The Secret to Maintaining a Good Attitude
As animals, we are different from other animals in that we desire to use the environment either in our favor or to the detriment of the environment. Using the environment for my favor means that I want to receive everything that the human environment has to offer. If I want to use the environment in a crueler manner, meaning to its detriment, then I may exploit others’ money through fraud or invade another country to enslave its people and take its natural resources.
In other words, man rises above the animal level in two aspects: in regard to the environment and in regard to human wisdom. On the one hand, the human environment is something that animals don’t have. We could not exist as humans without it. If I were to live in the jungle, I’d descend to the animate level.
Therefore, when we use the environment to its detriment, we eventually end up in a crisis since we are interdependent and since that dependence causes us to hate each other. Then, everything comes to a halt, and life isn’t good anymore. On the contrary, life is so mechanical and intimidating that we prefer the escape of drugs or alcohol, or even try to kill others, because we don’t know what to do with those around us.
On the other hand, we have human intelligence, which animals do not. With it, we can criticize the things we encounter and draw conclusions, such as: that the source of our bad lives is our attitude toward the environment. If that attitude is turned to good, we will be able to feed the entire world just on the surplus food production we currently discard.
Wow! Ten Percent of the World’s Population Can Provide Humanity With All It Needs
A few years ago, people became excited about a new particle accelerator in Switzerland that set out to discover the Higgs boson particle, which supposedly exceeds the speed of light. Building that accelerator required collecting money over several years, yet the amount required to finance that entire project was equal to the amount of money the U.S. army spent in just two weeks in Iraq.
If we examine what could be acquired if the global arms race stopped and the waste of over-production ceased, we’d see that five to ten percent of the world population could provide for all of humanity. In other words, the only reason we’re over-producing is because of our egos.
Therefore, we should not think that we can produce only what is needed for sustenance and then we’ll be left spending our free time basking in the sun; rather, to maintain the right attitude toward the environment, we will need to partake in creating that favorable environment several hours a day. Every person who is relieved from caring for self will need to accept everything that the new world and the new relationships entail, and then tend to those new connections. To be liberated from caring for self, we will have to promote our good relations with the environment, constantly giving those good relations preference over the inclination of our egos.
We’re talking about using known forces of Nature; yet, people will agree to this only when they have no other choice, when millions of unemployed take to the streets, and mothers are afraid to send their kids to school because of violence, drugs, and prostitution.
In such a state, the entire development of culture—which is very important to us as humans—stops. We have to determine that living such a life is not considered a life.
Even today, fewer and fewer people wish to marry or have children. We’re coming to a generation that sees no future, yet we cannot live, much less develop, without envisioning a future. This is why despair and depression are the most common illnesses worldwide, with antidepressants being given even to our pets!
Theoretically, we could have evolved beautifully, as in previous generations when we developed instinctively as brothers, all together. But, we failed—because while we were evolving naturally with our egos, we came to the state where we can now see that using our ego to harm others is our evil inclination and that it only harms us in return.
The Good or Bad Ego—Are You Using Yours in the Best Way?
On the other hand, we need to understand that it is precisely the growing ego that pushes us to obtain wisdom. Although it’s ego, it’s not the evil inclination. There are two levels to the ego. One level is where I want to fill myself with knowledge, a good feeling, food, sex, and family. It’s as if I were alone in the world, hurting no one, just like any other organism that satisfies itself. Another level of the ego is the “evil inclination,” where I want to fill myself with wealth, honors, and knowledge, things I can obtain only by exploiting the environment and exploiting others.
Wealth, honor, and knowledge are degrees above the animate level. These are human desires, which I use to satisfy the human part in me. They derive from the ego and stem from my desire to satisfy myself as much as possible. This is the part called “evil inclination,” when I want to satisfy myself by oppressing others.
And there is also another part that manifests when I use others as they use me, in a good way, as in a family, as with loved ones. In a family, I use those I love, and they use me—for mutual pleasure, mutual benefit and fulfillment, so we are happy and content. This is the bonding part; we could be friends, a couple, or just anyone. Because it involves using others, it’s also considered ego, inclination, desire, but it is not bad because it doesn’t intend to harm others.
