What You Don’t Know About Mutual Relations Could Harm You
There are various techniques and belief systems claiming that the ego is bad and should be neutralized. We need to understand that there is no such thing as “bad” in Nature. There is only the ability to use what exists in Nature positively. If we do not use it positively, it becomes negative. Therefore, all we need to learn is how to use our intellect.
We need to develop the know-how and the method, a program for using the good and the bad properly, to create good life out of the two. We needn’t look at what we have right now, as it is said, “Don’t show a fool a job half done.” In other words, we mustn’t be as fools, looking at the process while it’s happening and complaining. Instead, we need to see everything as goal-oriented and understand that every stage must be as it is, and that we’re advancing toward the good goal. We need to see that the goal is right around the corner, that we are nearing it with each step, approaching a corrected life and a good future.
We mustn’t mistreat, demand, complain, criticize, disrespect, or disdain Nature, ourselves, or others. We need to understand that we are all going through the same stages, the same process, and we should help one another reciprocally. This is what people who are “lost in the desert” need. They will not get to the oasis without each other’s help. That mutual correction and mutual assistance are the keys that will lead us toward the good goal.
Do You Know About the Three Kinds of Desires You Have?
To establish mutual help, and through it the goal, we first need to understand how we are built. We need to understand that in each of us are three kinds of desires. The first is physical desires, which we call “animate” because they also exist in animals, which follow those desires instinctively. These are the desires to maintain ourselves as best as we can, to keep ourselves clean, healthy, well fed, rested, and to provide everything else the body needs.
The second kind of desires is egoistic desires, through which we develop above the animate level. Within us humans are also desires for domination, lust, and honor; in these desires, we want to be superior to others. These desires belong solely to the human species. Animals don’t have them. They might eat one another, but not because they want to harm, rule, or govern one another. They act this way only to feed themselves.
This is why a lion hunting a zebra isn’t doing any deliberate harm to the zebra; it’s simply following Nature’s instructions within it. There is no animosity between the species; it is just how Nature works. We, too, behave that way toward animals. We don’t hate the cows, chickens, or the fish we eat. We simply eat them because we have to, and we try to do it as humanely as possible.
It is only toward humans that we use the ego. We look at the neighbor’s lawn or the neighbor’s car, kids, salary, etc., and measure our achievements in life compared to theirs. There are statistics that prove that people would be happier to make $50,000 a year if it was above the average income in their neighborhood than to make $100,000 a year if it was below the average income in their neighborhood.
We value ourselves in comparison to others; that is, we appreciate things not in relation to us, but in relation to others. This kind of desires is called “human desires” because animals don’t have them. They don’t mind what other animals have; they only need to satiate themselves. Human desires, however, are all bad if not used positively.
A third kind of desires, which are also exclusively human, are “above” the two previous kinds. This is the desire for knowledge, for wisdom. It is the desire to know what I’m living for, how Nature works, what is happening around me, and how things are connected. In other words, it is a love for the wisdom in Nature, for knowledge, for the study of Nature.
We are in a bubble called “Nature,” and we receive from it. We are seemingly in a sphere with many layers, peeling them back layer by layer. Each layer that I peel, I examine, and the laws I discover are called “science.” In the future, I’ll discover more laws which already exist today, but I’m not wise enough to see them, to discover them. The more I learn, the more laws I will discover that exist in Nature.
It follows that all people are combinations of the three types of desires: the animate desire, the human desire, and the desire for knowledge. What changes from person to person is the combination of those desires. One may have more of the desire for knowledge; another will want to be superior to others in wealth or status; and a third will settle for football and beer on the couch. Everyone is built differently and there is nothing good or bad about it. Everyone has his or her own nature. The three types of desire exist in everyone, but each person is more inclined toward one than toward the others. Each person finds his or her place in the environment according to the primary desire within, and advances accordingly.
You Don’t Have to Be a Psychologist to Maximally Use Your Desires to Achieve Balance
Smart people, who use science properly, know Nature and know that there is a process and a plan to it. We still don’t know the rules of the process, but we know that one exists. We are still not sure where it is leading and can only guess that the process is leading us toward balance, such as the balance that exists on all levels of Nature. At the end of the day, we, too, have to achieve balance.
Balance with Nature can be expressed in temperature, wind, storms, and volcanic eruptions. Everything happens in order to eventually yield balance. Nature acts to balance itself, and Man, as part of Nature, must also balance himself.
Because there are good and bad forces within us, and to prevent them from erupting, we were given science. Through the knowledge we’ve acquired, we can achieve balance between those forces within us. We can use the bad force and the good force of the intellect to balance them and progress in harmony.
We must balance the force of the intellect with the force of the bad within us. As a human being, I have desires at the still level; namely, the materials from which my body is made. I also have desires of the vegetative level; that is, the things that grow in me such as hair, nails, and bones. Then there are desires of the animate within me. These are the rest of the parts of my body. I also have an intellect, which is a desire above the animate level, and I have the negative force within me, my ego. These are the parts of which we are comprised.
There is nothing to correct in the desires of the still, vegetative, and animate levels. The problem is in our relations with each other. There is where we corrupt our lives since we have an evil nature, ego, although we tend to tell ourselves that we aren’t bad. Others are bad, humanity is bad, or human nature is bad, but not me personally.
Concern should not be only for my progress, because I am an animal, living in the animate level, and must achieve balanced consumption. Rather, the whole world needs to reach balance at the human level, meaning that we will all be equal, just as in a family. This is the situation to which we should aspire in the human society, on the human level of knowledge. Thus, we will reach the perfect state, like a ripened apple.
Therefore, there is much important work for us to do. There is no greater or more worthy challenge than the one before us, and through this knowledge, we will be able to carry out this great work to the benefit of the whole of humanity.
Written by Michael Laitman
Michael Laitman is a global thinker dedicated to generating a transformational shift in society through a new global education, which he views as the key to solving the most pressing issues of our time. He is the Founder of the ARI Institute, Professor of Ontology & Theory of Knowledge, PhD in Philosophy, MS in Medical Cybernetics. You can find him on Google+, YouTube and Twitter