanded the range of our senses with instruments such as microscopes and telescopes, we still feel that something is hidden from us. Whether it is science that brings us to this conclusion, as Satinover discussed, or whether it is just one's own life; we (for the most part) feel that there is something more that is hidden, and whatever it is, its appeal is growing in our time.

Laitman cited the renowned Kabbalistic text The Zohar as stating that, from the end of the twentieth century onward, the desire to know the forces imperceptible to our five senses will evolve and "the world will begin to feel that the knowledge in the wisdom of Kabbalah is necessary for its very existence."

How does the wisdom of Kabbalah compare to other teachings?

The main difference, Laitman stated, is that while all of our teachings evolve naturally, through our five senses, Kabbalah nurtures a sixth sense. The desire to know what is hidden from the five senses is like the nucleus of the sixth sense, what Laitman defines as "a point in the heart." The wisdom of Kabbalah develops this desire into a sense that can perceive an additional reality that our five senses cannot.

Laitman made the point that this is why Kabbalah is called "the wisdom of the hidden": it discloses the part of reality that is hidden from our five senses. In such a state, one engages in a new reality, experiencing existence outside one's own body, beyond the range of our five senses, and ascends in levels of perception that Laitman called "spiritual worlds."

One who attains the sixth sense, according to Laitman, perceives and researches different worlds - upper, spiritual worlds which complement one another. They become a reality for that person.  One is said to lose sensation of time, space, and motion as he or she feels an endless stream of life, independent of the five senses. Since a Kabbalist acquires a different sensation outside the five senses, he or she lives with a different approach to life and to reality.

This view of spirituality that Laitman discussed blended two age-old disparate approaches to reality: the scientific, which relies on research to bring observable, veritable results; and the religious, which relies on the revelation of one or many individuals, and following interpretations of those revelations. The Kabbalistic method of attaining a sixth sense promises revelation through research where the subject of research is one's own perception.

Satinover's and Laitman's discussions came into contact on the point of everything boiling down to our perception. They also agreed on a spiritual reality existing beyond a certain boundary. Whilst Satinover described quantum theory's inability to analyze beyond this boundary, Laitman first described the boundary - the five senses - then introduced Kabbalah as the area of research which delves into this hidden arena. Quantum theory expresses something of a limit of enquiry in the five senses, while Kabbalah doesn't deal with the five senses at all, offering instead a method to develop the sixth sense.

So at the end of the discussions, Satinover and Laitman left us with two choices regarding spirituality: either make up your own mind about what it is, or develop another sense and research it.


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Michael Laitman's Theory for Altruistic Evolution

The December 2005 World Peace Lectures, aired live as part of the daily Revealing the Upper World television and internet broadcasts, featured Dr. Michael Laitman discussing problems humanity faces, and what steps are needed to solve them.

In the December 2005 World Peace Lectures, one of the principal discussions was about interconnectedness. How should we relate to each other and to the world in our ever-integrating global-technological framework?                    

Dr. Laitman mentioned one of humanity's major problems as being that we have connected the world through global technologies, economies, and all kinds of common systems, but our inner, mental development has not yet reached this level of technological integration.

Primarily, Laitman was saying that technological development in and of itself is not the problem, but that the problem lies only in its applications; in the intention with which we use the world.

In other words, the technological systems we've built are interconnected, but its operators, us, are not connected, and we therefore use these systems contrary to their setup.

The solution to this problem looks very simple in theory: to connect in one common intention toward the world and begin to cooperate. But when we look at the continual subdivision of ideas and worldviews, connecting in a common intention seems like some unrealistic concept beyond our reach.

The need to change our intention and attitude to the world

Laitman has two things to say about this: One, that the only aspect of the world needing correction is the person's intention toward it; and two, if we don't correct our attitude to the world, we will experience more and more suffering until we realize that we have to correct it.