Only if I intend to obtain pleasure by force is it considered evil inclination because I want to enjoy without considering others, or while harming others.
There is a broad range of relations here. But all in all, my desire to enjoy the suffering I cause others—or the fact that I have no regard for another and don’t care whether or not another suffers—is called “evil.”
These selfish pleasures are signs that today we have reached the most advanced level of egoism. In our development, everyone is at a certain level, and my ego enjoys considering how much I am superior to you, how I can exploit you.
It’s no longer enough to be rich if no one but my banker knows about it. I enjoy only if everyone sees my fancy car or yacht, if everyone sees that I own companies and control people. Also, I enjoy oppressing others because money alone doesn’t satisfy me anymore; here, I measure myself in relation to others.
All the above is considered “using others to the detriment of others” because I want to be above them. This is what’s causing today’s prevailing sense of dissatisfaction and rising suicide rate in the wealthier countries. Nothing is enough for us anymore; we’re at a dead end, and we can’t receive any pleasures anymore.
There Is an Enormous Motivation for Success You Have Yet to Discover
Yet, the ego is also developing us. It’s brought us to a point where now we don’t enjoy even the desire to be superior to others. And if I can no longer enjoy superiority over others, then I have nowhere to develop and nothing to live for, because being richer and more powerful won’t give me anything so why should I bother if it doesn’t please me anymore?
Today, man has lost his motivation to develop—the foundation, the engine of development. He doesn’t care if he has more or less. He is indifferent about the future altogether. Today, we want nothing. In fact, we don’t even want to continue the species; we wonder why on earth we should have children.
Everyone is in this general confusion. The solution is only in our relation to the environment and its relation to us. If we establish good relations among us, proper ones, we will be able to create a glorious life and will receive new energies, unlike now when we are powerless and have nothing and nowhere to continue.
Until today, each of us developed individually, linearly, as though on a straight line from the beginning of time up to this day. Our desire evolved in both quantity and quality, and has brought us achievements. But suddenly, there’s a stop with no reason to continue. We’ve come here running and have stopped midway because we have no reason to keep running. It’s like we’ve lost our way in the middle of a desert.
Individual motivation is gone, which is why we’re immersed in despair that started some fifty years ago and has inflicted crises in every area: education, culture, and our personal lives. This motivation will not be renewed because we have reached the end and have nothing to live for, as physicians will testify—those who prescribe antidepressants.
Now, we must want to save the patient called “humanity” before it dies. The situation is critical, but not hopeless. We can bring correction by using the additional power that will move humanity forward: a force that does not come from within humans, because we have nowhere from which to draw further desires to live; instead, from a force that comes when people begin to connect with others and find additional powers.
In other words, by uniting we bring back to ourselves parts that are actually ours, but that we didn’t feel as such.
If You Don’t Know What Life’s For, You Must Read This
To summarize, our current state is such that if we don’t acquire from the environment additional desires from which we will feel great additional pleasures, we will not only end up in despair and depression, but in terrorism and world wars. We will be helpless, hopeless, and won’t understand why we are in such a world where it’s better to be dead than alive.
We will experience eruptions and riots just so we can ignore the question, “What is life for?” Even now we can feel the question, but it’s still in miniature proportions. People seek peace and quiet in many ways, but can’t find any. Later, this will result in eruptions that will lead to wars.
We may be in despair because we cannot find a cure to our situation, but a cure is present. The cure is bonding and uniting. Only by uniting with Nature and with others will each of us receive new energies, support, and warmth. And within the new desire that we’ll receive from the environment, we will receive new fulfillment.
When we connect to everyone, we will discover within the environmental fulfillment that will raise us to the human level. We will begin to feel our lives above the animal level. We will feel Nature’s perfection and eternity, and the relative calm that surrounds us now. We will also recognize that the bad which has already been revealed allows us to mend the situation successfully.
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