Valentine, a frequent viewer of my shows with filmmaker Semion Vinokur, wrote him that lately, he has come to feel that everything is a lie: The government is lying, his bosses are lying, the media is lying, and there is no truth anywhere. He then asked how he can go on living when there is no one or nothing he can trust. He added that he has never felt it so acutely, and asked for my response.
Below is my response to Valentine:
Deceit and egoism are the nature of the world. In the beginning of our emotional and spiritual development, we do not feel it. Just as we do not tell little children that there are bad people with bad intentions in the world, but save that morose information until they grow and can handle it, nature does not reveal to us the depth of human selfishness and willingness to exploit every thing and every one. Therefore, the fact that you have made the discoveries you are describing means you have developed to the point where you are ready to reveal the true nature of the world—that egoism is the core of human nature.
When a person realizes this for the first time, he feels lost and does not know where to run. Some people take off to remote places like deserted islands where they can live alone and isolate themselves from the outside world. Others think that if they accrue wealth, they will secure their future and the future of their children. Neither will diminish the fear.
The reason we discover the true nature of the world is so we may ask about its meaning. First comes the realization that the world is built on egoism, then the question why it is built this way, and finally the realization that only recognizing who we are will prompt us to step out of selfishness and embrace a different, and genuinely kind nature.
The world is built the way it is so we may change it. Only when we realize how deeply we are all immersed in self-absorption will we want to change. The only way to make ourselves aware of this is to really make ourselves that way—selfish to the core—and then bring this truth to our awareness.
When we look at the world around us and see wickedness and cruelty, we must know that they are there for a reason. Even if we see political leaders whom we think are ruthless and mean, for example, we should not seek to remove them from office because those who will replace them will be even worse. Instead, we must keep in mind that any negativity we see, we see it so we may wish to rise above it toward caring for others and connection with them.
Improvement must begin with people understanding what is going on and why, and striving to build good ties with people, all people. If we change, the world will change with us. If we correct our hearts, our hearts will correct our perception and we will realize why everything happens and how we can help bring the world to balance.