This means that while our attitude to the world remains corrupted, as Laitman puts it, globalization will continue working against us, and we, and our future generations, will therefore experience increasing suffering.

We are faced with opposite extremes: On the one hand, we build globally integrated systems, discovering how we are all connected on a technological, superficial level; and on the other hand, we find how the whole world except us is connected. 

What causes these opposite extremes?

In Laitman's words, there is an inbuilt "corruption in our senses" that we are gradually growing aware of, and which we will have to correct. This "corruption in our senses" is an innate quality designed to limit our perception, hiding nature's complete picture from us. The concealment prevents us from seeing that "all of nature besides the human being is altruistic."  In other words, it hides nature's intention toward us. Consequently, we cannot see nature's ultimate aim with respect to us.

The 'Egoistic Systems'

Behind our five senses there are what Laitman terms "egoistic systems." These operate contrary to altruistic systems, imperceptible to our five senses. Laitman describes it as "the general law of nature."

To correct our intention toward the world, Laitman puts forth that we will have to change our inner structure - the egoistic system - so that it is merged with nature, the altruistic system.

Until now, humanity has been trying to change external structures, systems outside of the person, to attain peace and comfort.

Now, says Laitman, it is time to start changing the inner system - our attitude to the world, to nature - and use these external systems correctly.

If the inner system remains as it is, we will be faced with a growing imbalance between two systems - technological and mental - one atop the other. Neither system can sustain itself in such a state.

Improving our awareness to improve the world

In our egoistic state, lacking perception of nature's altruistic mode of operation, our main problem is that we are unaware of our inequality with nature and the harm it causes.

Once we realize that we need to change ourselves to equalize with the altruistic system - and this is where Laitman's conclusions reached into something of a spiritual nature - we develop a sensation for a different dimension of existence.

Laitman supports this statement by saying that, if it had already been revealed to us that we are egoists and that everything outside our sensation is altruistic, we would then be no different to animals; merged with nature, keeping nature's laws without any freedom of will.

The difference between human beings and animals, according to Laitman, is that we are given a will to transcend nature, which we come to recognize by seeing our opposition to it.

In other words, the more we evolve, the more our egoism increases; when we want more, we suffer more. Couple this suffering with the recognition caused by our innate nature, and we humans are given a place for free choice: We can voluntarily welcome ourselves into the laws of nature - something animals have no option of doing.

By realizing our opposition to nature's laws, and working toward them, Laitman concluded that this will bring unprecedented collective spiritual consciousness in our earthly existence:

"If nature's laws were disclosed, we would be like animals. But since these laws are hidden, it enables us to reach the spiritual degrees. For the time being, we are neither one nor the other. We are more afflicted than animals, we suffer more than animals can ever suffer, and it is because we haven't reached the spiritual level."

Laitman spoke of a next phase of discovery in the same way we have discovered imperceptible forces throughout history, each time revealing them to be more powerful (for example, electricity, X-rays, atomic power, nuclear power). Through inner change aimed at matching nature in its altruistic mode of operation, we can reveal an even mightier force - altruism.

The spiritual altruistic force

Thus, Laitman's word on world peace is that by changing our egoistic sensation of the world into an altruistic one, we can reveal the force that will make world peace a reality: the spiritual altruistic force.

In addition, Laitman envisions that an altruistic sensation of the world will open us up to a whole new dimension of existence. Where pains intensify from our trying to change the external world to suit ourselves, Laitman talks about another place for us to apply our efforts: to change ourselves to match the external world. All it takes is an inversion of the focus of our work.


One Man's Search for Meaning in Life

by Ed Stedman


The desire to find meaning in life, or what Kabbalists call "the desire for spirituality," is the final stage of desire emerging in humanity today. Kabbalah now comes to us in order to provide a method for fulfilling this desire.

Three years ago I was riding a subway train in Toronto when a short announcement in the newspaper caught my eye. There was to be an introductory Kabbalah lecture at my local library and although I was totally unfamiliar with Kabbalah, I somehow felt that it was an ancient wisdom that might have something to offer me.

This initial lecture by Tony Kosinec (lecturer for the ARI Online Kabbalah Education Center, which has since become KabU) and spokesperson for Bnei Baruch USA) was a mixture of technical diagrams and an assertion that there was some sort of potential power in a unified group of students. I felt compelled to check out this assertion.

That was three years ago and my life has now changed so radically that it seems like another lifetime. What have I learned in three years?

Most people believe that the troubles that we experience in our lives come in a random manner of good or bad luck. If they get sick or lose their job then the tendency is to say "Well that's life, what to do?"

Kabbalists will tell you otherwise - that there is nothing random about any of life's events: every single thing, good and bad, is sent to us purposefully in order to prompt us to eventually question the purpose of our lives and to try to get to know the upper power that is orchestrating our world.

Just as we organize all aspects of our schools in order to maximize the learning progress of our children, so this upper power organizes all things within our world to hasten our progress through the stages that will culminate in an enlightened state of "loving our neighbors as ourselves."

We can refer to the upper power as Nature, the Creator, God or whatever suits us. Kabbalists explain that we can never know the essence of this upper power but can only understand its qualities by the way it treats us.

Kabbalists say that Nature acts towards us in absolute goodness, kindness and benevolence. Moreover, Kabbalists don't just say this, but speak from their attainment of Nature's laws, where these qualities exist on a completely different level of perception to ours. Kabbalists give us their method of attaining Nature's laws, inviting us to reach the same perception as them.

Through undertaking the method, we eventually come to understand that Nature is uniformly benevolent to every single one of us. Therefore, all the painful events that are inflicted on us are actually intended only to help us to an eventual transition from our inborn selfish egoism to the altruistic qualities of Nature itself.

I accepted this new framework for our world very readily and thankfully. Is it not infinitely better to live in a totally purposeful world rather than one based on random chance? I realize that the reason that I accepted this new order so readily is that for years I had been desperately seeking to find more purpose to life.

In Kabbalah it is understood that we all progress through different stages of desire. A person begins with seeking the ordinary necessities of food and shelter. When one feels that one needs more than this, then this person may progress to a desire for money. When money is no longer sufficient, so may begin the search for fame or status, and if one needs more than this, then one searches through all kinds of higher forms of pleasure: art, music, philosophy, sciences, and so on, which characterize the next stage of desire, the desire for knowledge. The desire to find meaning in life, or what Kabbalists call "the desire for spirituality," appears in the final stage.

The fact that I am in this last stage does not mean that I am better or smarter than others. Is a child in the fourth grade smarter than a child in the first grade? No, he is just older. In fact, the younger child may be a lot smarter than the older one.

However, we see that many people do not appear to progress through these desire stages but remain in one of the earlier stages. This introduces another major revelation from Kabbalists - reincarnation.

Advanced Kabbalists tell us that the desires that define the "I" are actually part of a higher spiritual world, disconnected from this world we see and know. Thus, these desires survive physical death. It is these desires that allow us to be reincarnated over and over again.

We reincarnate until we pass through all our stages and reach a final enlightened form. Every single one of us has to pass through a program of millions of developmental stages in a prescribed sequence.

This is similar to the developmental stages that we see our children go through. It is a mistake to think that a child can go straight to the walking stage and bypass the crawling stage or go directly from grade one to grade three. Every stage introduces something that is needed for the final product.

This concept of stages has helped me to "love my neighbor" more truly. For instance if I see somebody acting in an antisocial or disagreeable manner then I can find tolerance or compassion by remembering that they are just passing through a phase that every one of us will have to pass through.

Kabbalists tell us that spirituality is attained gradually in 125 discrete stages. Where am I? I am still struggling to reach the first stage! Three years ago I felt that I was getting old and my life was drawing to a close but my new perspective is that I am just at the embryo stage with a very long path ahead of me.
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